25 Best Associate’s in Accounting for 2021

If you’ve considered becoming an accountant, an associate’s degree can be a good place to start. Many accountants start their career by getting an associate in accounting degree prior to returning to school to earn their CPA. Starting with an associate’s give you can chance to start working as an accountant or bookkeeper before moving on to a bachelor’s. 

Starting out with earning an associate degree in accounting is an excellent way for a budding accountant to figure out where they want to go with their education and career path. Earning an associate in accounting degree shows a potential employer that you have learned the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), you understand how to process basic financial records, create profit and loss statements, are capable of auditing the books for errors and correcting them before they become bigger problems, and do payroll. Getting an associate degree in accounting also shows that you’ve learned the basics of business law and accounting ethics, and you know how to apply that understanding to your daily duties. 

Methodology: Ranking the Best Associate Degree in Accounting Programs

To rank the best associate in accounting degree programs, Great Business Schools editors researched on-campus, traditional programs from accredited colleges and community colleges. Programs are ranked according to factors including cost, potential salary, and student satisfaction, using data from IPEDS and Niche. 

1. Foothill College

Foothill College offers an AA in Accounting that requires degree candidates to complete 90 units, of which 53 must from the associate in accounting degree curriculum. This associate degree in accounting from Foothill College includes core coursework in classes like financial accounting, accounting using excel, business law, financial statement analysis, fraud examination, and auditing, to name a few. Students graduate prepared for entry-level work working with payables, payroll, general ledgers, and receivables, among others.

Foothill College was founded in the late 1950s and is a community college that offers a variety of associate degrees, certificate programs, and one baccalaureate degree. The college is located in one of the nation’s most expensive zip codes, with a student body of more than 13,200 students.

Highlight Alumni of Foothill College include many Major League Baseball players, tennis player, Brad Gilbert and actress Adrienne Barbeau, among others.
Degree AA in Accounting

2. Oakton Community College

Oakton Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Accounting that prepares accounting majors for entry-level job opportunities, or a bachelor’s degree in accounting, for interested students. Oakton Community College’s associate degree in accounting requires students to finish a minimum of 63 semester hours to meet the associate in accounting degree requirements. Classes for OCC’s AAS in accounting include managerial and financial accounting, Quickbooks Certification Prep, account for excel, payroll accounting, business law, and macroeconomics, to name a few.

Established in the late 1960s in Morton Grove, Oakton Community College now operates dual campuses in Skokie and Des Plaines, Illinois, with more than 45,500 credit and non-credit students attending classes online and on-campus.

Highlight Oakton Community College is a member school of the NJCAA and serves the communities in the northern suburbs of Chicago.
Degree AAS in Accounting

3. Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University offers an AS in Accounting from its AACSB-accredited Woodbury School of Business. Degree candidates enrolled in UVU’s associate in accounting degree program receive a broad business foundational education that includes classes in business, law, academic writing, algebra, quantitative applications, accounting, and economics, to name a few. Core classes for Utah Valley University’s associate degree in accounting include macro and microeconomics, business calculus, managerial accounting, and business communication, to name a few. Students must complete 20 semester hours at UVU, with a minimum of 12 credits from the Business School.

Established in 1941 as a public vocational school when the state consolidated several work programs into one, Utah Valley University is now a member of the state’s system of higher education. The school’s suburban campus in Orem serves about 41,700 undergraduate and graduate degree students.

Highlight Utah Valley University has a student application acceptance rate of 100%.
Degree AS in Accounting

4. Ferris State University

The Accounting, Finance & Information Systems Department in the Business College at Ferris State University offers an AAS  in Accounting that has received accreditation from the ACBSP. FSU’s associate in accounting degree program requires students to complete a minimum of 61 to 62 semester units, with at least 15 semester units completed in residency. The core curriculum for FSU’s associate degree in accounting includes economics accounting, academic writing, managerial accounting, introduction to management, and financial accounting, among others.

Founded as an industrial school in the mid-1880s, Ferris State University is now a top ten school in the state in terms of student enrollment with about 14,550 students.

Highlight An educator who later became a state senator from Michigan and the state’s governor, Woodbridge Ferris, founded Ferris State University.
Degree AAS in Accounting

5. San Jacinto College

San Jacinto College offers an AAS in Accounting that prepares students to be qualified for entry-level positions in the areas of payroll, banking, bookkeeping, or accounts payable/receivable, to name a few. The curriculum for San Jacinto’s associate degree in accounting program includes sixty semester credits, which include a capstone project. Classes for San Jacinto College’s associate in accounting degree program include quantitative reasoning, financial accounting, cost accounting, technical writing, business law, managerial accounting, and business speech, plus a practicum, among others.

Founded in the early 1960s, San Jacinto College serves the greater metropolitan area of Houston with a student enrollment that exceeds 29,850 students. San Jacinto College maintains five primary campuses, plus six other academic facilities in the Houston vicinity.

Highlight Late actor Patrick Swayze was an alumnus of San Jacinto College.
Degree AAS in Accounting

6. University of Alaska Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers an AAS in Accounting that requires the completion of at least sixty semester credits which includes core coursework and the school’s general university requirements. UA Fairbanks’ associate in accounting degree program includes classes in payroll accounting, microcomputer accounting, financial management business law, microcomputer spreadsheets, and income tax, to name a few. Additionally, students enrolled in UA Fairbank’s Jacinto’s associate degree in accounting program must also submit a culminating accounting capstone project.

The University of Alaska (the Fairbanks campus) was established in 1917 prior to Alaska reaching statehood. UA Fairbanks is a space-, Land-, and space-grant institution of higher education that is recognized as the most northern campus in the nation.

Highlight The student enrollment at the University of Alaska exceeds 34,550 students studying online and on-campus from Alaska’s flagship campus.
Degree AAS in Applied Accounting

7. Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College offers an AS in Accounting that prepares students for entry-level accounting positions across a variety of accounting-related jobs. Santa Barbara City College’s associate in accounting degree program requires degree candidates to complete about 54 to 59 semester units to graduate, depending on the exact path of study selected by the student. In addition to SBCC’s general education requirements, degree candidates attending SBCC’s associate degree in accounting program must take classes economics, communications, accounting, accounting software, business, accounting ethics, payroll accounting, and fundamentals of income tax, to name a few.

Established in 1911 as a public school, Santa Barbara City College operates as a community college of the Santa Barbara college district. More than 18,650 students attend classes online and on-campus, vying for certificates and a wide variety of associate-level degree programs for students transferring to four-year schools.

Highlight SBCC is recognized to be one of the Golden State’s oldest community colleges.
Degree AS in Accounting

8. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College offers an Associate’s in Accounting that is available on three campuses in Marinette, Green Bay, and sturgeon Bay. Students enrolled in Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s associate in accounting degree program graduate and enter the accounting workforce on a path towards becoming a controller, treasurer, auditor, or trust officer, with additional education and experience. NWTC’s associate degree in accounting program has received accreditation from ACBSP.

Founded in 1912 as a technical school that was state-funded, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is now a multiple campus school (with five academic facilities across the region as well) that serves more than 40,650 students. NWTC is a member school of the state’s technical school system.

Highlight Northeast Wisconsin Technical College offers more than 175 technical certificates/diplomas, apprenticeships, and associate-level degrees.
Degree Associate’s in Accounting 

9. Chippewa Valley Technical College

Chippewa Valley Technical College offers an Associate’s in Accounting that degree candidates can complete in two years. Chippewa Valley Technical College’s associate degree in accounting program begins the career path for those students with a keen interest in a career as a credit analyst, loan officer, accountant, or financial service representative, among others. This associate in accounting degree program requires students to complete at least 61 semester credits from an innovatively designed flexible hybrid delivery. This program offers students two start dates, one in January and the second start-date in August.

Chippewa Valley Technical College (Chippewa Valley) is a member school of the state’s technical school system, with nearly 22,000 students attending classes working towards degrees, diplomas, or continuing education requirements.

Highlight Chippewa Valley Technical College operates several regional academic centers in River Falls, Chippewa Falls, Neillsville, and Menomonie, with the largest in Eau Claire.
Degree Associate’s in Accounting 

10. Northeast Community College

Northeast Community College offers an AAS in Accounting or an Associate of Arts degree (AA) in Accounting that offers accounting major an optional path to a career. The AAS degree – the associate degree in accounting program (61 credits) requires an internship, whereas the AA degree – the associate in accounting degree program (60 credits) is available entirely online for those students who need flexibility in scheduling. Core classes for this accounting associate’s degree include business law, principles of accounting 1 & 2, QuickBooks, and business income tax, plus a capstone project, to name a few.

Northeast Community College is a multiple campus institution of higher learning that was established by Nebraska’s legislature in the early-1970s. NECC’s campuses include the areas of West Point, South Sioux City, Norfolk, and O’Neill.

Highlight Northeast Community College was created upon the merging of two local technical schools.
Degree AAS in Accounting

11. North Seattle College

North Seattle College offers several of Washington’s best associate degree in accounting programs with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS – designed for those students without intentions of earning a baccalaureate degree), and Associate of Business Direct transfer Agreement (AB-DTA for students preparing for business school), or an AAS degree (AAS-T an associate in accounting degree program for students on track to transfer to NSC’s business bachelor’s program).

Established in the early-1970s, North Seattle College (North Seattle) is a public school that maintains three campuses. Accredited by the NCOCAU, North Seattle College offers certificate programs and both associate and baccalaureate degree programs. The school’s main campus covers more than 55 acres, plus another 10+ acres of wetlands.

Highlight More than 17,550 students attend classes online and on-campus offered by North Seattle College.
Degree AAS, AAST, DTA in Accounting

12. Normandale Community College

Normandale Community College offers an AS in Accounting that offers students entry-level employment upon graduation or a transfer to a baccalaureate as the curriculum includes the state’s mandated transfer curriculum. NCC’s associate in accounting degree program requires students to complete a minimum of sixty semester credits to graduate or transfer to a four year school.  Required classes include in Normandale Community College’s associate degree in accounting program include computerized accounting, management information systems, business law, marketing, public speaking, economics, and statistics, to name a few.

Normandale Community College (Normandale) was established in the late-1960s and is a member of the state’s college and university system. The school’s student enrollment on the nearly 100 acre campus in Bloomington (and online) serves approximately 14,550 students.

Highlight Business programs offered by Normandale Community College are accredited by the ACBSP.
Degree AS in Accounting

13. Southwestern College

Southwestern College offers an AA in Accounting that prepares degree candidates with the skills to support a complex financial business environment. Southwestern College’s associate in accounting degree program includes the general lower-division requirements of those students who wish to transfer to a baccalaureate degree in accounting or business. The core curriculum for SC’s associate degree in accounting program includes 32 semester units in classes like accounting, business communication, economics, statistics, and calculus for business analytics, among others.

Established in 1961 as a community college that is publically funded, Southwestern College is a member school (one of 70+ schools) in the state’s community college system. The college’s suburban campus in Chula Vista, California, serves about 26,550 students.

Highlight The first classes offered by Southwestern College were held in the local high school classrooms.
Degree AA in Accounting

14. Santa Fe College

Santa Fe College offers an AA in Accounting that is among the best associate degree in accounting programs in the Sunshine State. Degree candidates who wish to enroll in Santa Fe College’s associate in accounting degree program should recognize that they need to complete sixty semester credits to graduate. Graduates of Santa Fe College’s AA accounting degree may enter the workforce in the areas of government, public, financial or private finance.

Santa Fe College was established in 1965 as a junior college, with multiple campuses and centers across northern Florida. The school serves approximately 21,850 students from its campuses and online. Most of the degree programs offered by Santa Fe College are two-year associate-level degrees; however, the school also offers baccalaureate degrees as well.

Highlight Santa Fe College has received numerous awards and recognition among the finest associate-level granting schools in the nation.
Degree AA in Accounting

15. Kent State University

The Applied & Technical Studies College at Kent State University offers an Associate of Applied Business in Accounting Technology that requires enrolled students to finish 63 semester credits to graduate. KSU’s associate in accounting degree program requires degree candidates to maintain an overall minimum Graduate Point Average of 2.0. Classes for Kent State University’s associate degree in accounting program include accounting software applications, business, tax preparation, financial accounting, costing accounting, plus accounting technology electives, to name a few.

Kent State University (Kent State) was founded in 1910 and operates as a member school of the state’s university system. Additionally, KSU maintains seven academic facilities through the northeastern portion of Ohio, with a student enrollment of about 35,550 students.

Highlight In addition to its Ohio locations and facilities, KSU also maintains centers in Italy and New York City.
Degree AAB in Accounting Technology

16. Community College of Baltimore County

The Community College of Baltimore County offers an AA in Accounting that has been developed for AA graduates to transfer to a baccalaureate accounting program. Of the required sixty semester units, CCBC’s associate in accounting degree program includes core classes in business law, accounting (cost, tax, and managerial), business ethics, marketing, and economic principles, to name a few. Additionally, for those students who wish to enter the profession after graduation, CCBC also offers an Associate of Applied Science in Accounting degree.

Established as a junior college in 1957, the Community College of Baltimore County operates as a multiple campus community college with three main campuses and three academic extension facilities. The Community College of Baltimore County is recognized to be one of the largest community college systems with a student enrollment that exceeds 69,750 students.

Highlight Former state delegates and a state senator are among Community College of Baltimore County’s alumni.
Degree AA in Accounting

17. Northern Essex Community College

Northern Essex Community College offers an AS in Accounting that prepares students for entry-level careers in accounting or to transfer to a four-year baccalaureate degree program in business, accounting, or finance. NECC’s associate degree in accounting program requires the completion of a minimum of 65 semester units to graduate. Classes for this associate in accounting degree program include a variety of accounting disciplines, business communications, business law, economics, and marketing, plus an educational internship, among others.

Established in the early-1960s, Northern Essex Community College now operates as a multiple campus school that serves students from Massachusetts’s Merrimack Valley, the southern portions of New Hampshire. Northern Essex Community College has a student enrollment of about 10,000 students, either studying for degrees or completing diploma-workforce programs.

Highlight Northern Essex Community College is a designated Hispanic Servicing school and the first in the state to offer education that was competency-based.
Degree Associate’s in Accounting 

18. Tacoma Community College

Tacoma Community College offers an AAS in Accounting that prepares accounting degree graduates for a variety of accounting-related opportunities in a variety of settings. TCC’s associate degree in accounting program requires the completion of 90 semester units. Students enrolled in Tacoma Community College’s associate degree in accounting program will also earn a Bookkeeping Systems Certificate on the path to the AAS degree in accounting. Classes for this associate in accounting degree program include accounting, leadership and human relations, excel, and business math, among others.

Tacoma Community College was established in the mid-1960s and operates as a multi-campus community college in Washington with a student body that exceeds 14,750 students. TCC offers certificate, associate, and bachelor degree programs from its dual campuses.

Highlight The average age of a student at Tacoma Community College is 29 years old.
Degree AAS in Accounting

19. University of Arkansas Pulaski Tech

The University of Arkansas Pulaski Tech offers an AAS in Accounting that offers students a two-year academic track to entry-level positions in the accounting field. Students enrolled in UA Pulaski Tech’s associate degree in accounting program explore the many techniques to manage finances through reporting and legal frameworks. UA Pulaski Tech’s associate in accounting degree program places a focus upon the use of computerized software designed specifically for accountants and accounting professionals.

The University of Arkansas’s Pulaski Tech College (UA PTC) was established in 1945 as a vocational and technical institute to serve the central part of the state. Currently, Pulaski Tech is a member school of the state’s university system, with a student body on the urban and suburban campuses of about 6,450 students.

Highlight The main campus of UA Pulaski Tech sits atop a bluff that overlooks the Arkansas River.
Degree AAS in Accounting

20. Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College offers an AS in Accounting that has received accreditation from the ACSBSP. ITCC’s associate in accounting degree program is administered by industry CPA professionals. Students enrolled in Ivy Tech Community College’s associate degree in accounting program work with the latest in accounting software, including Sage 50 and QuickBooks. Graduates of ITCC’s associate level accounting program have completed the necessary requirements to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in business or accounting, in most instances.

Ivy Tech Community College (Ivy Tech) was established in the early-1960s as a junior vocational school. Ivy Tech’s student enrollment exceeds 1685,50 students, making it the country’s largest statewide community system.

Highlight Ivy Tech has partnered with the University of Virginia for the approved transfer to online four-year baccalaureate degrees.
Degree AS in Accounting

21. Grand Rapids Community College

Grand Rapids Community College offers an Associate of Business in Accounting that prepares degree graduates for entry-level job opportunities in small businesses or the accounting department of larger corporations or firms. Grand Rapids Community College’s associate degree in accounting program is designed to be a stand-alone program and is not designed for transfer to a more advanced degree program. GRCC’s residency requirement for this associate in accounting degree program is six semester units earned at GRCC.

Grand Rapids Community College (Grand Rapids) was founded in 1914 as a junior college by a state legislative action. GRCC was first operating out of a local high school but now has multiple campuses with a student enrollment that exceeds 15,450 students.

Highlight Grand Rapids Community College holds the distinction of being the first Michigan junior college.
Degree AB in Accounting

22. Kansas City Kansas Community College

Kansas City Kansas Community College offers an AAS in Accounting from a school accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Students enrolled in Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 61-credit unit associate in accounting degree program complete classes that include personal finance, microcomputer applications, income tax procedures, accounting, business law, business communications, and business math, to name a few. The dean of the department must approve revisions to this program.

Established in 1923 as a part of the city’s public school system, Kansas City Kansas Community College is now a two-year school located in Kansas City, Kansas, with a student body that exceeds 5,850 students. The school offers an impressive student to faculty ratio of only 14 to 1.

Highlight Several professional ballplayers are among the many famous KCKCC alumni.
Degree AAS in Accounting

23. Lehigh Carbon Community College

Lehigh Carbon Community College offers an AAS in Accounting that is accredited by the ACBSP. LCCC’s associate degree in accounting requires degree candidates enrolled in the program to complete a minimum of 62 semester units to graduate. Classes for this associate in accounting degree program include business law, accounting, management, income tax accounting, marketing, and ethics, plus a business internship, to name a few.

Lehigh Carbon Community College (Lehigh Carbon) was established in 1966, with the first classroom for the school in a local courthouse. LCCC serves the greater Allentown metro area and awards the most two-year degrees in the vicinity. More than 9,950 students attend classes online, and its several campus and off-campus locales.

Highlight Lehigh Carbon Community College offers students a teacher to faculty ratio of 1 to 19.
Degree AAS in Accounting

24. Thomas Nelson Community College

Thomas Nelson Community College offers an AAS in Accounting that is available as full-time or part-time students. Thomas Nelson Community College’s associate degree in accounting requires the completion of 64 semester units to met the AAS degree requirements. Students enrolled in Thomas Nelson Community College’s associate in accounting degree program complete accounting-related coursework in federal taxation principles, fraud examination, business math, spreadsheet software, data analytics, business law, economics, public speaking, and information literacy, to name a few.

Thomas Nelson Community College is a multiple campus community college that was established in the late 1960s. The school’s dual campuses serve the southeastern VA area, offering more than 100 certificate and degree programs.

Highlight Thomas Nelson Community College is a member school of the commonwealth’s community college system.
Degree AAS in Accounting

25. Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College offers an AA in Accounting on seven of its campuses through southern Florida. Graduates from Miami Dade College’s associate in accounting degree program are prepared to enter the workforce as entry-level bookkeepers, auditors, or loan administrators, to name a few. Degree candidates complete this sixty-semester credit degree program in two years, and it also guarantees placement and admission into one of Florida’s public universities where the student can complete their baccalaureate degree. Classes for MDC’s associate degree in accounting include economics, critical thinking, tax survey, business statistics, financial accounting, and marketing, to name a few.

Established in 1959 as a local community college for the Miami metro area, Miami Dade College has developed to now include eight campuses throughout the state and another 20+ academic outreach facilities. Miami Dade College is recognized to be the largest college system in the Sunshine State, with more than 100,000 students.

Highlight Miami Dade College holds the distinction of having the 2nd largest student enrollment of any college system in the nation.
Degree AA in Accounting

Why Should I Get an Associate’s in Accounting?

A typical associate in accounting degree program typically features classes that include:

  • Business Law
  • Accounting I
  • Principles of Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
  • Cost Accounting
  • Payroll Accounting
  • Principles of Financial Accounting
  • Federal and State Tax Law
  • Business Taxes

The actual courses a student takes for their associate degree in accounting depends on school, but a graduate will possess the necessary skills to work effectively as an entry-level accountant in a variety of industries. Starting an accounting career at the entry-level gives you the opportunity to find out if this type of employment is right for you, and if it’s something you want to pursue further. In the event you want more out of accounting as a career, you have the option to return to school to earn your bachelors degree in accounting. A BS or BA in accounting opens up more career pathways, or you can opt to take the additional classes required to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. However, the CPA isn’t a requirement for an accountant at any degree level which means you can opt to earn your masters in accounting and specialize in a specific area of accounting such as tax law.

Will an Associate’s in Accounting Help My Career?

Yes, an associate’s in accounting will definitely help your career and improve your employment opportunities. You do have the option to start your career by earning a certificate in bookkeeping to find out if you want to pursue a career in accounting. However, basic bookkeeping doesn’t offer a lot in the way of challenges and problem-solving outside of using the necessary math skills and basic accounting principles to maintain a set of books. If a challenge is what you seek, you’re better off earning an associate’s degree in accounting to have access to better jobs. Qualified accountants, even ones who have an associate’s degree, will always be in demand because individuals and businesses alike need the help of accountants for various reasons. 

Entering into careers with an associate’s degree in accounting is just the start of an educational journey. Someone who’s earned their bookkeeping certificate and has found employment can expand their job opportunities by returning to school and getting their associate’s degree in accounting. The experience gained while working as a bookkeeper is easily applied to the coursework for the associate’s in accounting. Some schools give credit for having a bookkeeping certificate and life experience which means the student spends less time earning their associate’s degree in accounting and can take advantage of the advanced career opportunities sooner than later. 

I Have an Associate’s Degree in Accounting: Now What?

If you’ve already earned your associate’s degree in accounting, you’re probably asking “I have an associate’s degree in accounting: Now what?” The next step to take depends on your needs and ambitions. In the event that you want to start earning money and put your foot on the career ladder, it’s time to start looking for work. Your associate’s degree in accounting opens doors to jobs that include:

  • Tax preparer
  • Auditing clerk
  • Accounting technician
  • Accounts payable and receivable administrator
  • Payroll clerk
  • Fiscal technician
  • Billing clerk

All of these job titles fall under the entry level job umbrella, but they’re a solid place to start your accounting career. The titles are generic in the sense that industries of all types need someone to fulfill these roles in order to keep the money flowing where it needs to go. However, the experience you gain can help you make your next educational move in the form of returning to school for your bachelor’s in accounting, become a Certified Public Accountant, or eventually earn a masters degree in a specific accounting discipline. 

The associate’s degree in accounting is just the beginning to a well-paid and rewarding career. The degree is also an excellent foundation for positions that rely heavily on accounting training, but aren’t strictly accounting in nature. Sometimes, the entry-level positions offer advancement based on time and experience within the company and enable you to earn more money even if you haven’t gone back to school. Accounting is a well-regarded career, is a necessity for a well-run organization, and offers variety in terms of employment opportunities. 

Carrie Morris
Author

Warren Dahl
Editor-in-Chief