Associate Degree Vs. Diploma in Accounting: What's the Difference?
The difference between an associate's degree and a diploma in accounting lies in required coursework. Both programs offer introductory accounting courses and lay a basic foundation in the subject. Read on to find out more about how these two programs differ. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Comparison of Programs
Students in an associate's degree program in accounting will have very similar courses as students in a diploma program. However, an associate's degree program is usually longer and includes many general education courses and electives. Both programs also prepare students to work as bookkeepers, payroll clerks, accounts receivable/payable clerks, tellers or entry-level accountants.
Courses that are shared between these programs include:
- Basic and intermediate accounting principles
- Cost accounting
- Income taxation
- Financial and managerial accounting
- Spreadsheet applications
- Business Law
Associate's Degree Programs
Credits earned through an associate's degree program in accounting count toward a bachelor's degree later. Some associate's degree programs piggy-back with what's known as a 2+2 program, which awards an associate's degree after the first two years of study and then a bachelor's degree after another two years. These programs usually also include more general business courses than a diploma program does, and there may be an opportunity to do an internship or capstone project.
Some business courses you might take include:
- Business statistics
- Introductory business
- Business math
- Business computing
- Personal finance
Typically requiring fewer courses than an associate's degree, an accounting diploma program is designed for students who need a basic foundation to obtain immediate employment without a degree. This program is also sometimes useful for those possessing degrees already but need additional training in accounting. For example, some diploma programs are designed to help professionals qualify for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.
In addition to taking the accounting courses that are often shared between associate's degree and diploma programs, you might also take general education, business and additional accounting courses such as:
- Interpersonal communication
- Governmental accounting
- Introductory business
- Ten-key typing
- Introduction to computers
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: