In a 2-year financial accounting associate degree program, students learn to record financial information, balance budget ledgers, examine spending records, utilize spreadsheets, prepare financial documents and conduct audits. Emphasis is also placed on the use of financial accounting software. A high school degree of equivalent is required to enter this program.
Voluntary certification is also available for associate degree graduates who want better job prospects. Individuals seeking more advanced careers in accounting should strongly consider pursuing a bachelor's degree.
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Associate Degree in Financial Accounting
Most accounting degree programs cover topics concerning business operations, human resources management and accounting procedures. Since technology has been increasingly used in business, the majority of these programs also teach students how to use accounting software programs and applications. Common coursework within these degree programs include:
- Business management
- Managerial accounting
- Electronic spreadsheets
- Government accounting
- Financial accounting
- Federal income taxation
Popular Career Options
Graduates of accounting associate degree programs are usually not qualified for positions as accountants. However, these individuals could possess the skills to qualify for junior or assistant accounting positions. Potential job titles might include:
- Accounts payable clerk
- Auditing clerk
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In May 2015, accountants and auditors earned an annual median salary of $67,190, while bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks earned $37,250, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS predicts 11% employment growth from 2014 to 2024 for accountants and auditors, and projected an 8% decline for clerks during that same time.
Continuing Education Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certification is not necessarily required for accounting clerks or bookkeepers, but professionals who earn certifications might find more job opportunities (www.bls.gov). Certification is available through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, and applicants must have a minimum of two years' experience in bookkeeping and accounting to be eligible for this certification (www.aipb.org).
To advance to the position of accountant or auditor, a student must usually earn a bachelor's degree related to finances or accounting. These degrees can be obtained through a distinct program, like a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, or as a concentration in a program, such as a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). A BBA program could also offer a finance concentration, or students can pursue specific financial education through a Bachelor of Science in Finance program.
Individuals who wish to become Certified Public Accountants typically need to complete 150 credit hours of study to satisfy licensing and certification requirements as mandated by their state. This can be achieved by completing a Master of Accountancy or Master of Science in Finance program.
An associate degree program in financial accounting trains students in topics including business management, taxation and spreadsheets. This curriculum prepares students to work in entry-level positions as bookkeepers or accounting clerks, among other options, or go on to further education.