Pursuing a degree in accounting is a great investment as accounting is a lucrative field with a positive job outlook. An accounting degree can also open up many opportunities in related fields. Before you decide to pursue a career in accounting, however, you should do some research to make sure you are choosing the right field.
Below, you’ll find a list of the top 10 accredited accounting online programs. Before jumping in, let’s first explore this profession in greater detail.
Accounting: The Basics
An accountant’s work typically consists of organizing complex financial data into statements that they present to stakeholders. Stakeholders could either be individual clients or the C suite of large companies.
Contrary to popular belief, there is more to an accounting position than simply crunching numbers. Demand for accountants in the business world is big, as companies are always looking for insights derived from analyzing numbers, such as ways to cut costs, boost efficiency and increase profit. For this reason, it is important to find an accounting program that equips you with the skills you need to understand and analyze numbers and explain your findings to the client.
Customarily, aspiring accountants begin their career path by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business administration with a focus on accounting. A degree in accounting opens the door to many other professions as well. An accounting degree holder can become a financial analyst, financial planner, tax accountant, external auditor and management accountant. What’s more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 6 percent rise in employment growth for accounting degrees from 2018 to 2028, which is a similar rate to that of the job market as a whole.
Choosing an Accredited Online Accounting Degree Program
Choosing the right online accounting degree program is a big decision. Do your research to ensure your program is right for you and your career goals. Also, make sure your program is accredited and complies with national education standards.
Alternatively, you can attend an online bootcamp on accounting or a related field. A bootcamp is a short, intensive program that teaches all you need to get your foot in the door. Check out this list of the best online bootcamps to find the one that best suits your needs.
Standard courses in an accounting program include introduction to accounting, auditing, financial accounting, forensic accounting and managerial accounting. There are also electives or concentrations within the accounting major to prepare students for a more specialized career path.
Most online programs have a flexible format that allows working professionals to continue working while pursuing their degree. There are also hybrid programs, combining on-site and online courses.
Additionally, many programs accept students with transfer credits and allow them to take prior learning assessments for credit. For students with prior accounting experience, this option makes the program much more affordable. Read on to learn about the top 10 online accounting programs.
Top 10 Online Accounting Degree Programs
1. Keiser University
Based in Florida, Keiser University has 21 campuses throughout the state and boasts a large online presence. Keiser’s online bachelor’s in accounting consists of 120 credits and takes four years to finish. Students complete 60 credit hours of upper-level coursework that includes courses in taxation, finance, non-profit accounting and auditing.
All courses are administered asynchronously to provide an accessible, flexible learning experience. The accounting program is also available in Spanish.
In addition to its online programs, Keiser offers resume help, interview coaching and professional development workshops to online learners. Over 90 percent of Keiser’s recent accounting degree graduates landed accounting positions, so you can be confident that Keiser will provide you with the training and guidance you need to pursue a career in accounting.
Keiser University accepts graduating high school and military students, with tuition discounts available to active military veterans and dependents.
2. Southwestern College
Southwestern College’s online accounting degree is six-week long, with eight enrollment periods throughout the year. Students can complete their degrees much faster than they would on campus, which makes SC a great option for working professionals.
Another attractive feature is the low student to faculty ratio. There are 11 students per faculty member, with an average of 15 students per online class. Distance learners can expect the same individualized attention from professors they would have on campus. Graduates of SC’s accounting program become certified public accountants, tax examiners and auditors.
Transfer students can enroll with up to 94 credits earned in previous programs. Full-time SC students can complete the program in as little as three years.
3. Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University was established with the working professional in mind. This public institution is tailored for employed adults, offering flexible online courses that accept transfer credits and credits through examination.
TESU’s online bachelor’s in accounting targets working professionals seeking to change or advance in their career. The degree consists of 114 credits with 60 general education credits, 36 professional business credits and 18 accounting credits. Furthermore, students seeking to become certified public accountants (CPA) can easily transfer from TESU’s accounting program into a CPA and master’s program.
Full-time online students at TESU can expect to complete their degree within four years. Students entering the program with previous accounting experience can take a prior learning assessment to earn credits.
4. Maryville University
Maryville University boasts a student population hailing from all 50 states and 58 countries. Maryville is best-known for its online program, with more than half of Maryville’s 10,200 students enrolled online.
Students can choose to take some courses on campus, but the program has no in-person requirements. Required courses vary depending on whether the student plans to become a CPA. The CPA program consists of 12 credits, while the non-CPA track requires six. Upon completion of the accounting program, graduates can apply three courses towards the master’s in accounting program.
Applying for the accounting program does not require applicants to submit standardized test scores. Another perk is that students can choose from multiple start dates throughout the year, maximizing flexibility.
5. Bay Path University
Bay Path University was founded in 1897 with the goal of helping women advance in their careers. To this day, Bay Path remains an all-women university. The school offers entirely online programs as well as hybrid options.
Bay Path’s accounting curriculum has an emphasis on honing skills in accounting, statistics and leadership. As such, many of the courses include group projects that simulate real-life accounting assignments.
Bay Path’s accounting program takes under four years to complete, and the university accepts transfer credits on a case-by-case basis. Bay Path has rolling admissions, and students are notified of their application status within two days of applying. New sessions begin every six to seven weeks, so students can begin soon after they are admitted.
6. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a private institution with a focus on providing a quality liberal arts education. SMWC’s online accounting degree program only requires 51 major credits, including core courses in business and accounting. Students can also choose to add a concentration in entrepreneurship or professional prep, which adds an additional 12 credits. The professional prep concentration involves an internship requirement and prepares students for certifications as certified management accountants, certified internal auditors and certified public accountants.
Applicants to SMWC’s accounting program can submit a high school transcript, GED diploma or college transcript with no application fee.
7. Eastern New Mexico University
Eastern New Mexico University offers a bachelor’s of business administration in accounting with the option to take classes on campus, online or in a hybrid format. The online program uses Blackboard to provide students with synchronous and asynchronous course materials.
Online students have access to ENMU’s tutoring services and student resource center, among other digital resources.
8. University of Memphis
With more than 21,000 students, the University of Memphis—a public university—ranks as one of the largest schools in Tennessee. The university boasts a rapidly expanding list of online courses, including an online accounting degree. Its accredited Bachelor’s of Business Administration and Accounting program trains students for an accounting career and prepares graduates to take the CPA exam.
The program is administered in an entirely online format with a 120-credit requirement. Some noteworthy courses include cost accounting, advanced financial reporting, and accounting ethics and regulations. Students typically take four years to complete the program.
9. Saint Leo University
This Catholic University boasts a growing student body, with 13,000 students enrolled at its main campus, regional campuses and online school. Upon graduation from Saint Leo University’s online accounting degree program, students are prepared for a successful career in accounting. With the help of the school’s faculty, students have been placed into summer internships at Big Four accounting firms.
Saint Leo’s courses include cost accounting, auditing and accounting information systems. All are administered asynchronously, enhancing flexibility for distance learners.
10. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s bachelor’s degree in accounting prepares students for careers in auditing, accounting information systems and taxation. Some of the main curriculum requirements are courses in microcomputer applications, income taxes, and money and banking. All courses are administered asynchronously and last eight weeks.
Program applicants with accounting experience can earn credits through a prior learning assessment. NSU also accepts transfer credits on a case-by-case basis.
Whether you’re a working professional or an undergraduate student, an accounting degree is a great investment that opens many doors.