The field of accounting is wide, with options in many directions. Jobs typically require at least an associate's degree in accounting. However, with a higher degree, a better-paying position is possible. Accounting degrees are offered at most universities and colleges, and many small community colleges offer associate's degrees.

Associate's Degree

An associate's degree is offered by many colleges. During this two-year program, students learn basic accounting skills and principles, along with cost and payroll accounting. They also learn basics about taxation and how to analyze financial statements. People earning this degree find jobs as accounting clerks, billing clerks, payroll clerks and accounting assistants.

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's in accounting is typically a four-year degree. Programs vary from college to college. During a bachelor's program, students choose electives and focus on certain aspects of accounting. They learn basic accounting principles, intermediate skills and advanced practices. Students also learn about taxation, auditing and management. Job possibilities are enormous with a bachelor's degree in accounting. People find jobs as cost accountants, controllers, tax accountants, staff accountants and government accountants.

Master of Business Administration

An MBA is a degree many accounting and business students work toward. It is earned after a bachelor's degree and takes one to two years to complete. Many MBA programs focusing in accounting offer the extra credits needed to sit for the CPA exam. Students choose an MBA degree because of its versatility. With an MBA, accounting graduates find management jobs more easily and earn better pay.

CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Certification

A CPA certification is the top degree an accounting student achieves. To obtain a CPA certification, a student is required to have 150 credit hours of classes and sit for a two-day test. The test is divided into four sections, and the student must pass all four. People with a CPA certification expect at least 10 percent higher wages. They are qualified for any accounting job.