Best Online Associate in Accounting

Best Online Associate in Accounting

In this article, we explore the topic of how to find success in an Online Associate’s of Accounting degree program. We then provide you with a ranking of the best available programs according to Academic Influence’s innovative methodology.

Key Takeaways

  • The associate degree in accounting is an affordable way to get started on your college education. The typical associate degree will take about two years to complete.

  • Many community colleges and two-year schools offer both traditional and online degree programs for students pursuing their associate degree in accounting.

  • Earning an online associate degree in accounting can prepare you for a variety of entry level jobs in your field. Many students also continue into a bachelor’s degree program in accounting or a related area.

Are you interested in pursuing career as an accounting professional?

An associate’s degree in accounting could be your starting point! And getting your associate degree in accounting online is a great way to balance basic training in accounting practices with your existing workplace responsibilities. There is likely a community college near you that offers an array of relevant online programs including the online associate’s degree in accounting.

Earning your associate degree in accounting online is a great way to master fundamental accounting and business skills and qualify for an entry-level position with an accounting firm. However, if you plan to become a certified public accountant (CPA), you will need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in either accounting or business administration. You may also wish to earn a bachelor’s degree if you plan to pursue a career in forensic accounting, income tax preparation, financial analysis and more. Your associate degree in accounting can be a good and affordable starting point on the way to a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

A Closer Look at the Online Associate in Accounting Program

The online associate’s degree in accounting typically requires the completion of 60 credit hours.

Once admitted, online students tackle a curriculum unique to the accounting program they are enrolled in. The typical associate in accounting degree program combines in-depth exploration of three major areas, namely:

  • General education courses, usually in the liberal arts
  • Accounting courses, such as introduction to financial accounting, managerial accounting, business law, and generally accepted accounting practices and principles (GAAP)
  • Elective courses, which are designed to broaden the knowledge of online students about the accounting profession

Alongside technical skills, accounting students are also encouraged to develop skills in communication, critical thinking and analytical thinking.

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The Timeline for an Online Associate’s of Accounting

Full-time accounting students can complete a typical associate’s degree in two years. Part-time students can earn an associate degree in three years, but schools allow for a longer time-to-completion, too.

Many accelerated programs allow students to earn an associate degree in less than two years. It may be possible to earn an online associate degree in as little as 18 months.

Since an associate degree in accounting establishes foundational knowledge, it’s crucial for accounting students to learn the fundamentals of accounting. Their path toward a bachelor’s degree will be better for it!

You should also research several accounting programs before making your choice. You want to ensure that the online accounting degree program you chose fits your academic and career goals. For example, you may want credits from an associate degree in accounting that can be transferred to a bachelor’s degree.

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Skills Needed for an Accounting Student

Accounting may not be a highly selective field, but it’s a field where certain traits are considered essential for success.

If you possess these attributes, then you’re likely to succeed in the accounting profession.

  • You are meticulous with an exceptional attention to detail. Even a single mistake when you prepare financial statements can result in a material misrepresentation in the financial records.

  • You have a financial perspective that goes beyond seeing numbers as they are, usually as part of a bigger picture.

  • You tend to approach money matters in a more rational manner and, thus, make more objective financial decisions.

  • You have technology skills, which are essential in payroll accounting and other accounting technology operations.

  • You have strong analytical thinking skills since accounting is about making decisions about financial transactions - what to record, when and where, and why.

  • You have a strong work ethic and sense of integrity. Aspiring bookkeepers and accountants should follow the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), among other professional standards. Accounting programs are also demanding with assignments, quizzes and lessons aplenty.

The Admissions Process for an Online Associate in Accounting

Online associates in Accounting degree programs have competitive admissions criteria due to the nature of the accounting profession.

While admissions requirements vary among accounting programs, prospective students must be prepared with their respective:

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent with minimum cumulative GPA,
  • Standardized test scores, such as ACT or SAT, with minimum scores,
  • Prerequisite courses taken in high school with minimum grades, such as in English and algebra

Unlike bachelor’s degree programs in Accounting, however, Associate in Accounting degree programs typically don’t require letters of recommendation and personal statements.

Though some programs may conduct interviews with prospective students to determine their suitability.

Frequently Asked Questions About Accounting Degrees

Why get an associate in accounting?

If you’re good with numbers, have strong organizational skills, and enjoy challenging work, an associate degree in accounting may be a good fit for you. This degree path provides flexibility for students, with most programs offering on-campus, online, and hybrid learning formats.

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What can I do with an associate in accounting?

This roughly 60-credit degree typically takes between one and two years to complete and prepares students for entry-level jobs such as bookkeepers, accounting assistants, auditing clerks, and accounting technicians.

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What courses will I take?

Courses cover topics ranging from business ethics to accounting principles to financial management. Additionally, students may have the option to earn an Associate of Science in Accounting, an Associate of Arts in Accounting, or an Associate of Applied Science in Accounting, all of which can prepare students for entry-level work or provide a jumpstart on the way to a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

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Learn more about how to major in accounting.

Best Online Associate in Accounting Degree Programs

An associate degree is a great way for many to start their educational journey, but you may want to also consider an online bachelor’s in accounting.

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25 Best Online Associate in Accounting Degree Programs

  1. #1

    University of Cincinnati

    Cincinnati , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Applied Business in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  2. #5

    Thomas Jefferson University

    Philadelphia , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    Online Degrees

    AA in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 90
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. #6

    New England College

    Henniker , NH

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    4K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  4. #7

    Keiser University

    Fort Lauderdale , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    29K

    Online Degrees

    AA in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #8

    Davenport University

    Grand Rapids , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    5K

    Online Degrees

    ABA in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 64
    • Completion time: 2. years
    • Format: Online
  6. #9

    Blinn College

    Brenham , TX

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    9%

    Student body

    15K

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  7. #10

    Purdue University Global

    West Lafayette , IN

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    46K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 90
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 90
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #11

    Lone Star College System

    The Woodlands , TX

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    12%

    Student body

    49K

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    1K

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • General Business
    • Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  10. #13

    Point University

    West Point , GA

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    35%

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    995/18

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Business

    Concentrations

    • Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  11. #14

    Daytona State College

    Daytona Beach , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    10K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Accounting Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Hybrid
  12. #16

    Leeward Community College

    Pearl City , HI

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    4K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2.5 years
    • Format: Online
  13. #17

    Park University

    Parkville , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    8K

    Online Degrees

    AS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  14. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    11K

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  15. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    14%

    Student body

    10K

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  16. Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    8K

    Online Degrees

    AA in Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • Accounting
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  17. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    30K

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 64
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  18. #22

    Harper College

    Palatine , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    9K

    Online Degrees

    AAS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 62
    • Completion time: 2 Years
    • Format: Online
  19. #23

    Lebanon Valley College

    Annville , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    Online Degrees

    Associate in Specialized Business in Accounting & Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 82
    • Completion time: 20 months
    • Format: Online
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Online Accounting Programs Looking for You

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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities-educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students

Whether you’re just getting started on your college search, you’re looking for survival tips on your way to a bachelor’s degree, or you’re preparing for the transition into grad school, we’ve got guides, how to’s and tons of other valuable resources to keep you moving forward in your educational journey.