The 15 Best Online Bachelor's in Accounting Degree Programs 2021

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.

Recommended Online Accounting Programs

Top 10 Best Online Accounting Schools 2021

Rank School Location
1 Trine University Angola, IN
2 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
3 Penn State World Campus University Park, PA
4 Colorado State University Global Campus Greenwood Village, CO
5 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
6 University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst, MA
7 University of Minnesota-Crookston Crookston, MN
8 McKendree University Lebanon, IL
9 Seton Hill University Greensburg, PA
10 Bay Path University Longmeadow, MA
See Detailed Rankings

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.

Top 15 Online Bachelor's Degree in Accounting Schools 2021

The right accounting program can support degree-seekers in pursuing their career goals. We compiled a list of the top online bachelor's degrees in accounting for 2021. To find out more about our methodology for school rankings, follow the link below.

Our Ranking Methodology

What the Best Accounting Programs Have in Common

The schools on our list vary in size and location, but they all share certain important qualities that impact students' experiences.

  • They are accredited. Accreditation from an independent agency offers the best indication of academic quality. Accredited institutions voluntarily undergo a rigorous third-party evaluation to ensure they meet or exceed established standards. Accrediting agencies to look for include:

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

  • They offer academic excellence. The schools on our list rank highly on retention rate, graduation rate, full-time faculty, and student-to-faculty ratio. These factors affect overall instructor availability and quality of learning experience. The Maryville University of Saint Louis, for example, demonstrates excellent student support with an average class size of 15 students.

  • They are reputable. A school's name and reputation matter, and prospective accountants need to know what programs most help them reach their goals. We consider the percentage of applicants admitted, the admissions yield, and the mean earnings of graduates after six years. Our list includes schools like McKendree University, which reports 97% of graduates either attaining employment or entering graduate programs within six months of graduation.

  • They are affordable. Degree-seekers invest substantial resources in postsecondary education. We carefully consider the affordability of the schools on our lists by examining cost factors like net price, default loan rate, percentage of students with scholarships or federal aid, and average amount of aid awarded. We look for quality schools that offer competitive rates. The University of Minnesota-Crookston, for example, offers a flat rate of $402/credit for online tuition and fees regardless of residency status.

Trine University

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

Trine University offers affordable academic support to students at all phases of life. Trine continually demonstrates its commitment to students through free textbooks and a free first online course.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting

Trine University's bachelor's degree in accounting offers practical, hands-on experience in financial management and cost accounting. Enrollees learn to use Peachtree and Quickbooks, some of the most popular accounting applications in the field. Trine also accepts up to 90 credits from prior college and work or military experience.

Degree-seekers also enjoy the opportunity to earn graduate credit toward an MBA or MS in business analytics while working on this bachelor's degree. In this combined degree, future business professionals can finish both degrees in four years and save more than $8,000 in educational costs.

Applying to Trine

Applicants must complete an application and provide an official high school transcript or GED certificate, along with transcripts from all postsecondary schools attended.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $399/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Maryville University of Saint Louis

Private university in Saint Louis, MO, accredited by HLC and ACBSP

Founded in 1872, Maryville University is one of the oldest private, nonprofit postsecondary institutions in the region. With an average class size of 15 students, the school boasts a long track record of quality education and student support.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Maryville focuses on a modern approach to accounting by helping students to develop widely applicable skills. Students at Maryville prepare for multifaceted accounting careers by studying finance, marketing, and sales in addition to accounting. Maryville's streamlined bachelor's degree in accounting allows students to earn their degree in as few as 2.5 years without altering their lifestyles.

Maryville's fully online accounting program offers the same tuition rate regardless of residency, and does not require scores from entrance exams like the SAT or ACT. Students also benefit from three early-access courses that help future business professionals work towards a master's in accounting degree at Maryville.

Applying to Maryville

Maryville applicants must hold a high school diploma with a minimum GPA of 2.5 or a GED certificate. Transfer students must also provide official transcripts for all previously attended colleges or universities with a minimum GPA of 2.0.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $500/credit
  • Required Credits: 128 credits
  • Program Length: 2.5 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

Public university in University Park, PA, accredited by MSCHE and AACSB

Pennsylvania State boasts 125 years in distance education, with a world campus operating since 1998. Students at Penn State World Campus can pursue one of 150 online programs and enjoy the school's commitment to convenience, flexibility, and quality education.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

The bachelor's degree in accounting at Penn State World Campus holds accreditation from the AACSB, ranking this department among the top 5% of business schools worldwide. Penn State World Campus' accounting curriculum helps prepare enrollees to sit for the CPA exam or pursue other accountancy certifications.

The school's flexible accounting degree prepares students to work as generalists in accounting. Enrollees can pursue electives aligned with their career goals. Coursework includes finance, business strategy, business law, marketing, and supply chain management.

Applying to Penn State World Campus

Prospective Penn State World Campus students must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Admission to the accounting major also requires eight prerequisite courses and a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $576/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Public university in Greenwood Village, CO, accredited by HLC and ACBSP

CSU-Global provides a customized learning experience to nearly 19,000 online students. The school boasts more than 10 years of 100% online learning and offers over 40 programs and certificates.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Students in the online accounting program learn problem-solving skills to address current accounting issues in data analysis, business intelligence, and automation. The program includes a research capstone, a final practicum, and optional specializations.

The ACBSP-accredited coursework at CSU-Global prepares graduates for successful employment in a competitive job market. The school reports that 90% of alumni hold employment in the accounting field after graduation. Furthermore, CSU projects an estimated starting salary of $67,310 for bachelor's in accounting graduates.

Applying to CSU-Global

Applicants must meet Colorado State University's first-year requirements and complete an application. Prospective students must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate, provide official transcripts, and include a resume outlining two years of work experience.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $350/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Florida Atlantic University

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

Located in Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University spans 110 miles of the southeast Florida coast. The school offers over 170 programs and fosters a culture of diversity, independence, and ingenuity.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

FAU's online bachelor of business administration (OBBA) program in accounting teaches students industry-specific skills with a business mindset. Coursework provides enrollees with education in financial literacy, deductive reasoning, and analytical skills. Electives available include business law, government and nonprofit accounting, taxation, and an optional internship.

The program prepares graduates for careers including accounting, auditing, bookkeeping, forensics, and taxation. Online accounting students at FAU enjoy asynchronous learning, but also benefit from full access to advisors, instructors, and all on-campus events.

Applying to FAU

Applicants must first be admitted to FAU or be a current FAU undergraduate student to declare an OBBA major. Students must hold 60 credits, meet prerequisite requirements, and a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $263/credit (in state); $782/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Public university in Amherst, MA, accredited by NECHE and AACSB

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst offers University Without Walls programs for lifelong learners. These flexible educational opportunities enable learners to complete bachelor's degrees, pursue professional development, and address other postsecondary educational needs.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

The BBA in accounting at UMass Amherst provides students with fundamental business skills and concentrated studies in accounting. Coursework includes micro- and macroeconomics, statistics, corporate finance, principles of management, and marketing.

Enrollees benefit from a multilayered curriculum that embraces the global economy, modern sustainability, and socially responsible decision-making. UMass Amherst uses experiential learning opportunities like internships, both local and abroad, to simulate real-world business and accounting experience.

Applying to UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst prefers applicants who have completed at least 27 transferable undergraduate credits with a GPA near 3.0. Application requirements include a resume, an application fee, and a personal statement.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $475/credit
  • Required Credits: 53 (major requirements); 27 (required transferable credits)
  • Delivery Format:100% online (asynchronous)

University of Minnesota-Crookston

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

The University of Minnesota-Crookston takes pride in its affordability and accessibility. UMC offers a competitive flat rate for online tuition and fees regardless of residency status.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

UMC's bachelor's degree in accounting offers students a career-focused curriculum and several specialized opportunities to prepare for employment. The program offers a certificate in taxation designed to prepare enrollees for careers in tax preparation for individuals, farms, business, trusts, and estates.

The business department at UMC works closely with Gleim CPA Review to provide four concentrated CPA review courses online. Future accounting professionals who earn their degrees at UMC are prepared to take certification examinations for the CPA, certified management accountant, or certified internal auditor credentials.

Applying to UMC

Applicants to UMC must complete an online application, answer essay questions, and provide a high school transcript or GED certificate.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $402/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

McKendree University

Private university in Lebanon, IL, accredited by HLC and IACBE

Aligned with the United Methodist Church, McKendree maintains a commitment to excellence. The school proudly reports that 97% of graduates either enter graduate school or attain employment within six months of graduation.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

McK offers intimate online courses to students everywhere using the course management system Brightspace, capping enrollment at 20 students per class. All online courses for the school's BBA in accounting span eight weeks, allowing students to complete their degree in a quick and flexible manner.

Degree-seekers at McK can also take advantage of several career-focused opportunities. McK students who plan to sit for the CPA exam can reach the 150 credit requirement by completing the BBA in accounting and taking additional undergraduate or graduate courses.

Applying to McK

Prospective enrollees must complete a free application and work with McK student services specialists below to get details on the admissions process.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $390/credit
  • Required Credits: 70 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Seton Hill University

Private university in Greensburg, PA, accredited by MSCHE and IACBE

Seton Hill University proudly offers access to the College Level Examination Program, a nationally recognized series of examinations that allow students to demonstrate knowledge and acquire college credit for their life experiences.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Seton Hill provides a career-focused approach for busy professionals looking to advance their careers. The school offers specialized studies that prepare enrollees to take the CPA, CIA, and CMA exams. Students also benefit from supervised internships through the volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) program supervised by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Accounting students at Seton Hill also enjoy the opportunity to earn an MBA quickly and affordably. The school offers an accelerated bachelor's to MBA program that allows degree-seekers to earn both a bachelor's degree and an MBA in as few as five years.

Applying to Seton Hill University

Applicants must complete an online application and provide a personal statement.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $639/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 1-4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Bay Path University

Private university in Longmeadow, MA, accredited by NECHE

Bay Path became a school for women in 1945 when WWII shifted the working dynamics for women across the country. Today, the school offers women-only undergraduate programs and coeducational graduate programs both in person and online.

Bachelor of Science in Business: Accounting

Bay Path's fully online women's college offers flexible education, with all coursework completed asynchronously. Students can also take advantage of opportunities to pursue professional licensure and participate in the VITA program.

Enrollees complete a broad foundation of core business and specialized accounting courses. The bachelor's degree in accounting includes courses such as accounting information systems, federal income tax concepts, auditing, financial reporting, and fundamentals of spreadsheets.

Applying to Bay Path

Applicants must provide official transcripts demonstrating a 2.0 minimum GPA and complete a free online application. An admissions counselor contacts prospective students to discuss details.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $400/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Lakeland University

Private university in Plymouth, WI, accredited by HLC

For more than four decades, the William R. Kellett School of Undergraduate & Graduate Studies at Lakeland University has offered flexible education. LU's BlendEd program allows enrollees to choose each week to learn onsite, online, live, or through asynchronous class video.

Bachelor of Arts in Accounting

The evening and online school at LU offers working professionals opportunities to earn academic credit from industry experience and exchange real-time work projects for credit. With the addition of a few concentrated courses, degree-seekers at LU can also prepare to sit for the CPA and certified management accountant examinations.

Accounting students at LU can prepare for interesting careers by following the fraud and forensics emphasis track. These courses prepare future accountants to detect white-collar and corporate crime through financial analysis. LU is one of only a few U.S. schools that offer a fraud and forensic emphasis for accounting degrees.

Applying to LU

Applicants must provide transcripts from high school and/or postsecondary institutions demonstrating a minimum GPA of 2.0. Prospective students who have been out of high school for fewer than three years must also submit ACT scores.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $530/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Gardner-Webb University

Private university in Boiling Springs, NC, accredited by SACSCOC

Gardner-Webb is a private Christian university located in Boiling Springs, NC. The school takes pride in its family-like atmosphere and attractive setting in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Gardner-Webb's online degree completion program (DCP) provides flexible undergraduate studies designed to meet the educational needs of working professionals. The school encourages degree-seekers with a minimum GPA of 2.0 to apply previous college credits toward a bachelor's degree.

DCP program enrollees benefit from a success coach who provides personal advising, administrative support, and academic mentoring. The online accounting curriculum also prepares students to sit for professional exams such as the CPA, certified management accountant, and certified financial auditor exams.

Applying to Gardner-Webb

Application requirements include an online application, official transcripts indicating 24 transferable credits from a regionally accredited institution, and a minimum GPA of 2.0. Prospective DCP students may also need to collaborate with an academic advisor.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $448/credit
  • Required Credits: 60-63 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Concordia University-Wisconsin

Private university in Mequon, WI, accredited by HLC

Concordia University-Wisconsin has provided a Lutheran postsecondary education since 1881. CUW reports that 96% of graduates are employed full time or or admitted to advanced studies within one year of graduation.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

The online bachelor's degree in accounting program at CUW focuses on well-rounded business education, preparing students for successful careers in the field. Coursework teaches fundamental principles in budgeting, planning, and forecasting. Enrollees learn to integrate business operations through cost accounting and advanced analytics.

CUW's online education supports working professionals by offering financial aid for Concordia alumni and employees of qualifying Christian institutions. Scholarships range from $150-$500 per three-credit course and can be applied to a variety of online programs. CUW enrollees also receive specialized preparation for certifications such as the CPA, CMA, and CIA examinations.

Applying to CUW

Prospective students must submit an online application, provide official transcripts, and hold a minimum GPA of 2.0. Students with fewer than 60 transferable credits may also need to supply an official high school transcript or GED certificate.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $526/credit
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Champlain College

Private university in Burlington, VT, accredited by NECHE

Ranked among the most innovative institutions by U.S. News & World Report for six consecutive years, Champlain College offers career-driven education. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 12-to-1 and an average class size of 16, the school delivers personalized support.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

The online accounting program at Champlain focuses on the needs of working professionals, providing critical skills for career advancement. Coursework aligns with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants core competency framework to provide the most relevant knowledge.

Experienced learners can transfer up to 90 credits. The school also prepares students to attain advanced certification. Champlain graduates who sit for the CPA exam enjoy an exceptional success rate.

Applying to Champlain

Prospective students must complete an online application, answer short essay questions, and provide official transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants planning to transfer credits must also consult an admission specialist.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $318
  • Required Credits:120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

Eastern New Mexico University

Public university in Portales, NM, accredited by HLC

With over 90 programs, Eastern New Mexico University offers affordable education. Ranking in the top 10% most affordable four-year universities in the southwest, the school reports a 97% student satisfaction rate.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

Degree-seekers complete all coursework online for the BBA in accounting. ENMU enrollees view recorded lectures through the Mediasite application, which allows for connections with professors and other students at a distance.

Graduates often pursue careers in public accounting, internal auditing, and certified fraud examining. ENMU also provides counseling and career services, including free job placement assistance to all students.

Applying to ENMU

Prospective students must complete a free application, provide SAT or ACT scores, and submit official high school and postsecondary transcripts.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $170/credit (in state); $255/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous and asynchronous)

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

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

The BS typically hones accounting knowledge. While some general business courses may appear in the curriculum, most courses revolve around accounting principles and tax knowledge. The BS may require fewer major credits and allow for more electives. Graduates may pursue roles in public accounting and personal financial advising.

Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration - Accounting

A BSBA or BABA in accounting offers a robust business core in addition to the accounting concentration. With coursework in areas like strategic management and managerial finance, the BSBA can provide the foundation graduates need to advance to roles in executive management, plus CPA-specific knowledge. Students hoping to open their own accounting firms may also prefer a broad background in business.

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.

  • Cost Accounting

    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.

  • Corporate Finance

    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.

  • Economics

    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.

  • Business Law

    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.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree, at minimum
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +15%
  • Median Annual Salary: $129,890
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.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree, at minimum
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +11%
  • Median Annual Salary: $85,260
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.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $87,850

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.

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