Associate's Degree in Accounting

The Associate of Accounting Degree is also referred to as an Associate of Science in Accounting or Applied Science Degree in Accounting. Regardless of its title, the basic requirements for successful degree completion involve four semesters, two years of full time study, and a total of 65 credit hours. Admission to an associate of accounting program requires a high school diploma or General Education Certificate accompanied by SAT or ACT test scores.

In preparation for on-the-job responsibilities monitoring financial transactions and records, performing payroll or billing duties, and other tasks as assigned by superiors, the basic curriculum must include courses in Financial Accounting where students will become knowledgeable concerning the impact of financial issues on overall business operations. After completing study in General Accepted Accounting Practices, students will advance to assignments regarding the review and correction of statement errors. Courses in Federal Tax Law expose students to individual and corporate filing rules, regulations, and procedures.

Introduction to Cost Accounting involves learning all facets of expenditures related to cost calculation and control. Since most accounting transactions are computerized, a course on the Introduction to Accounting Information Systems exposes future accountants to the use of software for the creation of statements, ledger keeping, and transaction processing cycles.

Today's online programs require more than just completing assignments and submitting them via email to be accepted for credit. In an effort to keep the playing field even with traditional classroom facilities, accredited online accounting degree study follows two directions whose terms may not be familiar to those outside of the field of accounting. The asynchronous path involves no physical classroom attendance and allows students to learn at their own pace; however, students must participate in forums and discussion sessions via chat rooms or live chat. A certain number of online courses must be conducted using the synchronous mode during which students log onto the website at a specified time to receive instructions in real-time and interact both with the instructor and other class members.

Regardless of whether an online or offline study situation is selected, students are encouraged to verify a school's accreditation with the U.S. Department of Education, the Distance Education & Training Council, or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in the state in which they reside or plan to seek employment.

As of 2012, the Department of Labor statistics anticipate a potential need for 3,000 new accountants per month until 2016 to fill positions such as bookkeepers, accounting clerks, and management trainees.