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An online accounting degree can help you get ahead in the professional world. Land a rewarding career while helping large organizations make informed financial decisions or start your own firm and help small business owners stay on track.
Why Choose an Online Accounting Degree
You can position yourself for a well-paying, in-demand career as an accountant. This isn’t the only reason why you should choose an online accounting degree.
This degree program unlocks the door to many business-related career opportunities. You can work as an accountant, banker, loan officer, financial analyst, bookkeeper, payroll specialist, tax professional, and the list goes on. Or you can launch your own operation on a full-time or part-time basis. Accounting is the language of business, and most companies rely on these roles to sustain operations and provide valuable insights so they can make sound decisions.
Another important consideration is the flexibility it lends to professionals who want to continue their education to land a promotion or change careers. Traditional degree programs require you to attend in-person lectures several hours each week, which isn’t ideal for those with demanding schedules. An online accounting program allows you to watch the lectures and complete assignments when it’s convenient for you.
How to Choose an Online Accounting Degree
With so many online accounting degrees to choose from, how do you know which are best? Be mindful of these factors when evaluating programs.
Is the program accredited? Do employers view it as a reputable option for aspiring accountants? Has the college of business earned any prestigious awards? These are just a few questions to ponder when evaluating online accounting degrees. Not all programs are the same, and you want the option that is recognized by both employers and other institutions should you decide to pursue a master’s degree.
Online delivery of course material means that the professors and teaching assistants will use technology to connect with you. If the classes are overflowing with students, expect extended response times. This can mean bad news if you struggle with a concept and need assistance before you can move on in the course. Depending on how busy your schedule is, delayed email replies could cause you to fall behind. Aim for programs that allow no more than 20 students per course.
Cost of Attendance
The tuition and fees per credit hour for online accounting degree programs vary by institution. When comparing your options, narrow down your list to only include institutions with comparable tuition rates. Also, take a look at the university’s rates for the past few years. If you notice steep price hikes, you may want to avoid them altogether.
Jobs Waiting for You with an Accounting Degree
Wondering what entry-level jobs await new accounting graduates? Here are a few of the popular roles.
Accountant or Auditor
If you enjoy preparing and analyzing financial records, a career as an accountant or auditor may be the perfect fit. Individuals in these roles also organize and maintain financial performance, make suggestions on recommendations based on financial operations, compute taxes owed and more. They also help management identify ways to operate more efficiently and boost the organization’s bottom line.
On average, accountants and auditors earn $70,500 per year, notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can make more by getting licensed as a governmental or public accountant in your state.
Loan officers play an integral role in helping financial institutions evaluate and decide which applicants qualify for loan products. They also meet with and screen prospective borrowers, aid in the underwriting process, review loan documents to confirm they comply with state and federal regulations and provide support to applicants awaiting a loan decision.
You can work as a commercial, consumer or mortgage loan officer. Careers are also available for those interested in loan collection efforts and underwriting.
Many recent accounting graduates go to work as financial analysts. This well-paying role requires you to analyze financial data and study economic trends to make research-backed investment recommendations to management. You will also prepare written reports, assess the financial health of the company and communicate ways to strengthen performance.
Best Online Colleges for an Accounting Degree
Here are Benzinga’s top picks. You will also find a description and cost per credit hour for each online accounting degree to help you make an informed decision.
1. Auburn University
Auburn University offers a Bachelor of Science in business administration and accountancy online. It’s designed for individuals who already have a degree and want to pursue another career. You can also enroll to fulfill the educational requirements for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.
Courses are available in real-time through a live stream, or you can view them when your schedule permits. The material will prepare you for a career as a financial manager, government accountant, internal auditor, managerial accountant, tax accountant and a host of other rewarding roles.
The program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). You’ll receive the same degree as your peers who study on campus. It only takes 30 semester hours to reach the finish line if you have an AACSB-accredited business degree from Auburn or another university.
Tuition is $775 per credit hour, which equates to $2,325 for each course.
2. University of Minnesota Crookston
Earn a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Minnesota online. You can master analytical and theoretical frameworks needed to work in governmental, private and public accounting.
Skills and knowledge gained throughout the program will prepare you for a career as an accountant in many specializations or you can continue your studies in a graduate program.
When you’ve completed coursework, you can sit for the CPA, Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Certified Management (CMA) exams.
The cost of attendance is $451.50 per credit hour, and you need 120 credits to complete the program. You can apply for financial aid to help reduce out-of-pocket costs.
3. Washington State University
Get an accounting degree that stands out in the eyes of employers. Consider a Bachelor of Arts in business administration and accounting from Washington State University’s global campus. The program holds the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Accounting Accreditation and courses are facilitated by award-winning faculty members.
You’ll gain invaluable knowledge and skills to help you get noticed by accounting firms, consulting firms, government agencies, international accounting firms, nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 companies. You can also continue your education as a graduate student.
The cost of attendance is $518 per credit hour for Washington residents and $595 for out-of-state students.
4.The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Want to learn the skills needed to get noticed in the flooded accounting job market? An online Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s AACSB-accredited Collat School of Business can help you get the job done.
UAB’s program is also endorsed by the Institute of Management Accountants for successful CMA exam preparation. It offers support around the clock from the technical help desk. Let’s say you log in to watch lectures or complete coursework in the wee hours of the morning and encounter difficulties, you’re covered. You will also have the opportunity to network with industry professionals. Some courses help prepare you for the CPA, CFE, CIA, CMA and CISA exams.
Fees are $433 per credit hour for general education courses and $667 for upper-level business core courses. Scholarships are also available for qualified candidates.
5. University of Memphis
The University of Memphis offers an online bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting. It caters to individuals who seek a professional accounting role.
Courses cover several essential concepts, including the functional role accounting plays in organizations, awareness of ethics in business and decision-making in a global business environment. You will also develop critical thinking, problem-solving and effective communication skills. You’ll gain the foundational knowledge needed to sit for the CPA exam.
Tuition is $470 per credit hour for in-state students and $630 for out-of-state students. You need 120 hours to complete the program.
6. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth can teach you how to prepare, analyze and audit financial statements and tax reports, communicate pertinent data for financial planning and decision-making, conduct control operations and more. You’ll be able to make investment recommendations based on historical financial data.
Not sure if this program is the right fit? UMassOnline offers a free course demo to let you try it out.
The registration fee for a 3-credit course is between $1,245 and $1,344. This rate includes all applicable tuition and fees.
7. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
The online Bachelor of Science in accounting degree program will also prepare you for a variety of careers in the field. It features courses in audit, accounting information systems, cost accounting, financial accounting, governmental accounting, managerial accounting and taxation.
This program is accredited by the AACSB and permits the transfer of credits from your associate’s degree. You can complete your coursework in a fraction of the time and save a bundle on tuition.
The cost of attendance is $375 per credit hour for students who enroll in up to 12 credit hours. It decreases to $100 per credit hour for each subsequent credit hour.
8. Missouri State University
Missouri State University features a Bachelor of Science in general business with a minor in accounting. It focuses on the mechanics of accounting and teaches budget preparation, financial statement analysis and business finance management essentials.
Students are required to complete the following courses:
- Introduction to Financial Accounting
- Introduction to Managerial Accounting
- Intermediate Accounting I
You must also complete 3 upper-level accounting courses to finish the program.
Tuition is $218 per credit hour for Missouri residents and $495 for non-residents.
9. University of Maryland
An online bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Maryland’s Global Campus is a good fit for individuals who want the flexibility of working in several fields.
Coursework focuses on core accounting principles, auditing, cost accounting, business law, economics, income taxation and statistics. When you finish the course, you’ll be able to assist managers with financial decisions, prepare and analyze financial data, develop business practices, conduct fraud detection activities, audit financial statements and so much more.
Also, know that a portion of your coursework may count towards these master’s degree programs:
- Accounting and financial management
- Management with a specialization in accounting
- Accounting and information systems
You’ll also gain the knowledge needed to prepare you for the CPA exam.
The cost of attendance is $306 and $499 per credit hour for in-state and out-of-state residents, respectively.
10. Old Dominion University
ODU Online equips you with technical accounting knowledge and strengthens your analytical, computer and communication skills. When you reach the finish line, you’ll be ready to start your career or enroll in an MBA program.
Core courses include:
- Intermediate Accounting I
- Intermediate Accounting II
- Managerial Accounting
- Accounting Information Systems
Already registered at an institution in the Virginia Community College System? You may automatically be granted admission.
Confident you’d like to enroll in an MBA or MPA program? You can earn graduate credits as you work through the courses.
Students need 120 credit hours to earn a degree. The cost per credit hour is $356 and $407 for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively.
Get Started with an Online Accounting Degree Program Today!
Ready to get started? Evaluate the programs from our list of recommendations and compare their offerings to reach your top picks. Be mindful of the class size and cost of attendance. You want a program that meets your needs and budget to ensure you get the most from your online learning experience.
Southern New Hampshire University Online
SNHU Online Offers:
- Flexible schedules
- Affordable tuition
- Online tutoring
- Access to electronic research materials
- Specialized academic advising
- Supportive online community