Accounting Associates DegreesAccounting Resources
Can I work while studying?
Many associate degree programs have options for part-time enrollment so you can work while studying. Classes at even the best programs do not meet every day, allowing you to take on at least a part-time job. If you do decide to work while studying, try to find a position that gives you some exposure to accounting so you can gain relevant experience in addition to bringing home income.
Finding an accounting job without prior accounting experience can be difficult, but internships offer a great way to begin working in the industry while you are in school. Job sites like Indeed.com can help you find accounting internships near you that are full-time, part-time or even seasonal in order to accommodate your schedule.
Working while pursuing a degree, however, is difficult and you do not want to find yourself in a position where you are performing poorly in both obligations. Online programs can offer you a bit more flexibility than a traditional program, as you do not need to adhere to a rigid schedule, but the time needed to complete coursework is still significant.
What are common assumptions about students?
If you do a quick search for an accounting associate degree, you may run across some negative comments about associate degrees. For example, some people believe that an associate’s in accounting is worthless and that you need a need at least a bachelor’s degree to find a job. While bachelor’s degrees are more competitive, an associates degree will still qualify you for many entry-level positions. Additionally, internships may just as well lead to full-time positions with a company.
There are also negative comments about students themselves, suggesting that they are not smart enough to get into a better program. Admissions to some programs are more lenient than bachelor’s programs, but that says nothing of the intelligence of any particular applicant. Some people simply cannot commit the time and money required to complete a 4-year bachelor’s program. An associates degree is still a great way to communicate your competence in accounting.
Many people assume that the online component of many associates degree programs translates to an easily attained degree and a lower quality of education. This may be true for some unaccredited schools, but accredited online programs, just like traditional programs, must meet the academic standards of the agencies that ensure educational quality.
What is the hardest part of the application?
Programs are usually similar and the application process itself is fairly easy. In fact, if you have all of the necessary documents, the whole process can be completed in less than an hour. Typically you will have to fill out a form with your personal information, such as name, gender, and citizenship, pay a nonrefundable application fee and send in your high school transcript or GED. A GED, or General Equivalency Diploma, is for students who did not graduate from a traditional high school. You can receive your GED by taking an exam that consists of 5 subject tests, which, when passed, certify that you are competent in academic skills at a high school level.
The process for applying to an online program usually ends there, but some on-campus programs also require you to take an exam such as the SAT, a 3-hour and 45-minute standardized test administered by the College Board. Other schools have their own in-house exam that you have to complete on campus as a part of your application. In addition, if English is not your primary language, you may have to take an exam such as the TOEFL, which demonstrates your proficiency in English.
Are there any brick-and-mortar colleges that offer an online program?
Most of the brick-and-mortar colleges that are recognized nationally by employers and professionals typically only offer bachelor’s degrees in accounting. Associate programs, in general, are more common at community colleges, such as the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania or Edmonds Community College in Washington. Many programs offered by community colleges are online or in a hybrid format that consists of both online and on-campus courses. While these schools have regional accreditations, community colleges generally do not have much of a reputation outside the areas they serve.
Northeastern University in Boston is one of the few nationally ranked brick-and-mortar colleges that offer an online associate degree. This program consists of 87 quarter hours in basic accounting, economics and finance courses as well as a few foundational courses in sociology, psychology, and computer programming. When you graduate, you will have the skills necessary to become a bookkeeper, accounts clerk or auditing clerk.
The tuition for this program, however, is almost $30,000. This cost can be reduced if you have qualifying credits from other colleges or AP coursework in high school, but even then this program may not make economic sense for many people.