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Best Online Accounting Bachelor's Degree Programs

Discover where you can pursue the best accounting degrees online. Learn what these schools offer to find the one that fits your goals, and get an overview of these programs, including commonly required courses, and some careers an online accounting degree can prepare you for.

Best Schools for Online Accounting Bachelor's Programs

If you're interested in earning an accounting degree online, it's important to make sure you choose the program that best fits your financial requirements as well as your schedule. Take a look at the schools below to find some of the most affordable and flexible options for online accounting bachelor's degree programs.

1. Herzing University - Minneapolis

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
St. Louis Park, MN$14,00083%

Herzing University - Minneapolis offers an online Bachelor of Science in Accounting that can be completed in three years. This 123 credit-hour program allows students to choose between an online capstone course or an internship so they can apply what they've learned in a work environment. Herzing prides itself on ensuring its business programs are based off of what have been proven in the global market as desirable skills, so you're sure to get a quality education that will set you up for success in your future career.

2. Alaska Pacific University

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Anchorage, AK$20,76076%

Alaska Pacific University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting and Finance. The school aims to help students obtain their degree quickly through accelerated online courses led by professional faculty with real-world experience.

3. University of Alabama at Birmingham

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Birmingham, AL $8,56861%

The University of Alabama at Birmingham provides students with the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Accounting that is available in a completely online format. Students in this 120-credit hour program can also pursue a concentration in forensic accounting to build their skills in that field. This university is recipient of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, signifying its commitment to business education.

4. Maryville University of Saint Louis

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Saint Louis, MO$28,47082%

Through its online Bachelor of Science in Accounting program, Maryville University of Saint Louis seeks to prepare its students for working in accounting with an ethical and analytical approach. This program enables students to take Professional Accounting courses, offered at the graduate level, to help prepare specifically for the Certified Public Accountant exam.

5. Old Dominion University

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Norfolk, VA$10,56057%

Old Dominion University understands that sometimes students begin an undergraduate degree program on campus but are unable to complete it. As such, they offer a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting degree completion program online. In order to earn this degree, students must complete at least 30 credit hours through the school's online program. Students are still able to feel like they're getting the college experience through scheduled online meetings.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6Northern State UniversityAberdeen, SD$8,49738%
7Dickinson State UniversityDickinson, ND$6,76856%
8Washington State UniversityPullman, WA$11,58465%
9University of Sioux FallsSioux Falls, SD$18,28086%
10Oral Roberts UniversityTulsa, OK$27,72885%
11Misericordia UniversityDallas, PA$33,24085%
12University of Massachusetts - AmherstAmherst, MA$15,88771%
13University of MemphisMemphis, TN$9,31777%
14Troy UniversityTroy, AL$8,90871%
15Southern New Hampshire UniversityManchester, NH$31,13650%
16Indiana State UniversityTerre Haute, IN$9,09063%
17University of MaryBismarck, ND$18,44480%
18University of Minnesota - CrookstonCrookston, MN$11,82241%
19Northwestern State University of LouisianaNatchitoches, LA$7,92280%
20Temple UniversityPhiladelphia, PA$16,97078%
21Dakota State UniversityMadison, SD$9,27641%
22Anderson UniversityAnderson, SC$28,00091%
33Southwestern CollegeWinfield, KS$30,15062%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

How to Choose an Online Accounting Bachelor's Program

Determining that you want to pursue any degree is a big decision that takes many factors into account, but it can be even more overwhelming if you opt for an online program. You've already done half of the hard work, though, in deciding that you want to pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting. Now you need to figure out where. There are several things you should keep in mind when perusing your school and program options, including the following.

Pick the Type of Program

First and foremost, you'll want to make sure the school you're considering actually offers the accounting program you need. If you want a more generalized education that covers many facets of the business world, a program in business administration with an accounting minor could meet your desires. However, if you want a robust education that delves in-depth into the intricacies or specializations of accounting, you need to ensure the program you pursue is a bachelor's degree in accounting. Keep in mind that Bachelor in Business Administration in Accounting degrees differ somewhat in course selection from a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree.

Consider On-Campus Requirements

If pursuing an online degree is top priority, you'll need to verify that the program you're pursuing is a fully online program. Sometimes schools simply offer some online coursework instead of primarily online courses, so it's a good idea to carefully scour the program page to see if there may be any on-campus requirements. Many online programs require brief campus visits one or more times a year, so if that's impossible for you, you should look into other schools.

Determine Your Internship Desires

Many students find that internships are incredibly beneficial methods for honing skills they learn in the classroom. If you desire to have real-world work experience in the field prior to graduation, make sure the program you're considering includes at least one internship. Keep in mind that many online programs don't offer internships, since they require an in-person component, but you may be able to find a program that offers credit for an internship you can complete in your hometown.

Check For Resources For Online Students

As more and more students are opting to pursue online programs, schools are recognizing the importance of ensuring their online options come with appealing benefits. Some of these benefits include resources like career guidance, tutoring, writing assistance, and even online access to school libraries. If you have several schools you're considering, check out what they offer their online students (beyond standard course offerings). Determining the extras you can receive to assist you in your studies could set one program apart from the others.

Online Accounting Bachelor's Degree Program Overview

Since accounting coursework typically doesn't require lab work or other on-campus needs, online accounting bachelor's degree programs are often fairly similar. These programs usually consist of online courses, some requiring regular class meetings while others offering asynchronous video lectures, allowing you to complete coursework whenever it's convenient for you.

Program Length

Like most standard bachelor's degree programs, online accounting programs typically require around 120 credit hours of coursework. Depending on how heavy a course load you opt to take on, these programs can routinely be completed within 3-4 years of study.

Common Courses

Online accounting bachelor's programs usually consist of courses in general education topics, business, and accounting.

Business Core Courses

Often, accounting programs require some general business courses to help students gain a fundamental understanding of how accounting works in the world of business before they focus specifically on accounting topics. The business-focused courses can include those similar to:

  • Business Communications: This course delves into the intricacies of communication in the business world, including communication between departments in businesses, like human resources, marketing, and operations.
  • Business Law: A business law course is meant to explain the legal issues that impact businesses in their decision-making processes. Often ethical issues are discussed.
  • Marketing: Most business-related programs require at least one specialized course in each standard business realm, like marketing, finance, or accounting. A marketing class is focused on explaining the process of marketing in the business world, including pricing, strategic planning, and global marketing.

Accounting Core Courses

When it comes to the accounting classes, students typically are required to study many accounting-related topics, including the following:

  • Taxation courses explain income taxes for individuals and small businesses, a common responsibility for those who decide to pursue a career as a Certified Public Accountant.
  • Principles of accounting courses outline all about the basics of accounting, including internal reporting, analyses of cash flow statements, and more.
  • Financial accounting courses teach students how to deal with inventories, liabilities, assets, estates, trusts, and bankruptcy.

Specializations

Students who pursue an online bachelor's degree in accounting may sometimes have the option to complete a concentration or specialization in one of several different topics that relate to accounting in various ways. Typically to earn a specialization, students just need to complete 2-6 specific courses as required by the program.

Forensic Accounting is one of the most common accounting specializations. Studies in this field aim to teach students how to deal with and hopefully prevent fraud in businesses and organizations.

Financial Management focuses on information relevant to those who aspire to be financial analysts or business owners. In this program, students take courses in financial risk and management so they can better understand the finance realm as it relates to budgets, financial analysis, and more.

An investments and institutions specialization relates to the banking aspects of accounting. Accounting students who want to pursue work as a financial planner or in a credit union, bank, or other financial institution will be well prepared by studying this field. In addition to standard accounting major classes, students study topics like financial risk, portfolio management and sales and trading.

Tax accountancy is a field for those who are interested in dealing with taxes in the business world. Students who opt to pursue this concentration will be well-versed in tax law and its impact on business.

Cost of an Online Accounting Bachelor's Degree Program

Online Program Costs

When considering an online degree of any type, it's important to remember that although you won't have to pay for room and board on-campus, you still have those costs off-campus. There are also other costs. You may need to provide your own computer (though some schools issue laptops to students), and you'll need to pay for your own internet connection. Some schools have separate tuition rates or fees for online students. However, with a self-paced program, you are better positioned to spread those costs out more conveniently.

Online Accounting Program Costs

The cost of a bachelor's degree in accounting online can range widely, depending on many factors, including whether the school is private or public and the amount of credits specifically required, especially if you transfer credits into your program. In general, though, accounting bachelor's degrees can range from around $9,000 to over $30,000 annually. There are many ways to bring this cost down, though, including financial aid and scholarships.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

As a college student, you likely recognize the importance of a good deal and the significance of receiving any financial help for which you may qualify. When choosing your school, be sure to check on their financial aid packages, since this can be a huge benefit to you when it comes to paying for school. Your first step should be to complete the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what types of federal financial aid you qualify for.

You can also look into student loans, including the following:

  • Federal District Subsidized Loan: a needs-based loan
  • Federal District Unsubsidized Loan: a loan not based on financial needs

There are also many scholarship options available at schools throughout the country, many of which are accessible to online students. Scholarships offered specifically by the school vary in amount and requirements, but you can find some based on demographic, major, program, and school. Some of your options can include:

  • National Society for Accountants Scholarship: The NSA Scholarship Foundation is specifically focused on helping accounting majors pay for college. There are a wide variety of awards available, including the Herbert H. Landy Award and Harry Roman Award, both of which offer students $2,000.
  • UNCF Undergraduate Scholarship Program: This organization offers scholarships to students at Historically Black Colleges, with options including the William Wrigley Foundation Scholarship, which is geared toward undergraduate students in any of several majors, including accounting, and awards up to $5,000.
  • Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting Scholarship: There are several scholarship options available through this institution for undergraduate accounting students, including the Women in Need scholarship that awards $16,000 over four years to women who are the primary means of financial support for their families.

Career Options with an Online Accounting Bachelor's Degree

While most people typically assume those with a bachelor's degree in accounting will become accountants, there are actually quite a few careers for which graduates are well prepared. Check out some brief overviews of some of the most common careers accounting degree graduates can pursue.

Accountants

Accountants are responsible for preparing tax documents, managing financial documents, and preparing reports regarding the finances of their organization. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants made a median salary of $70,500 in 2018 and are expected to see a 6% increase in jobs from 2018-2028. If you want to become a Certified Public Accountant so you can file tax reports, you'll need to complete additional coursework (often in the form of a graduate degree) and pass the CPA exam.

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts are responsible for helping their employers (whether individuals or businesses) make financial decisions regarding a wide variety of investment and spending strategies. They make these recommendations based off of financial histories, business trends, and financial statements. Financial analysts are required to have a bachelor's degree, often in accounting, and can expect a median salary of $85,660, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, and a job outlook of 6% from 2018-2028.

Financial Managers

Financial managers are responsible for a range of components regarding business finances. They supervise financial department employees, review financial reports, study trends in the markets to help make financial decisions, and complete financial statements. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial managers typically have a bachelor's degree in a business field like accounting, made a median salary of $127,990 in 2018 and are expected to enjoy job growth of 16% between 2018-2028.

Certifications for Accounting Degrees

Certification requirements vary depending on the career you decide to pursue after completing your accounting bachelor's degree online. If you opt to pursue a career as an accountant, you will not technically need a certification, although if you wish to work as an accountant who files tax reports, you will need to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). To become a CPA, you typically must have 150 credit hours (which usually means completion of a master's program) and pass the CPA exam.

If you choose to pursue another accounting-related career, like as a financial analyst or manager, certification is not typically required, but may be beneficial in furthering career prospects and advancement opportunities. Some of the other accounting and accounting-related certification options include:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst: To become a CFA, you must pass the CFA exam, submit reference letters, complete required work experience, and apply for CFA Institute membership.
  • Certified Internal Auditor: To acquire this certification, you must have at least an associate's degree, submit a character reference form signed by a reference, complete two years of work experience, and pass the exam.
  • Certified Management Accountant: Applicants must hold a bachelor's in accounting, have worked in the field for two years, and pass the two-part exam within three years.

Professional Organizations for Accounting Degrees

There are numerous professional organizations which accountants and other accounting-related employees can join. Here is just a small sampling of some of the groups available.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

The AICPA is the largest association of certified public accountants in the world. Through annual conferences, resources, and discounts, this organization seeks to help its over 400,000 members succeed in their careers as accountants. To join, you must abide by their code of conduct and bylaws, complete 120 hours of continuing education every three years, and be subject to peer review.

The American Accounting Association

Priding itself on being the premiere accounting organization in academia, the American Accounting Association puts its focus on research, journals, and collaboration geared toward innovation. This group hosts numerous meetings throughout the year, including several conferences related to different fields within accounting. Membership options vary depending on whether you're a student, teacher, or practicing accountant, and includes access to journals, a career resource, and more.

Professional Association of Small Business Accountants

As a member of the Professional Association of Small Business Accountants, you'll have access to several annual meetings, a mentor program, training seminars, networking opportunities, and an online business forum. Membership in PASBA is typically for small accounting firm owners. To join the organization, you must be an accountant, complete the membership application and submit dues.