The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting



An accounting bachelor's is a four-year undergraduate degree designed to prepare students for a variety of careers in business and financial services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earn a median salary of $71,550 each year. Accountants also enjoy a high level of job security and job satisfaction.

Many prospective students pursue affordable accounting degrees to limit their out-of-pocket expenses, increase their return on investment, and save money for future costs associated with certification and/or graduate school. The following ranked list offers a detailed look at the best affordable online accounting degrees in the United States.

Throughout the rest of this guide, readers can further explore accounting bachelor's requirements, career options, and selection tips.

Top 10 Affordable Online Accounting Programs

Rank School Location
1 Peirce College Philadelphia, PA
2 St. Catherine University Saint Paul, MN
3 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
4 Trine University Fort Wayne, IN
5 McKendree University Lebanon, IL
6 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
7 College of St. Scholastica Duluth, MN
8 University of Charleston Charleston, WV
9 Dickinson State University Dickinson, ND
10 Regis University Denver, CO
See Detailed Rankings


What Is Accounting?

The earliest known accounting records -- used to keep track of crop and herd growth -- date back more than 7,000 years to ancient Mesopotamia. Further developments in the accounting field occurred during the Roman Empire, and in 1494, Luca Pacioli wrote a 27-page treatise on bookkeeping that would become a primary reference text for several hundred years.

Today, accounting remains an indispensable tool for individuals and businesses across the globe. Modern standards, regulations, and ethics help ensure the integrity of the field and its 1.4 million professionals. The BLS projects a 4% growth in employment of U.S. accountants and auditors between 2019 and 2029.

Aspiring accounting majors are often drawn to the field's strong job security and excellent compensation. These students typically possess strong quantitative and analytical skills.

Learners can serve their personal and professional interests by selecting one of the accounting field's many specializations, including tax accounting, forensic accounting, and personal finance planning.

The best bachelor's degrees in accounting satisfy minimum education requirements for a majority of entry-level accounting careers in firms, corporations, and government. They also set learners on the path toward graduate school and certification opportunities, which can dramatically improve employment prospects.

Why Get an Affordable Accounting Bachelor's?

Prospective students should carefully consider location, cost, and any in-person requirements before deciding to attend college remotely. However, for many learners, an affordable online accounting degree is a worthwhile investment, offering a flexible low-cost pathway to a rewarding career.

Ideal degree candidates include recent high school graduates and older working professionals. Some degree-seekers hold an associate in accounting and want a bachelor's in order to advance in the workplace. Others may be first-time college enrollees looking to start a new career.

Students enjoy a number of benefits by choosing to attend online accounting programs. They can save hundreds of dollars by avoiding campus-based fees, and flexible scheduling means learners can take classes at their own pace.

Other benefits of an affordable accounting degree include:

  • Quicker Return on Investment: In addition to reducing out-of-pocket expenses while enrolled in school, students who choose an affordable accounting degree ultimately receive a quicker return on investment after graduation. You simply do not need to work as long to recoup your college costs.
  • Job Security: Unemployment rates for accountants, auditors, and other professionals in finance typically trend much lower than the national unemployment rate. While opportunities at top accounting firms draw fierce competition, accounting graduates enjoy a high level of job security overall.
  • Path to Certification: Earning a bachelor's in accounting sets graduates on the path toward CPA certification. A bachelor's also satisfies requirements for other certification options in management accounting and internal auditing. Certification can improve employment and advancement prospects.

Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Accounting Programs

Peirce College

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Established in 1865, Peirce serves approximately 2,000 students each year. This private institution maintains regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and allows students to earn a bachelor's in accounting online.

Students can choose from fully online, hybrid, or on-campus formats. The 120-credit program includes classes like financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and statistics. Additionally, each accounting major must complete a three-credit accounting capstone course.

Prospective students apply online and submit their official transcripts for consideration. Incoming learners can receive college credit through credit-by-exam programs, portfolio assessment, and previous training and life experiences. Students can transfer up to 90 credits toward the degree.

Average Net Price of Program: $6,395
Program Website

St. Catherine University

Online Bachelor's in Accounting

St. Kate's is a private Catholic institution located in Marshall, Minnesota. Founded in 1905, the school holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and offers an affordable bachelor's in accounting.

Accounting students need to complete at least 120 semester credits. At least 48 of the last 64 semester credits must come from courses completed at St. Kate's. Degree-seekers need to maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to remain in good standing. Most enrollees complete the program in 21 months.

Required classes include financial accounting, managerial accounting, global business, and statistical analysis. Accounting students also need to create a business portfolio that illustrates the academic knowledge, life skills, and information they acquired through coursework.

Interested learners can apply online. Each applicant must submit official transcripts and a personal statement.

Average Net Price of Program: $20,157
Program Website

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Located in West Terre Haute, Indiana, SMWC is a private school that offers an affordable bachelor's in accounting program for distance and on-campus students. The Catholic school holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and enrolls approximately 1,000 students.

Students complete at least 51 credits for the major, including classes such as principles of marketing, microeconomics, individual tax preparations, and advanced financial accounting. Degree-seekers also choose from optional concentrations in entrepreneurship or professional preparation. Learners need at least 120 credits for graduation, which full-time learners usually complete in less than four years.

Prospective online accounting students must submit an online application, along with their official high school transcripts or GED certificate. SMWC encourages students to also submit optional SAT or ACT scores for consideration.

Average Net Price of Program: $16,337
Program Website

Trine University

Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting

Trine is a private university in Angola, Indiana. The school holds regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and serves approximately 4,300 students. Students can earn an online bachelor of science in business administration in accounting that comprises 120 credits.

At least 30 credits come from essential accounting courses, such as auditing, corporate finance, income tax, and cost accounting. Faculty deliver eight-week, asynchronous courses entirely online. Remote students can finish the program in one year, depending on transfer credits. Each candidate must complete an online application and submit official transcripts for consideration.

Average Net Price of Program: $14,712
Program Website

McKendree University

Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting

MCK is a private nonprofit school in Lebanon, Illinois, with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. MCK offers an online accounting degree that prepares students for full-time careers in national corporations, community organizations, local businesses, and nonprofits.

The bachelor of business administration in accounting delivers asynchronous courses entirely online. Most full-time learners take two eight-week courses at a time. Required accounting classes at MCK include taxation of individuals, auditing, business ethics, accounting information systems, and taxation of business entities.

Incoming students can transfer up to 90 credits from a regionally accredited institution toward the accounting degree. MCK only accepts courses in which students earned a grade of "C" or higher. Accounting students must maintain a 2.25 or higher GPA to graduate.

Average Net Price of Program: $19,676
Program Website

Florida Atlantic University

Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

Located in Boca Raton, FAU currently enrolls approximately 29,800 students and holds regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This public school offers an affordable accounting degree for remote and on-campus learners.

This online bachelor of business administration in accounting usually takes full-time students at least two years to complete. Enrollees can complete the program entirely online to prepare for professional careers in government and business. Required major courses include cost accounting, accounting information systems, and business law.

Degree-seekers need to complete at least 120 credits for this bachelor's degree. Online accounting students must enroll in intellectual foundation program courses and pre-business foundation courses before declaring the accounting major.

Each candidate must submit an online application, ACT or SAT scores, and high school transcripts for consideration.

Average Net Price of Program: $9,486
Program Website

College of St. Scholastica

Online Bachelor of Arts in Accounting

CSS is a private school with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. This nonprofit Catholic institution serves approximately 4,000 students through diverse undergraduate and graduate programs, including an entirely online accounting degree.

Faculty members deliver synchronous courses in an accelerated eight-week format. Required classes for the online bachelor's in accounting degree include cost accounting, auditing, advanced accounting, and principles of microeconomics. Accounting students need 128 credits to graduate. This program takes most full-time students three years or less to complete.

Each applicant must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate with a 2.0 or higher cumulative GPA. All online accounting students receive a personal academic advisor. Additionally, CSS offers distance learners remote access to tutoring, counseling, and student groups.

Average Net Price of Program: $24,007
Program Website

University of Charleston

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

UC is a private, nonprofit school located in West Virginia that offers an affordable bachelor's in accounting for distance students.

The 120-credit program includes required classes like intermediate accounting, accounting ethics, and cost accounting. Learners must also pass a comprehensive exam during their senior year.

Most full-time learners need 3-4 years to complete their degrees. This accounting program prepares students to sit for the CPA exam in West Virginia, provided they meet the 150-credit-hour education and experience requirements.

Prospective students need GPAs of at least 2.6 for consideration. Candidates can apply for the fast-track, three-year accounting program if they are 25 years old, military service members, civilians with three continuous years of work experience, or displaced workers with three years of experience.

Average Net Price of Program: $13,643
Program Website

Dickinson State University

Online Bachelor of Business Administration with a Major in Accounting

Established in 1916, DSU offers several online bachelor's degrees, including an affordable accounting degree.

This four-year bachelor of business administration with a major in accounting requires at least 121 credits for graduation. Pupils who wish to sit for the CPA exam need to complete 150 credits. Degree-seekers need to maintain a 2.25 cumulative GPA or higher to remain in good standing with the department.

In addition to general education requirements, learners complete 31 credits of accounting major core courses, like computerized accounting, cost accounting, government and nonprofit accounting, and income tax.

Applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores and official high school transcripts and possess a 2.0 or higher GPA for consideration.

Average Net Price of Program: $6,768
Program Website

Regis University

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Regis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and located in Denver, Colorado. The school serves approximately 10,100 students and holds religious affiliation with the Jesuit Catholic Church. Regis offers an affordable accounting degree for distance learners.

This bachelor of science in accounting requires at least 120 credits for graduation. In addition to required accounting classes, such as business finance, cost accounting, and income tax accounting, each degree-seeker must also complete a senior capstone project. Regis also offers diverse accounting electives, such as forensic auditing and accounting information systems.

Faculty members deliver courses online and on campus in five- or eight-week formats. Most accounting students need approximately 3.5 years to finish the program. Incoming students can transfer up to 87 credits toward the accounting degree.

Average Net Price of Program: $26,273
Program Website

University of Minnesota-Crookston

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Established in 1966, UMC is a public institution and part of the University of Minnesota system. The school enrolls approximately 1,900 students, offers an affordable accounting degree, and maintains regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.

This online bachelor of science in accounting includes classes on topics like managerial finance, income tax, principles of marketing, and business writing. Accounting bachelor's students need at least 120 credits for graduation.

Alumni typically pursue jobs in areas such as public accounting, banking, taxation, financial analysis, and finance. UMC reports that more than 93% of its students obtain employment within six months of graduation.

Average Net Price of Program: $12,135
Program Website

Concordia University-St. Paul

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

CSP is a private, nonprofit institution founded in 1893 and located in Minnesota. With regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, the university offers an affordable bachelor's in accounting for online and on-campus learners.

The accounting degree at CSP requires at least 120 credits. Students complete core classes and accounting courses such as organizational behavior, marketing principles, advanced accounting, auditing, cost accounting, and federal tax income.

Each candidate must apply online and submit official transcripts for consideration. CSP expects applicants to possess a minimum 2.0 GPA. CSP boasts that 95% of its alumni receive job offers within 12 months of graduating. Additionally, CSP graduates earn 44% more than the national average.

Average Net Price of Program: $18,591
Program Website

Bellevue University

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

BU is a private, nonprofit institution located in Nebraska. The school holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. BU offers more than 75 degrees online, including an online accounting degree.

The bachelor of science in accounting requires students to complete at least 127 credits. Distance learners develop essential skills in tax accounting, auditing, cost accounting, and financial analysis. Learners with 3.0 or higher GPAs can participate in accounting internships for hands-on training.

Candidates pursuing this affordable accounting degree must submit an online application, along with their high school transcripts. Accounting alums typically pursue careers in public practice, financial institutions, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Average Net Price of Program: $9,635
Program Website

Walsh University

Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

Walsh is a private school in North Canton, Ohio, that offers an affordable bachelor's in accounting. The school is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and holds religious affiliation with the Catholic church.

Bachelor's in accounting degree-seekers need to complete at least 124 credits to graduate. Learners need at least 12 transfer credits to take accounting major classes. In most cases, full-time students complete the program in 24 months or less, depending on their availability and transfer credits.

Required courses include management in global environments, communication in a multicultural environment, intermediate accounting, managerial accounting, and business research and analytics. Prospective students with a 2.0 or higher GPA can transfer up to 92 credits toward the degree.

Average Net Price of Program: $19,609
Program Website

Texas Woman's University

Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

TWU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and features one of the cheapest online degrees in accounting.

Students in the four-year bachelor of business administration in accounting program need to complete at least 120 credits online or on campus. Required accounting and business courses include business analytics, auditing, cost accounting, and income tax accounting. Learners need to complete 150 credits to sit for the CPA exam.

Applicants who have graduated from accredited high schools in Texas within the last two years and rank in the top 25% of their class receive automatic admission. Prospective students need at least a 2.0 GPA.

Average Net Price of Program: $9,324
Program Website

Misericordia University

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Misericordia holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Dallas, Pennsylvania, public school offers an affordable bachelor's in accounting for distance pupils.

This accelerated bachelor of science in accounting best serves incoming students with prior college credits and relevant work or life experience. Faculty members deliver courses in 7.5-week sessions. Full-time students usually take 12 credits per semester to graduate in as little as 2.5 years.

Accounting pupils need at least 120 credits for graduation. Required classes for this degree include management of human capital, business law, and quantitative methods. Each applicant must have ranked in the top 50% of their graduating class or possess a cumulative 2.5 or higher GPA. Misericordia also requires applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores.

Average Net Price of Program: $24,669
Program Website

Alaska Pacific University

Online Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration

Located in Anchorage, APU is a private, nonprofit school that offers an online accounting degree. The school is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and hosts approximately 500 students each year.

The bachelor of arts in business administration at APU prepares enrollees for careers in government, nonprofits, and business enterprises. The program also prepares students for certifications in public accounting, managerial accounting, and internal auditing. The program features an optional 12-credit concentration in nonprofit management.

Bachelor's degree-seekers need to complete at least 128 credits for graduation. Classes include business finance, survey of economics, qualitative research methods, and critical thinking for management. Prospective accounting students need to complete an online application and submit official high school transcripts for consideration.

Average Net Price of Program: $18,932
Program Website

Athens State University

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Athens State is a public school with regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This Alabama school currently enrolls approximately 3,000 students. The school allows students to earn an affordable accounting degree online.

This bachelor of science in accounting requires at least 124 credits. Classes include operations management, law for accountants, intermediate accounting, and auditing. Students can also pursue an optional minor in forensic accounting.

Incoming students can transfer up to 64 credits toward a degree. At least 25% of the degree requirements must come from classes completed at Athens State. Athens State requires applicants to possess at least 36 transferable credits with a 2.0 or higher cumulative GPA.

Average Net Price of Program: $6,060
Program Website

University of Michigan-Flint

Online Bachelor of Business Administration with a Major in Accounting

UM-Flint holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and serves approximately 7,600 students each year. The public institution offers a flexible online accounting degree.

This 120-credit bachelor of business administration in accounting program prepares undergraduates for careers in managerial, governmental, and public accounting. Learners receive training in essential areas such as auditing, income tax preparation, and financial statement analysis. Students who wish to sit for the CPA exam must complete at least 150 credits.

Online students at UM-Flint enjoy remote access to career development activities, including training in resume writing, interviewing, and business etiquette. Additionally, accounting learners can participate in a for-credit internship for real-world experience.

Prospective students must submit an online application, including SAT or ACT scores and official high school transcripts.

Average Net Price of Program: $12,519
Program Website

Bay Path University

Online Bachelor of Science in Business with a Major in Accounting

Located in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Bay Path is a private university with approximately 3,500 students. The school is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education and offers an affordable accounting degree.

This all-women online bachelor of science in business in accounting, offered through Bay Path's American Women's College, requires at least 120 credits for graduation. Remote learners complete major courses such as financial reporting, organizational development and change, communicating for business, and cost management.

Each candidate must complete an online application and participate in a phone interview. Bay Path also requires prospective students to submit official transcripts. A competitive applicant possesses a 2.0 or higher GPA. Incoming students can transfer up to 90 credits toward the degree.

Average Net Price of Program: $21,100
Program Website

Viterbo University

Online Bachelor of Business Administration with a Major in Accounting

Viterbo is a private school in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The nonprofit institution is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers an online degree-completion program for accounting students.

This affordable accounting degree requires students to complete at least 120 credits. Online students enroll in accounting courses such as legal and ethical environments of business, federal taxation, auditing, and managerial accounting.

Students must maintain a 2.5 or higher GPA to remain in good standing with the department. Learners also need to earn a "C" or higher in required major courses. At least 15 credits of business coursework must come from classes completed at Viterbo.

Interested pupils need to submit ACT or SAT scores and official transcripts for consideration. Students also need at least 16 credits of high school coursework in several foundational areas.

Average Net Price of Program: $20,721
Program Website

University of Mary

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Mary is a private, nonprofit school in Bismarck, North Dakota. The school holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and features an online accounting degree.

Students can pursue the bachelor of science in accounting fully online or in a hybrid format. Learners follow an accelerated timeline, completing the program in 3.3 years, depending on transfer credits. Graduates can work as accountants, bookkeepers, tax preparers, comptrollers, and financial analysts.

Each prospective student must submit an application, fee, and official transcripts. Candidates with less than 24 transfer credits need to submit SAT or ACT scores. All remote accounting students at Mary pay the same tuition rate regardless of their location.

Average Net Price of Program: $21,424
Program Website

Campbell University

Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

Located in Buies Creek, North Carolina, Campbell is a private, nonprofit school with regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Campbell maintains religious affiliation with the Baptist church.

The school offers more than a dozen online bachelor's programs, including a bachelor of business administration in accounting. Accounting students need at least 124 credits for graduation. Faculty members deliver courses in an accelerated eight-week format. Required accounting classes include business law, cost accounting, quantitative methods, principles of management, and philosophy of business.

Incoming students can transfer up to 64 credits toward the degree from regionally accredited schools.

Average Net Price of Program: $22,428
Program Website

Thomas Edison State University

Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting

TESU is a public school in Trenton, New Jersey. The school holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers an online bachelor of science in business administration in accounting.

This affordable accounting degree covers topics like financial accounting, auditing, financial analysis, and managerial accounting. The 120-credit degree takes about four years of full-time study to complete.

Students interested in pursuing this affordable accounting degree must possess a high school diploma or GED. They must also be 20 years of age or older unless they are active members in the United States military or possess at least 24 college credits from a regionally accredited institution.

Average Net Price of Program: $7,519
Program Website

Southern Wesleyan University

Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting

Located in Central, South Carolina, SWU is a private school with regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school offers a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

The interdisciplinary curriculum covers topics like in finance, marketing, statistics, business law, and management. Learners use Canvas to complete seven-week, self-paced courses entirely online. Degree-seekers also need to complete a comprehensive exam during their last semester. Accounting pupils at this Christian university must earn at least 120 credits for graduation.

Online students enjoy remote access to 24/7 technical support, tutoring, and office hours with professors.

Average Net Price of Program: $16,578
Program Website

Jobs for Bachelor's in Accounting Graduates

An on-campus or online accounting degree prepares graduates for a variety of entry-level careers in business and financial services. Some of the most popular options include accountants and auditors, who earn a median salary of $71,550, according to the BLS. Opportunities also exist for those interested in working as budget analysts and personal financial advisors.

While a bachelor's degree fulfills minimum education requirements for each of these roles, job candidates can improve their employment and advancement prospects by pursuing advanced education or professional certification. Many public accountants opt to earn a master's degree and CPA certification, for example.

Public Accountant

Public accountants provide a variety of accounting and consulting services for government, corporate, and individual clients. Some public accountants choose to specialize in a single area like taxation. Many pursue CPA certification, working as small business owners or as part of a larger accounting firm.


  • Required Education: At least a bachelor's degree; CPA certification requires additional education
  • Average Annual Salary: $55,200
Management Accountant

Management, managerial, or cost accountants record and analyze financial information for internal use at an organization. Common tasks include budgeting, performance evaluation, and cost planning. Management accountants may also aid an organization's financial managers in planning and selecting financial investments like stocks and bonds.


  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Average Annual Salary: $60,220
Auditor

Auditors analyze an organization's finances for mismanagement of funds, in order to identify and eliminate fraud and/or wasted money. Internal auditors audit their own employer, while external auditors audit outside companies. Tasks include reviewing financial statements, verifying assets and liabilities, and ensuring compliance with applicable regulations.


  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $71,550
Budget Analyst

Budget analysts work with managers to help organize a public or private institution's finances. Common tasks include monitoring spending, preparing budget reports, and estimating future financial needs. Budget analysts often work in federal, state, and local government; at educational institutions; and in private companies.


  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +3%
  • Median Annual Salary: $76,540
Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors advise clients on ways to meet their short- and long-term financial goals. Common areas of expertise include investments, insurance, taxes, college savings, and retirement. They help invest and monitor client funds, provide regular reports on performance, and meet with clients to make adjustments as needed.


  • Required Education: At least a bachelor's degree; graduate school can improve advancement prospects
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $87,850

What To Expect From Bachelor's in Accounting Programs

An accounting bachelor's aims to equip students with the technical and professional skills needed to complete accounting tasks, analyze information, communicate effectively, and make strategic decisions. Full-time learners can graduate in four years. Transfer students with associate degrees can graduate in two.

On-campus and online accounting programs typically require 120 credits of coursework. The curriculum combines general education, major core, and electives. Some programs offer specialization options in areas like tax accounting, forensic accounting, government accounting, or auditing.

According to U.S. News & World Report, online accounting degrees cost approximately $36,000-$100,000. Exact tuition costs vary by school type, program format, and state residency. To secure program admission, undergraduate accounting majors typically need a minimum 2.0-2.5 GPA on high school or associate degree coursework.

Admission Requirements

Admission to an accounting bachelor's program requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Schools generally require candidates to demonstrate a minimum 2.0-2.5 GPA on high school transcripts. Transfer applicants with an accounting associate degree or accounting certificate need similar course grades.

Undergraduate accounting programs rarely require explicit prerequisites, but prospective students can increase their competitiveness during the admissions process by taking advanced mathematics courses, like calculus, in high school.

Depending on the school, applicants may also need to supply letters of recommendation, personal essays, and SAT or ACT scores. Nearly all universities charge nonrefundable application fees of $45-$90. Qualified applicants can often request need-based application fee waivers.

To simplify and streamline the admissions process, consider using the Common App platform. Over 900 colleges and universities around the world accept applications through Common App. This helpful tool allows students to submit personal information and essay responses to multiple schools at once.

Degree and Concentration Options

Undergraduates can earn their bachelor's degree in accounting in a few different ways. The most popular degree types include:

Bachelor of Accountancy

The technical, specialized nature of this degree makes it one of the most popular options for accounting students. The BAcc sufficiently prepares graduates for careers in public management or government accounting, and fulfills undergraduate education requirements for CPA certification.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

This degree offers a focused study of accounting, business, and mathematics principles. Students often customize their curriculum with concentrations and electives according to their professional interests within the accounting field. The BS often requires more than 120 credits.

Bachelor of Arts in Accounting

This degree combines a broad liberal arts curriculum with a strong foundational understanding of accounting concepts and practices. Learners interested in an interdisciplinary education rather than a specialized education benefit from pursuing a BA.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

Accounting is one of several specialization options regularly available within this program, which provides instruction in business and management. It shares many similarities with a BS but often requires fewer mathematics courses.

Popular Accounting Classes

Online accounting programs consist of three primary components: general education courses, major core courses, and electives. Through a combination of lectures, class discussion, and independent research, undergraduate accounting students gain theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to excel in the workplace.

The following list provides sample course descriptions for five common and popular courses found within online accounting degree programs. Note that curriculum content may vary slightly depending on the degree type you select (BAcc, BS, BA, BBA).

  • Principles of Accounting

    Accounting students typically take principles of accounting as the first course in the major core. This survey course introduces basic accounting principles and procedures for sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. Topics include the accounting cycle, accounts receivable, inventories, cash, and payroll.

  • Business Law

    Often presented as two separate courses, students first receive an overview of the American legal system. Coursework then focuses more narrowly on specific forms of legal entities, including private corporations, limited, and general partnerships. Common topics include contract law, white-collar crime, and the liability of the professional.

  • Auditing

    This course introduces degree-seekers to auditing theory and practice according to current auditing standards and accounting principles. Coursework explores the duties and responsibilities of an auditor, auditors' legal liability, professional ethics, and the American Institute of CPAs code of professional conduct.

  • Accounting Information Systems

    Students in this course learn the fundamentals of how accounting information systems function and their role in business processes. Coursework discusses internal controls, revenue and expense cycles, and documentation techniques like flowcharting. Students gain insight into the role of information technology within the field of accounting.

  • Forensic Accounting

    This common elective course provides an introductory look at accounting fraud and the specialized field of forensic accounting. Topics include forensic examination techniques, interview techniques, and legal evidence rules relating to fraud. By examining case studies, students gain an understanding of the accountant's/auditor's roles in fraud prevention, detection, and investigation.


How Much Will a Bachelor's in Accounting Cost?

According to U.S. News & World Report, the cost for a bachelor's in accounting falls anywhere in the range of $36,000-$100,000. Let's break down where these costs come from.

The largest unavoidable college expense is tuition. Even affordable online accounting degrees typically start their tuition rates around $300 per credit. Keep your tuition costs low by attending a public school where you qualify for cheaper in-state tuition, or a private school where you qualify for a significant amount of need-based aid.

Other major costs include school fees, room and board, books, and supplies. Online college students often save money by avoiding campus fees and housing costs.

Prioritize financial aid options like grants and scholarships, which do not require repayment. If you need to take out loans, seek out low-interest, subsidized options. After graduation, government and nonprofit accountants may qualify for public service loan forgiveness.

Making Cheap Accounting Degrees Even Cheaper

Low tuition and fees make a big difference, but students looking for affordable accounting degree options often want to cut costs in other ways, too. Below, we discuss five popular ways to lower out-of-pocket college expenses. Readers should take time to evaluate their own priorities and preferences when assessing costs, as lower costs may come with some tradeoffs.

Online vs. On Campus

Although tuition costs typically remain the same for all students whether they study on campus or remotely, choosing an online accounting degree can save you money in the long term. Online students often save hundreds of dollars each semester by avoiding campus-based facilities fees, room, and board.

State Residency

If you plan to attend a public college or university, choosing a school in your home state can save you thousands of dollars. On average, nonresidents pay about $12,000 more in tuition and fees to attend a public institution, compared to state residents.

Textbooks

Between 2006 and 2016, the cost of college textbooks increased by 88%, according to the BLS Consumer Price Index. Save money on your books by renting, seeking out digital or loose-leaf formats, and purchasing used books. Note that old textbook editions may contain out-of-date information or different page numbers.

Course Credits

Rather than charging per credit, some schools charge a flat tuition fee per semester. If you do not need to pay for extra credits, consider loading up on classes to graduate faster and pay less. Of course, make sure you have the time and energy to handle additional coursework.

Commute vs. Housing

On average, an undergraduate spends $10,000-$11,000 for on-campus room and board each school year. If you currently live close to campus, you can consider commuting to save money. For many students, the price of campus-based housing is worthwhile for easy access to socializing opportunities, extracurriculars, and campus facilities.

Choosing the Right Affordable Online Accounting Degree

Prospective students looking for the cheapest online accounting degree might, understandably, consider cost one of the most important factors impacting selection. However, choosing the right school requires careful consideration of more than just tuition prices.

The most important criteria for choosing a college or university is accreditation. Regardless of its price, attending an unaccredited or insufficiently accredited school means you may not qualify for federal financial aid; your course credits may not transfer; and your degree may carry little value with employers. Accountants cannot pursue CPA certification without an accredited bachelor's degree.

Before applying to any school, make sure it holds current regional or national accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Though optional, you may also want to consider online accounting programs with specialized accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Additional factors for prospective students to consider include the school's size, student-to-faculty ratio, prestige and reputation, and student resource availability, like career and counseling services. Each of these areas can significantly impact your college experience and the overall value of your accounting program.

Why You Should Get Your Degree Online

Studying online offers one of the most efficient and affordable ways to earn your bachelor's in accounting. Every year, thousands of students take advantage of remote learning to supplement or replace a traditional onsite education. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that in fall 2018, nearly 35% of undergraduates took at least one distance learning course.

Many colleges and universities offer online accounting degrees because the curriculum lends itself well to a remote learning format. While students can participate in hands-on internships if desired, college accounting classes require no expansive campus facilities to complete.

Some benefits of studying online include flexible scheduling and cost savings, but remote learning does not fit every learner's needs. Before committing to an online accounting program, consider the following:

  • Your prospective school's technology requirements
  • Your at-home learning environment
  • Your ability to learn independently and effectively manage your time
  • Your comfort with email, chat, and discussion boards as primary methods of communication

Reach out to your prospective school's enrollment counselors or admissions advisors to learn more about online options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get a bachelor's in accounting online?
You can choose from dozens of online accounting degree programs offered by affordable colleges across the country. Studying remotely can even save you hundreds of dollars in campus-based fees.
How much does it cost to get an accounting degree online?
According to U.S. News & World Report, a bachelor's degree in accounting typically starts at approximately $300 per credit. Students may pay anywhere from $36,000-$100,000 for their degree, depending on the school they attend.
Can I become an accountant without a degree?
Becoming an accountant without a degree is extremely challenging. Most employers require accountants to hold at least a bachelor's. However, you can pursue related positions, like accounting or bookkeeping clerk, without a college education.
What kind of jobs can I get with an accounting degree?
Earning a degree in accounting prepares you for a variety of careers serving individual, corporate, or government clients. Graduates often work as public accountants, auditors, tax consultants, personal financial advisors, and budget analysts.
Can you get a CPA license without a degree?
CPA licensure requirements vary slightly by state, but every state in the U.S. requires CPA candidates to complete several college-level accounting classes and hold at least a bachelor's degree.

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