In this article, we present to you the top-ranked online bachelor’s degree programs in accounting. These programs prepare students to join high-paying fields as accountants, auditors, financial analysts, insurance underwriters, and more.
Do you want to learn the language of business, budgets, and finance?
If so, then you may want to consider earning an online bachelor’s in accounting degree! As an online student, you will progress through a curriculum designed to prepare you for a successful career–all while studying and attending digital lectures from anywhere with an internet connection.
After graduation, you will be instrumental in the preparation of financial statements, in effective business administration, and in efficient business finance.
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting: Worth the Investment?
There are excellent reasons to earn an online bachelor’s in accounting degree! So let’s cover some of the most notable reasons:
Diverse Job Opportunities
You have a wide range of accounting career options with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Accounting majors can become staff accountants, managerial accounting experts, tax accounting specialists, budget analysts, and financial analysts after graduation.
You’ll also have high earning potential, even with entry-level positions. And compensation packages only increase with further professional training, certification and work experience. Accountants and auditors earned a national average salary of $77,250 (May 2021).
Opportunities in Thriving Industries
You will find job opportunities in nearly all industries with an accounting degree online. Due to accounting being the language of business, virtually every industry will need bookkeepers, accountants and auditors.
Opportunities in both Private and Public Cectors
Both the public (i.e., government and its instrumentalities) and private (i.e., for-profit and nonprofit organizations) sectors need accounting professionals.
Robust Job Growth
You can look forward to a discipline that guarantees robust job growth over the next decade. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report points to a job growth for accountants and auditors by 7% (2020-2030).
Your job as accountant or auditor is among the most recession-proof occupations! During a tough economy, these professionals are vital in taking business finance into a better direction.
Translatable Skills and Specializations
You can combine an accounting career as a specialization within another field, such as law (e.g., legal accountant), taxation (e.g., tax accountant) or management (e.g., Certified Management Accountant). With courses that are similar to or applicable in undergraduate business programs, the opportunity to switch careers is also excellent.
Fulfills Prerequisites for a Master’s of Accounting Program
A Bachelor’s of Accounting sets you up to pursue a master’s degree in Accounting. A Master’s will open doors to opportunities such as the following high level jobs: lead accountants, auditing managers, and financial managers.
Accounting is a challenging discipline that involves employing many different skills. Your soft skills, particularly critical and analytical thinking and critical thinking skills, will be put to good use, both during the accounting cycle and the management phase.
You will also develop skills in leadership, communication, and organization, aside from the technical skills. These skills will be valuable assets throughout your career.
Most Common Online Accounting Degree Undergrad Concentrations
Bachelor’s in Accounting degrees often offer concentration options are available to students, each of which provide specialized accounting courses. These enable future professionals to focus on specific areas of practice in accounting for nonprofit or for-profit business operations:
Bachelor of Arts in Accounting Program
A BA in Accounting has a more liberal art-centric curriculum that allow students to pursue a minor in subject of interest.
Bachelor of Science in Accounting Degree
The more common choice, an online BS in Accounting prepares students for work in entry-level positions at the public and private sectors, and prepares students for enrollment in a master’s degree.
Bachelor of Business Administration with an Accounting Concentration
A Bachelor’s in BA program with emphasis on Accounting is suitable for online students who want to pursue management careers with a strong accounting foundation.
The job market for Accounting degree graduates is a tough one. But accounting degree programs prepare you to compete at the highest level with knowledge of financial reporting, business strategy, business law, financial planning, and accounting information systems.
This is what makes an online accounting degree worth your time and investment!
Bachelor of Accounting Online Admission Requirements and Process
Prospective students of online bachelor’s degree in accounting programs must be prepared for a selective admissions process.
The common admissions requirements include:
A high school diploma or GED equivalent with minimum cumulative GPA -OR- an associate degree in accounting or related discipline,
Standardized test scores, such as SAT and ACT, with minimum scores and within a specific time limit taken,
Letters of recommendation, usually from former teachers or professors,
Personal statement or essay according to the standards (format and content) required by the school or program,
Online students must be well-versed in the fundamentals of the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
Note that GAAP itself is an ever-changing framework of principles and practices, thus, accounting students must make efforts to stay on top of them.
Accounting students also will be required to learn about financial accounting, management accounting and forensic accounting fundamentals.
How to Speed Up Your Accounting Degree
Transfer of credits from an associate degree can reduce the time-to-completion by up to two years. Look for an accelerated bachelor’s degree program, too, if you want to earn an accounting bachelor’s degree faster.
Earning an online bachelor’s degree in accounting can be more affordable than an on-campus degree, too. Financial aid options including federal financial aid are also available for online students.
Bachelor’s in Accounting Degree Frequently Asked Questions
When earning your bachelor’s degree in accounting, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You may have the option to take classes in person or online. And if you’ve already eared your associate degree in accounting, you may be able to take an accelerated degree completion program.
How long does it take to get a bachelor’s in accounting?
Typically, at full-time status this four-year degree typically requires the completion of 120 credits.
With a bachelor’s in accounting, students will be ready to enter this high-paying field as accountants, auditors, financial analysts, insurance underwriters, and more. This degree also fulfills 120 credits of the 150 credits needed to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam, a four-part test that leads to CPA licensure. With a bachelor’s degree, you would qualify to sit for the licensure exam in some states. However, in most states, in order to become a licensed CPA, you must go on to earn your master’s degree in accounting.
If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.
No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?
If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.
In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.
Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.
Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.
As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.
In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.
Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.
If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).
While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.
The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities-educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.
Resources for Online College-Bound Students
Whether you’re just getting started on your college search, you’re looking for survival tips on your way to a bachelor’s degree, or you’re preparing for the transition into grad school, we’ve got guides, how to’s and tons of other valuable resources to keep you moving forward in your educational journey.