With a bachelor's degree in accounting, graduates bring solid skills in tax preparation and financial advising to a growing job market. The minimum qualification for many accounting occupations, a bachelor's degree opens the door to pursuing a certified public accountant (CPA) credential. Degree-seekers with strong quantitative and business communication skills might want to pursue careers in accounting.
In a field where employment demand increases along with the overall economy, accounting professionals enjoy choice career opportunities in an exciting variety of industries.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 4% growth in accounting and auditing jobs between 2019 and 2029, on pace with the national average growth projection for all occupations.
This page ranks the top accounting schools, offering an excellent starting point for accounting degree research. Our list provides details about each program, along with information about accounting degree expectations and career paths.
Top 10 Best Online Accounting Schools
|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 Accounting?
Known as the 'father of accounting,' Luca Pacioli defined modern bookkeeping terms and concepts such as journals, ledgers, and inventories, in his 1494 treatise. As business changed and expanded throughout the 19th century, accounting increased in importance.
Today, accounting represents a crucial aspect of every business, with top employers including industries such as accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services; management of companies and enterprises; local government; and real estate. Related jobs include public accounting, internal and external auditing, budget analysis, and financial management.
The BLS reports that 1,436,100 accountants worked in the United States as of 2019. The BLS also projects an increase of 61,700 positions between 2019 and 2029. Employers rely on accounting professionals to monitor financial transactions, make budgetary recommendations, file taxes, and identify fraud.
Many employers consider a bachelor's degree the minimum qualification for accounting positions, with CPA certification a frequent expectation for those hoping to remain in the field or advance to leadership positions. Because CPA credentials require more than 120 college credits, accountants often pursue a master's degree.
Detail-oriented degree-seekers who excel in quantitative skills might consider pursuing a career in accounting. Since many accountants spend time explaining financial information to clients and employers, good communication also factors among important skills.
Why Get an Online Accounting Bachelor's?
The minimum requirement for many entry-level jobs in the field, a bachelor's degree in accounting prepares students for career success. Though the pursuit of higher education calls for a sizable investment of both money and time, an accounting degree rewards students with plenty of job opportunities. Those hoping to earn CPA credentials need to obtain a bachelor's degree.
With a solid background in business and financial operations, degree-holders can take advantage of some of the following degree benefits:
- Job Security: Accounting professionals remain in high demand as international business grows more prevalent. Organizations and individuals also need accountants to help sort through complicated and ever-changing tax regulations.
- Options: With a bachelor's degree in accounting, graduates open the door to diverse career paths in business. Accountants work for large and small organizations across a variety of industries, serving corporations and individuals. An accounting background can often serve as a foundation for executive management jobs.
- CPA Preparation: Most accounting bachelor's programs emphasize the skills students need to earn CPA credentials and other industry certifications. Though most states require more college education than the typical 120-credit bachelor's degree, a solid academic background helps students work toward their goals.
The Top Online Bachelor's Degree in Accounting Schools
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
What To Expect From Bachelor's in Accounting Programs
A typical bachelor's degree in accounting requires about 120 credits, with an overall timeline of around four years. Many online programs encourage students to transfer credits toward their degree, which usually shortens the timeline. Though the accounting-specific degree requirements depend on the program, many fall in the range of 50-60 credits.
A career-focused degree, the bachelor's in accounting often emphasizes CPA preparation.
Some programs require a business core, arming students with courses like marketing and business law. The accounting curriculum centers subjects like accounting principles and taxation.
Students can also look for programs offering concentration options such as forensic accounting, or tracks that feed directly into master's-level studies. Aspiring CPAs in particular might prefer such a streamlined option, since most states require them to complete more than 120 college credits to qualify. Degree-seekers may need to consider whether they want to pursue a bachelor of science in accounting (BS) or a bachelor of business with a concentration in accounting.
Though tuition rates differ greatly depending on the institution, students can expect to encounter overall costs exceeding $40,000.
Admission requirements for the bachelor's degree in accounting differ by program, but students can prepare for some similar expectations. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some schools look for GPA minimums in the neighborhood of 2.0, while others set no such standards. Additional materials may include an essay, resume, recommendations, and an application fee.
Some schools require online accounting students to complete college coursework before they qualify for the program. Students with an associate degree or certificate coursework can apply the credits they earned toward the bachelor's degree. These schools may expect students to enter with a minimum cumulative GPA, such as 2.75.
To streamline the admissions process, prospective students can take advantage of Common App, a tool for submitting one application to multiple schools. The website also provides resources about the college search process, including information on financial aid opportunities.
Degree and Concentration Options
Accounting students can choose from a few different types of degrees. Though some lead to similar career paths, students should consider their goals and interest areas as a part of the search process. Options can include:
Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration - Accounting
Popular Accounting Courses
Though program emphasis impacts the specific courses available, many schools require a similar core curriculum. Any program aiming for CPA preparation likely includes courses like financial accounting I and II, auditing, and taxation.
Programs may boast an array of elective offerings, or demand a more rigid structure. Some programs, particularly those with a stronger general business focus, require students to complete a capstone project before they graduate. Often focused in business strategy, the capstone tends to include a major practical component.
Other frequent requirements include:
Federal Income Tax
This course covers procedural and substantive tax laws as they apply to both individuals and corporations. Students gain a detailed background in the regulations surrounding personal income taxes so they can work with individual clients. The course also covers corporate and partnership tax law.
Essentially an advanced budgeting topic, cost accounting teaches students to project costs and outcomes of specific projects. Particularly focused on capital projects, the course provides tools and strategies, including spreadsheet models, for preparing major budgets and analyzing results.
Covering subjects like budgets, financial statement analysis, and capital markets, a course in corporate finance prepares accounting students to support corporate structures in their future careers. The course also deals with managerial aspects of accounting, such as budgeting.
A good understanding of macroeconomics and microeconomics helps accounting professionals to position their work within a larger context. Accounting programs often require courses that cover economic policy, international business, antitrust policy, and market structure.
A staple of accounting programs that include a business core, this course deals with legal issues that arise in business. Subjects may include contracts, property law, and legal strategies. Some business law courses also touch on ethical concepts as they apply to business and law.
How Much Will a Bachelor's in Accounting Cost?
Tuition rates for a bachelor's degree in accounting vary considerably. Prospective students can expect to pay at least $40,000 in total for a bachelor's in accounting, though wide margins exist on either side. Students should make sure to account for additional costs, like books and materials, travel, and living expenses.
Degree-seekers can find many options for affordable accounting programs by considering factors like school reputation, online versus in-person learning, and in-state versus out-of-state tuition. An institution with a prestigious name may carry a higher price tag than other programs. Public schools tend to differentiate tuition based on residency, while private schools may not.
Both public and private institutions may charge reduced tuition rates to distance learners, regardless of where they live. Students can apply for help to fund their studies by filling out a FAFSA and pursuing financial aid opportunities like scholarships, grants, and loans.
Jobs for Bachelor's in Accounting Graduates
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in accounting qualify for a wealth of job opportunities with high earning potential.
According to the BLS, accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $71,550 as of 2019, and personal financial advisors earned $87,850. Many employers look for top executives with backgrounds in accounting; the BLS reports that general and operations managers earned a median annual salary of $100,780 as of 2019, and chief executive officers brought in $184,460.
Top-paying industries for accountants include school and employee bus transportation; the federal executive branch; inland water transportation; and financial investments and related activities.
Career paths for accounting majors include:
- Management Accountant
Management accountants prepare detailed financial documents analyzing their company's operations. They assess business costs and may collaborate with financial managers to form strategies regarding investments, cash flow, and property holdings. They may also estimate the cost of potential projects. Management accountants hold a bachelor's degree, though some employers prefer a master's degree and CPA credentials.
- • Required Education: Bachelor's degree, at minimum
- • Average Annual Salary: $60,710
- Public Accountant
Employed by individuals, organizations, and government agencies, public accountants assess financial documents, prepare tax filings, and advise their clients about issues of tax law. They may also provide financial advice and suggest relevant improvements. Public accountants must hold a bachelor's degree to qualify for most entry-level jobs, though many employers prefer CPA credentials and a master's degree.
- • Required Education: Bachelor's degree, at minimum
- • Average Annual Salary: $55,206
- Financial Manager
Financial managers deal with large-scale financial strategies for their organizations. They collaborate with other managers to make, implement, and monitor plans, oversee budgets, and supervise staff. They also handle investment activities, stay apprised of changes in the market, and analyze reports. Financial managers hold a bachelor's degree and several years of professional experience. Some employers prefer a master's degree.
- Management Analyst
Generally outside experts hired to consult with client organizations, management analysts perform in-depth research about a company's operations. They assess financial records, management structure, and procedures so they can recommend strategies for improvement. Most management analysts begin with a bachelor's degree, though employers may prefer a master's degree like an MBA.
- Personal Financial Advisor
Personal financial advisors help individual clients to solidify and plan their financial futures. They analyze financial records and help set goals for college, mortgage completion, retirement, and estate planning. They may help clients to understand financial basics, direct investment activities, and purchase appropriate insurance. Most personal financial advisors hold a bachelor's degree.
Choosing the Right Online Accounting Degree
By studying the list of top accounting programs, students can set a solid foundation for their college search. However, the right program also depends on each student's career goals and personal preferences. Degree-seekers should consider factors like accreditation, institutional prestige, and program culture before they commit to a program.
Accreditation ensures that an institution or program meets certain minimum standards. Regional and national accreditation assess the school as a whole. Those hoping to pursue further education or qualify for CPA credentials should make sure to enroll in a regionally accredited school. Accountants may also seek out programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Aspiring accountants who hope to work for large, competitive companies may want to prioritize school prestige as they research programs. Household name institutions with excellent reputations can count as a mark in a potential employee's favor, though prestigious schools may also charge higher tuition rates.
Program culture also plays an important part in a student's college experience. Degree-seekers can connect with current students or alumni who can speak to their program's culture and atmosphere. Prospective students might also consider the diversity of the faculty and the student body as a means for judging the inclusiveness of a program.
Why You Should Get Your Bachelor's Degree in Accounting Online
Growing more popular by the year, online education represents an excellent path to obtaining a bachelor's degree in accounting. Opportunities for top-quality distance education increase regularly, as students and schools alike recognize the success of distance-based learning formats.
Students can save money by studying online, often taking advantage of lower tuition rates, cutting out costly living and commuting expenses, and holding down a job while they complete their studies.
Those with complex personal situations, such as family caretaking responsibilities, can benefit from the great flexibility an online education affords.
Accounting subjects fit especially well with distance learning techniques. Graduates usually do not need to complete in-person experiences to graduate, and faculty can deliver the lessons easily through online formats.
Because distance learning necessitates the same attention as on-campus coursework, students should consider their time management skills and motivation before jumping into an online program. Some students thrive in busy, active classrooms, which might make on-campus learning more attractive. Others excel in quiet environments, making their personalities well suited to online learning.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you get a bachelor's in accounting online?
- Prospective students can find a wealth of top-quality online accounting degrees online. Online accounting programs feature the same degree and concentration options as their in-person counterparts.
- Is a BBA or BS in accounting better?
- Students interested in obtaining more generalized business knowledge would do well to pursue a BBA, while those focused on accounting alone might prefer a BS.
- What can you do with a bachelor's degree in accounting?
- With a bachelor's degree in accounting, graduates qualify to pursue work as public accountants, government accountants, personal financial advisors, and auditors. Many employers also look for managers with an accounting background.
- Do accounting majors make good money?
- Accounting graduates qualify for many well-paying jobs. According to the BLS, accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $71,550 as of 2019. With experience and further education, accountants can advance to positions with even higher salaries.
- 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.