Bachelor's degrees in accounting provide students with direct entry into a promising field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the accounting profession offers a median annual wage exceeding $71,000, more than $30,000 above the national average for all occupations. Learners also gain diverse business training to complement their specialized accounting skills, which qualifies them for alternate career options.
This broad training also helps professionals advance their careers and move into other business fields, for which reason accounting and other business programs attract more students than any other discipline, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Read on to learn more about accounting bachelor's degrees online and career potential for these degree-holders.
Top 10 Online Bachelor's in Accounting Programs:
|1||Regis University||Denver, CO|
|2||Trine University||Angola, IN|
|3||Concordia University||St. Paul, MN|
|4||Thomas Jefferson University||Philadelphia, PA|
|5||Misericordia University||Dallas, PA|
|6||Champlain College||Burlington, VT|
|7||Peirce College||Philadelphia, PA|
|8||DeSales University||Center Valley, PA|
|9||College of St. Scholastica||Duluth, MN|
|10||Northwood University||Midland, MI|
What Is a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting?
Accounting degrees offer several educational pathway options for students. Typical programs take four years to complete, offering training in economics and finance and qualifying graduates to become certified public accountants (CPAs). However, degree type and format can significantly alter students' educational experiences and career potential.
Depending on the school, accounting programs may lead to BS, BA, BBA, or BAcc degrees, each of which offers its own curriculum and structure. Some programs feature specializations or concentrations in subjects like international trade, taxation, and business law. These may open different career doors. Students should consider how various programs and courses might impact their career goals.
According to BLS employment data, most accountants work for individuals or businesses and specialize in bookkeeping, taxation, and payroll services. Bachelor's graduates can access other careers and industries, potentially working in management, government, or the financial industry. These professionals may become auditors, analysts, or advisors.
Best Online Bachelor's in Accounting for 2020
Students may find it difficult to choose the right program, given how many factors they must consider in the process. Learners should decide which factors mean the most to them and compare and contrast the programs and schools that meet these priorities.
To assist in that process, the following list ranks the best online accounting degrees based on some of the most important criteria. Some considerations include degree type, delivery format, and tuition prices. The list below may help students identify their ideal program or create a shortlist of potential programs.
Regis University — Denver, CO
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
The online bachelor's in accounting at Regis focuses on understanding global business and cultivates analytical, quantitative, and ethical decision-making skills. Based in Denver, Colorado, a city that enjoys about 300 sunny days annually and places second on U.S. News & World Report's list of best places to live, Regis also boasts a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and an average graduate starting salary 10% above the national average.
Accounting majors at Regis complete 120 credits, including 42-43 credits in core studies areas such as communications, humanities, sciences, and philosophy. This major also requires 24-25 credits in business and accounting fundamentals and 36 credits of intermediate accounting courses, including accounting ethics, cost accounting, business law, and a capstone.
Six credits of accounting electives allow enrollees to pursue specific interest areas, such as forensic and fraud auditing, accounting information systems, or government and nonprofit accounting. Students earn an additional 12-18 credits of optional minor electives and general electives. Learners interested in CPA licensure should complete all five accounting electives and a class in business law.
Time to degree varies, as students can take courses in standard 16-week or accelerated eight-week formats. Online enrollees pay discounted tuition rates, and Regis features a generous transfer policy that grants credit for accredited academic coursework and military or professional experience. The Anderson College of Business requires each applicant to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, college credit from regionally accredited schools, and work experience. Candidates must submit a personal statement and official transcripts.
Regis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Average Net Price: $26,273
Trine University — Angola, IN
Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting Major
Based out of Angola, Indiana, Trine Online provides a bachelor of science in business administration accounting major that emphasizes hands-on learning through internships. Students also gain training in practical software such as QuickBooks and Peachtree.
Trine's 120-credit bachelor's program provides a solid foundation in modern accounting methods and prepares enrollees to take CPA or CMA licensure exams. Since most licensure exams require an educational prerequisite of 150 semester hours, Trine also offers an additional 42 credits for learners who wish to meet this prerequisite upon graduation.
The business-related portion of the 120-credit bachelor's degree includes 35-36 business core courses, including a capstone simulation and an internship. Students also take 30 credits of accounting concentration requirements, such as income tax, auditing, accounting information systems, and advanced accounting.
Trine Online's accounting bachelor's program features accelerated, eight-week courses. Learners can complete the accounting portion of the degree in just one year. Aside from completing an internship at an approved location near their home, students can complete coursework 100% online.
Online enrollees pay discounted tuition rates. Applicants must submit official transcripts, but do not pay an application fee. Trine Online accepts up to 90 equivalent transfer credits toward this degree.
Trine is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Average Net Price: $14,712
Concordia University — Saint Paul, MN
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
This private, Lutheran, liberal arts university located in St. Paul, Minnesota, features a bachelor's in accounting that prepares learners to handle financial information, solve complex business problems, and understand industry trends. CSP graduates enjoy positive outcomes, including salaries 44% above the national average and job offers for 95% of graduates within a year of graduation.
CSP's accounting bachelor's program prepares students for CMA and CPA certification, with 58 credits in business and accounting and 62 credits in general education and elective courses. CSP's accounting bachelor's curriculum grounds learners in core business topics such as economics, marketing, business analytics, and statistics. Accounting-specific coursework includes corporate finance, managerial accounting, and cost accounting.
CSP's accelerated, blended format features both on-campus sessions and seven-week online courses. This format allows degree-seekers to benefit from both in-person networking opportunities and the convenience of online learning. Each interested applicant must submit official transcripts that demonstrate a minimum 2.0 GPA.
CSP is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Average Net Price: $18,591
Thomas Jefferson University — Philadelphia, PA
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Known for its interdisciplinary research, Jefferson offers an online bachelor's in accounting that engages students in active, collaborative, real-world learning.
Jefferson accounting students graduate well versed in core accounting fundamentals, cutting-edge accounting technologies, and government and taxation laws and regulations. Alumni possess the tools they need to join the workforce or pursue graduate study in business.
Jefferson's 120-credit program explores writing, information systems, sciences, and humanities. Students also take 21 general elective credits. Accounting majors complete 18 general education core credits, including a capstone, 21 professional education core credits, 12 relevant advanced elective credits, and 24 concentration credits in accounting. Academic advisors help students to choose electives suited to their career goals.
This fully online program allows learners to complete their required 120 bachelor's degree credits in 2-3 years by taking accelerated, eight-week courses across six terms each year. Online degree-seekers save up to $9,000 on tuition. Each applicant must submit official transcripts demonstrating a high school diploma or equivalent. Jefferson accepts some transfer credits from equivalently accredited schools.
Jefferson is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $27,846
Misericordia University — Dallas, PA
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
This private Catholic university in Dallas, Pennsylvania, boasts an online bachelor's of science in accounting program with a broad curriculum that balances technical proficiency with soft skills in communication, analysis, and critical thinking. Students also acquire skills in business writing, public speaking, and business software.
This part-time, accelerated, 121-credit bachelor's program requires 61 credits of general requirements and 60 credits of accounting-related coursework. During their first year, enrollees take 15 accounting-related credits in management, mathematics, and economics. Sophomore year involves another 15 accounting-related credits in business, accounting, and marketing courses. During the third year, students take 15 credits in international business, cost accounting, and core courses. Senior year includes finance, business law, and a six-credit internship.
To fulfill the internship requirement, degree-seekers must complete coursework and on-campus interviews with companies and accounting firms. Arranged by Misericordia staff, these interviews often lead to internships that enable on-the-job learning. Students can complete this bachelor's degree in as little as 2.5 years. Enrollees take up to 12 credits per term for up to eight terms per year.
Applicants should have satisfactory SAT or ACT scores. Candidates should also have either a 2.5 minimum GPA or rank in the top half of their high school graduating class. Transfer applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA in at least 15 college credits.
Misericordia is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $24,669
Champlain College — Burlington, VT
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
The online bachelor's in accounting offered by Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, combines technical accounting and IT skills with general problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Grounded in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' pre-certification core competency framework, Champlain's curriculum prepares enrollees for CPA certification. This program also allows students to earn academic certifications in accounting, advanced accounting, cost accounting, and forensic accounting while pursuing their degree.
Champlain's 120-credit, fully online program focuses on cultivating expertise that students can immediately apply to their workplace. Champlain allows candidates to transfer up to 90 credits from equivalent coursework completed at accredited schools.
General education requirements for this degree focus heavily on communication, economics, and math. Enrollees also complete 66 credits of business- and accounting-related professional courses, including project management, accounting information systems, and business law. This program includes an accounting capstone involving analysis, research, and recommendations regarding accounting issues at real-world job sites.
Designed for working professionals, Champlain's accelerated, 100% online program offers six seven-week terms per year. Application materials include short-answer essays, transcripts, and a professional resume.
Champlain is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $38,577
Peirce College — Philadelphia, PA
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Originally founded in 1865 as Union Business College, Peirce has educated business students for over 150 years. Peirce helps enrollees reduce their time to degree by accepting up to 90 transfer credits from prior equivalent coursework at similarly accredited schools. Learners can complete Peirce's online bachelor's programs 100% online or via a blend of online and on-campus attendance.
Peirce'sbachelor's in accounting cultivates the analytical and financial skills that students need to pursue accounting careers or graduate school. Degree-seekers learn about accounting principles, information technology, research methods, and ethics.
This 121-credit program entails 43 credits of general institutional requirements, including economics, mathematics, science, and humanities coursework. The accounting program requires 78 credits in business fundamentals such as marketing, business law, and ethical leadership. Accounting coursework includes financial and managerial accounting, taxation, and auditing. Accounting bachelor's students also complete an accounting capstone, various business and general electives, and an optional work experience.
Each applicant must submit transcripts demonstrating a high school diploma or equivalent.
Peirce is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $6,395
DeSales University — Center Valley, PA
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting & Forensic Accounting
DeSales University, a private Catholic university located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, offers an accelerated bachelor's in accounting and forensic accounting designed to increase graduates' knowledge, skills, and career marketability in accounting and related fields. Students explore how to analyze financial information, apply conceptual frameworks for financial reporting, and use financial information in business decision-making. This program also familiarizes learners with income tax law, tax planning, and auditing practices.
Candidates may transfer up to 75 credits toward completion of the 120-credit degree. The DeSales curriculum includes general education coursework in writing, physical education, cultural literacy, and modes of thinking. DeSales also requires three courses related to Christian values and theology, including a values seminar that serves as the capstone experience for the general core.
Accounting coursework covers financial and managerial accounting, business law, corporate financial reporting, and strategic cost management. Enrollees also explore federal income taxation, regulation, auditing, and forensic accounting. Each degree-seeker must complete an internship experience with an approved organization.
Qualified accounting students who plan to take the CPA examination may opt for the BS/MBA in accounting program, which typically takes 4.5 years and meets the 150-credit requirement for CPA licensure.
DeSales admits students on a rolling basis. Application materials include official transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation.
DeSales is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $28,244
College of St. Scholastica — Duluth, MN
Online Bachelor of Arts in Accounting
This private Benedictine college in Duluth, Minnesota, offers an onlinebachelor's in accounting designed to prepare students for CPA or CMA examinations. CSS features a 128-credit bachelor's degree and a 150-credit CPA track for enrollees who wish to complete all educational requirements for CPA licensure during their undergraduate degree program.
Students who have completed their associate degree at Minnesota community colleges aligned with Minnesota's transfer curriculum usually have met most of the general education requirements for a CSS bachelor's degree. Remaining required courses for this degree path cover foundational financial and managerial accounting principles, cost accounting, and economics. Degree-seekers also take courses in intermediate and advanced accounting, income tax accounting, auditing, and accounting information systems.
Depending on transfer credits and prior learning, part-time enrollees can complete this accelerated program in just 2-3 years by taking two courses at a time during each of the program's six eight-week terms. This completely online accounting program features asynchronous and synchronous elements. Virtual classroom sessions take place in the evenings via Zoom and Blackboard.
Each applicant must submit proof of a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Candidates should have a minimum GPA of 2.0.
CSS is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Average Net Price: $24,007
Northwood University — Midland, MI
Online Bachelor of Business Admnistration in Accounting
NU, a private business school located in Midland, Michigan, features an online bachelor of business administration in accounting that allows students to begin taking business management and accounting courses in their first semester. According to a 2015-2016 postgraduate survey, 78% of NU accounting graduates obtained accounting jobs within six months of graduation.
Degree-seekers interested in an MBA may opt for the dual BBA/MBA degree in accounting. This online bachelor's program boasts small class sizes and takes place entirely online. Candidates may take courses during 15-week semesters in the fall and spring, along with a 12-week summer semester. The accounting major requires 123 credits, and NU often accepts equivalent transfer credits from accredited higher education institutions.
First-year accounting students take introductory management and accounting courses in principles of management, fundamentals of managerial accounting, and principles of macroeconomics. Sophomores take courses such as intermediate accounting, statistics, and American government.
Juniors learn about federal taxation, financial management, business law, and accounting information systems. Seniors take courses in auditing, advanced accounting, global understanding, and strategic planning. Interested learners complete a three-credit, 400-hour internship with an approved employer.
Each applicant must submit evidence of a high school diploma or GED, official transcripts, and a letter of recommendation. First-year applicants also need to submit ACT or SAT scores.
NU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Average Net Price: $22,671
Bay Path University — Longmeadow, MA
Online Bachelor of Science in Business with a Major in Accounting
Bay Path, a private university in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, features an accelerated, student-centered online bachelor of science in business with a focus in accounting. The program integrates core business coursework with accounting theory and practice.
Bay Path's program often attracts working women who aspire to advance to graduate school in accounting or obtain upper-level management positions in their industry. The program also supports students in pursuing professional accounting licensure and provides practical experience through avenues such as the volunteer income tax assistance program.
The bachelor's in accounting includes 123 credits from various disciplines. Enrollees take required courses and electives in humanities, sciences, health, and leadership. Business courses include management dynamics, business law, business communications, and marketing. Accounting students also explore accounting information systems, cost management, auditing, and financial reporting.
Bay Path's innovative, award-winning social online universal learning (SOUL) system provides unique online tools and resources proven to help learners succeed. SOUL Connect helps with onboarding by connecting each student with an educator coach. SOUL data enables these coaches to monitor student progress and address issues quickly, thereby helping enrollees to keep up with Bay Path's accelerated program. SOUL also suggests learning modalities tailored to each learner and enables educators to use analytics to guide their teaching.
Program applicants must submit official transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.0 GPA, although candidates with a lower GPA sometimes gain conditional acceptance. Each candidate also participates in a phone or in-person interview.
Bay Path is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $21,100
Maryville University — Saint Louis, MO
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
A private school with Catholic origins located in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville features a 100% online bachelor's in accounting program focused on cultivating business and accounting skills relevant to today's career landscape.
Students learn fundamentals in computer hardware and software, economics, management, and communication while specializing in accounting topics such as forensic accounting, taxation, auditing, and accounting information systems. Enrollees eager to begin graduate study or earn CPA certification can gain early access to graduate-level courses.
Beyond the 60 credits of general education course requirements, Maryville's accounting majors complete 39 business core credits in topics such as digital foundations, business statistics, and operations management. All students complete a capstone in business policies. Learners also take 21 credits in accounting courses, including advanced managerial accounting, financial reporting, and accounting theory.
Depending on their track, degree-seekers may complete an additional 6-12 professional accounting course credits. Learners interested in the CPA or early access tracks complete three graduate-level courses in accounting.
First-year applicants need a high school diploma or GED certificate, a minimum 2.5 GPA, and official transcripts. Transfer applicants must possess a 2.0 minimum GPA and provide official transcripts from all higher education institutions. Transfer students with fewer than 60 credits from regionally accredited schools must provide high school transcripts.
Maryville is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Average Net Price: $26,540
Linfield College — McMinnville, OR
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
The 100% online bachelor's in accounting at Linfield in McMinnville, Oregon, serves working adults who aspire to accounting careers in public, governmental, and private sectors. Many graduates become CPAs or financial industry professionals.
Accounting majors may transfer equivalent coursework toward Linfield's required courses. Required management courses include financial management, organizational behavior and management, financial management, and strategic management. Additional major requirements include principles of economics, marketing, and business law.
Accounting majors also need to complete five of the six upper-division accounting courses required for the major. These courses cultivate knowledge and skill in topics such as advanced accounting, cost accounting, federal income tax, and auditing. Enrollees preparing for CPA licensure take additional classes in business law and government/nonprofit accounting.
Linfield's student-centered approach supports student success through online tutoring services, academic advising, and individualized counselors who inform students of application requirements on a case-by-case basis. Linfield offers three semesters annually in fall, spring, and summer.
Linfield is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Average Net Price: $29,664
St. Catherine University — Saint Paul, MN
Online Bachelor's in Accounting
Housed within the College for Adults, St. Kate's School of Business runs an online bachelor's in accounting that prioritizes ethics and teamwork. A private, Catholic, liberal arts university located in St. Paul and Minneapolis, St. Kate's focuses on foundational business and accounting skills that prepare graduates for the CPA exam.
Known for its entrepreneurial spirit, St. Kate's encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and applied learning. All accounting majors complete a supervised practicum course with practical learning at real businesses. Interested learners may take 1-2 courses offered by St. Kate's MBA or master's in organizational leadership.
Beyond general credits and prerequisite courses, this major requires 42 credits and takes 21 months to complete. Degree-seekers take foundational courses in financial, managerial, and intermediate accounting. Other topics include income tax, auditing, and advanced finance. Business courses in analytics, global business, and business law prepare accounting majors for possible management roles in the financial industry and elsewhere.
All accounting majors complete a business portfolio. This cumulative portfolio, composed primarily of assignments completed during coursework, testifies to students' qualifications and readiness for employment. Aspiring CPAs may take additional classes to meet Minnesota's 150-credit educational requirement.
Classes at the College for Adults follow a hybrid format, both online and on campus, in the evenings and on weekends. Students may enroll in fall, spring, or summer semesters. St. Kate's offers financial aid to most learners in the College for Adults.
St. Kate's is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Average Net Price: $20,157
Albertus Magnus College — New Haven, CT
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
The Tagliatela School of Business at Albertus, a private, Catholic, liberal arts college in New Haven, Connecticut, offers an online bachelor's in accounting that provides business leadership and accounting skills. As one of the first schools to incorporate the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' personal financial planning program into its accounting curriculum, Albertus offers excellent preparation for aspiring public accountants planning for the CPA exam.
The curriculum engages students through interdisciplinary perspectives, collaboration, and experiential learning. The school also boasts small class sizes, engaging professors, and research opportunities. Enrollees receive access to career counseling, networking, and internships.
The accounting major consists of 54 credits in accounting, economics, and management. Students learn business ethics, law, and communication while also completing accounting courses such as cost accounting, auditing, taxation, and corporate financial management.
Accounting majors also learn how to use business spreadsheets and computer applications in accounting. Albertus requires a field-based internship course involving 120 hours of on-site employment at an approved site.
Albertus serves working adults by offering accelerated, fully online, and hybrid versions of the accounting major. By enrolling in two eight-week classes each term, degree-seekers can earn 30 credits each year. Part-time and full-time students qualify for financial aid.
Albertus is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $24,652
Washington State University — Pullman, WA
Online Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a Major in Accounting
Located in Pullman, Washington, the Carson College of Business at WSU offers a bachelor of arts in business administration with a major in accounting that serves aspiring accountants and finance professionals.
This accounting program familiarizes students with business theory and technical skills in accounting. Graduates often become auditors, finance experts, tax specialists, or CPAs. WSU accounting majors may work in government or nonprofit sectors, along with accounting and other firms.
This 120-credit bachelor's program requires each learner to earn a 30-credit certification in their major before advancing to upper-division coursework. Acceptance typically depends on completing prerequisites in economics, business math, business law, and introductory accounting with a 2.5 minimum GPA.
Degree-seekers also complete business core coursework on topics such as operations management, marketing, and international business. Accounting requirements include cost accounting, auditing, intermediate accounting, and introduction to taxation.
Ranked among the nation's best online undergraduate programs by U.S. News & World Report, the WSU Global Campus allows students to complete coursework completely online. However, the College of Business requires each enrollee to complete a six-credit in-person international experience, such as study abroad, international internship, or a course-based experience.
WSU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Average Net Price: $17,297
Pace University — New York, NY
Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Studies: Accounting and Internal Auditing Concentration
Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Lubin School of Business at Pace features an online bachelor of business administration (BBA) in business studies with an accounting and internal auditing concentration.
Based in New York City, Lubin's BBA programs focus on data-driven decision-making and strong skill development in business disciplines. The accounting concentration examines data analytics, auditing and accounting software, and financial reporting. The program prepares degree-seekers for careers in finance, accounting, auditing, and fraud detection in diverse organizations and industries.
According to Pace University Career Services data, almost 90% of business bachelor's degree graduates are either working or continuing their education. PayScale data indicates that Pace graduates earn an average of about $80,000 annually.
Serving students with 56 or more transfer credits, the accounting concentration curriculum includes 29 credits of business core courses, including business strategy, business analytics, and financial management. Enrollees also complete a four-credit statistics requirement, a one-credit online seminar, and 23 accounting and internal auditing concentration credits. The latter entails courses on internal auditing, forensic accounting, accounting information systems, and cost accounting.
The entire degree program comprises 120 credits. Learners eligible to transfer 64 academic or prior learning credits can complete the remaining 56-64 accounting concentration credits by taking two courses per semester for three years. Enrollees without transfer credits take 63 credits in mathematics, economics, composition, and various electives.
Degree-seekers complete coursework 100% online in an asynchronous format. Pace uses experiential learning, career guidance, and flexible teaching methods to help students succeed.
Pace is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $31,923
University of Minnesota Twin Cities — Minneapolis, MN
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
The online bachelor of science in accounting at UMN cultivates the knowledge and skills necessary for performing financial reporting and other accounting duties at public, governmental, or private firms. This program boasts small class sizes and emphasizes technological literacy, ethical decision-making, communication skills, and fluency with accounting systems.
The degree features 60 accounting core credits covering accounting principles and systems, intermediate and advanced accounting, and cost accounting. Students also learn about income tax, auditing, and managerial finance. Business courses include business law and ethics, business writing, marketing, and management.
Remaining credits for this 120-credit degree consist of liberal arts education courses and electives. Candidates may transfer equivalent credits. Recommended electives for accounting majors include an internship course and four certification review courses. UMN offers CPA, CMA, and CIA certification examinations on campus for accounting students pursuing licensure.
Enrollees complete their courses on campus or in an asynchronous online format. Online learners pay in-state tuition rates. UMN offers three semesters and three possible start times annually.
UMN is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Average Net Price: $16,691
Saint Leo University — Saint Leo, FL
Online Bachelor of Arts in Accounting
Saint Leo, a private, Catholic, nonprofit university located in Florida, features an online bachelor of arts in accounting for aspiring CPAs and other financial professionals. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best regional universities in the South, Saint Leo emphasizes student coaching and mentoring. The accounting program cultivates skills in problem-solving and ethical decision-making, readying students for careers in financial management, business law, fraud examination, and accounting. This program also prepares learners for the CMA and CPA exams.
The 120-credit online bachelor's program in accounting includes 36 common body of knowledge credits, 42 university explorations credits, and 27 major requirement credits. Degree-seekers meet remaining credit requirements through electives.
Accounting major coursework examines accounting information systems, cost accounting, and international accounting. Enrollees also complete courses on financial statement analysis, federal income taxes, and auditing. Recommended electives include business law and an accounting internship.
Saint Leo accounting faculty utilize their industry connections to help students land summer internships at major accounting firms.
Applicants must submit all transcripts documenting prior college coursework. Applicants without college credit submit transcripts or other documentation indicating a high school diploma or GED certificate. Saint Leo often grants credit for prior college coursework, proficiency testing such as AP or CLEP, and professional training. Candidates may need to supply additional documentation to obtain these credits. Saint Leo offers rolling admissions and six annual start dates.
Saint Leo is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Average Net Price: $20,036
University of Mary — Bismarck, ND
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
The Gary Tharaldson School of Business at Mary, a private Benedictine university close to Bismarck, North Dakota, offers an accelerated online bachelor of science in accounting. The program serves aspiring CPAs and students interested in graduate study.
Mary's accounting curriculum emphasizes business analysis, communication, and ethical business decision-making aligned with Mary's values. Accounting topics include internal revenue service regulations, auditing standards, SEC reporting requirements, and financial statement preparation.
This 124-credit bachelor's degree program includes core business courses in management, law, economics, and financial management. Degree-seekers explore computer information systems and spreadsheet technologies useful for accounting careers. Accounting requirements include accounting principles, microeconomics, and intermediate and advanced accounting. Learners also take several courses on income tax and auditing for individuals and businesses.
The accounting major also requires coursework on fund accounting, cost management and strategy, and fraud examination. Students complete at least four credits of an internship or experiential development component.
Mary's bachelor's in accounting curriculum prepares enrollees for the CPA exam, but students seeking licensure usually complete additional courses to meet the 150-hour education requirement for CPAs. Learners consult with academic advisors to choose additional courses tailored to the student's goals. Enrollees can complete courses online, in person during evenings, or through a blend of these two formats.
This 128-week program takes about four years, but degree-seekers with transfer credits can finish in under 3.5 years. Mary offers rolling admissions with start dates every five weeks. Applicants with at least 24 credits of college coursework must possess a 2.0 minimum GPA. Candidates with fewer college credits must submit high school or GED transcripts and ACT/SAT scores.
Mary is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Average Net Price: $17,216
Temple University — Philadelphia, PA
Online Bachelor of Business Administration with a Major in Accounting
The Fox School of Business at Temple, a large public university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers a bachelor of business administration (BBA) with an accounting major. Online accounting students can benefit from the Center for Student Professional Development, which provides career coaching, resume reviews, and networking opportunities. Fox's wealth of immersion programs and student organizations help learners to make connections and bolster their resumes.
Fox's online BBA in accounting provides both general business education and focused accounting training. Enrollees explore accounting theory, accounting information systems, taxation, and auditing. Coursework also covers transactional analysis, cost analysis and control, and asset management. Degree-seekers examine how to conduct financial reporting, consolidate financial statements, and make ethical decisions.
Students interested in the CPA designation may complete additional courses to meet the 150-credit requirement in Pennsylvania and many other states. Online courses use asynchronous lectures, videos, and assignments, along with weekly live sessions that enable online learners to interact with faculty and peers.
Students can attend part time or full time and choose from traditional 15-week sessions or accelerated seven-week courses during fall and spring semesters. Six-week, accelerated courses take place during the summer term. Enrollees can choose from several start times each year. Applicants submit SAT or ACT scores, essays, and official transcripts demonstrating sufficient preparatory coursework.
Fox accepts transfer credits from equivalent foundations or principles courses from accredited schools, provided that the student earned a "C" or better in each course transferred. Online degree-seekers pay the same tuition rates as their in-state peers.
Temple is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $23,192
University of Massachusetts — Amherst, MA
Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting
UMass Amherst's Isenberg School of Management features an online bachelor of business administration (BBA) in accounting for transfer students with at least 27 transferable college credits. By teaching enrollees how to use accounting information systems, conduct financial reports, and prepare taxes, UMass Amherst's program readies degree-seekers for auditing, accounting, and financial careers.
The accounting bachelor's program entails 12 general education courses, 11 business courses, nine accounting courses, and 21 non-business credits. Core subjects include management, finance, and marketing. Courses explore financial accounting, corporate finance, introduction to law, and principles of management. Based on their career goals and interests, students choose from upper-level accounting courses in auditing, corporate or individual taxation, CPA law, and cost accounting. Other topics include accounting information systems, intermediate financial reporting, and advanced financial accounting.
Each applicant should hold 27 or more college credits with a GPA of about 3.0. Candidates upload resumes, personal statements, official transcripts, and standardized test scores. Online students pay the same tuition rates as their in-state peers.
UMass Amherst is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $21,740
California Baptist University — Riverside, CA
Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, CBU features an online bachelor of science in accounting that serves students seeking careers as accountants, auditors, tax examiners, and other financial professionals. This program emphasizes Christian values and prepares learners for the CPA and CMA exams. Graduates may work in corporate, public, government, or nonprofit contexts.
The accounting major consists of 69 required units, including a three-credit Bible course and 15 lower-division requirements in economics, accounting principles, and business IT applications. Degree-seekers also complete 27 units of upper-division business courses such as business finance, international business, and management with a biblical foundation.
The remaining 24 credits of accounting requirements include cost accounting, government and nonprofit accounting, accounting information systems, and taxation. Enrollees complete this program in an average of 36 months.
CBU prefers transfer applicants with at least 24 transferable credits, but all high school graduates or GED certificate-holders may apply. Eligible candidates must possess a 2.0 minimum GPA.
CBU is regionally accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Average Net Price: $24,170
McKendree University — Lebanon, IL
Online Bachelor of Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting
Founded as the Lebanon Seminary back in 1828, McK stands as the oldest university in Illinois. Accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business, this flexible, online bachelor of business administration (BBA) with an accounting concentration serves working professionals seeking career transition or advancement.
The BBA in accounting at McK requires 70 major-related credits beyond associate-level coursework. By completing 37 business core credits, students receive a thorough grounding in general business areas such as marketing, management, and leadership. McK business courses emphasize financial and business analytics, as well as decision-making skills that support graduates in various career roles and industry contexts.
Degree-seekers also complete 33 credits of accounting courses such as intermediate accounting, managerial cost accounting, individual and business taxation, and auditing. Each learner must also complete a capstone in business strategy and policy and a research course in accounting theory. Each accounting major needs a 2.25 minimum GPA to graduate. Students planning on becoming licensed CPAs typically complete additional credits to reach the 150-credit education requirement for the exam.
To accommodate working professionals' schedules, classes take place online through Blackboard. Online courses last eight weeks each, with most online enrollees taking two courses per term. Local degree-seekers can take some on-campus courses offered during evenings in Radcliff, Lebanon, or on Scott Air Force Base.
McK offers tuition discounts for many enrollees, including military service members and veterans, educators, Midwest student exchange students, and community partners.
McK is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Average Net Price: $19,676
Thomas Edison State University — Trenton, NJ
Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting
Since its founding as a school for adult students, TESU has made accessible and flexible education part of its mission. Located in Trenton, New Jersey, the school's online bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA) with a concentration in accounting provides asynchronous, 12-week online courses that learners take from home during their after-work hours. Degree-seekers interested in becoming CPAs can pursue the CPA and master's track, which meets educational requirements for CPA licensure and leads to a master's of science in management degree.
The 120-credit BSBA program features 60 general education credits, 36 professional business credits, 18 accounting course credits, and six elective credits. The interdisciplinary general education curriculum emphasizes intellectual and practical skills, civic and global learning, and knowledge of human cultures. General education coursework also includes mathematics, sciences, and electives.
Professional business coursework includes management principles, business law, marketing, and international management. Students also take courses in business communications and computers. Accounting requirements cover essential areas such as financial and managerial accounting, cost accounting, accounting information systems, and auditing.
Eligible TESU BSBA applicants hold a high school degree (or equivalent) and are at least 20 years old. Active military service members and applicants with at least 24 credits from regionally accredited colleges or universities may enroll at 18-19 years old. Applicants under 20 with insufficient credits may also gain admission through satisfactory performance on the ACCUPLACER examination.
TESU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Average Net Price: $7,519
Why Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting?
An accounting bachelor's degree online offers a variety of personal and career benefits, including a strong educational and professional foundation. This allows graduates to continue advancing their skills and qualifications well into the future.
Future Accounting Education
Accounting bachelor's degrees online set the stage for additional credentials and continuing education options. According to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, the CPA credential -- one of the more common pathways for accountants -- requires a combination of education, examination, and experience. Bachelor's programs satisfy most educational requirements for the CPA.
Bachelor's degree graduates can also pursue certifications, such as the certified management accountant and certified internal auditor. Furthermore, candidates looking for more desirable accounting or management positions may continue their training through master's degrees in accounting, while those seeking research or academia careers may consider Ph.D. programs in accounting.
Bachelor's in Accounting Careers
Accounting graduates access a variety of careers and industries, each with its own highlights and benefits. Graduates may seek higher-paying positions, like those in the finance and insurance industries, where median annual wages exceed $76,000. Others may look for fast-growing professions, like management analyst, with a projected growth of 14% from 2018-2028. The list below explores some popular options.
- Accountant and Auditor
Accountants and auditors manage the financial records for individuals and businesses. They use their expertise to ensure that finances operate legally and efficiently. As technological changes automate many traditional accounting and auditing tasks, these professionals rely on their analytical abilities to maintain demand.
Annual Median Salary: $71,550
- Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk
These professionals typically handle the recording and production of financial records for individuals and organizations. They ensure documents remain accurate and up-to-date. Demand for these occupations may decrease due to the automation of bookkeeping, encouraging professionals in these positions to take on analytical and advisory roles.
Annual Median Salary: $41,230
- Tax Examiner and Collector, Revenue Agent
These professionals specialize in individual and organizational taxation. They file, review, and investigate tax forms and filings, ensuring documents' accuracy and legality. While employment with state and local governments should remain stable, budget cuts may continue reducing demand for these professionals at the federal level.
Annual Median Salary: $54,890
- Cost Estimator
Cost estimators identify the costs, times, and resources required to complete a project. They often work in advisory roles, evaluating the efficiencies of specific projects or organizations and recommending possible improvements. The cost estimator profession can expect to grow at nearly double the national average growth rate for all occupations from 2018-2028.
Annual Median Salary: $65,250
- Financial Analyst
Financial analysts provide financial advice and evaluations to organizations and individuals. They may identify investment opportunities, assess organizations' financial operations, or manage funds and portfolios. While advanced technology should improve the efficacy of this work, the profession will likely grow on-par with the general economy.
Annual Median Salary: $81,590
How Much Do Accounting Majors Make?
Earning potential for accounting professionals depends on a variety of conditions, including location, industry, education, and credentials. Bachelor's degree graduates may access many of the positions below, but additional requirements often exist. Students should note that the CPA exam typically requires 150 educational credits, of which most bachelor's degrees provide 120.
|Career||Annual Median Salary||Projected Growth Rate||Degree Required||CPA Certification Required? (Y/N)|
|Accountant and Auditor||$71,550||6%||Bachelor's||N (but it will improve job prospects)|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk||$41,230||-4%||Associate||N|
|Tax Examiner and Collector, Revenue Agent||$54,890||-2%||Bachelor's||N|
|Financial Manager||$129,890||16%||Bachelor's (some employers require a master's degree)||N (but many managers have it)|
Bachelor's in Accounting Admission Requirements
Before beginning a bachelor's degree in accounting, candidates may need to meet some requirements. They should demonstrate interest in mathematics, finances, or economics. Some programs require applicants to complete high school mathematics courses, often at an advanced level.
The typical accounting bachelor's degree online requires applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED and submit SAT or ACT scores. More competitive programs set minimum GPA requirements around 3.0. Online delivery formats require students to be more self-motivated and independent than traditional students.
Though not required, associate degrees can help applicants demonstrate college readiness. If focused on accounting, these degrees can prepare candidates for bachelor's degrees and provide them with transfer credits. Similarly, work experience -- though rarely required -- may bolster students' applications.
Typical Bachelor's in Accounting Online Courses
Every accounting program offers its own unique curriculum, but most aim to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of economics, business, and finance, while also building research and analytical skills. This allows learners to contextualize their accounting training and understand it from a specific industry standpoint.
Many bachelor's degrees in accounting online also offer specialized course options, such as international accounting, financial modeling, and financial statement analysis. These courses enable students to take advanced training in specific areas of the field. The list below highlights some of the most common accounting courses. Course titles and descriptions may vary, and not every program will offer these courses.
This course looks at accounting within a business. Students learn about costing and activity analysis, which helps organizations improve their processes and make better decisions.
In this course, students learn about tax laws and regulations for individuals and organizations. They examine the rules regarding taxable incomes, deductions, and tax planning principles. Some courses also offer training in modern tax technologies.
This course explores the ethical responsibilities of the accountant. The training looks at the profession's rules and codes, along with potential consequences for failing to follow them.
These courses teach students to plan and prepare clear, concise business communications. The skills provided by this training can help professionals communicate their work more effectively.
Financial analysis courses examine how professionals can use financial information for predictive analysis and long-term planning. The training examines how proper financial management and analysis helps businesses meet their goals.
How to Find the Right Bachelor's in Accounting Online Program
Traditional bachelor's in accounting degrees comprise 120 credit hours, which students complete in four years. Online bachelor's degrees in accounting provide flexible, convenient options for learners to take classes at their convenience. Online classes allow students to earn their degrees from home and avoid fees associated with accommodation, commuting, and related expenses.
Choosing the right accounting bachelor's degree facilitates academic and professional success. When considering accounting programs, students should assess curricula, objectives, and outcomes. Accounting degrees may also require learners to complete internships, practicums, or comprehensive projects.
Coursework varies between accounting online bachelor's degrees, but core classes emphasize the fundamentals of business, finance, and economics. Learners may also complete advanced coursework or specializations in subfields. Students interested in government, forensic, or managerial accounting careers should seek out programs building knowledge and skills in those areas.
Colleges and universities hold national or regional accreditation, but individual accounting degrees and programs may maintain specialized accreditation, as well. For business and accounting degrees, programmatic accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business indicates high standards of education, as established by the internationally recognized group.
Professional Organizations in Accounting
Professional organizations for accountants establish connections, build networks, and foster excellence in the field. Students, practitioners, and scholars benefit from online discussion forums and webinars. Events and conferences allow accounting professionals to exchange ideas, interact with colleagues, and build their own knowledge and skills.
Additional resources provided by professional accounting associations include continuing education programs, certifications, and professional development opportunities. Many organizations also offer volunteer and advocacy opportunities, publications and field updates, and career information.
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Established in 1887, the AICPA includes more than 400,000 members from around the world. The institute establishes ethical standards for the profession, oversees the uniform CPA exam, and works closely with state CPA organizations to ensure excellence in the field. AICPA members receive professional guidance, professional development assistance, networking opportunities, and news and publications about the accounting profession.
National Society of Accountants
Dedicated to helping tax and accounting professionals, the NSA provides members with newsletters, publications, and educational resources. Members also receive industry discounts and access to annual events and an extensive knowledge center. Knowledge center resources include federal information research updates and tax preparation materials.
American Accounting Association
Established in 1916, the AAA unites accountants in academia to facilitate collaboration and innovation. Members gain access to the AAA's digital library, regional and special interest groups, and online career center. Additional benefits include volunteer opportunities, industry discounts, and low-cost continuing professional education programs.
American Association of Finance and Accounting
With affiliates across the United States and Canada, the AAFA provides career advancement resources for employees and employers alike. It connects qualified finance and accounting professionals with businesses and organizations to meet needs in an effective, efficient manner.
Professional Association of Small Business Accountants
Representing CPAs, public accountants, and accounting agents who work for small businesses, PASBA helps members grow their practice, increase profits, and adhere to high customer service standards. Members receive access to national and regional meetings, peer advisory groups, an online business forum, and vendor discounts.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you get a bachelor's degree in accounting online?
- Yes. Many schools offer bachelor's degrees in accounting online. When choosing online programs, students should examine on-campus and residency requirements.
- How much does it cost to get an accounting degree online?
- While most online degrees feature similar tuition costs to on-campus programs, students can save through distance learning. Reduced travel and attendance can cut down on expenses, and many online programs offer a standard online tuition for all students, regardless of location.
- Is a bachelor's in accounting worth it?
- Earning a bachelor's degree in accounting can lead to a rewarding career in a growing field. Since most professions in the field require at least a bachelor's degree, aspiring accountants should consider the degree necessary.
- What classes are needed to be an accountant?
- To satisfy their job requirements, accountants need an understanding of tax law, accounting principles, and financial reporting. Other helpful courses may include business training, financial analysis, and economics.
- Can you become a CPA without a degree?
- No. In order to become a CPA, candidates need a bachelor's degree at minimum. The requirements usually include 150 credits, of which a 120-credit bachelor's degree covers the vast majority.