Best Online Associate in Accounting Degrees 2021

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People who enjoy working with numbers and communicating with individuals often pursue careers in accounting. Graduates of online accounting degree programs can become certified public accountants and auditors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals earned a median income of $71,550 in 2019. Additionally, the BLS projects employment for accountants and auditors to grow 4% from 2019-2029.

Applicants to associate-level accounting programs typically need a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some programs require candidates to have a minimum GPA and sufficient ACT or SAT scores. However, many community colleges accept all applicants, regardless of their academic credentials.

Many colleges and universities offer hybrid and fully online accounting programs. This guide explores the best online accounting programs, along with the benefits of earning an accounting degree. The following sections also highlight professional organizations and scholarships for accounting students.

FAQ


  • How long does it take to earn an accounting degree?

    Most learners earn their bachelor’s in accounting in about four years. Full-time accounting students generally complete their master’s program in two years.


  • What can you do with an accounting degree?

    Graduates with an online accounting degree can become certified public accountants, payroll managers, auditors, and bookkeepers. Certified public accountants must earn certification to practice.


  • Is an accountant position a high-paying job?

    According to the BLS, accountants and auditors earn a median salary of $71,550 per year. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for all occupations is $39,810.

    Learn more about accounting degree salaries.


  • How do I start a career in accounting?

    Aspiring accountants should earn a bachelor’s degree and the certified public accountant credential. An associate degree in accounting provides foundational knowledge to prepare students for bachelor’s programs.


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What Are the Goals of an Accounting Degree?

Online accounting degree programs prepare students to pass the certified public accountant exam. Accounting curricula teach degree-seekers to compute taxes owed and uncover tax credits for individuals and businesses. Students also explore methods to reduce costs and increase profits.

Students in online accounting programs prepare to detect fraud, maintain financial records, administer a company’s payroll, and ensure that financial statements comply with federal and state laws and regulations.

Some online accounting degree programs offer specialization options in areas such as government accounting, public accounting, and management accounting.Other accounting programs focus on auditing.

Why Get an English Degree?

Online English degrees offer many benefits, including advanced skills in reading, writing, and analysis. Enrollees can make useful professional connections in these programs. See below for descriptions of some key English degree advantages.

Positive Projected Growth Outlook
The BLS projects employment for accountants and auditors to increase 4% from 2019-2029, which is about as fast as the average projected growth rate for all occupations.
Qualify for Promotions
While individuals with a high school diploma can work as assistants at accounting firms, candidates for the certified public accountant credential need a formal education.
Potential for Self-Employment
Many certified public accountants open their own accounting firm to serve clients. Self-employed professionals benefit from scheduling flexibility and the ability to set their own rates.
Build a Portfolio
Students earning an online accounting degree often complete coursework and experiential requirements at their convenience. Degree-seekers commonly develop their resume by completing internships with accounting firms.
Cost Savings
Many of the most affordable accounting degree programs are delivered in an online format. Distance learners often save on costs associated with room and board, commuting, tuition, and campus maintenance fees.

What Are the Requirements for an Accounting Degree?

The exact requirements for an accounting degree vary based on the school and degree type. An associate degree in accounting typically requires about 60 credits. Bachelor’s degrees in the field usually require approximately 150 credits, which most full-time learners complete in four years. Master’s programs in accounting typically comprise about 40 credits and require approximately two years to complete.

Applicants to accounting programs must generally submit official high school or college transcripts and meet minimum GPA requirements. Bachelor’s in accounting programs prepare learners to take the certified public accountant exam. Some states require students to take the exam after completing 120 credits. To receive the certification, candidates must complete 150 credits.

Accounting students typically practice filing taxes during their program. Some schools allow students to complete taxes for individuals, provided a certified professional reviews the documents prior to filing.

Learn more about the requirements to be an accountant.

What is Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?

Professional Organizations for Accounting Students

Many professional organizations offer discounted membership rates for students. Members of professional organizations often receive access to webinars, continuing education opportunities, and networking events such as conferences. The following organizations support accounting professionals and students.

  • American Accounting Association Student members of the AAA can access a resource library with informative articles related to accounting. Members also pay a reduced fee when submitting articles to AAA publications. This association offers discounted membership fees for students, and members can participate in regional chapter activities.

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants The AICPA unites certified public accountants and provides networking and continuing education opportunities. Student members can network with more than 429,000 members and can apply for exclusive scholarships. The organization also provides tools and resources, including a mentorship program and job-hunting information.

  • Professional Accounting Society of America PASA connects student members with career and networking opportunities. The organization encourages students to submit their term papers to PASA's publications. Student members must attend an accredited school and possess a school email address.


Scholarships for Accounting Students

Even students in the most affordable accounting degree programs can benefit from scholarships. Scholarship applicants must often submit reference letters, an essay, and official transcripts. Learners should allow plenty of time to gather application materials. The following list highlights three scholarships reserved for accounting students. Learners can also apply for general scholarships and awards based on their geographic location.

Margit F. and Hanns Martin Schoenfeld Scholarship


Who Can Apply: The AAA awards this scholarship to support accounting students’ research efforts. Applicants must submit a summary of their academic accomplishments and a statement of purpose regarding their research. Candidates must be enrolled in a doctoral program or have earned a Ph.D. in the last five years.

Amount: $3,000

Best Paper Award


Who Can Apply: This scholarship from the AAA supports accounting students who submit a noteworthy piece to the organization’s journal. The journal’s editor selects one winner and two honorable mentions, each of whom receives an award and a plaque.

Amount: $100-$300

Fellowship for Minority Doctoral Students


Who Can Apply: The AICPA awards this scholarship to undergraduate accounting students who belong to a minority group. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must have completed at least 30 credits, including six accounting credits.

Amount: $5,000

Best Online Associate in Accounting Degrees 2021

  1. Copiah-Lincoln Community College
    Location

    Wesson, MS

    Tuition

    $4,990

    From its campus in Wesson, Mississippi, Copiah-Lincoln Community College offers an online associate in business with a concentration in accounting. This program teaches students the fundamental knowledge and communication skills needed to compete in today's global business world.

    Co-Lin's business division delivers this online accounting program as a combination of mentorship, training ground, and entry point into the accounting field. With its strong alliances with businesses such as Trustmark National Bank, Hurst Review, and KPMG, Co-Lin offers students opportunities to connect in the local business community.

    The 63-credit curriculum features challenging courses such as principles of microeconomics, legal environment in business, and principles of accounting.

    Prospective students must submit an online application, official high school transcripts, and ACT scores. Students without ACT scores must take a placement test. Copiah-Lincoln Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. Moraine Park Technical College
    Location

    Fond du Lac, WI

    Tuition

    $9,396

    Located close to Beaver Dam in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Moraine Park Technical College delivers an online associate of applied science in accounting. This degree suits students seeking a comprehensive education in all aspects of accounting.

    MPTC's online accounting degree program emphasizes the importance of teamwork, ethics, and communication. It features the latest accounting software and methods of processing financial data. Across the 66-credit curriculum, students learn the core principles of finance, expenditures, payroll, auditing, and taxes.

    Learners also get hands-on computer experience in financial planning, reporting, controlling, and decision-making. Upon completion, graduates manage financial data through the accounting cycle, conduct financial planning and decision-making analysis, and perform organizational tax preparation.

    Prospective students must supply a completed online application, official high school transcripts, and ACT or ACCUPLACER scores. Students with a minimum 3.0 high school GPA can skip the test requirement. Moraine Park Technical College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  3. Barton Community College
    Location

    Great Bend, KS

    Tuition

    $8,510

    Educating about 15,000 students in Great Bend, Kansas, Barton Community College offers an onlineassociate of applied science in technical accounting. This degree prepares students for entry-level accounting jobs or transfer to four-year degree programs.

    BCC's online accounting program concentrates on basic accounting and payroll. For working adults and students with tight schedules, the flexibility of online, hybrid, and evening classes makes it easier to earn this degree. The curriculum helps students transition into the accounting workforce with a capstone project, which focuses on the job interview process.

    After finishing their capstone, students can put together a professional resume and cover letter. Featured courses include managerial accounting, spreadsheet applications, and payroll procedures.

    Operating as an open admission institution, BCC accepts most applicants upon submission. Prospective students must submit a completed online application. Barton Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. Iowa Lakes Community College
    Location

    Estherville, IA

    Tuition

    $10,101

    Ranked among the country's top community colleges, Iowa Lakes Community College offers an associate in applied sciences in accounting.

    The online accounting degree at Iowa Lakes prepares students to perform accounting duties in sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations by instructing them in the General Accepted Accounting Principles. Students develop critical thinking skills and learn to carry out specialized payroll accounting duties, prepare financial statements, and work with spreadsheets and databases.

    The curriculum also features a practicum with on-the-job training, which allows students to use accounting theories and procedures in a business environment. All 70 credit hours of coursework are available 100% online.

    To apply, potential students must submit official high school and college transcripts and ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER test scores. Iowa Lake Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. Indiana Wesleyan University
    Location

    Marion, IN

    Tuition

    Unconfirmed

    Educating students in Marion, Indiana, since 1920, Indiana Wesleyan University offers an online associate degree in accounting, which teaches students the essentials of accounting and business.

    IWU's online associate of science in accounting provides an educational platform for students to enter the accounting field or prepare for a bachelor's program. This online accounting program, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, gives students the advantage of learning the latest business techniques, concepts, and practices from experienced faculty members.

    Through an asynchronous, online format, students learn to use current business methodologies to handle difficult accounting situations. They also learn to effectively communicate accounting facts and data and employ basic accounting skills in most business environments. This program also offers an associate-to-master's pathway.

    Applicants should submit official transcripts and a completed online enrollment application. Indiana Wesleyan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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