Students pursuing online accounting degrees can graduate into a job market with a variety of opportunities across many industries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a increase in demand for all types of accounting positions, projecting a 6% rise across the nation from 2018-2028, on pace with the national average for all occupations. As of May 2018, accountants earned an annual mean wage of $70,500.
Updated each year to account for rapid changes in the industry, the school rankings below include the top affordable online accounting programs for 2020.
The Top 10 Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2020
|Rank||School||Cost Per Credit Hour|
|1||Fort Hays State University||$213|
|2||Western Governors University||$240|
|3||American Public University System||$270|
|4||University of Northwestern Ohio||$275|
|5||Athens State University||$284|
|6||West Virginia State University||$301|
|8||Bemidji State University||$314|
|9||Southern New Hampshire University||$320|
|10||University of Massachusetts Lowell||$332|
Most Affordable Online Degrees in Accounting Programs
Fort Hays State University
Earning a BBA at FHSU prepares students for careers in the private and public sectors of accounting. This program consists of 124 total credit hours, divided between core business classes, general education, accounting classwork, and elective courses. Possible courses include cost accounting, fraud examination, ethics for accountants, and personal financial planning. Students can complete all coursework asynchronously online, with no required login times. Graduates are prepared to sit for the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam. To apply, you must submit SAT/AACT test scores and have a high school graduating GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $213
Western Governors University
WGU's BS in accounting prepares students to use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), journals, and ledgers to complete tasks involving financial liabilities and assets. Individuals enrolled in the accelerated program graduate within ten months, but part-time learners earn their degree within forty months. Students from a previously attended, accredited institution can transfer up to 38 credits. This program is available 100% online and is completed asynchronously. Upon acceptance to the program, students are assigned a program mentor to guide him or her through their education in choosing classes, internships, and providing career counseling.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $240
American Public University System
The American Public University System (APUS) is a private, online school with locations in Charleston and Manassas, Virginia. The majority of APUS students are active members or veterans of the military. These students are able to apply GI benefits toward their degree. APUS offers a fully online BS in accounting. This degree consists of 120 total credits. Most students graduates within four years, though some choose to enroll on a part-time basis and graduate in up to six years. Transfer students may submit up to 90 credits from another accredited institution.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $270
University of Northwestern Ohio
Located in Lima, Ohio, this nonprofit, private university offers a fully online BS in accounting. Students may concentrate this degree in forensic accounting or complete the CPA track – a program designed to graduate students with their CPA. Graduates from UNOH are prepared for careers as payroll accountants, certified management accountants, and financial analysts. All coursework may be completed online and all materials are available for online purchase and streaming. Students may earn this degree asynchronously or choose to form cohorts with other distance learners.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $275
Athens State University
This BS in accounting from Athens University is available both online and on-campus or as a hybrid of both. Distance courses are taught by the same faculty and follow the same curriculum as on-campus classes. Students can concentrate their degree with a specialization in forensic accounting. Graduates are prepared to sit for the CPA, the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and/or the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exam in Alabama. This program is programmatically accredited by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $284
West Virginia State University
WVU State offers a fully online BS in business administration with a concentration in accounting. This specialized curriculum focuses on problem-solving coursework to equip students with critical business knowledge and the ability to communicate in the workplace. The curriculum consists of between 102 and 112 total credit hours, divided between core business courses, elective coursework, and accounting-specific classes. Potential courses include principles of accounting, organization and management, and human resource management. Prior to graduation, all students must complete a senior business seminar.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $301
CCIS offers both a BA and a BS in accounting. Both programs are available online or at one of the school's campuses in Colorado, Florida, New York, Missouri, and others. Residents of these states are welcome to hybridize their program. BA and BS students can concentrate their degree in human resource management, international business, and marketing. To graduate, students complete at least 120 semester hours. Transfer students entering the BS program may submit up to 48 credits and BA students a total of 27 credit hours from another accredited institution. Most students graduate within four years, though part-time students graduate in up to six.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $305
Bemidji State University
This online BS in accounting from BSU is offered with an accelerated format that can be completed within two years. Classwork follows the same curriculum and is taught by the same faculty as on-campus programs. All course materials are available online and classes may be accessed asynchronously, though students must submit assignments in accordance to assigned deadlines. Distance learners may choose to tune in for live lectures, but it is not required. This program is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $314
Accreditation: IACBE, HCL
Southern New Hampshire University
SNHU offers a fully online, asynchronous BS in accounting. Courses run year round through six, eight-week terms, most students graduate within four years or less. The curriculum follows standards set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and graduates are prepared to sit for their CPA exam. Students may concentrate this BS degree in forensic accounting and fraud examination. This program can also be customized as a BS to MS pathway at SNHU with a curriculum that offers both undergraduate and graduate-level coursework. To apply, students must have a graduating high school GPA of 2.75 or greater. To enter the BS to MS program, students must be transferring from another accredited institution with at least 90 credits. All students will complete a capstone project prior to graduation.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $320
University of Massachusetts Lowell
This online BS in accounting prepares graduates for a career in management accounting, public accounting, auditing, and government. Students learn how to apply accounting regulations, standards, and concepts to the preparation of tax reports and financial statements. The online BS at UMass can be completed asynchronously. To graduate, students complete 120 credits of general education, accounting, and elective coursework. Transfer students may submit up to 75 credits from another accredited institution. High school applicants must provide SAT or ACT schools and have a graduating GPA of 3.0 or higher. The School of Business at UMass is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $332
SUNY Plattsburg offers an online BS in accounting. Students can access course materials from anywhere at any time and classes may be completed asynchronously. The web curriculum is the same as on-campus and is taught by the same faculty. This program prepares students for careers in government, corporate accounting, public accounting, and nonprofit organizations. SUNY Plattsburg has an excellent internship placement program, with this institution matching accounting students with well-known corporations like IBM, Abbott, Frenyea & Russel, Deloitte and PwC. Students can apply this internship experience as college credit. Transfer students from two-year colleges may submit up to 67 transfer credits while students of four-year schools can be awarded up to 84 credits.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $333
Accounting students of Clarion University can complete their BS/BA degree fully online. Coursework may be accessed at any time, but assignments must be completed by teacher-assigned deadlines. The curriculum prepares students for work in all areas of accounting and includes courses such as accounting for equities, federal taxes, and the legal environment of business. Online class sizes are kept small to ensure that the teacher to student ratio remains small and that all students receive hands-on instruction. Most students graduate within four years, but distance learners may opt to enroll part time. Post graduation, may students opt to continue their education and earn their MS in accounting at CU.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $337
Colorado State University-Global Campus
CSU Global's BS in accounting helps students understand the fundamentals of accounting and gain in-depth view of issues in organizational management. This program is fully, programmatically accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Accounting students can concentrate their degree in one of fifteen areas, such as international business, criminal forensics, and computer programming. Distance learners may complete their degree fully online. Consisting of 120 total credits, the curriculum offers classes like applying leadership principles, introduction to marketing, principles of accounting, and business taxation.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $350
University of Toledo
The online BBA in accounting from the University of Toledo prepares students to work in private or governmental accounting. The curriculum covers a range of liberal arts coursework, core business classes, and concentration-specific courses. Transfer credits are accepted from other accredited institutions are are awarded on a case-by-case basis. Graduates are prepared to sit for their CPA examination. In the state of Ohio, all aspiring accountants must complete at least 150 credit hours of accounting coursework prior to taking the CPA exam. To apply, students must have a 2.8 cumulative high school GPA and SAT/ACT scores.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $360
Saint Leo University
St. Leo's online BS in accounting provides a foundation for students looking to continue their education and become CMAs or CPAs. Out-of-state distance learners should see their state's requirements for examination, as some states require only 120 credit hours of coursework prior to examination while others require 150. Classes are offered online, on-campus, and through a blended format. The curriculum includes classes such as accounting information systems, cost accounting, and financial statement analysis. Graduates are prepared for careers as CPAs, auditors, financial analysts, and financial consultants to companies both large and small.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $360
Old Dominion University
The online BS/BA from ODU is programmatically accredited by the AACSB-International. All course materials are available online at any time, but students are required to attend regularly scheduled classes through livestream. The curriculum includes classes such as principles of accounting, microeconomics, and statistical data analysis and management sciences. This degree consists of 120 total credit hours. Transfer students from another accredited institution may submit up to 90 credits toward this BS/BA. Graduates are prepared to work as accountants, treasurers, and fraud examiners. To apply, you must have a graduating high school GPA of 2.5 or higher. ODU is partnered with the Virginia Community College system and offers guaranteed admission to accounting students who have earned their two-year degree from one of these participating schools.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $369
This private college offers an online BS in accounting that emphasizes the importance of Christian ethics. Graduates of this program are prepared to sit for their CPA examination, but may need to complete additional courses to earn the required 150-hours of study needed to become fully certified in Mississippi. This degree consists of 124 total credits divided between core business classes, Christian studies, and elective coursework. Classes include operations management, introduction to marketing, and accounting for taxes on businesses. Students are able to secure internships and accounting jobs while earning their online degree. Experience gained in the workforce may be applied for college credit.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $370
Accreditation: IACBE, SACSCOC
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Offered though the SIU College of Business, this accounting degree is available both online and on-campus. Students must complete their first two years of undergraduate study at the SIU campus, but the final two years may be completed fully online and from anywhere. The full BS in accounting program consists of 120 total credit hours and includes classes such as financial accounting, business ethics, advanced cost accounting, and the legal and social environment of business. Courses run in eight-week terms and students are encouraged to enroll in two courses per term. To apply, students must have a graduating high school GPA of at least 2.0.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $390
University of Minnesota Crookston
UMC offers an online degree in accounting to provide students with analytical and theoretical frameworks to work in governmental, public, and private accounting. The curriculum consists of 120 total credit hours. Most students graduate within four years. Students also have the option to earn their certificate of taxation concurrently with earning their BS in accounting. Graduates of this program are prepared to sit for their CPA, CMA, or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) examination. Online courses are available 24/7 and coursework may be completed asynchronously. Class sizes are kept small to ensure that each student receives hands-on instruction. Upon admission, students are assigned an academic mentor to assist him or her in navigating all four years of this program.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $395
Indiana State University
This online BS in accounting serves as preparation for individuals preparing for a career as a CPA. ISU's BS in accounting consists of 120 credits and includes courses such as accounting information systems, management and financial accounting, taxation, and nonprofit accounting. Students may concurrently complete a minor in forensic accounting, insurance and risk management, and finance. Most students graduate in four years, but part time enrollment is available to distance learners. Applicants must have a graduating high school GPA of at least 2.5. Transfer students are welcome to submit credits from another accredited institution. These credits are reviewed and awarded on a case-by-case basis.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $401
New England College
The BS in accounting from NEC is available fully online and can be completed asynchronously. All course materials, including textbooks and archived lectures, are available through the school's online learning platform.The curriculum includes classes such as management accounting, financial reporting, and financial accounting. NEC graduates are prepared for careers as CPAs, revenue agents, insurance underwriters, and financial examiners. This college is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. To apply, you must have a high school diploma and earned a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. Transfer students may submit credits from another accredited institution. These credits are evaluated and accepted on a case-by-case basis.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $405
Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Bellevue University offers a fully online BS in accounting, though students have to option to take some classes in-person. This program prepares students for an accounting career in public practice, government, nonprofit organizations, and financial institutions large and small. Students earn this degree in four years, but part time students have up to six years to finish their program. Graduates are prepared to sit for his or her CPA examination. Accounting students have the option to be placed into a relevant accounting internship. On-the-job experience may be applied as college credits. BU's BS in accounting is programmatically accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $410
Indiana Wesleyan University
Students of INDWes can earn their BS in accounting both online and on-campus at one of the school's locations in Indiana, Ohio, or Kentucky. Students can choose to hybridize this program with online and weekend/night, in-person courses. Students who opt for the online, accelerated format may earn this degree in under two years. The standard, full-time curriculum is completed in four years. Classes are available mostly asynchronously but for one weekly meeting either online with your cohort or one night per week on campus. Prior to admission to this program, students must demonstrate proficiency in business accounting or complete required prerequisite coursework. Applicants must submit their high school diploma or GED certification. Transfer students may submit of to 60 hours of credit from another accredited institution.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $432
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Upper Iowa University
Offered through Upper Iowa University's School of Business, this BS in accounting may be completed fully online, on-campus, or through a blended format. Students looking to hybridize their program can take classes on campus in Fayette and other approved education centers throughout Iowa. Online classes are completely asynchronous and run in eight-week sessions. Accelerated six-week sessions are available during summer term. The curriculum consists of 120 total credit hours and includes classes such as federal taxation, auditing, managerial cost accounting, and financial accounting. Applications are accepted year round and are reviewed on a rolling basis. To apply, you must submit your GED certification or high school diploma with a graduating GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $441
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Liberty offers a fully online BS in accounting. This nonprofit, private Christian school is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, though distance learners may attend classes from anywhere with in-state tuition. Students earn their accounting BS completely online. The curriculum includes courses such as accounting ethics, governmental and not-for-profit accounting, and international business. Most students graduate within three years, but accelerated and part-time enrollment is available. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
Cost Per Online Credit hour: $455
Making an Online Accounting Degree Affordable
What Makes an Online Program or School Affordable?
Affordable online accounting degrees allow students the freedom to work on their own schedule while also maintaining their jobs and family obligations. Low-cost online programs may also free students from the need to work while in school, allowing them to cover expenses through loans and scholarships.
Tuition rates vary widely for online accounting degrees. A 120-credit program might cost $350-$500 or more per credit, averaging about $10,500-$15,000 per semester. Prospective students should remember other costs associated with online degrees, including student fees, books and materials, and any transportation required for hybrid or in-person courses. Learners should also account for living expenses, particularly if they cannot work while pursuing their degree.
Cost shouldn't stop driven students from earning their degrees, and affordable online accounting degrees offer flexibility for students to achieve their goals. Accounting degree-holders can qualify for jobs as accountants, accounting managers, and auditors. Many financial controllers and chief financial officers also hold accounting degrees, opening doors to lucrative advancement opportunities down the line.
How You Can Make School Even More Affordable
When considering funding options for online degrees in accounting, students should first complete a FAFSA. The FAFSA qualifies students for low-interest federal loans, including subsidized loans for undergraduates with strong financial need. The FAFSA also qualifies students for federal grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities, federally funded jobs that students can obtain through their school.
Students may inquire with their school or program of choice regarding scholarship opportunities, and they should consider asking again once the semester begins in case unused scholarship funds become available. Professional organizations, local government, and private foundations can also serve as excellent sources for obtaining scholarship funds.
How to Choose an Accounting Degree Online Program
Affordability remains an important factor when considering online accounting degrees, but prospective students should also consider accreditation, program structure, and school location in their search for the right program.
Regional accreditation traditionally requires the most rigorous standards on a schoolwide level, but students considering online degrees in accounting may also inquire about programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Students should also take program structure and specific requirements into account when selecting a degree. Some programs allow part-time study, while others limit students to full-time status. Some programs run fully online, and students may wish to research whether courses run asynchronously or if they must attend live sessions. Mandatory internships, capstone projects, and thesis requirements may also serve as important factors in the decision-making process.
School location plays a vital role, as well. Some schools allow out-of-state students to pay in-state or otherwise reduced tuition rates, while others make no distinction.
Learn More About Accounting Degrees
- The Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Accounting
- The Most Affordable Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting