If you have a knack for numbers and an affinity for money, accounting studies could be a wise move. Two-year associate degrees in accounting -- offered at community colleges, technical schools and some universities -- combine financial principles and business savvy in a single, career-catalyzing curriculum. This program typically covers microeconomics and macroeconomics, basic and advanced accounting procedures, and an introduction to the laws that rule the business world. If you plan to run your own business or be a playmaker in an established company, this degree may give you the skills you need to get started.
Career outlook and salaries
With an associate degree, you may gain valuable experience as support staff for bookkeeping, accounting, auditing or payroll operations. Payroll clerks should experience average employment growth between 2010 and 2020. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, payroll clerks saw a median wage of $36,330 in 2010, which was above the average for all U.S. occupations.
For bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, the BLS reports a median annual wage of $34,030, with the top 10 percent earning $51,470 in 2010. For these roles, postsecondary education is increasingly important, and some positions require an associate degree in business or accounting.
With further education, you can explore careers in public and private accounting, nonprofit financial strategy, business administration, or financial management. The employment increase for accountants and auditors should be a bit faster than the national average, at 15.7 percent between 2010 and 2020; these professionals enjoyed a May 2010 median annual wage of $61,690.
Beyond associate degrees in accounting
With an associate degree, you could enter the workforce, or choose to continue on toward a bachelor's or master's degree en route to a professional certification such as the Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, designation. The bottom line is that whether you're looking to start your career or bolster your academic credentials, accounting studies may help you reach your goals.
Associate degrees in accounting offer a unique fusion of finance and business. Earn your degree through an online program and enjoy added benefits -- course scheduling that fits the way you live, an inherent technology component in the web-based curriculum, and the satisfaction of acquiring a firm career foundation.