Most people tend to think that earning an Associate’s degree in Accounting is just a means to an end, a foot in the door that leads down a hall toward a Bachelor’s degree and a CPA job at a large tax firm. But there are a number of doors that an Associate’s in Accounting can open up, and those are aside from the one that leads to more education.
The Associate’s in Accounting
Learners who earn an Associate’s in Accounting have a wide-ranging understanding of the principles and practices of the accounting job. These learners’ understanding usually includes specific job duties like bookkeeping, auditing, billing, and payroll responsibilities, as well as general job responsibilities such as business management and office communications.
Jobs and Options
Most Associate’s degrees in Accounting take approximately two years or 60 credit hours to complete at a local or online community college. Credit hours earned during the Associate’s degree can almost always be articulated towards enrollment in Bachelor’s degree programs at 4-year institutions, but they can also be articulated towards an accounting certificate that counts as a job qualification for jobs like the following:
- Accounting Assistant
- Payroll Administrator
- Office Manager
- Accounting Supervisor
- Assistant Controller
- Staff Accountant
- Financial Controller
An Associate’s in Accounting can also be articulated towards eligibility for the national accreditation accountancy examination that is offered by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT). The Accreditation Council is a certifiying body for practicing accountants who have an Associates in Accounting and one year of job experience through one of four accounting credentials, each of which has its own career trajectory and job outlook.
The Accredited Business Accountant / Advisor (ABA) credential
For accounting professionals interested in jobs at medium-to-small sized businesses that specialize in financial accounting, reporting, statement preparation, taxation, business consulting, business law, and business ethics. The ABA is deal for learners with an Associate’s in Accounting that has prepared them for consulting with individuals and their families.
The Accredited Retirement Advisor (ARA) credential
For accounting professionals interested in jobs and who have some experience in estate planning, trust planning, and otherwise preparing clients for retirement. The ARA is Ideal for learners with an Associate’s in Accounting that has prepared them for consulting with the elderly and retirees.
The Tax Advisor (ATA) credential
For accounting professionals interested in jobs and who have some experience in handling sophisticated tax planning issues, such as those encountered with owning a business or being a highly compensated employee of a large organization or corporations, as well as retirement plans and estate tax planning. The ATA is ideal for learners with an Associate’s in Accounting that has prepared them to perform tax returns for individuals, business entities, fiduciaries, trusts, and estates while maintaining a high standard of professional ethics.
The Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP) credential
For accounting professionals interested in jobs who have some experience and a thorough understanding of the existing tax code and the preparation of individual tax returns. The ATP is deal for learners with an Associate’s in Accounting that has prepared them to solve a laundry list of 1040 problems while adhering to a set of business ethics.