AAS programs in accounting offer students practical training in payroll, accounts payable and basic auditing. Students learn how to interpret financial data through accounting software and computer programs. Most programs take two years to complete, and some are offered online.
A high school diploma or the equivalent is generally required for admission. Some programs require candidates to either pass an entrance exam or complete basic college-level accounting courses prior to enrollment. For prospective students who haven't completed basic accounting coursework, some schools offer candidates enrollment in certificate programs that fulfill prerequisite courses.
Associate of Applied Science in Accounting
In order to graduate, students must complete 60-65 semester hours of coursework. Students generally engage in hands-on accounting training using computers to analyze financial documents. They learn the skills needed to manage and maintain business records, financial statements, profit procedures and tax reports. In addition to general education coursework, course topics may include:
- Managerial accounting
- Payroll tax
- Accounting computer applications
- Income taxation
- Financial management
- Business law
Popular Career Options
Graduates are typically prepared for entry-level work with tax preparation firms, accounting firms or government agencies. They can also seek opportunities in the financial departments of a variety of businesses. Possible job titles include:
- Payroll clerk
- Accounting clerk
- Junior accountant
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2018, bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks earned a median annual salary of $40,240, while accountants and auditors earned $70,500, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). From 2018 to 2028, the BLS predicts an 4% employment decline for the clerks. The BLS projects 6% job growth for accountants and auditors, which is faster than average.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates interested in advanced career opportunities can pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting, which is required for the majority of accounting positions. At the graduate level, students can pursue a master's degree, which could help satisfy the 150 credit hours needed to become a Certified Public Accountant in most states.
If you want an entry-level job in accounting, an AAS in the field provides sufficient general education and business-specific training. To qualify for higher-level accounting jobs, you'll likely need to transfer to a bachelor's program after earning an associate's degree.