The Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Degree Programs

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An online bachelor's degree in accounting prepares graduates to oversee an organization's financial health. Accountants analyze, prepare, and organize financial records. A bachelor's in accounting can lead to lucrative professional opportunities and career advancement, as all businesses require high-quality financial management. Furthermore, entry-level positions at most companies require a bachelor's degree at minimum.

Aspiring accountants enter a growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the national demand for accountants should increase by 10% through 2026. Potential careers in the field include managerial accounting, public accounting, and government accounting. Prospective students should research their local job market to determine the most in-demand opportunities.

A bachelor of accounting online provides optimal flexibility. Online programs often use accelerated course formats that continue through the summer, helping students earn their degree sooner. Multiple start dates also allow distance learners to enroll year round. While some online courses require live, synchronous attendance, others offer asynchronous coursework which allows students to complete assignments at their own convenience.

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Accounting Degree Programs

Affordable Online Bachelor's in Accounting Degree Program Ranking Guidelines:
We selected the online accounting programs based on the quality of the program, the types of online classes for accounting offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school's reputation for effectively providing quality online degree programs.

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Accounting Degree Programs

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4

Florida Atlantic University 

Boca Raton, FL

About this school

With a central campus in Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University also maintains satellite campuses in Jupiter, Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Fort Pierce, and Dania Beach. In recent years, FAU has also expanded its distance learning presence, offering many options, including an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

This accounting program requires each student to complete the standard 120-credit curriculum before graduating, which typically requires four years of full-time study. Notable and relevant courses in the curriculum include federal tax, business law, cost accounting, and accounting information systems. The program does not have any thesis or capstone requirements. FAU caters to working professionals by delivering all of the program's coursework asynchronously and eliminating in-person and on-campus requirements.

The accounting program at FAU boasts a generous transfer policy. A student who completes an associate in accounting at a local community college can earn automatic admission into this bachelor's-level accounting program. Distance learners can access services such as online tutoring, the library, career services, and disability services.

Accreditation

Florida Atlantic University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its accounting program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

5

Texas Woman's University 

Denton, TX

About this school

Based out of the city of Denton, Texas Woman's University also maintains health science campuses in Houston and Dallas. TWU takes its name from its original policy of only admitting women. Though it has accepted male students since 1994, enrollment remains mostly female, with 90% of TWU's learners identifying as women. TWU has further expanded the diversity of its student body by offering several of its programs through distance learning.

Students can enroll in a hybrid BBA in accounting program at TWU, completing some asynchronous online coursework and some on-campus residencies in Denton. The program's 120-credit curriculum usually requires four years of full-time study to finish. Notable courses in the curriculum include business analytics, cost accounting, income tax accounting, and accounting information systems.

Each applicant must submit ACT or SAT scores and high school transcripts showing a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students who complete the program in good standing can enroll in TWU's 4+1 accounting option, where enrollees can complete an MBA in one additional year without needing to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

6

Athens State University 

Athens, AL

About this school

Athens State University operates as a senior college, offering the third and fourth years of coursework for dozens of different bachelor's programs. Originally opening its doors as a school for women in 1822, Athens State began accepting male students in the 1930s and became a public university in the 1970s. Athens State also hosts distance programming, including an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The accounting program at Athens State delivers all of its coursework asynchronously, allowing students to access recorded lectures and course materials online. There are no in-person or on-campus requirements, leading to increased flexibility for working professionals. The program's curriculum consists of 124 credits, and most full-time students manage to earn their degrees within four years. Notable courses include financial management, governmental accounting, and auditing.

Students complete capstone courses in cost accounting and business policy, in addition to a business seminar, during their final semester. The business policy seminar includes a comprehensive exam that all students must pass before graduating. Each applicant must have already earned at least 36 college credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

7

Thomas Edison State University 

Trenton, NJ

About this school

Thomas Edison State University — a public school based out of Trenton, New Jersey — focuses primarily on distance learning programs that meet the needs of working professionals in the Garden State. However, students everywhere can benefit from TESU's many online offerings, which include both undergraduate and graduate degrees. A learner interested in a stable, business-related profession can complete an online bachelor's degree in accounting through TESU.

The university's accounting program awards a bachelor of science in business administration degree. The program's curriculum requires each enrollee to complete 120 credits before they graduate, with most full-time students graduating in four years. Notable topics include financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, and earnings performance analysis. The curriculum does not include any capstone, thesis, or internship requirements.

Students never need to visit campus to complete their accounting degrees, and the program delivers all coursework asynchronously. Applicants to TESU should be at least 21 years of age, although exceptions are made for military members as young as 18. A prospective student can earn a waiver from these requirements if they hold at least 24 college credits earned with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

8

University of Michigan-Flint 

Flint, MI

About this school

The University of Michigan-Flint is one of two satellite campuses in the UM System, with the flagship campus operating in Ann Arbor. UM-Flint enrolls approximately 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students and primarily specializes in the arts, sciences, and management. In recent years, UM-Flint has expanded its distance learning presence and now offers an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

UM-Flint's accounting degree is offered as a bachelor of business administration. The program aims to prepare graduates to successfully take the CPA exam. The curriculum generally requires four years of full-time study to complete and includes coursework in foundational areas such as governmental accounting, managerial accounting, financial accounting, and auditing.

To provide working professional students with ample flexibility, this program does not have any in-person or on-campus requirements. Furthermore, all coursework is delivered asynchronously, allowing students to continue working while they earn their degrees. The admissions committee weighs each student's cumulative GPA and SAT or ACT scores when making individual decisions.

9

Southern Oregon University 

Ashland, OR

About this school

Southern Oregon University is a public liberal arts college based in the city of Ashland. Before becoming a public university, SOU was a normal school and an academy affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church. In its current form as a regional university, SOU enrolls approximately 6,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Despite its focus on Oregon learners, SOU also offers several online programs for distance students.

SOU offers an online bachelor's degree in accounting in the form of a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in accounting. Each student must complete 181 quarter credits before they graduate. Participants can graduate after four years of full-time study. Each enrollee in the accounting program chooses a concentration in either public accounting or management accounting.

Notable courses in the curriculum include business ethics, auditing, cost and management accounting, and individual taxation. The public accounting track prepares students to sit for the CPA exam. In both cases, SOU delivers all program coursework asynchronously and eschews in-person and on-campus requirements. Each applicant must complete certain high school prerequisite courses with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.

10

Bellevue University 

Bellevue, NE

About this school

Bellevue University has focused on providing education and outreach to working professional students since its inception in the 1960s. BU currently enrolls around 10,000 students, about two-thirds of whom are undergraduates. The university also offers several programs online, including an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The BS in accounting program at BU requires enrollees to complete a 127-credit curriculum before they graduate. Most students can finish the program in four years of full-time study, and learners can choose to sit for the CPA exam after they graduate. Courses include cost accounting, advanced accounting problems, accounting information systems, and income tax accounting. The program does not include any capstone or thesis requirements.

To better meet the needs of working professionals, all of the program's coursework is delivered asynchronously and online students never need to visit campus in Nebraska. The program charges all students the same per-credit tuition, no matter where they live. Active-duty military members and their spouses receive a tuition discount, and transfer applicants may bring in up to 97 approved credits when they enroll in the program.

11

Excelsior College 

Albany, NY

About this school

A private, strictly online school based out of Albany, New York, Excelsior College originally opened its doors in the 1970s. Today, Excelsior enrolls over 36,000 students, the vast majority of whom are pursuing undergraduate degrees. Excelsior offers online degrees in public service, nursing, liberal arts, health sciences, and business and technology.

Excelsior's online bachelor's degree in accounting is offered through the university's School of Business and Technology. The program's curriculum requires students to complete 120 credits. Accounting concentration courses include intermediate accounting, cost accounting, individual and corporate taxation, and auditing. As an online college, Excelsior delivers all program coursework asynchronously and does not have any in-person or on-campus requirements.

The accounting program at Excelsior is transfer friendly. A student may bring up to 117 credits with them when they enroll in the program, and the median number of credits transferred into the program is 48. The program does not list standardized test or minimum GPA admission requirements.

12

Eastern Florida State College 

Cocoa, FL

About this school

Previously known as Brevard Community College, Eastern Florida State College currently enrolls about 25,000 students on its central campus in Brevard County and online. The college primarily focuses on two-year junior college programs but also offers four-year degrees in healthcare management and business management. Students can now complete online bachelor's degrees in accounting at EFSC.

Its accounting program awards a bachelor's degree in organizational management with a focus in accounting. Students must complete 120 credits before they graduate, and most full-time enrollees manage to earn their degrees in four years. The program's curriculum includes five accounting specialization courses: cost accounting, essentials of auditing, federal income tax accounting, accounting information systems, and applied financial accounting.

Students in the accounting program at EFSC do not need to complete any capstone, thesis, in-person, or on-campus requirements. EFSC delivers all online coursework asynchronously. Candidates may apply for enrollment in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. EFSC does not list minimum GPA or standardized test score requirements for admission into the accounting program.

13

Peirce College 

Philadelphia, PA

About this school

As a private school based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Peirce College has provided an education to working professionals since its inception after the Civil War in 1865. The college originally opened its doors to provide business education to returning soldiers. The college began awarding associate degrees in 1964, bachelor's degrees in 1997, and online degrees in 2000.

The college now offers an online bachelor's degree in accounting. Each student must complete a 121-credit curriculum. Relevant courses include financial analysis, government and nonprofit accounting, taxation, and computerized accounting. Each enrollee must also complete a cumulative capstone course during their final semester. Peirce delivers coursework asynchronously and eschews in-person and on-campus requirements.

Peirce also offers a transfer-friendly admissions policy, allowing transfer applicants to bring up to 90 approved credits with them when they enroll in the accounting program. Peirce offers corporate tuition discounts to employees of certain partner companies. The program does not list any minimum GPA or standardized test requirements and advertises that its entire application process takes "about 10 minutes."

14

Dickinson State University 

Dickinson, ND

About this school

Dickinson State University originally opened as a teachers school in 1918, addressing a shortage in the rural areas in the Dakotas. Since then, DSU has expanded its scope, earning full university status in the 1980s. DSU transcends its remote location by making several of its programs available through distance learning, including an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The accounting program at DSU includes a distinct professional focus. The program meets hour and experience requirements for the Certified Management Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and Certified Internal Auditor Credentials; it also meets 128 of the 150 required Certified Public Accountant hours. The program's curriculum includes 121 required credits for graduation, and students can complete additional credits if they wish to pursue CPA certification. Most full-time students graduate in four years.

The curriculum includes classes in auditing, corporate finance, international finance, and financial statement analysis. DSU delivers all coursework asynchronously and eliminates in-person and on-campus requirements, making the program well-suited for working professionals. The curriculum also does not include any thesis, capstone, practicum, or internship requirements. The program does not list any minimum GPA or SAT/ACT requirements for admission.

15

Cameron University 

Lawton, OK

About this school

A public university based out of Lawton, Oklahoma, Cameron University originally opened its doors in 1908 as an agriculture-focused high school. Over the years, the college expanded beyond agriculture and now enrolls approximately 5,500 students. CU has also expanded its distance learning offerings and now offers an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The accounting program at CU requires each student to complete a curriculum of 124 credits. Most online students manage to complete the program in four years of full-time study. Awarding a bachelor's in accounting degree, the program's curriculum includes coursework from CU's economics, accounting, business, and mathematics departments. The program aims for flexibility and delivers all coursework asynchronously.

Online students need never visit campus or complete any in-person requirements to earn their degrees. CU does not list minimum cumulative GPA or standardized test score requirements for admission into the accounting program.

15

Northwestern Oklahoma State University 

Alva, OK

About this school

Operating its central campus out of the city of Alva, Northwestern Oklahoma State University also features satellite centers in Woodward and Enid. NWOSU began operating at the turn of the 20th century as a teachers school. As Oklahoma's population grew and the state's educational needs expanded, NWOSU expanded its disciplinary offerings. The university now offers associate and bachelor's degrees, including distance learning options.

NWOSU oversees an online bachelor's degree in accounting program that awards a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in accounting. The program's curriculum requires students to complete 121 credits. The curriculum aims to prepare graduates for entry-level accounting positions, covering topics such as financial accounting, managerial accounting, macroeconomics, and microeconomics. The program does not include any capstone or thesis requirements.

Coursework is delivered asynchronously, and this online accounting program does not feature any in-person or on-campus requirements. Each applicant must hold a cumulative high school GPA of at least 2.7, place in the top 50% of their graduating high school class, and submit ACT (minimum 20) or SAT (minimum 1020) scores.

17

Golden Gate University-San Francisco 

San Francisco, CA

About this school

A private university based in San Francisco, Golden Gate University opened its doors at the turn of the 20th century. GGU now primarily focuses on providing career-focused programs to working professionals in the fields of taxation, accounting, law, and business. The school mostly focuses on graduate degrees but does offer two bachelor's programs with eight concentrations, including an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

GGU's undergraduate accounting program awards a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in accounting. The program's curriculum consists of 123 credits, including 21 credits of accounting concentration courses. The curriculum covers cost management, federal income tax, auditing, and accounting research and communication. The program does not have any in-person, on-campus, thesis, or capstone requirements. Faculty deliver all coursework asynchronously.

GGU prides itself on catering to working professionals, and 95% of the university's students are 25 years of age or older. Furthermore, the college provides an intimate learning experience, with an average class size of 14 students. Each applicant must have a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or at least 12 previously earned college credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. As a private university, GGU charges all students in its online accounting program the same per-credit tuition rate, no matter where they live.

18

Columbus State University 

Columbus, GA

About this school

Located in western Georgia, Columbus State University is a public college overseen by the state's Board of Regents. Originally operating as a junior college in the 1950s, Columbus State has grown over the years, eventually adding a variety of bachelor's and master's degrees. Columbus State also caters to students beyond the borders of the Peach State through its slate of distance learning offerings, which includes an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The accounting program at Columbus State offers a bachelor of business administration degree. The program's curriculum aims to prepare graduates to sit for the Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant standardized examinations. The curriculum consists of 123 credits, and most students manage to earn their degrees in four years of full-time study. Courses in the curriculum include cost accounting, accounting information systems, income tax for individuals, and auditing.

The program strives for flexibility, eschewing in-person, on-campus, capstone, and thesis requirements. Columbus State delivers all coursework in this online program asynchronously. The program does not include any specific minimum GPA or standardized test admission requirements.

19

Ottawa University-Online 

Ottawa, KS

About this school

A liberal arts college in eastern Kansas that is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, Ottawa University enrolls about 4,000 students, including around 2,800 distance learners. Though OU maintains physical campuses in Ottawa and Sunrise, it primarily excels in online learning, offering a variety of distance-based programs, including an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The accounting degree at OU includes seven different concentration options: actuarial science, leadership, social enterprise management, management, global operations, finance, and entrepreneurship. The program's curriculum normally takes four years of full-time study to complete and prepares graduates for entry-level accounting positions. To that end, the curriculum covers topics such as financial analysis, problem-solving, systems analysis, and economics.

Faculty deliver all coursework asynchronously and students need not visit campus. OU extends this flexibility to its admission requirements, which do not include any minimum GPA or standardized test score thresholds. As a private college, OU charges all students the same per-credit tuition rate.

20

Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus 

Portales, NM

About this school

A public university based in the city of Portales, Eastern New Mexico University is both the largest regional university and the youngest public college in the state. ENMU is also a Hispanic-serving institution, given its high concentration of students with Latino roots. In recent years, ENMU has expanded its offerings beyond the borders of New Mexico thanks to the expansion of its distance learning programs, which now include an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The accounting program at ENMU leads to a bachelor of business administration degree. The program's curriculum consists of around 120 credits and requires approximately four years of full-time study to complete. Relevant courses in the curriculum include accounting information systems theory, income tax accounting for individuals, auditing, and cost accounting. The curriculum does not include any in-person or on-campus requirements.

The program differs from many of its peers in that it uses both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Some courses include live discussions with professors, delivered through the Collaborate platform, while others allow students to watch recorded lectures on Blackboard or Mediasite at their convenience. Online accounting students also gain access to ENMU's suite of services for distance learners, including tutoring and access to an online writing center.

21

SUNY College at Plattsburgh 

Plattsburgh, NY

About this school

A public, liberal arts-focused college named after its location in the titular city of Plattsburgh, this university enrolls nearly 6,000 students. Originally opening its doors as a teachers school, SUNY Plattsburgh now offers comprehensive bachelor's programs and a few master's offerings in a variety of fields. SUNY Plattsburgh has also expanded into distance learning and now offers an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The accounting program at SUNY Plattsburgh requires each student to complete a 120-credit curriculum. Coursework covers topics like cost accounting, accounting information systems, government and nonprofit accounting, and income tax. The program does not include any capstone or thesis requirements, but each enrollee must pass a business-related exit exam during their final semester. All of the program's coursework is delivered asynchronously without any on-campus requirements.

Graduates of the program boast a higher pass rate on the Certified Professional Accountant exam than the national average. Online students in the accounting program can access the university's accounting lab and take advantage of a strong partnership with IBM, where many SUNY Plattsburgh accounting students complete internships or find jobs after they graduate.

22

West Virginia State University 

Institute, WV

About this school

A historically black public university based just outside of Charleston, West Virginia State University opened its doors in the 1890s. Today, WVSU holds membership in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and enrolls nearly 4,000 undergraduate students. WVSU maintains a small, focused collection of online programs, including an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The accounting program at WVSU requires each enrollee to complete 120 credits. Most full-time learners who enroll in the program as first-year students complete the program in four years. However, WVSU offers plenty of flexibility, allowing students to transfer in as many as 72 credits. As such, some students can earn their degrees in two years of full-time study. Coursework is delivered asynchronously and there are no on-campus or in-person requirements.

Notable coursework in the program's accounting concentration includes classes in personal income tax procedure, cost accounting, auditing, and advanced accounting. The curriculum does not include any thesis or capstone courses. Each applicant must have a cumulative high school GPA of at least 3.0 and submit ACT (minimum composite score of 18) or SAT (minimum composite score of 870) scores.

23

Clayton State University 

Morrow, GA

About this school

Based out of the city of Morrow, Georgia, Clayton State University primarily serves the population in and around the Atlanta metropolitan area. Originally beginning operations as a junior college, CSU began awarding four-year degrees in the 1980s. Clayton State now enrolls over 7,000 students and offers programs in health, information, and mathematical sciences; arts and sciences; and business. CSU also offers several of its programs through distance learning, including an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The university's accounting program requires each student to complete 120 credits, which generally takes four years of full-time study. Professionally relevant courses include managerial cost accounting, taxation of individuals, accounting information systems, and auditing and assurance services. Each enrollee can also complete a capstone course in management during their final semester. CSU delivers all online coursework asynchronously, and online students never need to visit campus.

The program's curriculum does not include an internship, but CSU highly recommends that students complete one to prepare themselves for the professional world. Candidates may apply for admission into the accounting program for the fall, spring, or summer semester. All applicants to the program must submit either SAT or ACT scores.

23

Texas State University 

San Marcos, TX

About this school

A public, research-focused university based out of the city of San Marcos, Texas State University began operations in 1903 as a teachers school. The university has grown over the years and now serves as the flagship university in the Texas State University System, enrolling around 38,000 students. Some of those learners enroll at Texas State through distance learning. The college offers several online programs, including an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The accounting program at Texas State awards a bachelor of business administration degree with a major in accounting. Full-time students can graduate in four years. Accounting-specific courses include survey of auditing, survey of taxation, governmental and nonprofit accounting, and accounting information systems. Each student also completes a capstone course in management during their last semester.

Texas State delivers all of the accounting program's online coursework asynchronously and does not make online students visit campus or complete any in-person requirements. Students interested in pursuing an MBA degree in accounting can pursue an integrated five-year BBA/MBA program at Texas State.

25

Metropolitan State University of Denver 

Denver, CO

About this school

Metropolitan State University shares a downtown Auraria Campus with the Community College of Denver and the University of Colorado Denver. The college opened as an "opportunity school," serving as an alternative education option to make higher education more accessible to all types of learners. Distance learning serves as a natural extension of the college's mission. MSU Denver now offers an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

The university's accounting program allows students to earn their degrees either through asynchronous coursework without any in-person requirements. Alternatively, students can opt for a blended learning format. Most full-time students can complete the program in four years. The program's major curriculum consists of 24 credits and includes courses such as cost accounting, income tax, auditing, and volunteer income tax assistance. Faculty deliver all online coursework asynchronously.

Applicants to the program who are younger than 20 years old must submit ACT or SAT scores, although MSU Denver does not list a minimum GPA threshold for applicants. In-state distance learners receive a discount on tuition.

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End of list, bravo!

The Advantages of an Accounting Education

While earning an associate degree in accounting may seem attractive due to its relatively lower commitment and cost, an online bachelor's degree in accounting offers a better return on the student's investment. An associate degree covers basic principles of the field and entry-level statistics, which leads to paraprofessional roles, such as accounting clerk or bookkeeper. These roles only focus on daily financial transactions. Furthermore, the BLS projects that demand for paraprofessional accounting roles should decrease by 1% by 2026.

An online bachelor's degree in accounting provides more job security. Bachelor's programs explore advanced topics in financial statement analysis. Developing a broader skill set allows professionals to take on more responsibility. Advanced and in-demand skills also lead to promotion opportunities that associate degree-holders cannot access.


Average Salary by Degree Level

Degree Level Average Salary
Associate Degree in Accounting $50,000
Bachelor's Degree in Accounting $69,000

Source: PayScale

Accounting Degree Salary Information

Organizations value accountants who can improve financial efficiency and guarantee accuracy. Graduates with an accounting bachelor's degree online gain access to multiple career opportunities in the public, governmental, and nonprofit sectors. Additionally, the field allows professionals to focus on financial or managerial accounting. The best accountants possess elite organizational skills, pay close attention to detail, value privacy, and communicate effectively.

Below, you can find information about five common career paths for graduates with a bachelor's in accounting.

Auditors
Auditors ensure the accuracy of business records. These professionals either work for an organization or work independently as consultants. Auditors may need to collaborate with teams or work individually. Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree in accounting to qualify for this role.
Chief Financial Officer
Chief financial officers manage the monetary operations of organizations. This role also includes overseeing teams of accounting professionals and ensuring the organization complies with regulations. These professionals need strong research, computer, organizational, and communication skills.
Management Accountant
Management accountants provide financial information that supports other management staff in their decision making. The best candidates understand how to effectively communicate financial data to key stakeholders. Job duties include budgeting, cost analysis, and strategic planning. These positions require a bachelor's degree and professional certification.
Tax Accountant
Tax accountants provide tax documents for organizations and individuals. This role requires professionals to stay abreast of current tax laws. Other duties include advising clients about ways to minimize liability, changes in regulations, and new laws. Employers hire candidates who hold a bachelor's degree at minimum.
Certified Public Accountant
CPAs manage auditing, taxation, and accounting processes for organizations and individuals. These professionals can work for organizations in any industry or provide external consultant services. CPAs also conduct private audits to ensure organizations remain in compliance. Employers require candidates to hold a bachelor's degree in accounting and CPA certification.

Salary by Experience Level for Accounting Careers

Careers Entry Level
(0-12 Months)
Early Career
(1-4 Years)
Midcareer
(5-9 Years)
Experienced
(10-19 Years)
Auditors $51,000 $54,000 $63,000 $70,000
Chief Financial Officer $93,000 $98,000 $114,000 $137,000
Management Accountant $50,000 $56,000 $66,000 $67,000
Tax Accountant $51,000 $55,000 $63,000 $64,000
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) $52,000 $57,000 $69,000 $81,000

Source: PayScale

Choosing an Online Accounting Degree Program

Online learning includes multiple delivery methods. Some programs use hybrid or synchronous formats, which require in-person or real-time attendance. Others deliver all coursework asynchronously, or without any set class times. Asynchronous programs often provide better fits to students who want to keep their jobs while earning their degrees. Additionally, distance learners can typically pursue more cost effective options by identifying local colleges or universities that offer in-state tuition.

  • Program Cost: Students may qualify for grants or scholarships, which can offset school costs. However, students who cannot pay the remainder must often take loans. Identifying acceptable program costs helps learners maximize the return on their investment. Students should consider their earning potential after graduation to determine how much they can pay for their bachelor's degree.
  • Transfer Policies: While students often plan to complete their program at one school, circumstances may arise that require a transfer. Therefore, students should examine course content to determine how easily they could transfer to another school.
  • School Size and Type: Distance learners should invest time identifying what sort of environment helps them learn best. For instance, small class sizes allow students to build relationships with instructors, while large universities promote networking. Similarly, private institutions may offer different course options than state schools.
  • Program Length: On average, a bachelor's degree requires four years for completion. However, online programs offer multiple formats to meet diverse learning needs. For instance, working professionals may want to consider part-time attendance instead of full-time attendance. Some colleges also offer accelerated options, which include condensed courses and allow students to graduate sooner.
  • On-Campus Requirements: Some online programs may require that students attend an in-person orientation. Others include hybrid courses, which require periodic on-campus meetings. While digital proctoring services exist, distance learners may also need to take exams at an approved facility or on campus. Programs may also require field experiences or internships.

Accreditation for Online Accounting Degrees

At the schoolwide level, colleges and universities can pursue regional accreditation. While national accreditation covers more territory, regionally accrediting agencies focus on developing standards for specific areas of the country and retain the highest recognition. Regional accreditation demonstrates that a university and its programs have passed an examination from an independent evaluator.

While the U.S. Department of education creates and enforces educational policy, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation stands as the largest postsecondary membership organization. It oversees 3000 institutions and 60 accrediting bodies.

The six regional accrediting agencies supported by CHEA include the following:

Students should also consider specific programmatic/national accreditation, which indicates that a program's coursework provides the fundamental knowledge and skills that graduates need to succeed as accountants. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCB) accredits both business and accounting programs.

Accounting Concentrations

Accounting professionals can perform multiple functions within a firm. To prepare, accounting majors can explore concentrations that provide a competitive advantage in the job market. Students should determine their preferred career path to identify which specialty area meets their professional goals.

The list below includes five potential options.

  • Managerial Accounting:
    A concentration in managerial accounting prepares graduates to produce data for internal management, which includes evaluating budgets, assessing financial performance, and reviewing data for errors. Programs emphasize operational metrics analyzation, financial planning, cost analysis, and corporate investment decision making.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Certified Management Accountant, Corporate Controller, Accounting Manager, Financial Analyst
  • Public Accounting:
    A public accounting concentration explores auditing, consulting, and tax laws. Coursework also includes ethics, business law, economics, and strategic accounting issues. This path prepares graduates for CPA certification.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Certified Public Accountant, Tax Accountant
  • Auditing:
    A specialization in auditing focuses on advanced skills required to identify, detect, and avoid fraudulent activity in an organization's accounting. Professionals may conduct financial audits or efficiency audits. Coursework examines current issues in advanced auditing, audit risk, and corporate governance.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: External Auditor, Compliance Auditor, Government Accountant
  • Forensic Accounting:
    Students completing a concentration in forensic accounting learn how to investigate fraud and embezzlement. Programs emphasize law enforcement and analytical theories. Students also develop excellent writing skills to generate detailed reports that may appear in court cases.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Forensic Accountant, Certified Public Accountant
  • Business Administration:
    Students may combine an online bachelor's degree in accounting with a business administration concentration. This pathway examines customer service, principles of marketing, management techniques, and business law. Students also learn how to manage employees ethically.
    • Careers this concentration prepares for: Cost Estimator, Certified Public Accountant

How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Accounting?

The average bachelor's degree in accounting requires at least 120 credits. However, program lengths vary depending on students' availability and time commitment. For instance, a traditional semester-based program allows students to earn an online bachelor's degree in accounting in four years with full-time attendance. On the other hand, part-time students can take up to twice as long. While many programs offer courses in the fall and spring semesters, students may take courses in the summer to earn their degree sooner.

Online programs offer additional options. For instance, some programs offer multiple start dates throughout the year. This flexibility allows students to begin coursework immediately. Instead of 16-week semesters, some online programs offer four- or eight-week accelerated courses, which allow students to graduate more quickly. These programs often continue through the summer without extended breaks.

Courses in an Online Bachelor's in Accounting Program

  • Professional Ethics for Accountants
    In this course, students explore the importance of ethics in the accounting industry. Learners examine how ethics can lead to decision making. Learning outcomes include recognizing unethical behavior, analyzing legal issues, and applying interpersonal skills. The course uses case studies to provide students with hands-on ethical dilemmas.
  • Cost Accounting
    Cost accounting examines systems and accumulation procedures. Students learn to use data to make effective decisions and evaluate performance. This course also explores how cost-volume-profit analysis furthers organizational goals and planning.
  • Auditing Principles and Procedures
    This course focuses on developing data collection, analytical, and summarization skills. Students also learn how to examine financial statements and data. Learning outcomes include understanding audit objectives, applying analytical tools and procedures, demonstrating effective internal control methods, and making ethical decisions.
  • Accounting Information Systems
    In this course, learners examine how accounting information systems function in organizations. Students learn about internal control protocols and the basic components of expense and revenue cycles. Learning outcomes include understanding risk assessments and the importance of information technology in accounting. Students also focus on developing critical-thinking and effective decision-making skills.
  • Economic Principles
    This course introduces an economics-based approach to business challenges. Students gain analytical tools, economic concepts, and theories that help them understand how to allocate resources. This course also teaches students about the value of trade for all stakeholders and concepts of competitive supply and demand.

Paying for Your Online Accounting Bachelor's Degree Program

It's important to consider the cost of an online bachelor's degree in accounting before enrolling. Degree-seekers have several options to offset the cost of their degrees. First, students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. This form enables students to apply for financial aid from the federal government, including student loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs. Learners can also apply for private scholarships, many of which are available specifically for those earning a bachelor of accounting online.

Scholarships for Accounting Students


IMA Memorial Education Fund Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The Institute of Management Accountants offers these scholarships to students who are currently studying accounting at a regionally accredited institution. Applicants must be IMA members with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Selection is based on academic merit, recommendation letters, and a written statement.

Amount: $1,000-$2,000


NSA Scholarship Foundation

Who Can Apply: The National Society of Accountants offers financial assistance for learners who are studying accounting part time or full time at an accredited two- or four-year college or university. Applicants must already be enrolled in an accounting program and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Selection is based on academic achievement, community involvement, and financial need.

Amount: $1,000-$2,200


Striving for Greatness Accounting and Finance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: PM Business Advisors offers this scholarship to individuals studying accounting full time who plan to sit for the CPA exam within three years. Applicants need a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA and must demonstrate leadership skills.

Amount: $2,500


NABA National Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The National Association of Black Accountants offers funding to support active NABA student members who are studying accounting full time at a U.S. college or university. Applicants must be freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or first-year seniors and have a minimum overall 3.3 GPA and a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major.

Amount: $1,000-$5,000


AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The American Institute of CPAs offers this award to students who are transferring from a two-year institution to a four-year institution to complete their accounting degrees. Applicants must plan to work as CPAs. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership skills, and potential for a future career as an accountant.

Amount: $5,000

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