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The top associate degrees in finance can lead to work in nearly any industry. While some careers may see reduced demand as the world continually adapts and evolves, finance is here to stay. Every business and organization relies on finance — or money management — to flourish.
Graduates can pursue various positions within the private and public sectors. Options include financial analyst, loan officer, financial planner, and credit analyst. The job outlook for these positions is on the rise, as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8% increase from 2020-30.
Want to join the growing finance field? Consider the following associate in finance degrees available online.
Avg. annual net price: $6,078
Application fee: Not publicly available
Columbus State Community College
Avg. annual net price: $6,577
Application fee: Free
Northeast Iowa Community College
Avg. annual net price: $10,505
Application fee: Not publicly available
Grand Rapids, MI
Avg. annual net price: $16,098
Application fee: $25
Avg. annual net price: $12,895
Application fee: Free
Our experts analyzed extensive public data using ZDNet's proprietary ranking algorithm to compile the following finance degree ranking. Discover more about our review process, field experts, and data sources by viewing ZDNet's ranking methodology.
Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.
About the program: The online accounting and finance degree at JCC prioritizes accounting and business basics. Classes include business taxes, business law, managerial accounting, and payroll accounting.
About the program: CSCC's associate degree program in finance offers a comprehensive program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. The courses cover macroeconomics, banking, and statistics, culminating in a capstone project.
About the program: NICC's finance program includes foundational classes (such as the principles of macroeconomics and business law) to prepare you for advanced courses in risk management, managerial accounting, and commercial banking.
About the program: DU's associate of business administration in finance program is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. The curriculum includes professional ethics, diversity in society, and financial analysis for business managers.
About the program: Franklin's associate degree in financial management prepares you to become a financial associate or analyst with classes that prioritize accounting, investments, and financial markets.
Successful finance students use analytical and problem-solving skills to handle reports, interpret data, and present solutions to various accounting problems. Communication is crucial, so you can expect to take communications, ethics, and even interpersonal skills classes.
Additionally, finance curricula often include a mix of theoretical and practical classes, providing comprehensive skills in accounting, banking, investment and marketing. Associate programs may also conclude with a capstone project or a practicum to prepare graduates for the workforce.
Online students also need time-management and technical skills. Many finance courses require using accounting software, so students should feel comfortable working online and learning new programs to meet deadlines.
Primary courses typically cover accounting, finance, banking, and tax foundations.
Some degree programs emphasize business law and marketing, while others include core classes on psychology, ethics, and people skills. Depending on the program, students may pick electives from a list of math, business, humanities, or legal courses.
Explore a few core courses you can expect to take in a finance associate degree program.
As a core course for most finance associate programs, this class teaches how to correctly prepare, interpret, and analyze financial reports. Students often work with cash flow statements, inventory, depreciation, liabilities, payroll, and owner's equity statements.
Principles of microeconomics
This class explains essential microeconomics theory and explores how businesses, individuals, and industries make economic decisions. Key topics include market equilibrium, budget constraint, marginal decision-making, supply and demand, and optimizing economic behavior.
Business law foundations
This course covers business law basics to prepare students for legal issues that may arise while handling a company's finances. You may learn about the Uniform Commercial Code, product liability, and business crimes and torts.
This class covers data interpretation, correlation and regression, and probability.
Both associate degree and certificate programs prepare you for immediate work in the financial sector. These short programs help you save money and land some entry-level positions. A bachelor's program includes a more comprehensive curriculum and prepares you for entry- and mid-level positions.
Graduate degrees, like a master's or doctorate, require extensive time and research. Graduates may land high-paying jobs in research, academia, and the government.
Length: Two months to one year
Post-grad careers: Retirement planner, insurance advisor, financial service consultant
If you want to start working an entry-level finance job immediately, consider a certificate program. Certificates generally last a few months and cover finance basics. Some may focus on a specialty like personal and family financial planning or corporate finance.
Core courses may include principles of taxation, retirement planning, and financial statement analysis. Some certificate programs comply with the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards and help prepare students for the CFP examination.
Length: Two years
Post-grad careers: Loan specialist, financial analyst, personal banker
An associate degree in finance introduces core financial topics such as managerial accounting and marketing principles. Combined with a communication and business focus, these classes prepare students for entry-level positions. Course requirements often include mastering accounting software and completing a capstone internship or project.
Students hoping to avoid student debt while jumpstarting a career in finance may opt for an associate degree. Credits often transfer to a bachelor's program, so graduates can continue their education when ready.
Length: Four years
Post-grad careers: Financial manager, personal financial advisor, tax examiner
A bachelor's in finance covers the same topics as an associate degree but delves deeper. The curriculum often includes general education, elective, and advanced courses. Core topics may include advanced corporate finance, supply chain management, and calculus.
Completing this finance degreeprovides you with managerial and analytical skills to work as a certified financial planner, credit counselor, insurance underwriter, or bank branch manager.
Length: Nine months to two years
Post-grad careers: Private wealth manager, real estate finance, investment researcher
Current economics or financial professionals looking to land advanced positions may pursue a finance master's degree. This graduate program often includes advanced courses in finances and economics. Many schools allow you to choose electives and career-specific specializations.
A master's in finance overlaps with but is distinct from an MBA in finance. Online MBA programs offer more comprehensive business curricula. If that's appealing, an MBA concentration in finance may work best for you. For those hoping to work exclusively in the financial sector, a master's in finance is ideal.
Length: Four to five years
Post-grad careers: Finance professor, financial researcher, government economist
A doctorate in finance prepares students for the most prestigious financial positions. Graduates may land teaching positions at universities, governmental jobs, or research roles.
The degree's first two years generally include core finance and economics classes, plus some electives.
The final two — or more — years are spent researching and preparing your dissertation on a finance topic. Students work closely with professors and financial experts while completing their research.
Pursuing an online finance associate degree can prepare you for various jobs in the finance sector, such as collections specialist, investment banking analyst, and personal banker. As finance jobs multiply, an associate degree in finance can launch a successful career.
If you wish to pursue a career in finance, continue exploring the recommended programs above. Reach out to the school for more information if one catches your eye.