If you'd like to start a new career, an accounting degree should give you plenty of options. Businesses in all industries rely on accountants and other financial experts, so it's possible to pursue work across a variety of sectors with this type of degree. The first decision you'll have to make is whether to get an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. The differences between an accounting associates degree program and an accounting bachelors degree program can be considerable, so it pays to weigh the pros and cons of each carefully.
What's the Difference?
The main difference between the typical accounting bachelors degree program and the average accounting associates degree program boils down to time. It generally takes about two years to earn an accounting associate's degree while it takes around four years to earn an accounting bachelor's degree. With either degree, you will be able to apply for a variety of jobs. However, you'll have many more opportunities with a bachelor's degree. In fact, most accounting firms require bachelor's degrees; this type of degree is usually required for government accounting positions as well.
Start with an Associate's Degree
If you're eager to embark on a new career, one option is to start by earning your accounting associate's degree. At that point, you should be able to apply for positions that will allow you to gain valuable experience in the field. While you do that, you can move forward with your education by pursuing your accounting bachelor's degree. In another two years, you should obtain your degree, and you'll be qualified for many more positions and might be able to move forward in your current career. Many people choose to follow this path when embarking on careers in accounting.
A Versatile Degree
One of the most alluring things about earning an accounting associate's or bachelor's degree is that it opens up all kinds of possibilities. You don't have to pigeonhole yourself into a single specialty. In fact, it's smart to begin your career with an open mind. There's no telling what type of accounting will appeal the most to you. You might end up having a knack for something like internal auditing or business taxes. An accounting degree allows you to explore your options. Another advantage is that you'll be able to apply for positions in many industries, which is another way to zero in on the perfect career path.
Whether you choose to enroll in an accounting associates degree program or an accounting bachelors degree program, you can expect to take a variety of different courses. In addition to general accounting courses, which usually need to be completed first, you will take courses in financial reporting and accounting, accounting information software, auditing, taxation and many other related subjects. The goal of these programs is to give you a strong foundation in accounting. Later, you may decide to specialize in a particular type of accounting. Additional certifications and licenses may be necessary.
Is Accounting Right for You?
An accounting degree can lead to many different things. Before pursuing one, though, you should think long and hard about whether or not this is the right career path for you. To succeed in accounting, it helps to have very strong math skills. It's even better if math comes naturally to you. Detail-oriented people tend to excel in this field, and it pays to have strong analytical skills as well. As an accountant, you will deal with clients and others regularly, so it also helps to have excellent communication skills. Once you're satisfied that this is the career path for you, choose a degree program and get started.