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For those looking to kickstart a professional finance career in an affordable and flexible way, an online associate in finance degree is the perfect starting point. These programs are meticulously designed to prepare students for entry-level careers in the bustling finance sector. With the foundational knowledge gained, graduates are well-equipped to pursue further education, such as a bachelor’s degree, providing more lucrative opportunities like becoming a financial advisor — a role offering a median salary of $95,390 in 2022. The finance field is known for its above-average growth and continuous demand for skilled professionals.

Typically, these degrees can be completed in two years, offering convenience and efficiency. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the average tuition cost for these programs was $11,976, making them a smart investment for future financial success.

How to Choose an Online Associate in Finance Program

Choose your area of study

Choosing an area of study for your associate in finance is especially important, as it can significantly impact your future job prospects. Consider your personal interests and career goals carefully while making this decision.

For example, corporate finance is ideal for those interested in managing company finances, while investment banking suits individuals drawn to high-stakes financial transactions. Financial planning is best for those who enjoy personal finance and advising clients on wealth management. Risk management appeals to students fascinated by analyzing and mitigating financial risks.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve selected an intended specialization, it’s time to research schools and programs to help you meet your career goals. Consider asking the following questions to guide your research:

  • Does a recognized accrediting body accredit the program?
  • What are the specific courses offered in your specialization?
  • How flexible is the schedule in terms of part-time and full-time enrollment?
  • What is the faculty’s experience in your area of interest?
  • How does the school support online students in terms of resources and networking opportunities?

Answers to these questions can be found on school websites, during virtual open houses, or by speaking directly with admissions counselors.

Prepare for tests and applications

With your shortlist of potential schools, you’re ready to prepare for tests and applications. Focus on gathering your transcripts and writing a compelling personal statement, as these are standard requirements. Some schools may also require letters of recommendation from professionals who can speak to your aptitude for finance.

Although less common for associate programs, if SAT or ACT scores are required, consider enrolling in a test prep program to improve your scores. Many schools require incoming students to take math placement tests — for these, you’ll want to review algebra, statistics, and essential calculus to make sure you’re ready for finance-related courses.

Select your program

Once acceptance letters arrive, selecting the right finance program can feel overwhelming. Take a strategic approach by revisiting your initial research criteria, focusing on programs that best align with what’s most important to you — be it specialization options, flexibility, or faculty you’re interested in learning from. Don’t forget to compare the overall cost of attendance and financial aid opportunities available at each institution.

Ultimately, the program you select will be a personal decision, but conducting this balanced assessment of your priorities and financial considerations will guide you to make an informed decision.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

For many students pursuing postsecondary education for the first time, paying for your degree can feel intimidating. Fortunately, many financial aid resources can help.

Prioritize scholarships and grants first, as these do not require repayment and can significantly reduce your education costs. Explore federal loans next; they offer lower interest rates and flexible repayment plans to bridge any remaining financial gaps. Consider work-study programs if you’re interested in part-time employment that complements your studies. Lastly, if you’re currently employed, ask about employer tuition reimbursement programs, especially if your degree aligns with your current field.

Best 50 Accredited Online Associate in Finance Programs

Best Online Associate in Finance Programs Badge

Davenport University

Wilmington University

Northeast Iowa Community College

Stark State College

Madison Area Technical College

University of Cincinnati

Franklin University

Columbus State Community College

Wake Technical Community College

St. Cloud Technical & Community College

Middle Georgia State University

Volunteer State Community College

Central Carolina Community College

St. Petersburg College

Wayne Community College

Anne Arundel Community College

Miami Dade College

Roane State Community College

Cleveland State Community College

Pitt Community College

North Hennepin Community College

Fayetteville Technical Community College

Brunswick Community College

Hinds Community College

Piedmont Community College

Wilson Community College

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

All of the online finance programs featured in this guide are offered by regionally accredited schools and were ranked by their features, cost, and flexibility.

The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) accredit finance programs that meet high-quality educational standards. In addition to both those associations, our list includes programs offered by regionally accredited institutions that focus on finance degree plans. Credit hours are typically transferable to comparable schools.

What Can You Expect From an Online Associate in Finance Program

An online associate in finance degree program provides students with a foundational understanding of financial principles and practices, preparing them for entry-level careers in finance or further education.

Over approximately two years, students learn financial accounting, investment principles, corporate finance, and financial planning. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for successful careers by developing critical skills in analyzing financial statements, managing investments, understanding market trends, and making informed financial decisions.

Students gain insights into how financial systems operate within businesses and the broader economy through theoretical knowledge and practical application. This program is ideal for those looking to enter the finance sector, advance their current career, or build a strong base for a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online associate in finance program

  • Principles of Financial Accounting: In this course, students learn the basics of financial accounting, including how to prepare and interpret financial statements such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. They gain insights into the role of accounting in business decision-making and financial reporting.
  • Corporate Finance: This course introduces students to the financial decisions that companies make and the tools and analyses they use to make these decisions. Topics include capital budgeting, risk management, cost of capital, and financial strategy. Students learn to evaluate financial performance and create recommendations for improving financial health.
  • Personal Financial Planning: Focusing on individual and family financial management, this course covers budgeting, saving, investing, retirement planning, and risk management. Students learn to create comprehensive personal financial plans that consider financial goals, risk tolerance, and life stages, preparing them with the knowledge to advise on personal financial decisions.
  • Investment Principles: Students explore various investment vehicles, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and derivatives. The course covers the fundamentals of portfolio management, risk assessment, and the impact of market dynamics on investment performance.

Online Associate in Finance Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online associate in finance degree program?

While admissions requirements may vary depending on the program, many share the same standard criteria, including:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • Letters of recommendation

While standardized test scores are often not required, many institutions request that incoming students take math placement tests to ensure they’re enrolled in the appropriate level courses.

It’s important to speak with an admissions counselor before applying. They can provide detailed information about the application process, financial aid, and any prerequisites, helping to streamline it.

How much does an online associate in finance degree cost?

An online associate in finance degree costs, on average, $11,619 at public schools and $27,366 at private institutions. While private schools are often more expensive than public colleges, they may offer additional financial aid opportunities to help students avoid a significant debt burden.

Beyond tuition, additional costs such as books, software, and potentially technology upgrades for online learning must be considered. While online programs can offer savings on transportation and housing compared to in-person counterparts, it’s essential to account for these associated expenses when budgeting for your degree, as they can significantly impact the overall cost of education.

How long does it take to earn an online associate in finance degree?

Earning this degree usually takes two years with full-time enrollment, similar to on-campus programs. However, the flexibility of online learning allows for part-time study, which can extend the completion time depending on the student’s schedule and course load. The total number of required credits also plays a role in determining the program’s length — generally speaking, the more credits required, the longer it will take to complete.