Can I Get an Associate Degree in Accounting?

Can I Get an Associate's Degree in Accounting

In an uncertain economy, you may hope to find a lasting career that does not require a long-term educational commitment, and wonder whether you can get an associate’s degree in accounting. If you’re interested in this field, obtaining an associate’s degree is the first step and an excellent way to break into this rewarding and crucial industry. Earning an associate’s degree in accounting can enable you to change your career or get started in a new one in two years or less.

Finding a Program

Earning an associate’s degree will typically take one to two years for full-time students and somewhat longer for those students choosing a part-time educational route. Programs are available in both traditional on-campus and online formats. Business, technical and community colleges all offer a selection of accounting concentrations. They are generally structured for students who want a more conventional approach to learning and are looking to benefit from the social aspects of school and from face-to-face interaction with instructors. Online accounting courses are abundant and afford students the flexibility to balance work and family obligations with educational goals. It is important to find a program that is accredited through state and national agencies to obtain the highest standards for quality education.

Choosing a Specialty

Regardless of which degree type you choose, all students pursuing an associate’s degree in accounting will benefit from a solid foundation of basic accounting skills. With an understanding of cost accounting, financial statement analysis, taxation, and accounting technology, the student can determine what type of accounting best fits their career goals. Areas of study include asset management, tax requirements, auditing, environmental accounting, international accounting, mergers and acquisitions, forensics and fraud examination, financial reporting, managerial accounting, risk management, and strategic planning. A thorough understanding of the skills needed and the responsibilities of each position will help in choosing the right accounting track. Because an Associate’s degree program is shorter than a Bachelor’s program, courses tend to focus on career-specific information, such as bookkeeping and payroll skills.

Anticipated Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has compiled data for positions available for students who receive an associate’s degree in accounting. Factors such as company size, geographic location, demand, and skill level affect salary. The industry in which an accounting associate works also affects salary.  The median annual salaries for entry-level accounting positions, by industry, are:

Retail: $36,200
Healthcare: $40,350
Wholesale: $42,250
Insurance and finance: $42,860
Technical services: $43,540

Many organizations encourage staff members to obtain additional training through employee scholarship programs. By taking advantage of these academic opportunities, advanced career levels can be achieved without additional expense to the employee.

By developing the proper accounting, communication, and technological skills needed for today’s complex business models, college graduates will find endless opportunities in accounting. With so many methods of obtaining degrees on-campus and online, you can get an associate’s degree in accounting, and change your salary, your career, and your life in a relatively short time.

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