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25 Online Accounting Degree Programs For 2024

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that jobs in accountancy are growing by 4%, and professionals make between $41,000 and $129,000 per year.

Earning an online accounting degree can help you launch your career as an accountant. You may learn essential skills that are critical to the success of organizations. If you’re good with numbers and can keep accurate records, consider preparing for a productive career by getting a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

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Online Accounting Degrees

  • Accounting
  • Forensic Accounting

Bachelor’s in Accounting Curriculum

Earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting usually requires students to accumulate about 120 credit hours. If you already completed your associate’s degree in accounting, you’re halfway to the finish line.

Some of these credits will come from general education classes that cover subjects like math, writing, science and the humanities. The rest will focus on business and accounting topics.

The following list is representative of most accounting foundational courses:

  • Accounting Fundamentals: This introductory class will serve as the foundation for your accounting studies. You may learn about preparing reports, analyzing statements, and making business decisions.
  • Accounting Tools: You’ll become familiar with some of the software programs and other systems that accounting professionals use to keep track of financial data. There may be opportunities for hands-on practice with some of these programs.
  • Auditing: The skills you learn in this class will help you carefully review financial statements and records to affirm the integrity of an organization or catch mistakes in the documents.
  • Business Law and Ethics: This course will guide you through constructing a personal ethical framework that you can use in decision-making situations throughout your career. The local and federal regulations that govern business leadership and transactions should be influential in your choices.
  • Economics: In one or more classes, you’ll explore the topics of macroeconomics and microeconomics. Your studies will cover economic theories and the ways that they apply to real-life situations.
  • Financial Accounting: To prepare you for an accounting career, you’ll take at least one class on keeping track of an organization’s revenue and cash flow.
  • Taxation: This course will introduce you to the principles of federal taxation for businesses, individuals, and estates.
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Your school may offer the opportunity to earn a degree concentration by taking a set of classes related to a specific topic. Concentration options may include auditing, management accounting, or tax accounting.

Accounting Careers & Salaries

Earning an accounting online degree can help prepare you to take one of those positions or pursue a different line of work related to records or finances.

Careers Annual Median Salary
Financial Managers $129,890
Personal Financial Advisors $87,850
Financial Analysts $81,590
Financial Examiners $81,090
Budget Analysts $76,540
Credit Analysts $73,650
Accountants and Auditors $71,550
Cost Estimators $65,250
Tax Examiners $54,890
Bookkeeper $41,230

Many organizations need accounting professionals. With your degree in accounting, you may find work in businesses, nonprofit organizations, schools, healthcare systems or government agencies.

You may also work in an accounting firm where you assist organizations or individuals with their tax or bookkeeping needs.

Accounting Professional Organizations

You may enhance your academic or professional life by joining an industry organization. These groups bring together people from around the country who work in the accounting field.

  • American Accounting Association: AAA represents the academic side of the accounting field. The organization drives research and education and encourages accounting professionals to advance the field by sharing ideas.
  • American Institute of CPAs: AICPA represents certified public accountants by providing learning opportunities, standards for practice, advocacy, and information. The organization is also in charge of the Uniform CPA Examination.
  • National Society of Accountants: NSA’s membership is geared to those who work in small or midsize accounting firms. The organization offers professional discounts and avenues for collaboration.
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Membership benefits vary, but you may find many networking or educational opportunities when you join one of these associations. Your professional organization may offer publications, meetings, online forums and more.

Before paying dues, you may want to check whether your company has a group membership that covers all employees.

Accounting Certification and Licensure

Many accountants pursue certifications as part of their professional development. Industry-specific certifications can help garner the respect of employers and clients and may boost your career opportunities.

  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA): If you work in financial accounting or have a management role in accounting, then it’s strategic to consider CMA certification from the Institute of Management Accountants. Obtaining this credential may qualify you to move into higher leadership roles in your company’s financial department.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA): Going on to earn your master’s degree in accounting may help prepare you to take the Uniform CPA Exam and become a licensed CPA. This credential is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
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Earning these certifications will likely require you to put in additional time and effort after earning your bachelor’s degree. The process might not be easy, but it may pay off when you can promote yourself as a certified professional with advanced knowledge and skills.

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Accreditation

Always consider accreditation when searching for the best accounting schools. There are two types of accreditation to look for: regional and programmatic.

Regional accreditation is a distinction that is conferred upon colleges that meet general quality standards throughout their many programs and departments.

It is granted by approved regional accreditors; there are seven of these organizations that are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

Never settle for online accountant schools without regional accreditation.

Programmatic accreditation comes from industry-specific organizations and focuses on particular departments or programs.

The main programmatic accreditor for business and accounting schools is AACSB International. This organization’s main accreditation is given to business programs; schools may choose to pursue an additional level of accreditation that is specific to their accounting programs.

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AACSB accreditation is not essential, but many of the top accounting schools pursue this designation.

Financial Aid & Accounting Scholarships

For the cheapest online accounting degree, it’s a good idea to look into financial aid. You may qualify to receive grants or loans from the federal government.

The process of applying for government assistance begins with submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form may also help you get state grants or loans.

Government assistance often covers only a portion of college tuition. For additional help, look into private funding sources. Private loans are one option, but they often have high-interest rates. If possible, it’s a good idea to look into financial aid that you won’t have to pay back after school, such as scholarships.

The following organizations offer scholarships that are specifically for accounting for finance students.

  • AICPA/Robert Half Student Scholarship: This one-time scholarship of $10,000 is awarded to students who plan to become CPAs. Four students receive this award each year.
  • AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students: Minority students who want to pursue CPA credentials someday are encouraged to apply for this award. The scholarship is up to $5,000, and recipients may be able to renew it.
  • AICPA Transfer Scholarship: Students who are transitioning from a junior college to a bachelor’s program for their accounting degree can apply for this $5,000 scholarship.
  • Paul S. Mills Scholarship: Undergraduate students in financial fields can apply for this scholarship from the Foundation for Financial Service Professionals. 16 $1,000 awards are given each year.
  • Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship: This award from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is for students who plan to pursue careers in anti-fraud. The prizes range from $1,000 to $10,000.
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If you need additional help with paying for your accounting online degree, talk to your school’s financial aid department. The college may be able to recommend other scholarship opportunities, or the school may allow you to pay your tuition in installments.

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