December 2, 2022

Donalds Hobby

World Finance Reviews

Best online finance associate degrees 2021: Top picks

An associate degree 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.  

The best online associate in finance degrees

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.

1. Johnston Community College

Smithfield, North Carolina

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. 

  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation rate: 29%
  • Avg. annual net price: $6,078
  • Years to completion: Two years
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Johnston Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Columbus State Community College

Columbus, Ohio

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.

  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation rate: 16%
  • Avg. annual net price: $6,577
  • Years to completion: Two
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery methods: Online; synchronous or asynchronous

Accreditation: Columbus State Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

3. Northeast Iowa Community College

Calmar, Iowa

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.

  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation rate: 35%
  • Avg. annual net price: $10,505
  • Years to completion: Two
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online; synchronous or asynchronous

Accreditation: Northeast Iowa Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

4. Davenport University

Grand Rapids, Michigan

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.

  • Acceptance rate: 82%
  • Graduation rate: 27%
  • Avg. annual net price: $16,098
  • Years to completion: Two
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online; synchronous or asynchronous

Accreditation: Davenport University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5. Franklin University

Columbus, Ohio

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. 

  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation rate: 34%
  • Avg. annual net price: $12,895
  • Years to completion: Two
  • SAT range: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery methods: Online; asynchronous or synchronous

Accreditation: Franklin University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

What to expect in an online associate in finance degree program

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. 

Associate degree in finance courses

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.  

Financial accounting

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.

Business statistics

This class covers data interpretation, correlation and regression, and probability.

Finance degree levels

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. 

Certificate in finance

Length: Two months to one year 

Cost: $1,099-$11,025

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. 

Associate in finance

Length: Two years

Cost: $6,078-$16,098

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.

Bachelor’s in finance

Length: Four years 

Cost: $6,078-$16,098

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 degree provides you with managerial and analytical skills to work as a certified financial planner, credit counselor, insurance underwriter, or bank branch manager. 

Master’s in finance

Length: Nine months to two years

Cost: $16,080-$53,000 

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. 

Doctorate in finance

Length: Four to five years 

Cost: $19,610-$66,096 

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.

In conclusion

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.