Accounting Associates Degrees Tips

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If I Earn an Accounting Associate Degree and Want to Further My Education, Will My Credits Be Transferable?

Transfer Credits From an Accounting Associate's Degree to a Bachelor's Degree

Assuming you graduated from an accredited on-campus or online school, your credits will be transferable to a four year program. If your desire is to qualify for a Bachelor's degree in accounting, most if not all of your Associate's degree in accounting credits will transfer to your four year program. Should you dramatically change the focus of your major, while many credits may be eligible for transfer, you will probably still have to take additional courses in your new subject area.

For instance, if you switched from accounting to English literature, you would probably need to take more English core courses and not need more accounting-related courses, which you have already completed. Therefore, while you may receive credit for all of your previous courses, some may not apply to the requirements of your new major. If you continue to specialize in accounting or a related subject, most, if not all courses you completed to earn your accounting Associate's degree will transfer to your four-year degree program.

   
What Should I Consider If I’m Thinking About Getting an Associates Degree in Accounting?

What to Consider About An Associate's Degree in Accounting

When considering earning an Associate's degree in accounting, you should give thought to your current and future career plans. People with degrees in accounting (from Associate's through Master's levels) are always in demand. If you are not yet sure whether your long term career will involve serving as an accountant, either public or in private industry, an Associate's degree in accounting might be perfect for you. Since you can earn an associates degree in accounting in two years versus a four-year accounting Bachelor's degree, you should understand the intrinsic trade-off. You will enter the job market two years earlier, but at a lower compensation level.

There are four primary reasons to consider getting an Associate's Degree in accounting:

  1. You are unsure whether a long term career in accounting is the right choice for you but you think it might be. An Associate's degree in accounting would give you a wonderful “taste” of the profession, give you college credits that are eminently transferable and, worse case, increase your current compensation.
  2. You work for an employer you like and future advancement opportunities are attractive if you improve your educational background. Instead of looking at a four or more year window to earn an accounting degree, you can complete requirements for an associate's degree in accounting in two years or less.
  3. You are working in an accounting-related position as an accounting assistant, bookkeeper, or similar support position and want to increase your education credentials in your field to improve your position at your current employer or help your marketability in a job change situation.
  4. You are a budding entrepreneur and realize that the scorecard for the world of business is the accounting report. You realize that regardless of the business idea you will follow, accounting issues will be the real world measure of your success.
Accounting training is valuable for everyone who has targeted or works in the world of business. The level of expertise needed to achieve your goals is up to you.

   
What Are the Benefits of an Accounting Associate Degree?

Benefits of an Accounting Associate's Degree

You would enjoy a number of excellent choices after you earn an accounting Associate's degree. First, and often most important of all, your earning power will take a significant move upward. Should you already be working in a “going nowhere” job, you will have a whole new vista of employment choices, at higher compensation than you now receive. Second, as every education advisor would tell you, even if you have decided to become an entrepreneur, a basic understanding of the “language” of accounting is the most important core of study you could select. Whether your passion is physical retail, e-commerce, wholesale or eBay, your “scorecard” of success or failure will be expressed in the language of accountancy. Third, if you believe a Bachelor's degree in accounting is your goal, but you're not totally sure just yet, an accounting Associate's degree will provide you the core subjects you can transfer to a four-year program. Fourth, if you are with an employer you like and in a position, such as assistant bookkeeper, auditing clerk, or similar accounting-related support or clerical function, and believe you'd like to stay with this employer and improve your promotional prospects, an accounting Associate's degree might give you the best of all worlds.

   
Do Some Schools Offer an Associates Degree in Business?

Associate's Degree in Business

You have many choices, both on campus and online, should you wish to earn an Associate's degree in business. The curriculum selections will differ somewhat under the category of business and/or business administration. If you are pretty sure the world of business is for you, but you remain unsure if your expertise should be in accounting, marketing, production, operations, etc., this area of concentration might be perfect for you. Upon graduation, you will have the choice of entering the job market -- qualifying for entry-level positions in all industries -- if you wish to gain some real world experience. Or, you might have decided on a major area and are now more comfortable choosing your direction to earn a four-year degree. Either way, you win.
Should you choose to enter the workforce before continuing your education, you might also enjoy the benefit of an employer reimbursement for your four-year degree.

   
What Level of Accounting Training Do I Need If I Want to be a Full Charge Bookkeeper, Accounting Assistant, or Auditing Assistant?

Education for Full Charge Bookkeeper, Accounting Assistant, or Auditing Assistant

An Associate's degree in accounting might be the perfect choice to improve your career situation in a relatively short period of time. This level of accounting training will give you all the basic core knowledge to understand the language of accounting and the ability to create most operational accounting entries. As a full charge bookkeeper, you will be expected to make all daily, weekly, and monthly entries through a complete trial balance. With an Associate's degree in accounting, you will get sufficient knowledge to perform these tasks. An accounting or auditing assistant needs this same knowledge level, although they will normally make fewer actual entries, but will be acting upon the same entries made by others. However, you will need to know how the entries were made and have the ability to determine the correctness of them. Accounting and auditing assistants are then expected to make appropriate corrections, modifications, and/or “adjustments” to those entries made in error. An Associate's degree in accounting will give you the knowledge level you need to perform these responsibilities effectively.

   
What Can I Expect to Earn If I Have an Associate Degree in Accounting?

Prospective Earnings with an Associate's Degree in Accounting

Your potential earnings after you have earned an Associate's degree in accounting depends on three primary concerns. Where you work geographically, what you do, and how long you've been doing it. Your job title influences your compensation regardless of your location, as the level of responsibility strongly dictates salary levels. Your work experience level also has a large effect on your earnings. Here are some compensation levels you can use for comparisons:

  • Full charge bookkeeper: Between $29,000 and $40,000
  • Accounting assistant: Between $28,000 and $39,000
  • Auditing assistant: Between $27,000 and $38,000
  • Office manager: Between $29,000 and $42,000
The above are rough median numbers, somewhere in the average middle of pay ranges. If you work in New York, Massachusetts, California, etc., your compensation will increase by 10 percent to 40 percent, depending on your proximity to one of their major cities. Should you work in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, you should deduct about 10 percent to 25 percent. Experience can be an equally important factor. If you already have two to five years' experience in your field, you can expect to earn 10 percent to 50 percent more than basic salary ranges. Be aware, different industries will also compensate identical job titles and descriptions higher or lower than median estimates because of your perceived responsibility level within that industry. Also, be prepared to be “flexible” in the event your current employer fails to appreciate and compensate you for your newly acquired expertise.

   
How Long Does It Take to Earn an Associate Degree in Accounting?

Time Period to Earn an Associate's Degree in Accounting

The normal time frame to earn an Associate degree in accounting is 24 months. Depending on your time availability, you might compress the learning period to 15 to 18 months if the school permits accelerated learning. Most schools will also allow you to extend the period to graduation should that be necessary because of your schedule or finances. If you follow the normal 2 year schedule, your course selections should fit the time frame cleanly

Should you choose to accelerate or decelerate your accounting training, you need to examine when needed courses are offered. Some may be offered one semester but not another. Should you decide to pursue an online Associate's degree in accounting, you may find you have more flexible options. Whatever your preferred time frame to complete your course requirements, you might have the ability to “mix ‘n' match” your courses each semester to make the process work more efficiently for you. With often a more dynamic menu of course selections when you want them, you might have more success structuring your learning plan. You should be aware that, should you wish to accelerate your graduation date, you will still have time constraints since some courses are dependent on the successful completion of others before you are allowed to take them. If you plan on 18 to 24 months, you should be able to reach your graduation date in this period.

   
What Are Accounting Certificate Programs?

Accounting Certificate Programs

Accounting certificate programs come in a variety of forms and your choices will depend on your current situation and future career plans. A certificate program is basically any course of study, at almost any educational level, that provides the student with some specialization in their field. It is less time consuming than a full degree program and provides a “certificate” for completing these studies instead of a “degree.”

There is a wide variety of choices of accounting certificate programs, some of which are noted below:

  • A program for the high school graduate that wants a basic knowledge of the core subjects involved in accounting.
  • An undergraduate certificate program might be pursued in lieu of a Bachelor's degree in accounting to gain enough knowledge to be conversant in the subject and perform basic accounting functions.
  • A graduate program can take many forms, from giving a Bachelor's degree holder some basic accounting information to a course of study that provides in-depth information on a particular area of accounting specialty for the graduate with an accounting major.
  • Some certificate programs are solely tailored for the graduate accounting major who wants added knowledge specifically to pass the Certified Public Accountant examination.
As you can see, accounting certificate programs come in all shapes and sizes. The common denominator is that they all provide some specialized knowledge, even if merely basic accounting functions, for the student wishing to gain recognition for educational achievement in a relatively short period of time.

   
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