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Earning an Associate Degree in Accounting Makes Cents (and Dollars!)

Last updated on September 26, 2019

When it comes to business, money talks, and the language it speaks is Accounting. Additionally, it’s a stable, growing industry that pays well and comes with tons of career opportunities at various education levels. Sounds pretty good, right?

How Hard Are Accounting Classes?

Accounting classes will teach you a variety of things related to the functions of business. You’ll start with courses relating to basic business and finance principles, where you’ll learn more about the vocabulary and a lot of the general concepts involved. After that, you might choose to focus in a more specific area, with options like financial, managerial or cost accounting – just to name a few.

In the words of North Lake Accounting professor Stephanie Swaim: “Math is more conceptual than Accounting; Accounting is more procedural and theoretical. So to be successful in Accounting, it just takes time and practice.”

Brookhaven professor Clarice McCoy agrees with this sentiment. She asserts that the idea “accountants must be good at math” is a myth. “In Accounting, the old adage ‘practice makes perfect’ is true. In an Accounting course, the best predictor of success is ‘time on task’—practice, practice, and more practice.

“Many people are intimidated by Accounting careers because they assume the work involves the highest level of math. You’ll be happy to hear that this assertion is incorrect. Accounting is much more about theory than math. Most accountants will tell you, ‘I’m definitely not a math whiz. I add, subtract, multiply and divide, always using a calculator!’ It’s important to have a good understanding of fractions, percentages and decimals, as well as knowing how to use Microsoft Excel. These are all skills that are covered in most Accounting degree programs.”

To get a little more specific, you’ll also learn how to construct and work through basic financial statements such as balance sheets, cash flow statements, income statements and more. You’ll also study other fundamentals like generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and the nature of assets, liabilities and equity. For most degree plans, you will probably also take courses on the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics.

As your knowledge base grows, you’ll start to learn more about topics like managerial accounting. Managerial accounting emphasizes things like product costs, operational budgeting and planning, cost control and more. Perhaps most importantly, a huge part this program involves learning how to use reported financial information for the purposes of making good strategic business decisions… all of which are an essential part of keeping any business afloat.

Accounting is an excellent major for college students due to the field’s stability, as every business or organization needs some kind of accountant or bookkeeper to keep financial records in order.

Where to Take Accounting Classes: Online and in Person

If you prefer a more traditional classroom environment, you’re in luck. The three primary awards you can get at any DCCCD college are:

  • The Accounting Associate in Applied Sciences Degree, which provides preparation for various career opportunities, with specializations that include financial, managerial, cost, tax, and/or small business management.
  • The Accounting Assistant Certificate, which is designed to provide expanded knowledge of basic principles while emphasizing communication and human relations skills necessary for career advancement.
  • The Accounting Clerk Certificate, which emphasizes development of basic accounting, spreadsheet, word processing and ten-key skills.

Of course, if a regular classroom environment isn’t your thing – for whatever reason – you can also take Accounting classes online, which offers all three of the above awards. Online classes can be a great way to earn credits from any location with an internet connection.

How Many Accounting Classes Are Needed for a CPA?

If you already have a bachelor’s degree but need to brush up on your skills — or even if your bachelor’s isn’t necessarily in accounting — Mountain View also offers an Advanced Technical Certificate in Professional Accountancy. This program requires a minimum of 39 credit hours (about 16 classes depending on what you take) for completion and prepares students to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam in the state of Texas.

Jobs You Can Get With an Accounting Associate Degree

You can get started in jobs as a payroll clerk, timekeeper, financial clerk, bookkeeper or auditing clerk in north Texas and make an average starting salary of about $22,000 per year. Over time, it might also be possible for someone with an associate degree to develop the skills and experience to advance from a junior position to an accountant position through strong performance on the job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accounting jobs are expected to experience annual job growth of 11 percent for accountants and auditors, which is better than the average. Also, accounting jobs in north Texas and budget analyst jobs in north Texas are expected to experience about 6.5 percent and 4.5 percent growth, respectively.

Associate vs. Bachelor’s in Accounting

Notably, an associate degree can lead to full-time work relatively quickly — in about two years when attending classes full time. But your earning potential will increase significantly as you further your education to a bachelor’s degree or beyond. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s to sit for the CPA exam, and with more studying comes a higher earning potential.

As you move up through the ranks, you may be able to make six figures or more. So according to our calculations, studying Accounting not only makes cents, but dollars, too!

It All Adds Up When You Apply for Admission at DCCCD

Accounting College Scholarships

If you’re interested in Accounting, it’s likely you’re also interested in breaking down the numbers of how to pay for it. The DCCCD Foundation offers the following scholarship opportunities for qualified students:

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