20 Online Associate Degree Programs Available in Accounting

Potential Benefits of an Online Associates Degree in Accounting

If you're interested in the world of accounting, you may want to earn an associate's degree to broaden your opportunities. While many accounting jobs usually require a bachelor's degree, an associate's degree in accounting may put you in a better position for related employment. It could also put you on... track toward a four-year degree.

The basics of accounting
Generally, the jobs related to the field of accounting involve ensuring the accuracy and legitimacy of financial records. Accountants may be required to compute taxes, maintain records and inspect financial statements to make sure that organizations are working in accordance with state, federal and company regulations. Positions in this field, however, are not just limited to reviewing records. Accountants may also be expected to find ways in which an organization can reduce costs and improve revenue, thereby streamlining the overall functioning of that office.

Putting your degree to use
There are numerous positions for which you may be more qualified once you earn an online associates degree in accounting. The position of financial clerk is a common entry-level position that involves providing support for an organization's accounting. The job may require carrying out financial transactions, updating records and keep track of employee time and payroll information.

If you like the idea of producing and maintaining financial records, then you may want to consider a position as a bookkeeper. The position usually entails more responsibility than a financial clerk. You may be responsible for recording all of an organization's transactions and ensuring accuracy of that data.

A jumping-off point
You may also use your associate's degree as a starting platform toward a bachelor's degree in accounting, which may qualify you for more job opportunities. Those positions build off of the many skills needed for bookkeeping, and may require a broader understanding of law and mathematics.

Once you earn a bachelor's degree, you may be able to work as a forensic accountant, which involves investigating financial crimes. Other potential jobs include public accounting and management accounting, both of which may involve disclosing tax advice or working with financial investments. Internal auditors, meanwhile, may involve investigating mismanagement of an organization's funds.

Your salary expectations with an associate's degree may be subject to change depending on a number of factors, such as the state of the job market and the field you choose to pursue. Still, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides some insight into the median annual wages of certain positions.

  • Bookkeeper, accounting clerks and auditing clerks: $35,170[i] (11 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[ii]
  • Financial clerk: $34,960[iii] (11 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[iv]
  • Billing and posting clerks: $33,450[iii] (18 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[iv]
  • Procurement clerks: $38,220[iii] (2 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[iv]
  • Brokerage clerks: $42,440[iii] (4 percent employment growth projected through 2022)[iv]

Note that the annual median wages of bookkeepers, accounting clerks and auditing clerks fluctuate depending on the field you choose to enter. Bookkeepers in professional, scientific and technical services earned a high-end salary of $36,600, while retail trade clerks earned closer to $31,000.[iii]

Skills required
Mathematics is a key part of the accounting profession, including arithmetic, algebra, calculus and statistics. Accountants could benefit from having an understanding of economic and accounting principles, according to ONET, as well as a firm handle on clerical procedures involved in maintaining and filing records. Depending on the field you enter, you may also need a good understanding of law, legal codes and government regulations.

Classes available
There are a number of degree programs that can help people become trained in these fields, many of which can be done in the comfort of your own home. An associate of science degree in accounting is commonly offered by a number of different schools. Some departments offer accounting specialist degrees. It's also possible to get an associate of science degree focusing on a field such as business management, with a specialization in accounting. While each program offers different focuses, many offer similar introductions to the field of accounting.

[i] bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bookkeeping-accounting-and-auditing-clerks.htm#tab-5
[ii] bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bookkeeping-accounting-and-auditing-clerks.htm#tab-6
[iii] bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/financial-clerks.htm#tab-5
[iv] bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/financial-clerks.htm#tab-6


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