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Associate Degree in Accounting

Students looking for a financial career may find an associate degree program in accounting to be a great starting point. These programs typically last two years and, depending on the school, may offer specializations in payroll, tax preparation or bookkeeping. Graduates may want to enter the workforce immediately or use their degree as a foundation for a bachelor's degree in accounting, business or another financial field.

Coursework and program details

Accounting associate degree programs traditionally aim to provide students with a combination of general education and business curriculum. Specific coursework varies by program, but the following are business-related courses that students may commonly take:

  • Accounting I and II
  • Payroll Accounting
  • Microeconomics
  • Federal Income Tax

Many schools also offer a variety of elective courses through which students can customize their education while still gaining an overview of accounting basics. Some programs require students to complete a capstone project to demonstrate their mastery of accounting principles. Other programs help students attain internship opportunities that provide hands-on experience.

By the end of the degree program, students are typically expected to have an understanding of the following accounting concepts:

  • Accounting industry standards
  • Use of common bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks
  • Payroll processing and recordkeeping
  • Basics of tax preparation
  • State and federal regulations related to the field

Career opportunities and outlook for associate degree graduates

After graduation, students may pursue several career paths, including accounting clerk, bookkeeper, payroll clerk or tax preparer.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a national job growth rate of 11 percent job growth rate for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks and a 13 percent growth rate for payroll clerks between 2012 and 2022. Growth may be partially offset by computer software automating accounting work. However, the BLS predicts a few driving factors of growth for accounting clerks over the next decade:

  • Overall economic growth
  • The recent financial crisis
  • Stricter regulation in the financial sector

While some students may make a career out of the occupations listed above, others can use them to gain experience before pursuing a bachelor's degree program. With a bachelor's degree in accounting, individuals may be able to extend their career opportunities to accounting, auditing or financial advising, among other occupations.


Accountants and Auditors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bookkeeping-accounting-and-auditing-clerks.htm

Financial Advising, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm

Financial Clerks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/financial-clerks.htm

Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes433051.htm

Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks: Summary Report, O*NET OnLine, 2010, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/43-3051.00

Tax Preparers: Summary Report, O*NET OnLine, 2013, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-2082.00


Associate Accounting Schools

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            AAS in Accounting
            • Degrees offered include Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and Master of Business Administration.
            • Students are instructed in relevant business skills like communication, mathematics, and management.
            • Coursework emphasizes the development of project management, communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.
            • Flexible, 100% online and campus based programs available.
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Bachelor of Science in Accounting
            • Offers M.B.A. and bachelor’s programs in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing, Accounting, and more
            • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs and Graduate Business Programs for 2017 by U.S. News and World Report
            • Coursework covers topics like project management, management fundamentals, and business strategies
            • Business students complete a capstone class that demonstrates their knowledge of business concepts
            • Online Courses
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            Bachelor of Accounting
            • Recognized in the first Best for Vets: Business Schools list in Military Times Edge magazine’s 2013 “Best for Vets” edition.
            • Offers MUSE (My Unique Student Experience), a content delivery system that gives students the option to watch, view, read or listen to required course materials.
            • Allows students to complete courses at whatever pace they want.
            • A DANTES-affiliated university and member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges.
            • Offers IntelliPath, a proprietary learning technology that lets students learn at their own pace.
            • Online Courses
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            • Transferable Credits
            • Online degrees offered include BA in Accounting, BA in Business Administration, MBA, and more.
            • Business students may be eligible for scholarships such as the Entrepreneurship Scholarship.
            • Courses help students develop knowledge of marketing, accounting, economic principles, and financial management.
            • Business Administration students can specialize in areas such as Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Project Management.
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            BA Finance
            • Become the leader you know you can be @ Ashford University
            • Apply Now! Classes Start Every Tuesday!
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            Accounting, Associates Degree
            Daymar College , Bowling Green
            • Providing exceptional career training since 1963.
            • Presents numerous scholarships opportunities for eligible students.
            • Offers programs in business, health care, technology and design, and more.
            • Has 13 campuses across Ohio and Kentucky, as well as online options.
            • Lets graduates use lifelong learning credit to return and review or audit any previously taken course for free.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Accounting A.A.S.
            • Serving students in higher education since 1941.
            • Offers diplomas and degree programs in accounting, healthcare, and business. 
            • Uses a unique inverted curriculum that enables students to take core classes in their first year.
            • Provides flexible scheduling for students with four start times per year.
            • Has 36 campus locations across the United States, as well as online courses.
            • Formed program advisory boards to ensure that all course material stays up to date.
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            Business Management & Accounting (AAS)
            • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
            • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
            • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
            • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

            Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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            Associate of Arts in Accounting

            Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

            Accounting AAS
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            • A contemporary, career-focused institution of higher education dedicated to excellence since 1902.
            • Has academic advising that provides students someone to answer questions and provide guidance.
            • Offers scholarships for qualifying military members, adult learners, as well as program-specific scholarships.
            • Provides tutoring services to help students master any assignments that give them trouble.
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            • Accredited
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