Associate Degree in Finance
Since a bachelor’s degree in finance is the entry-level degree for most jobs in the field of finance, associate degrees in finance are relatively uncommon. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), only 142 nonprofit colleges and universities across the US offer one.1 Associate degrees are typically comprised of around 60 credits and take two years of full-time study to complete. They are conferred as Associate of Science (AS) degrees, Associate of Applied Science (AAS), or Associate of Arts (AA) degrees. Associate-level finance programs teach basic finance concepts along with a general studies core.
Table of Contents
- Program Options
- Core Concepts
- Select Schools with an Associate Degree in Finance
- Jobs with an Associate Degree in Finance
- Frequently Asked Questions
As mentioned above, associate degrees in finance may be AS, AAS, or AA degrees, but some schools offer them as associate degrees in business administration degrees with a specialization (or concentration, specialty, or emphasis) in finance. In addition, it is also common for associate degrees to be in finance-related fields, such as banking, credit, and financial services. Some common specialization areas for a finance major include:
- Finance and Banking
- Finance and Credit
- Financial Management
- Financial Services
- Mortgage Finance
Online Degree Formats
At the associate level, there are many options for hybrid and online degrees in finance in addition to traditional classroom learning options. Online associate degree in finance programs can offer students more flexibility than their on-campus counterparts. If you decide to enroll in an online finance program, make sure that it is hosted at a regionally accredited school and that it is taught by the same professors using the same or similar content as the on-campus program.
To be admitted to an associate degree program in finance, students must typically have a high school diploma or GED with a minimum GPA. Work experience is typically not required. Other admission requirements may include a personal statement and letters of recommendation. Be sure to check with each school of interest for their unique requirements.
Core Concepts and Coursework
Most associate degrees require around 60 credit hours, which includes general education coursework in math, science, and the humanities, as well as financial coursework introducing students to financial concepts and their applications in the business world. Some common courses that may be offered in an associate degree in finance program include:
- Cash Management
- Financial Accounting
- Fundamentals of Business Finance
- International Finance
- Personal Finance
- Principles of Banking
- Principles of Finance
- Risk Management
Select Associate Degree in Finance Programs
At Bergen Community College in New Jersey, students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Business Administration: Banking and Finance designed for students interested in the banking and financial fields. Students improve their practical skills in decision-making, critical thinking, and communication through courses in business, banking/finance, and the liberal arts. Graduates are qualified for entry-level positions in banking operations in the mortgage, trust, and consumer loan departments. General education requirements include courses in communication, the humanities, the social sciences, technology, and public speaking. Courses related directly to the major include Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Principles of Banking, and Principles of Finance. A total of 60 credit hours are required to complete the program, and full-time students should be able to finish in two years.
The Division of Professional Studies at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) in Boston offers an Associate of Science (AS) in Business Administration: Finance option that qualifies graduates to work in entry-level banking, insurance, brokerage, finance, or mutual funds positions, as well as transfer to four-year colleges and universities to continue their study of finance. Students in the Finance concentration take four semesters of coursework in accounting, finance, problem-solving, and macroeconomics, including Organizational Behavior and Design; Financial Management; Money & Banking; Introduction to Corporate Finance; and Mutual Funds Industry. Graduates will be able to effectively prepare a budget; analyze investment decisions for consumers; evaluate and analyze financial statements; and design a mutual fund portfolio for investors. BHCC has transfer articulation agreements with several area four-year institutions for students wishing to continue their study of finance.
Western Technical College, located in Wisconsin, offers a 63-credit Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Financial Services that can be completed in four terms. Through courses such as Personal Insurance, Tax, Estate Planning; Banking Principles; Lending Principles; Application of Financial Concepts; and Managerial Finance, students learn how to create reports; analyze financial statements, budgets, and investments; apply financial laws; and sell financial products to consumers. A high school diploma or GED is required to apply, as well as ACCUPLACER assessment scores. Students who do not meet a certain score on the ACCUPLACER may be required to enroll in additional general studies coursework. For students who are interested in continuing their studies post-graduation, Western has articulation agreements with several four-year schools in the area, including the University of Wisconsin and Franklin University. In addition to the AAS, Western also offers a Financial Services Representative Technical Diploma, which shares the coursework from the first year of the AAS program.
Online and Hybrid Programs
Miami Dade College (MDC) in Florida offers an Associate of Science (AS) degree in Financial Services-Banking for students who are interested in careers in banking, stocks, or other financial services. The program is designed for both students new to the field and those who are already employed in the industry and are looking to advance their careers. According to the school, the program meets most of the requirements for a diploma or certificate from the American Bankers Association (ABA)/Center for Financial Training (CFT). Students can choose from three different specializations: Financial Management, Mortgage Finance, or Banking. Both traditional and online learning options are offered, varying from face-to-face at any of seven campuses, 100% online via MDC Online, or via hybrid instruction. Graduates should be prepared to enter or continue careers as bankers, credit analysts, financial analysts, commercial lenders, mortgage brokers, operations managers, or financial services representatives.
At the University of Cincinnati Online (UC Online), students can pursue an Associate of Applied Business (AAB) in Financial Management Technology completely online. In two years of full-time study, students can earn their AAB in a flexible format that can be taken either full- or part-time. The degree can be used to gain employment in entry-level positions, to advance existing careers, or as a springboard to further study, such as UC’s 100% online Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies (BTAS). The program equips students with the skills needed to communicate effectively as well as analyze and solve complex business problems by drawing on their existing critical thinking skills. Courses in the AAB program include Fundamentals of Financial Planning, Fundamentals of Risk Management, Legal Environment of Business, and Personal Finance. Six start dates are offered throughout the year to accommodate a variety of schedules. A First Year Experience (FYE) course kicks off the program, with students able to choose from Decision Making Tools, Problem Solving Tools, and Introduction to Business.
Jobs with an Associate Degree in Finance
Graduates of associate degree programs in finance are prepared to pursue further study at the bachelor’s level and beyond, begin entry-level positions in finance, or further their existing careers. Possible job titles for people with finance associate degrees include:
- Billing and Posting Clerk
- Credit Analyst
- Financial Analyst
- Financial Clerk
- Financial Services Representative
- Lender/Mortgage Broker
- Loan Officer
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an associate degree in finance?
An associate degree in finance is a two-year degree that comprises about 60 credit hours and qualifies graduates for entry-level positions in the field. It is also common for associate’s in finance to be conferred as business degrees (an Associate of Science or Associate of Business Administration (ASBA or ABA), for example) with a concentration in finance. Finance degrees at the associate level cover how to prepare and evaluate financial statements, analyze investor choices, prepare a budget, understand mutual funds, and apply financial theories.
How much can I make with an associate degree in finance?
While the majority of positions in finance require a four-year bachelor’s degree, there are some entry-level positions that require only an associate degree. Some examples are credit counselors, who average $52,730 per year; billing and posting clerks, who average $40,850 per year; insurance underwriters, who average $80,830 per year; and financial clerks, who average $47,310 per year.2
How long does it take to get an associate in finance degree?
Associate degrees typically take two years of full-time study to complete. It could take more or less time than this depending on the program, the mode of study (online or on-campus), and whether the student is attending on a full- or part-time basis.
Is an associate in finance worth it?
The job outlook for finance graduates with an associate degree is mostly positive in the years between now and 2028.3 The employment of credit counselors is projected to grow 4.9%; the employment of billing and posting clerks is projected to grow 10.3%; and the employment of financial clerks is projected to grow 7.1% through 2028.3 The employment of insurance underwriters is expected to decrease during this time period, at a rate of 4.9%.3
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Finance and Insurance, 2020: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics2_52.htm
3. Projections Central, Long-Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm