15 Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting 2021

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.

Recommended Online Accounting Programs

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.

Recommended Online Accounting Programs

Top 10 Affordable Online Accounting Programs 2021

Rank School Tuition
1 Maryville University $500/credit
2 Trine University $399/credit
3 Seton Hill University $639/credit
4 McKendree University $390/credit
5 Northern State University $351/credit
6 Florida Atlantic University $263/credit (in state); $782/credit (out of state)
7 Wesleyan College $448/credit
8 Gardner-Webb University $448/credit
9 Eastern New Mexico University $289/credit (in state); $374/credit (out of state)
10 University of Minnesota Crookston $402/credit
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.

15 Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Accounting Programs

Take a look at the 15 most affordable online bachelor's in accounting programs for 2021. We closely evaluated these schools using our comprehensive methodology. To understand the details of our ranking process, explore the following link.

Our Ranking Methodology

What the Best Cheap Accounting Programs Have in Common

Every college and university makes grand promises about how its curriculum and all-around experience are unique. However, the top schools for online accounting programs share four key characteristics.

  • They are accredited. Accreditation from a third party helps ensure the highest quality of education by evaluating and assessing each school's curriculum. Every school on our list holds regional accreditation, and some even boast additional business-specific accreditation. Relevant accrediting bodies include:

    • The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
    • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
    • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
    • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
    • International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
    • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

  • They offer academic excellence. The colleges and universities listed below provide superior education, marked by notable faculty, high graduation rates, and low student-to-faculty ratios. One telling sign of academic excellence is student retention rate. High student retention demonstrates that students enjoy their learning environment and value their education. For example, University of Massachusetts Amherst has a 91% first-year retention rate.

  • They are reputable. A college or university degree appears on graduates' resumes for years to come, so their institution's reputation should include impressive academics and a selective admissions process. The more reputable a school, the more selective it becomes in admission. Take Wesleyan College, for example, which accepts only 16.5% of applicants. This demonstrates that Wesleyan takes the utmost care in selecting prospective students. Each of the schools below also shows high admissions yields, impressive mean earnings from recent graduates, and selective numbers of applicants admitted.

  • They are affordable. With the cost of secondary education increasing drastically, the affordability of an online accounting degree has become incredibly important when choosing a school. Considering the overall tuition, fees, and financial aid awarded, the schools below impress with their overall affordability. For example, Seton Hill University claims that 99% of its first-year students receive aid, proving that newcomers can afford the classes.

Maryville University

Private university in St. Louis, MO, accredited by HLC and ACBSP

Even after almost 150 years of providing education in the suburbs of St. Louis, Maryville continues to grow at an astounding rate. Taking second place for the fastest-growing private university, Maryville has over 18,000 enrolled students, with more than 7,000 studying online.

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

This online program from the John E. Simon School of Business has no in-person requirements, but the degree requires the same number of credits and core classes as its on-campus counterpart.

Students take 13 core business classes covering topics like macroeconomics and the principles of marketing, plus seven professional accounting courses focused on financial reporting, auditing, and accounting theory.

These core subjects prepare students for the CPA exam, equipping graduates to work as accountants. Additional elective requirements allow students to further specialize their program of study to match their post-college goals.

Online accounting students who previously completed 75 credits with a minimum 3.25 GPA may apply for the Early Access program, taking 12 credits that can transfer to a graduate program.

Maryville's Affordability

Maryville tuition costs $500 per credit hour, plus an additional $375 service fee per semester. Applications are free. Students who apply to the Early Access program can take classes that count toward a graduate degree at a lower undergraduate tuition rate.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $500/credit
  • Required Credits: 128 credit hours
  • Program Length: 2.5 years minimum
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit an online application, official high school and/or college transcripts, and a high school diploma or GED certificate
    • GPA: 2.5 minimum (first-time students), 2.0 minimum (transfer students)
    • Cost: No cost

Trine University

Private university in Angola, IN, accredited by HLC and ACBSP

Since 1884, Trine has promoted high-quality education to prepare students for the workforce. The institution prioritizes each learner's future through active learning and holistic student development.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting Major

Given Trine's focus on preparing students for the future, the school's online accounting program includes core courses that cover concepts found on the CPA and CMA exams.

Trine's professors boast years of educational experience, having worked extensively in national and international accounting environments. Students learn the basics of accounting, including international business and income tax. Learners also take a business internship or capstone simulation to gain career experience.

This program does not require campus visits but mirrors the in-person course of study. Both programs give students all the tools — both knowledge and practice — to succeed after graduation.

Online accounting students can also prepare themselves for an MBA by completing a combined degree program. Learners in this program take up to 15 credits that count toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees.

Trine's Affordability

Tuition at Trine costs $399 per credit hour. Multiple courses offer free textbooks to help students save money. The per-credit cost decreases by almost $150 for undergraduates in active duty. Students living in Indiana may apply to receive funding for their accounting program through WorkOne.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $399/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credit hours
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit an online application, a high school transcript or GED certificate, and official college transcript if applicable
    • Cost: No cost

Seton Hill University

Private university in Greensburg, PA, accredited by MSCHE

After over 100 years of educating learners in rural Pennsylvania, Seton Hill University has made a name for itself in the Princeton Review. Founded by the Catholic group Sisters of Charity, this liberal arts school welcomes students of all backgrounds with open arms.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting - Adult Degree Program Online

This online accounting program closely reflects its brick-and-mortar counterpart. Seton Hill offers several options to accelerate the learning process and send students out into the workforce more quickly.

One such option is the FastFoward bachelor's-to-MBA program for forensic accounting and fraud examination. Students in this program can save time and money by taking overlapping courses and graduating in five years with both an MBA and a bachelor's degree. Courses are offered in short eight-week sessions.

Seton Hill's Affordability

Seton Hill's cost per credit is higher than others on this list, but overall, Seton Hill costs thousands less than surrounding universities and awards students with over $30 million in financial aid annually. 99% of students enrollees receive aid.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $639/ credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 1-4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or hybrid
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit application online or by mail. New students or transfers with fewer than 60 credits submit a GED certificate or high school transcripts. Transfer students with more than 60 credits and/or an associate degree submit college transcripts.
    • Cost: No cost

McKendree University

Private university in Lebanon, IL, accredited by HLC

Founded upon the United Methodist Church's beliefs in 1828, McKendree University has grown immensely from its early days teaching only 72 students. The institution now educates over 2,000 students but still maintains a small average class size of 14 to ensure academic excellence.

Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

Whether students want to pursue high-paying corporate jobs or work for nonprofit organizations, McK gives learners the skills they need. Students take classes such as business ethics and taxation of individuals to ensure the degree provides a well-rounded perspective on accounting.

This course only requires 120 credits to graduate, but McK gives students the opportunity to complete the 150 credit hours needed to take the CPA exam.

For students who do not want a fully online accounting degree, McK offers the same classes at its center in the Scott Air Force Base.

McK's Affordability

McK's tuition is relatively inexpensive. The school offers a number of merit-based and institutional scholarships.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $390/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit an online application, official transcripts, any letters of recommendation, and exam scores if required
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT (students with GPAs below 3.0)
    • Cost: No cost

Northern State University

Public university in Aberdeen, SD, accredited by HLC and AACSB

Northern State University aims to unleash every student's potential. For the past 120 years, the university has provided well-rounded education to its learners. Today, the institution offers 46 minors and almost 60 majors.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

NSU's School of Business offers courses that prepare students to sit for exams in bookkeeping, auditing, and accounting. The school's robust internship opportunities provide real-world experience for learners.

Classes in this program teach students about business communication, ethics, and marketing, among other subjects. Learners can also pursue an accelerated program to complete a master's and bachelor's degree in only five years.

NSU's Affordability

Given its low tuition cost, NSU is a relatively affordable option among online accounting degrees. In addition to NSU's affordable rate, 84% of its students receive financial aid. Some students pay for their studies with the WolfPACT merit-based scholarship, which covers up to $12,000 per year.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $351/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 4 years full time
  • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit online or physical application, test scores, and transcripts
    • GPA: 2.6 minimum
    • Standardized Tests: 18 minimum (ACT) or 960 minimum (SAT) for students with GPAs below 2.6
    • Cost: $20

Florida Atlantic University

Public university in Boca Raton, FL, accredited by SACSCOC and AACSB

Florida Atlantic University was established in 1961. The school enrolls 30,000 students and offers nearly 200 degree programs.

Online Bachelor of Business Administration - Accounting

FAU's online accounting program has the same requirements and structure as the in-person course of study, though admission to the distance program requires students to have completed lower-level courses prior to applying. While some other online programs are strictly remote, FAU's campus is open to online students, and the school encourages distance learners to take part in campus activities even while studying online.

The curriculum includes classes in accounting data analytics, taxation, and accounting for governmental and nonprofit agencies. FAU's business college offers students opportunities to study abroad and intern in large accounting firms.

FAU's Affordability

Like most public universities, FAU charges significantly higher tuition rates for out-of-state enrollees than it does for in-state learners. That said, 82% of the school's first-year students receive financial aid.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $263/credit (in state); $782/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years minimum
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete online application, fill out self-reported student academic record
    • GPA: 2.5 minimum
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT
    • Cost: $30

Wesleyan College

Private college in Macon, GA, accredited by SACSCOC

Wesleyan College has followed its manta "First for Women" for almost 200 years. This liberal arts college equips women with the tools they need to become leaders in their field.

Online Accounting Degree

Wesleyan's goal with the online accounting degree is to give women a well-rounded education. Apart from core accounting courses in auditing, business information systems, and cost accounting, learners study essential classes in social sciences and humanities.

As part of the required core business courses, each student studies human resources management, business ethics and society, and statistics. These may not be the first topics that come to mind when thinking about accounting, but they provide a complete education.

Thanks to this degree, the students connect their human resources skills to their accounting job and excel in leadership.

Wesleyan's Affordability

Aside from offering a free application, Wesleyan helps learners cut costs by offering a variety of grants and scholarships. These include the HOPE scholarship and the Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant. Of Wesleyan's first-year students in 2018, 81% received at least $25,000 in aid.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $448/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 4 years or less with accelerated program
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete online application and submit transcripts and test scores
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT (optional)
    • Cost: No cost

Gardner-Webb University

Private university in Boiling Springs, NC, accredited by SACSCOC

Gardner-Webb University has grown immensely over the past 100 years. The Christian institution develops skills to create community-serving leaders. Today, Gardner-Webb offers over 80 courses of study.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

The online accounting program at Gardner-Webb designed for transfer students is part of the Godbold School of Business, and students take 36 credits of professional courses. These classes include the principles of marketing and the legal environment of business. With a solid business foundation, students move on to classes covering income tax, cost accounting, and auditing.

Since Gardner-Webb aims to build up leaders, the school emphasizes the degree's business and accounting aspects, providing each student with plenty of useful skills. Enrollees learn to handle everything from research to budget analysis and audits.

Gardner-Webb's Affordability

Gardner-Webb does not change tuition price based on state residency. The school does not charge an application fee. About 40% of all undergraduate students receive loans, and 55% use grants and scholarships.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $448/credit
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit college transcripts showing 24 transferable credits, complete an online application, send transcripts
    • GPA: 2.0 minimum
    • Cost: No cost

Eastern New Mexico University

Public university in Portales, NM, accredited by HLC

Eastern New Mexico University aims to combine the values of traditional education with 21st century advancements. After 85 years, ENMU continues to push forward, seeking to become a hub for research.

Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

ENMU ensures that its online accounting students have access to the same top-notch resources as learners who study on campus. The university provides experienced faculty and in-depth career preparation for its online enrollees.

Many other accounting programs focus mainly on the CPA exam, but ENMU's online accounting program encourages students to explore their options in other areas, such as the certified internal auditor and certified fraud examiner designations.

Advisors guide the students on the correct career path, despite the remote learning method. Learners can reach out to faculty to learn more about fulfilling the 150-credit requirements for the CPA exam or pursuing an MBA.

ENMU's Affordability

ENMU waives the application fee and charges a low tuition rate. They also offer campus-based aid. Students can choose to partake in a federal or New Mexico work-study program to drastically cut the costs of the program. To further show ENMU's affordability, the university ranked in the top 10% of affordable schools in the southwestern United States.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $289/credit (in state); $374/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous and synchronous) and hybrid
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete online application, fill out FAFSA and admissions scholarship application, send transcripts and test scores
    • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT
    • Cost: No cost

University of Minnesota Crookston

Public university in Crookston, MN, accredited by HLC and ACBSP

One of five main campuses in the state, the University of Minnesota Crookston has offered excellence in education since 1966. Though part of a large university, UMC's campus is fairly small and student-focused, with 1,800 students studying both online and in person.

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Students in UMC's online accounting program receive the same quality education as those studying on campus. Starting with the basics of accounting principles and moving up to auditing, the degree's core courses give students practical preparation for any number of accounting jobs.

Graduates from this online program are equipped to work in forensic accounting, banking, governmental accounting, and auditing. With the added certificate of taxation, students can choose to work in the specific areas of payroll, farm, and estate taxes.

For students who want to take the CPA exam, UMC offers four review courses fully focused on topics that appear on the exam.

UMC's Affordability

UMC provides plenty of financial aid opportunities to incoming students. Over 90% of learners receive aid. The university offers several scholarships, including the Achievement Scholarship and the RaiseMe Scholarship. The school's work-study plan also helps mitigate costs.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $402/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete online application, pay fee, answer essay questions, submit transcripts
    • Cost: $25

Lakeland University

Private university in Plymouth, WI, accredited by HLC

Lakeland University designs its educational experience to accommodate students' needs. LU maintains centers for evening and online learning in seven U.S. cities, plus a campus in Tokyo.

Bachelor's in Accounting

Classes at LU prepare students for situations they can expect to face in the real world of accounting to ensure success after graduation. LU recognizes that learners can pursue many accounting niches, offering unique plans of study to accommodate each student's goals. For example, learners can take courses in finance and insurance if they plan to enter that field after graduation.

The accounting degree is offered completely online, but students may opt to take evening in-person classes at the Kellett School. This added flexibility gives students an opportunity for hands-on experience when it fits their schedule.

LU's Affordability

As part of the school's mission to provide quality education to students of all walks of life, LU offers multiple benefit programs for veterans and military personnel. Learners can also apply to any number of LU's scholarships, including the Trustee and Merit scholarships.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $530/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous or synchronous) and hybrid
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete online application, pay fee, send transcripts
    • GPA: 2.0 minimum
    • Standardized Tests: ACT score required for students who graduated in the past 3 years
    • Cost: $35

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Public university in Amherst, MA, accredited by NECHE

The University of Massachusetts Amherst was recently named the 26th best public school in the United States. With a growing research department and over 100 undergraduate programs, UMass Amherst is making a name for itself as a top-notch university.

Bachelor of Business Administration - Accounting

As part of the Isenberg School of Management, the online accounting degree mirrors the traditional program and prepares students for various accounting jobs, from treasurer to financial executive.

This online program leads to a bachelor's degree, and requirements for starting the program include 27 transferable credits. Motivated students looking for a new start or career change benefit the most from this program.

Since UMass Amherst's accounting bachelor's program caters to students with some academic experience, the department provides highly educated and experienced advisors with over a decade of experience to guide learners in their studies.

UMass Amherst's Affordability

In the 2019-20 academic year, UMass Amherst granted students more than $450,000 in scholarships. The university values its students' efforts and academic success and aims to reward them accordingly.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $475/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit online application, send college transcripts, review transferable courses
    • Cost: $85

University of Mary

Private university in Bismarck, ND, accredited by HLC and IACBE

University of Mary started after World War II as adults began to seek further education. Since then, Mary has become an established in-person and online institution, grounded in Benedictine beliefs.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Mary's online accounting program pushes students toward success by focusing the curriculum on elements of the CPA exam. The course comprises only 124 credits, but many individuals continue studying to reach the required 150 credits for the CPA exam.

In addition to exam preparation, the Gary Tharaldson School of Business combines the Catholic principle of servant leadership with business skills. As such, students graduate with ethical, accounting, communication, and business abilities they can apply in multiple financial areas.

This program's courses prepare students to work globally, use the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and handle professional business situations. Graduates can go on to become CPAs, comptrollers, financial analysts, and accounting clerks.

Mary's Affordability

Mary offers several options to help online students afford their education. In addition to military and employment-based scholarships, the school awards scholarships to cover nine credits of tuition in the final semester.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $605/credit
  • Required Credits: 124 credits
  • Program Length: 3.3 years minimum
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous), hybrid, or on campus
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete online application, pay fee, submit transcripts and test scores
    • GPA: 2.0 minimum (transfer students)
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT (applicants under 21 or with fewer than 24 transferable credits)
    • Cost: $30

Colorado State University Global Campus

Public university in Fort Collins, CO, accredited by HLC

CSU-Global started less than 15 years ago, and in that short time, the online global campus has grown exponentially. Now enrolling over 18,000 students, CSU's innovative online approach to education continues to find success worldwide.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

At CSU-Global, the online accounting degree program combines skills from various fields, including economics, business law, marketing, and qualitative decision-making. The program also covers accounting essentials, such as strategic communication of data analysis and intelligence in taxation.

By pursuing 15 additional credits, students can specialize in healthcare management, criminology, fundraising, or web application development. With such variety, students can customize their accounting degree to their career goals.

CSU-Global's Affordability

CSU-Global aims to make online learning affordable and accessible through various credit options, lowering the overall cost. For example, students with prior skills and knowledge in certain areas can earn credit for their experience and avoid unnecessary payments.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $350/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
  • Admissions
    • Process: Online form, application fee, high school or college transcripts, 2 years of work experience (only for students younger than 23), test scores
    • GPA: 2.8 minimum
    • Standardized Tests: 18 minimum ACT, 980 minimum SAT, or ACCUPLACER
    • Cost: $25, no cost for veterans and service members

Misericordia University

Public university in Dallas, PA, accredited by MSCHE and IACBE

Nearly 100 years ago, 37 students began Misericordia University's long history of educational excellence. The institution still stands by its founding Catholic principles of service, offering almost 40 degree options to over 2,000 students.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

As a liberal arts school, Misericordia requires a varied foundation of courses in addition to its core accounting classes. Learners study business writing, communication skills, management, and critical thinking alongside their finance-based courses.

For those looking to continue their education and earn an MBA, Misericordia offers a fifth-year program for eligible seniors. These students can add 12 credits or fewer to their course load that count toward their BS and MBA simultaneously. Students can also participate in the Arch Accelerated program, which combines online and in-person classes.

Misericordia's Affordability

99% of Misericordia's students receive financial aid. Students receive $13,000 in grants on average from the institution.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $430/credit
  • Required Credits: 121 credits
  • Program Length: 2.5-4 years
  • Delivery Format: Hybrid or 100% online (asynchronous)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit online application, high school/college records, test scores
    • GPA: 2.5 minimum (high school) or ranked in the top half of the class, 2.0 minimum (transfer students)
    • Standardized Tests: 18 minimum (ACT); 930 (SAT, combined math and reading on or after March 5, 2016); 850 (SAT, taken before March 5, 2016); test-optional admissions review starting fall 2021
    • Cost: No cost

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

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.


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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