What Can I Do with an Associate’s Degree in Accounting?

If you have a growing interest in the field of accounting and you have not yet pursued an actual degree in the field, you are probably wondering what careers with an associate’s in accounting are actually attainable. Believe it or not, there is a sizable amount of individuals who do not pursue bachelor’s or master’s degrees in accounting. Many people go to junior and community colleges and get two year degrees in accounting. Although career options can be somewhat limiting depending on what you want to do long-term, there are still a wide range of jobs you can do with an associate’s degree in accounting. Here is an overview of just some career possibilities to consider if you are currently studying for your associate’s in accounting.

How different is an Associate’s from a Bachelor’s in Accounting?

Generally speaking, an associate’s degree only takes two years to complete. Most students in a bachelor’s program will spend the first two years taking general education coursework such as English composition, college algebra, history, social studies and foreign languages. In an associate’s program, you could actually start taking accounting coursework as early as your first day, however, the types of accounting classes taken at the associate’s level vary in difficulty and depth compared to a bachelor’s and a master’s program. Most of your accounting coursework taken at the junior college level will be general accounting courses such as financial accounting, managerial accounting and cost accounting. Students will also be expected to take courses to learn different accounting software such as Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks.

What are some career options for those with an Associate’s in Accounting?

accountsThere are a number of things you can do with an associate’s in accounting. Many people with an associate’s start off working inside of a company’s finance or accounting department either as an accounts payable specialist or an accounts receivable specialist. An accounts payable specialist will chiefly be responsible for paying vendors, ensuring employee payroll is timely and complete, paying utilities and other important bills and payments that a company has. An accounts receivable specialist is chiefly responsible for coordinating payments from customers and ensuring the cash flow of the business. Accounts receivable specialists make sure that vendors and other customers pay their bills on time and also act as a collections specialist, depending on the nature of the business.

What are the salaries like for those with an Associate’s?

According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who performed basic bookkeeping accounting work generally made around $36,000 a year in 2014. Salary obviously will vary depending on education, years of experience, geographic location, position and size of the business or organization. Salaries will definitely be higher in larger metropolitan areas like Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles.

What is the job outlook like?

According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in bookkeeping are expected to rise by at least 11 percent over the next five to 10 years. Larger, metropolitan areas will see the greatest growth and there is a surging demand for accounting clerks and bookkeeping specialists in the healthcare industry.

There is without a doubt a growing demand for accounting specialists who have an associate’s degree in accounting.