Best Online Associate in Accounting Degrees for 2022

Associate Degree in Accounting Career Options & Salary

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Whether you’re looking for a quick way to enter the workforce or something to get you into an internship, an on-campus or online associate degree in accounting is the best place to get started. This is especially true since online education has come to the forefront of higher-level learning. Accounting online students will learn all the basics, from daily journal entries and best practices to accounting ethics and generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). These fast-track online associate degree or on-campus programs usually take 18 months to two years to complete. If online students attend full-time, after which accounting graduates can apply for a wide variety of entry-level jobs in the accounting field or choose to continue their education at colleges and universities all over the US. While you won’t have access to the highest level of certifications or positions, this associate accounting degree will give you a boost into the entry-level accounting career you’re looking for, even if you only have a high school diploma or GED.


    You may be weighing your options about the degree level you’ll soon be choosing. Use the following pros and cons of an online associate in accounting so that you can make the decision that’s best for you. Pros:

  • Less time in school — Typically, an online associate degree in most disciplines will require that you spend only between 18 and 24 months (two years) in school to complete an online associate.
  • Fewer credit hours to complete — You’ll complete between 60 and 90 credit hours, depending on the community college or technical school you choose
  • You’ll gain a sufficient amount of knowledge for a good accounting career — once you graduate, you’ll be ready to work in a business
  • The position you’re interested in may not require a 4-year degree, such as an accounts receivable clerk or other entry-level accounting and auditing clerks — And you can work your way up into a managerial accounting position with experience once you’ve earned your degree
  • Many online associate in accounting degrees are available with financial aid offered no matter where in the country you live, and these programs offer flexible access to online courses so that you can continue to work or care for your family while earning your degree online
  • You don’t have to wait for four years to begin working in your chosen career


    If you have career aspirations that reach beyond an online associate degree in accounting, such as becoming a certified public accountant (CPA), then you may not be able to satisfy them without earning a higher accounting degree.

  • Certain accountancy careers won’t allow a graduate with an Associate of Arts or Science accounting degree to do the work — CPAs are required to hold, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in accounting
  • Having only an associate degree in accounting may make it hard for you to move into management — If you plan to work as a CFO, you’ll need a master’s degree or higher
  • Completing only an accounting associate degree program means you won’t be able to do some accounting applications — evaluating different issues in accounting requires a more in-depth education
  • Your salary will be limited with an accounting associate degree — If you have a bachelor’s, master’s, or higher, then your annual median salary will be higher
  • You may be chafing at your professional limitations — Holding a bachelor’s degree or higher may give you more options
  • You may not be hired over other competitors — In most new fields, those who have more knowledge (e.g., higher education) may have the first opportunities to do the work, whether for large or small organizations, businesses, firms, or government agencies

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What are the Best Online Associate in Accounting College Programs?


Indiana Wesleyan University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $28,184
    • Out-of-state: $28,184
  • Net Price: $21,827
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,108
  • Undergrad Students: 2,677
  • Graduate Students: 431
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Associate Degree in Accounting: Yes
  • Indiana Wesleyan University

Herzing University-Minneapolis

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $14,200
    • Out-of-state: $14,200
  • Net Price: $21,971
  • Retention Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Total Enrollment: 626
  • Undergrad Students: 620
  • Graduate Students: 6
  • Diplomas Awarded: 1
  • Student-to-faculty: 12:1
  • Associate Degree in Accounting: Yes
  • Herzing University-Minneapolis

Florida Institute of Technology

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $43,246
    • Out-of-state: $43,246
  • Net Price: $33,313
  • Retention Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 60%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,775
  • Undergrad Students: 3,475
  • Graduate Students: 3,300
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • Associate Degree in Accounting: Yes
  • Florida Institute of Technology

Elizabethtown College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $32,960
    • Out-of-state: $32,960
  • Net Price: $25,767
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,881
  • Undergrad Students: 1,688
  • Graduate Students: 193
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Student-to-faculty: 12:1
  • Associate Degree in Accounting: Yes
  • Elizabethtown College

Northwest Nazarene University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $32,780
    • Out-of-state: $32,780
  • Net Price: $21,616
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,109
  • Undergrad Students: 1,389
  • Graduate Students: 720
  • Diplomas Awarded: 2
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Associate Degree in Accounting: Yes
  • Northwest Nazarene University

Colorado Technical University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $12,573
    • Out-of-state: $12,573
  • Net Price: $17,048
  • Retention Rate: 48%
  • Graduation Rate: 23%
  • Total Enrollment: 28,244
  • Undergrad Students: 24,759
  • Graduate Students: 3,485
  • Diplomas Awarded: 196
  • Student-to-faculty: 31:1
  • Associate Degree in Accounting: Yes
  • Colorado Technical University

Champlain College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $42,784
    • Out-of-state: $42,784
  • Net Price: $35,870
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,137
  • Undergrad Students: 3,512
  • Graduate Students: 625
  • Diplomas Awarded: 11
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • Associate Degree in Accounting: Yes
  • Champlain College

University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,622
    • Out-of-state: $25,228
  • Net Price: $11,283
  • Retention Rate: 68%
  • Graduation Rate: 30%
  • Total Enrollment: 11,953
  • Undergrad Students: 11,323
  • Graduate Students: 630
  • Diplomas Awarded: 22
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Associate Degree in Accounting: Yes
  • University of Alaska Anchorage

Franklin University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,577
    • Out-of-state: $9,577
  • Net Price: $7,658
  • Retention Rate: 9%
  • Graduation Rate: 42%
  • Total Enrollment: 5,926
  • Undergrad Students: 4,008
  • Graduate Students: 1,918
  • Diplomas Awarded: 2
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Associate Degree in Accounting: Yes
  • Franklin University

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $31,150
    • Out-of-state: $31,150
  • Net Price: $16,874
  • Retention Rate: 69%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,099
  • Undergrad Students: 761
  • Graduate Students: 338
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Student-to-faculty:8:1
  • Associate Degree in Accounting: Yes
  • Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
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Certificate vs. Associate

An online associate degree (Associate of Arts or Associate of Science in Accounting) gives you more material to learn so that you’ll be prepared to move into a four-year program after you complete your online associate accounting degree. With this option, you’ll take general education courses, as well as your core courses for your accounting degree major.

You’ll also be ready to transition into an online or on-campus, four-year accounting students program in business administration, economics, accounting, financial services, management, international business, intermediate accounting, or marketing.

Consider a certificate in accounting online to be more of a workforce credential. In an online certificate accounting program, you’ll be learning new accounting and bookkeeping skills that mean you’ll be able to do that work once hired, but you won't be able to move into any other position in the field.

What Accounting Associate Degrees are Available Online?

When you enroll into a financial accounting degree program in a community college, you want to know what associate degrees you may earn. Some will be associate degrees and others will be certificates, though any of these could be offered online or through a hybrid online accounting program, which includes online and in-person learning.

  • Associate Degree in Business - General Requirements:
    This accounting degree describes a business degree that satisfies general requirements. It is designed for online accounting students who want to transfer to a four-year university. If this is you, then majors in the four-year universities will work with your already completed courses.
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS), Accounting:
    This accounting associate degree is also available as an Accounting Paraprofessional Proficiency Certificate.
  • Associate of Applied Arts & Sciences - Accounting:
    This online associate accounting degree gives you professional skills that enable you to find employment in accounting. It also has a Certificate of Proficiency Accounting, which is a part of the AAS degree.
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS), Accounting Paraprofessional:
    You gain the bookkeeping and accounting skills needed to work as a clerk to manage financial records of your employer. You can also earn a Certificate of Completion in Accounting.
  • Associate in Business, Bookkeeping Certificate and Associate in Technical Arts Degree, Accounting:
    You learn about business administration, finance, accounting, management, and marketing. You can transfer to a four-year university with the Associate in Business.

Admission Requirements

Generally, you must be able to demonstrate a 2.5 GPA with a high school diploma to gain entry to most accounting programs. If your GPA is lower, you should be able to prove the potential for academic success. You’ll also need to demonstrate an aptitude for academic success in an online learning platform and show the ability to contribute in a positive way to the college community. These things may not be necessary for some community colleges, but it will be for more exclusive colleges and most online programs.

You may be required to write a short essay, answering three to four essay questions and why you want to enter an online associate accounting degree program. This is where you should make the effort to shine. You’ll send in your official high school transcripts or GED scores and, if you have a professional resume, submit this as well. Include current and past employment and work experience.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Associate Degree in Accounting Online?

Enrolling into a community college, online college, trade school to earn an associate degree in accounting won’t take very long, especially compared to a bachelor's. Because a good online associate accounting degree should provide you with a well-rounded education, you should expect to take several general education classes before you move into the specialized core accounting courses. You will gain a strong foundation and a wide knowledge base from your general education classes and also take accounting classes that will give you the skills you need to work in an accounting office. Your accounting major will cover four semesters or two academic years before you’re ready to graduate, though some accelerated accounting online programs are available online or in-person to help students graduate even faster.

Additional Accounting Coursework

Potential Careers in Accounting with an Associates

Even with only a two-year associate in accounting degree, you can earn a good salary. Your knowledge and job role will be highly valued in any organization, so you will be well-compensated. In some accounting online positions, you may also have the option to perform remote work from home.

  • Accounting Clerk:
    Median salary is $39,400. You will work with all ledger accounts (accounts payable/receivable, cash, and others). You will maintain and make needed adjustments to records or logs and verify and reconcile bank statements or department records. You’ll balance entries and make corrections, sort documents, post debits and credits, then verify amounts and codes for accuracy.
  • Bookkeeping:
    Median salary is $43,500. You’ll work closely with a company, helping them to make the best economic decisions for their business. You should know QuickBooks or another computerized accounting online program. You’ll also work with Microsoft Excel. You’ll help employees, making salary and benefit changes. You’ll be responsible for creating reports periodically.
  • Office Manager:
    Median salary is $48,800. You’re responsible for running an entire office. You’ll need to have excellent problem-solving and communication skills in order to coordinate projects, activities, and employees. You’re responsible for office and/or department operations; you’ll review budgets, maintain databases, and records.
  • Auditing Clerk:
    Median salary is $41,600. You’re responsible for ensuring that your employer’s financial matters are well-controlled. You’ll look over all transactions from the different departments and ensure that the financial reporting and other financial transactions have been done right. You’ll also carry out various accounting functions (counting, balancing revenues and expenses, and auditing of the different departments in the company).

Options to Advance

If you wish to advance in this career, you’ll need to return to school and earn your bachelor’s degree in accounting. This might be easier with an online associate degree in accounting if you work or live far away from a college or university offering the degree you want. After graduation, you’ll be able to work in private companies as a staff accountant. If you want to become a CPA, you will need a bachelor’s degree, at minimum. Look for a bachelor’s accounting program with a CPA track in accounting principles. These are available in traditional and online formats.

Once you become a CPA, you’ll have more responsibilities, such as fiduciary responsibility; holding the legal power and duty to act on behalf of your clients. You’ll have the specialized knowledge to do a client’s taxes and, if necessary, represent them in front of the IRS if they are audited.

You can also choose to obtain a higher accounting degree than an associate degree in accounting; a bachelors, a masters or even a doctorate in accounting. Graduating with your master’s degree in accounting allows you to specialize in financial accounting, taxation, or auditing. Earning your PhD in accounting allows you to ascend to senior or executive management positions.

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