Online Accounting Degree: Search the Best Programs for 2015

Identifying online accounting programs with the cost and quality elements you need takes research, know-how and some good old-fashioned elbow grease. But with the right tools and information, students can find the right online program and make the initial steps toward a successful college and professional career. This page is designed to help aspiring online accounting degree holders in two complementary ways. First, it breaks down the top colleges in the U.S. for online accounting degrees. Next, it offers an in-depth guide to online learning in accounting, with sharp focus on how they work and who benefits. Find programs and read expert-driven information.

Nation's Best Online Accounting Degrees: 2015

Online accounting degree programs make it easier for students to earn while they learn. In other words, working toward a degree while keeping their full-time or part-time job. The flexibility of an online accounting program also helps students and young professionals in the field to balance school and family commitments. When looking for schools that have these programs, however, some clearly stand out – whether for cost or quality reasons, or simply because they have more academic options from which to choose. The following colleges and universities boast some of today’s best online accounting degree options.

To see how we selected the Nation's Best Online Accounting Degrees, please visit our methodology page.

ACO Score: 98.07 Student to teacher ratio: 21:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 95% State: Nebraska

Chadron State College has different choices for online degrees in accountancy. A bachelor’s degree completion program in business administration offers an accounting option, which also is available with a Certified Public Accountant path. In addition, online students can choose the accounting option and CPA path combined with a master’s degree in business administration. Transfer students must take at least 50 percent of the required business courses from Chadron State.

The online bachelor’s degree program in business includes a series of core and general education courses, in addition to the classes for the chosen concentration. The accounting track is structured according to the educational requirements needed to sit for the Certified Management Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Fraud Examiner exams. Studies for the accounting emphasis with the CPA path are designed around the educational requirements necessary to take the professional CPA exam in Nebraska.

A learning management system provides access to course materials as well as discussion groups, lectures, and tools for communicating with instructors and peers. Courses are typically condensed into 8-week sessions, and in-state and out-of-state students currently pay the same tuition rate for online classes. Students have full access to the learning center, tutoring, 24-hour help desk and student services through CSC Online.

ACO Score: 97.82 Student to teacher ratio: 17:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% State: North Dakota

The University of Mary offers an online bachelor’s program in accounting for distance and nontraditional students through its Gary Tharaldson School of Business.

Students in the online program earn both an accounting major and a business administration minor through the required coursework. Classes prepare students to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), though typically this exam is taken after an additional fifth year of study. Students also have the option to complete the undergraduate degree in three and a half years, and then begin a master’s program.

The online accounting program curriculum includes:

  • Technology and its use with financial information
  • Preparation of accounting information for internal or external use
  • Ethical dilemmas and legal frameworks for accountants
  • The global environment and how it affects an organization’s practices
  • Benedictine values and the importance of servant leadership

Online students at the University of Mary can transfer credits from previous academic experience, and may be able to earn learning credits from job training and similar experiences. Advisors assist students in determining and transferring the appropriate credits. Sixteen upper level credits of accounting courses must be taken at the University of Mary in order to graduate.

Beyond advising, there are many additional student services available to online students. This includes tutoring, accessibility services, career and testing services, and online access to library resources.

ACO Score: 97.81 Student to teacher ratio: 24:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 94% State: New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University’s online Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree is designed for students who are accounting professionals as well as business professionals.

There are two possible concentrations: forensic accounting and fraud examination and accelerated accounting.

The Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination program trains students in the foundations of accounting, with a specific focus on the investigation of financial records to detect fraud, theft, and malfeasance. Students learn skills and practices that may be applied in the pursuit and analysis of complex financial transactions. Graduates will be qualified to work in the private sector, the public sector, and the nonprofit sector.

The Accelerated Accounting degree program is aimed at students who are pursuing a BS with plans to seek a master’s degree upon graduation. This degree is available completely online or as a hybrid course of study. Students are required to complete 150 credit hours for the Accelerated Accounting degree program, which enables students to work in the field while pursuing both their BS and MS.

For transferring students, Southern New Hampshire University allows the transfer of up to 90 credits and conducts a credit evaluation as part of the student review process.

ACO Score: 97.73 Student to teacher ratio: 19:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 96% State: Virginia

Liberty University is a private, non-profit Christian university that offers 148 residential and online undergraduate programs. Liberty describes itself as the nation’s largest non-profit university and one of the largest four-year universities in the country. The current online enrollment is over 100,000, far above the residential enrollment.

Students can earn their Bachelor of Science in Accounting online to develop and enhance professional skills including business communication and computer applications common in the field. The program consists of 120 total credit hours. Typically, 30 credits and half of all credits for the major must be taken through LU.

Candidates can apply online and need to supply the application fee and all official transcripts from accredited schools. Another prerequisite for admission is a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. Applicants can inquire about the possibility of earning credits based on prior learning.

LU Online provides degrees from the associate to doctorate level, and many programs run unilaterally with on-campus semester programs. Undergraduate students can take 8-week or 16 week classes including interactive online discussions. Digital instruction generally follows a flexible, asynchronous format using vehicles such as the Blackboard learning platform. In many programs, students have the option of attending brief intensive sessions on campus in Virginia.

ACO Score: 97.54 Student to teacher ratio: 15:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 92% State: Indiana

Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, Evangelical Christian university that offers education in liberal arts and professional studies. It is the fastest growing university in Indiana. IWU online offers undergraduate students the option of earning their Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Students will learn how to use analytical skills, practical application and problem solving techniques for areas such as accounting theory, taxation and auditing. The online program prepares those interested in personal finance and accounting fields as well as those pursuing CPA certification.

To earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting online at IWU, the program requires:

  • Total of 124 credit hours
  • Completion of core courses with G.P.A of 2.5 or higher
  • Overall cumulative G.P.A of 2.0
  • 30 hours of liberal arts courses

Courses include Accounting Principles, Managerial Finance, Accounting Ethics, Auditing, and Federal Income Taxation. Applicants must be able to provide official high school/G.E.D transcripts and TOEFL scores. Transfer students must have prior completion of at least 60 transferable credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university. There is no application fee. The online program start date is January 15th.

IWU Online also offers a Degree Completion Program for students who already have 36-59 credit hours of previous college work.

ACO Score: 97.49 Student to teacher ratio: 12:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% State: Kentucky

Brescia University is a Catholic liberal arts college located in Owensboro, Kentucky. However, students all over the country can earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting through its online program. Brescia’s online program helps prepare students for leadership roles in business and accounting.

BUonline offers students the opportunity to tailor their class schedules around their work or personal life. Most of the online classes are accelerated to an eight-week structure so students can earn a degree faster than on a traditional schedule. Students may access course materials through BUonline’s course management portal at any time of the day or night.

Online classes through Brescia are of the same caliber as the traditional on-campus classes. Instructors work with curriculum developers to ensure the coursework both mirrors the on-campus requirements but is also presented in a format that is effective for online learning.

BUonline’s students have access to the full gamut of student resources, including career counseling, academic advising, tutoring, library resources and more.

ACO Score: 97.28 Student to teacher ratio: 2:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 57% State: Kansas

Ottawa University-Online offers a Bachelor of Accounting (BAA) degree that prepares students for a multitude of careers. Graduates may move on to become public accountants, controllers, purchasing agents, budget analysts, financial managers, and financial analysts.

Students study economics, systems analysis, and business ethics as well as economic, managerial, and technological planning for enterprises.

There are eight possible concentrations for the BA in accounting: marketing, actuarial science, management, economics, leadership, entrepreneurship, international business, and finance.

Students learn not only accounting practices but also fiduciary responsibility and professional accountability. They will use the conceptual framework employed by organizations to measure and report financial outlooks, as well as to analyze and evaluate accounting practices and systems. Students also learn communications skills to better engage with stakeholders.

Ottawa University-Online is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a recognized independent accrediting agency.

A self-pacing format offers students access to coursework and lectures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The school maintains a four-to-one student to faculty ratio and has been ranked one of the top 15 online universities in the country by the Online Education Database.

ACO Score: 97.24 Student to teacher ratio: 18:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 82% State: Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s Digital Campus offers an online bachelor of science in accounting. Distance students in other programs can earn a minor in accounting online.

The program prepares students to work in public, private, and governmental accounting. Courses focus on the use of computer technology for accounting spreadsheets and functions; U.S. tax essentials; ethical decision making; communication and leadership skills; and financial and cost accounting skills. Students are also encouraged to commit to continuing professional development after graduation.

After completing the program, students have the ability to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification examinations through the university. This allows students to sit for these exams after a four-year undergraduate degree instead of requiring a fifth year of schooling. Possible career roles for graduates include financial accountant, auditor, management accountant, and tax accountant.

Online classes at the University of Minnesota require students to be comfortable with technology, independent learners, and effective communicators. The school suggests a number of resources for online learners to improve their study and technology skills. This includes technology assistance, free training courses for Microsoft Office products, a mini course on overcoming procrastination habits, and assistance with time management.

ACO Score: 97.15 Student to teacher ratio: 15:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% State: Minnesota

Concordia University offers a fully online accounting program that gives graduates a foundation in business and prepares them for certifications as a Certified Public Accountant and/or Certified Management Accountant. Students are prepared for careers in corporate accounting, credit analysis, corporate buying, non-profit accounting and more.

Prior to admission to Concordia’s online accounting program, students must complete four prerequisite courses, including principles of accounting (both financial and managerial), intermediate accounting and microeconomics. The program itself is only 40 credit hours with the remaining hours toward a degree coming from university-mandated core classes and electives.

Each class lasts seven weeks and they are delivered via Blackboard, Concordia’s online course management system. Students access all course materials via Blackboard, including lectures, supplemental materials, class assignments, discussion boards, feedback from instructors and peers and more. Communication can also be entirely online through discussion boards, email and online chat programs.

Classes are delivered asynchronously, giving students the flexibility to “attend” class at their own convenience.

ACO Score: 96.99 Student to teacher ratio: 8:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% State: Indiana

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College offers a bachelor’s degree in accounting based on a classic liberal arts education. Students will learn the fundamentals of business financials, business income, business expenses, and business monetary organization. These specialties are incorporated into the foundation of general studies to ensure that graduates enter the workforce with a well-rounded overall education.

In order to complete the baccalaureate accounting degree through Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, students must complete at least 125 credit hours. On top of general study requirements, students need to complete 51 credit hours of accounting and similar coursework.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, the school is approved for teacher training by the Indiana Department of Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Although Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is the nation’s oldest Catholic college for women, both women and men may pursue distance-learning degrees. There are schedules available that are based on either 8-week or 16-week formats. Financial aid is available, and special programs and incentives are offered to military personnel.

ACO Score: 96.97 Student to teacher ratio: 18:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 79% State: Alabama

Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business offers an online BSBA in accountancy for working professionals. Students must have a previous Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited bachelor’s degree in business or a master’s of business administration to pursue Auburn’s accountancy bachelor degree.

Students enrolled into this program only complete 30 semester hours in accounting because of the rigor of their previous degree. Those who work full time can choose to take only six semester hours per semester and completing the program in five semesters, while other students may finish the program more quickly.

Auburn’s online classes are recordings of the traditional class lectures. Online students view the lectures via streaming video synchronously, or at a later time that’s more convenient. This allows online students to receive the exact same instruction at the same level of rigor as their on-campus counterparts.

Online students use email, discussion boards, Skype and telephone to communicate with instructors. With exams, students have a variety of proctoring options from which to choose from—a supervisor within the student’s employer, a local librarian or a nearby testing center. This allows students the flexibility of taking exams and completing program requirements at a convenient time and location.

ACO Score: 96.96 Student to teacher ratio: 12:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 98% State: Oregon

Linfield College is a private, four-year liberal arts and sciences college for undergraduates. It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the number one college in the western region for the past six years for their Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor’s category.

Linfield College offers an online accounting degree for undergraduates, as well as an online post baccalaureate accounting certificate. The online Adult Degree Program offers convenient methods of class delivery and tutoring services for busy, working professionals.

To earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, completion requirements include 125 semester credits, which includes major courses, Linfield Curriculum, and electives. The credits earned at accredited community colleges and four-year universities can count towards this total, but a minimum of 30 credits for the degree must be completed at Linfield.

The Linfield Curriculum is the general education component needed for a bachelor’s degree. It consists of:

  • Inquiry Seminar (IQS)
  • Six modes of Inquiry (Creative Studies, Individuals, Quantitative Reasoning, Ultimate Questions, Systems and Societies, Natural World, and Vital Past)
  • Diversity Studies
  • Writing Intensive requirement

Required courses for accounting majors include intermediate accounting, cost accounting, advanced accounting, federal income taxation, and auditing.

Candidates must have a minimum G.P.A of 2.0 in all college coursework.

ACO Score: 96.89 Student to teacher ratio: 11:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% State: Ohio

Hiram College is a private, nonsectarian liberal arts institution located in Ohio. They are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and specialize in undergraduate education. They offer fully online degree programs for students wishing to earn their Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Financial Management.

Students will learn the financial and economic effects of different businesses through courses such as:

  • Cost Management
  • Auditing
  • Taxation

They also offer additional coursework for those students who plan to sit for the CPA (Certificate Public Accountant).

Hiram College offers 6 start times: 2 in the fall, 2 in the spring, and 2 in the summer. Online programs are completed through Moodle, a learning management system that allows students to receive quality education through a virtual classroom. An average of 10-15 hours per week should be expected to be spent on learning activities per course.

A maximum of 60 credit hours can be transferred to Hiram College, with a grade of “C” or better, from an accredited institution. Hiram College also offers a Bachelor’s Completion Program for Accounting and Financial Management. There is no application fee.

ACO Score: 96.65 Student to teacher ratio: 16:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% State: Georgia

Truett-McConnell College’s online bachelor’s degree program in business allows students to choose a focus in management accounting.

The program is fully online and requires no on-campus presence. Students in this program will have many opportunities to connect and collaborate with peers and professors through forums, email, and chat. Materials can be accessed and coursework can be completed on the student’s own schedule, making this a convenient choice for working professionals, those with many personal obligations, and distance students.

Courses are taught by Christian professors and content is given from a Biblical perspective. Professors focus on both the knowledge of business and accounting principles, and the ethical application of this knowledge.

Students in the online program are eligible for various scholarships and grants, including the Georgia Tuition Equalization grant (up to $1,000); a Pell grant (up to $5,500); the Truett-McConnell College Bi-vocational Pasto’s Grant (up to $1,000 per year); and the Georgia Baptist Ministerial Scholarship (up to $1,128 per year). There are a limited number of endowed scholarships available as well.

The school also offers a “Student Success” program, which connects students with employers, faculty, staff, and alumni to assist in setting goals, choosing a major, and finding a job. Such appointments can be held online for distance students.

ACO Score: 95.83 Student to teacher ratio: 16:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 97% State: California

Students looking for Christian-based, online studies in accounting can find just that at California Baptist University. Designed for working professionals, this accelerated bachelor’s degree completion program can potentially be completed in as little as two years. While the accounting program is fully online, students also have the option to take hybrid classes.

CBU’s undergraduate accounting program was created for students who hope to embrace spirituality and ethics in a goal-driven society. Studies are also designed to help prepare students for professional examinations, although this degree cannot satisfy all requirements for the Certified Public Accountant or Certified Management Accountant credentials.

Another option from the Division of Online and Professional Studies is a master’s degree in accounting delivered through distance learning. This program can assist students in completing certain requirements needed for professional licensing. The online master’s degree program has specific prerequisites for admission.

Online classes are delivered via the Blackboard course management system, where program participants view course lectures, download materials, submit assignments and communicate with instructors and fellow students. CBU holds regular online information sessions for students who are unsure if an online degree is right for them. Online learners have access to the Academic Success Center, tutoring and other resources, including on-campus workshops on APA Style, note taking strategies and exam prep.

ACO Score: 95.74 Student to teacher ratio: 13:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 94% State: North Carolina

Gardner-Webb University is a private, four year university and is the youngest North Carolina Baptist University. GWU offers an online degree completion program for accountancy for undergraduate students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Courses are offered through the college’s Broyhill School of Management, including:

  • Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Taxes
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • And more

The online degree program prepares students for entry level positons at public accounting firms, banks, and other financial institutions. Students will learn quantitative techniques, analytical skills, computer skills, and business based problem solving—all while having the flexibility and convenience to complete required coursework remotely. This degree option is ideal for those who have family or work responsibilities that make commuting to a campus on a regular basis difficult.

The program requires 60-64 transferable hours from a regionally accredited community college, junior college, or senior college, with the completion of prerequisite coursework.

Candidates can apply online and will need to provide their official transcripts from any previously attended education institution, ACT/SAT scores, and must have a minimum G.P.A of 2.0 or higher. There is a $40 application fee.

ACO Score: 95.68 Student to teacher ratio: 22:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 95% State: Tennessee

Students of Tennessee Technological University’s Department of Accounting and Business Law can take 21 hours of upper-division accounting courses online. Any of these courses may go toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree in accounting. These classes may also be taken to accumulate the amount of credits required by law to sit for the Certified Public Accountant examination.

The Department of Accounting and Business Law is one of four departments in the College of Business and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which is the highest level of accreditation in the country.

All required accounting courses are available online. However, mandatory non-accounting courses may not all be available online. Therefore, students would generally have to pursue a hybrid course of study to achieve a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. The university recommends that students interested in becoming professional accountants to declare accounting as a second degree during the application process.

Students with a Business degree will usually enter the program having already completed at least two required courses or six credits.

The application deadline for spring courses is December 1, and the deadline for summer courses is May 1.

ACO Score: 95.68 Student to teacher ratio: 15:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% State: Maine

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine offers online students the chance to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree with an accounting specialization.

The degree leaves graduates with much of what they’ll need to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. However, rules regarding CPA exams do vary state by state. A fast-track program accelerates students toward a career as a CPA, and those who achieve their bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine can be fast-tracked into the college’s Master of Accountancy graduate program.

The BS program involves a unique blend of academic work and professional experience.

The degree requires the completion of 128 hours of coursework with at least one quarter of which has to be pursued through Saint Joseph’s. In addition, students are required to earn 24 semester hours in accounting specialization courses through Saint Joseph’s.

Students may apply for acceptance into the program at any time of the year. Applicants must provide proof that they graduated from high school or passed the GED or an equivalent course of study. Candidates must have maintained a C average or a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Applicants who did not may be accepted conditionally with the requirement of specialized supplemental coursework.

ACO Score: 95.68 Student to teacher ratio: 12:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 89% State: Mississippi

Belhaven is a Christian university that provides online learning options for students looking for a God-centered bachelor’s degree in accounting. Students can pursue a bachelor of science in accounting or a certificate in accounting.

The bachelor’s program in accounting incorporates Christian values and ethics by teaching students how to utilize these principles in their future careers. Students are also responsible for taking a handful of religion and Bible studies classes as part of the program.

Belhaven delivers online classes in an asynchronous format. Students may complete assignments and access course materials at their convenience—as long as they meet mandatory deadlines for their courses. They are required to complete three discussion board posts each week with assignments due on Saturdays. Online students have regular and consistent access to Belhaven’s online staff and professors. Most online degree programs can be completed in less than four years entirely online.

Upon graduation, students in Mississippi will have completed all classes necessary to qualify to sit for the CPA exam. However, they may need additional credits to meet the 150-hour requirement. Graduates in other states should check with the state board of public accountancy for qualification requirements.

ACO Score: 95.35 Student to teacher ratio: 11:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 88% State: Pennsylvania

Established in 1868, Keystone College is a private, liberal arts and sciences college located in Pennsylvania that offers 40 associate and baccalaureate degree programs. Bachelor’s degree programs in business are available both online and on campus. A fully online degree program is available to undergraduates interested in earning their Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

The online accounting major is focused on professional, managerial and technical aspects of accounting and finance. Students learn strategies for gathering, analyzing and interpreting data to use in business decisions. Another vital component of this degree is developing competency with the computer applications, databases and spreadsheets prevalent in the business environment.

Application materials include:

  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Personal essay or writing sample, minimum 250 words: either a copy of an academic paper from the student’s senior year or a discussion of a significant life accomplishment
  • Personal video showing why the candidate’s application should stand out
  • Official high school transcripts (or GED equivalent)
  • Common Application
  • Keystone College Supplement (found on the Common Application website)

Online students complete their coursework via Moodle learning management system. Web-based resources include a tutorial on Moodle as well as online tutoring. Keystone College offers rolling admission throughout the year, so candidates are encouraged to apply at any time.

ACO Score: 95.31 Student to teacher ratio: 15:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 88% State: Illinois

Southern Illinois University offers an online Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. This degree program is designed for students to transfer into after having completed their first two years in a preparatory program, such as an associate’s degree. The BS in accounting is designed to be completed over two years, but it can be finished in as little as 18 months.

The program requires the completion of roughly 60 hours of coursework and is broken down into 10 units called “course pairings.” Course pairings are made up of two, three-credit classes. Each course pairing is completed over an eight-week period. This format enables students to concentrate on only two courses at a time while still finishing four courses in a single semester. For students whose schedules do not allow them to maintain this workload, they may choose to take just one class at a time.

Course pairings are offered in the fall and spring semesters. Summer scheduling offers only one 8-week block of courses.

Application deadlines are in December and May. Although the BS can be achieved completely online, students are welcome to visit the campus and are encouraged to attend an in-person open house prior to enrolling. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

ACO Score: 95.18 Student to teacher ratio: 14:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% State: Oregon

NCU is a private, liberal arts university located in Oregon that is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. It has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top 25 baccalaureate colleges in the western United States.

Through its School of Professional Studies’ Business and Management Department, undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting degree. The online program covers courses in:

  • Advanced Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Cost Accounting
  • Federal Income Taxation
  • Intermediate Accounting
  • Managerial Finance
  • Principles of Accounting
  • Statistical Applications

Graduates of the program will learn how to apply an integration of accounting theory and practice to prepare them for professional, entry-level positions in the field.

First time freshman applications will need to provide their official high school/GED transcripts, have a cumulative G.P.A of 2.5 or higher, a combined math and reading SAT score of 850, or at least a 17 ACT score. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.5 transferable G.P.A and 24 transferable semester credits, or 36 transferable quarter credits. For those interested, a CPA track is also available for an additional 26 credits.

ACO Score: 95.08 Student to teacher ratio: 12:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% State: Missouri

Culver-Stockton College, located in Canton, Missouri, offers a Bachelor of Science in Business with an accounting and finance specialization—so students can complete a degree from anywhere with an Internet connection. The fully online program is geared toward adult learners looking to complete a bachelor’s degree while maintaining their careers.

Online classes at Culver-Stockton are five to eight weeks long, depending on the course, and begin throughout the year—rather than following a traditional semester schedule. Students attend class through e-learning, an online learning management system. Students use e-learning to access course materials, manage assignments and communicate with instructors and peers. My Connected Campus allows students to view grades and their class schedule at any time of the day or night. Most courses are in an asynchronous format, so students can participate in the class at their convenience.

Online students have access to all the same resources as their on-campus counterparts. Student services, the online library, academic advising, career counseling, enrollment services and a web-based bookstore all help students in their drive for a bachelor’s degree.

Traditional on-campus students may also take online courses, if necessary, through cross-registration to fulfill graduation requirements.

ACO Score: 94.8 Student to teacher ratio: 18:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 84% State: Missouri

Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) is a public, four-year university that is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Established in 1937, MSSU has a total enrollment of over 5,616 students. Through the Robert W. Plaster School of Business, undergraduates can earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Accounting completely online.

This online program, offered through the MSSU Distance Learning Department, prepares students for any entry-level accounting positions, as well as those looking to take the CPA exam. By taking courses such as tax accounting, governmental and nonprofit accounting, strategic financial accounting, and forensic and investigative accounting, students will acquire the necessary skills to succeed in the field of accounting.

The BSBA, Accounting degree requires a total of 124 credit hours, which includes:

  • 43-44 hours in general education requirements
  • 39 hours in Business Core courses
  • 14-15 hours in Electives

Accounting majors must earn a grade of C or higher in all accounting courses.

MSSU online offers students 24/7 access to course materials through Blackboard Learning Management System, as well as online academic advising options.

ACO Score: 94.78 Student to teacher ratio: 13:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 94% State: Iowa

Briar Cliff University prides itself in its online program in preparing students for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant exam. The school offers CPA-preparatory classes, as well as an additional CPA review program, through its online bachelor’s degree in accounting

BCU’s online accounting degree allows students to work at their own pace through its flexible curriculum. Students gain real-world experience and have the opportunity to connect with professional faculty members and peers working toward similar goals.

Students at BCU can transfer up to 90 credit hours from other institutions and apply these to the 124-credit accounting degree program. Those interested in sitting for the CPA exam are encouraged to take several additional classes to obtain more extensive background knowledge.

ACO Score: 94.64 Student to teacher ratio: 18:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 91% State: Pennsylvania

Students don’t have to live in Clarion to earn a degree in accounting. Clarion University has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – accounting, a minor in accounting and a CPA exam eligibility certificate—all available fully online.

Clarion has an accounting club, where on-campus and online students meet regularly, attend leadership conferences, participate in an annual banquet, take field trips and more. Social media and CU Connect help to keep members active and connected to one another.

Online classes at Clarion are delivered through Desire2Learn, the university’s online learning management system. Students use D2L to access course materials, lectures, assignments and exams as well as to communicate and interact with peers through discussion threads and forums.

Students earning a degree online have a myriad of resources available to them, including textbook loans, counseling resources, tutoring, disability services, career services, an online writing center, library access and more. A specialized orientation helps to facilitate online learning and give online students more information about distance education programs work. This is a real-time, hands-on service delivered through the learning management system.

ACO Score: 94.57 Student to teacher ratio: 11:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 90% State: New Hampshire

Granite State College is one of the four institutions of the University System of New Hampshire. It is a public, higher education institution, established in 1972. Granite State College offers fully online degree programs, and their bachelor’s degrees have been ranked among the top 50 of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Online Degree Programs.” In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education ranked Granite State College as the second least expensive four year college in New England.

Undergraduate students can obtain their Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance in Granite State College’s online degree program. The program prepares students to excel in several business career fields:

  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • CPA
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Planner
  • And more

120 credit hours must be completed for this degree. Applicants are required to have a high school diploma, or G.E.D equivalent, and official transcripts.

Granite State College also offers a Degree Completion Pathway Program for students who already have an associate degree to earn their bachelor’s degree in just 15 courses. All Granite State College online degree programs are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

ACO Score: 94.48 Student to teacher ratio: 18:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 80% State: Alabama

Troy University offers Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degrees that students can pursue online with a concentration in either Forensic Accounting or Public Accounting.

Students in both concentrations must complete two courses in Intermediate Accounting, as well as courses in Governmental Accounting, Accounting Information Systems, International Accounting, Professional Development, Income Tax Accounting, Auditing and Computer Applications for Accountants.

From there, public accounting majors must pass Managerial/Cost Accounting along with Advanced Accounting and Income Tax Accounting II.

Forensic accounting majors, on the other hand, must pass Internal Auditing, Fraud Examination, Administrative Law, and Investigation and Evidence.

Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business is nationally accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). It is authorized to offer baccalaureate degree programs in accounting as well as several other degree concentrations.

Students will enter as General Business students with a major declared. Only after they have completed 66 credits in general studies courses — and received approval from their adviser — will they be allowed to take upper-level business and accounting courses. Accounting majors must maintain at least a 2.3 cumulative GPA throughout this period. Students must have maintained a C average in all courses that they wish to transfer for credits that will be applied to major courses

ACO Score: 94.45 Student to teacher ratio: 13:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 76% State: Ohio

Franklin University has several options for students looking for an online accounting degree. Students can earn a Bachelor of Science or subsequent Bachelor of Science in accounting or earn a minor in accounting, financial management or a similar area—all completely online.

Franklin’s online accounting degree program helps prepare graduates for certification exams like Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant and Certified Internal Auditor. Students utilize industry-standard software as they work through their classes, getting to know the tools they will use as professionals after graduation.

Online degree programs at Franklin are designed for working professionals. All coursework is online, unless the student chooses to attend class at one of the university’s locations in the Midwest. Online students can access course materials through Franklin’s online learning portal at any time of the day or night. They “attend” classes asynchronously at the student’s convenience and interact with classmates and instructors through online chat rooms and discussion boards.

Students enrolled in online programs have access to Franklin’s library, bookstore and a host of student services, just like a traditional on-campus student.

ACO Score: 94.15 Student to teacher ratio: 23:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 88% State: Minnesota

Bemidji State University offers a bachelor of science in accounting for students who already hold an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in another field or has completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (a minimum of 40 credits in 10 goal areas).

The online accounting degree focuses on flexibility and convenience. Busy students can take one class per semester while those who want to accelerate their degree can take more. BSU outlines suggested schedules for students looking to complete their degree in two, three or four years, as well as an extended schedule. Credentialed, on-campus faculty teach the online classes at BSU, giving students the same opportunities and instruction that traditional on-campus students receive.

Students at BSJ access course materials through an online course management system. They communicate with instructors via chat programs and email and participate in online discussions with peers. Online students have access to student resources, including as the Center for Extended Learning, financial aid counseling, career services, advising and more. CPA exam prep courses are available online in the spring to assist students in getting ready for this credentialing exam.

ACO Score: 94.12 Student to teacher ratio: 17:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 94% State: Oklahoma

Northwestern Oklahoma State University is a public university that was established in 1897. It offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in over 40 areas of study, including accounting.

Through their online business program, undergraduate students can earn their Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Accounting, which provides background training in accounting, economics, finance, marketing, and management of information systems. The program prepares students for competitive, entry-level positions.

Online students must take UNIV 1010 Online Program Orientation in the first semester of the program. All virtual classes will follow the traditional semester schedule of 16 weeks, with some online classes offered in an 8-week format. NWOSU does not limit the number of transferable hours from accredited post-secondary institutions.

The BS Accounting degree requires:

  • Minimum 30 semester hours taken at NWOSU
  • Total of at least 124 semester hours of credit
  • At least 60 semester hours taken from baccalaureate degree granting institution
  • At least 40 semester hours in upper-level credits
  • At least half of final 30 semester hours or at least half of coursework required for major completed at NWOSU

At least 55 semester hours of coursework in liberal arts and science courses

ACO Score: 94 Student to teacher ratio: 16:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 96% State: Alabama

The University of West Alabama offers an online bachelor’s degree program in accounting.

Coursework in the program is divided into a business professional component and an accounting major degree component. Classes include:

  • Business Professional Component: Accounting I&II, Business Law and Legal Environment; Finance; Management; International Business Seminar; Marketing
  • Accounting Major Degree Component: Intermediate and Advanced Accounting; Computer-Based Accounting Systems; Cost Accounting; Federal Income Tax; Auditing

Online courses at the University of West Alabama use the Blackboard Learning Management System. This learning platform serves as an online classroom, allowing professors to post course materials, students to participate in discussions and submit assignments, and students and instructors to communicate with one another.

Within Blackboard, the University offers several technical resources for online students. This includes contact and support information, and technical tips for success in online classes. There is also a simulated exam that students can take as a “practice test.” This familiarizes students with the process of taking tests on Blackboard before having to take a real exam for a class.

There are no residency requirements for the university’s online programs. Scholarships for active military members are available.

ACO Score: 93.97 Student to teacher ratio: 19:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 97% State: Michigan

Baker College of Flint offers several choices for students looking to earn an online bachelor’s degree in accounting. Students can pursue a bachelor of business administration with an emphasis in accounting or a post-baccalaureate certificate in accounting.

Online degrees at Baker College require no on-campus time, so students can complete their degree from anywhere with an Internet connection. There are no additional fees on top of tuition, with the exception of application and graduation. Classes start every three weeks, so students can begin their academic program at any time of the year.

Baker online students attend a three-week orientation class, designed to orient students to online learning. Online courses are typically six weeks long, and students are responsible for keeping up with reading requirements and assignments. Baker Online students are required to participate in class discussions regularly—as often as five days a week (including weekends).

Classes are delivered through the Blackboard course management system, where students can access class lectures, download supplemental materials and submit assignments. Courses are asynchronous, so students can “attend” class at a convenient time, as long as they meet class expectations. Online students also have access to Baker College’s online library, research help center, academic counseling and free tutoring.

ACO Score: 93.79 Student to teacher ratio: 19:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 93% State: Indiana

Established in 1865, Indiana State University is a public institution that offers undergraduate degrees through 10 different majors. Princeton Review has named ISU as the “Best in Midwest” for 11 consecutive years, and both the Princeton Review and U.S. News have recognized the Donald W. Scott College of Business as one of the top business schools in the United States. They are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Accounting, Finance and Insurance & Risk Management Department offers an accounting program to undergraduate students online. Students can learn all accounting principles and theory to prepare them for professions in financial accounting, cost accounting, auditing, and taxation. The Bachelor of Science in Accounting includes 9 courses in areas such as:

  • Financial and Cost Accounting
  • Federal Income Taxation
  • Accounting Systems
  • Auditory Theory and Practice

Undergraduate students can also minor in Accounting with 12 hours of accounting courses. ISU also offers a Bachelor Degree Completion Program that typically consists of 61-85 credit hour requirements, 24 credits in pre-business cornerstone and foundation courses, 22 credits in core courses, 18 credits in accounting courses, and electives

ACO Score: 93.73 Student to teacher ratio: 18:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 88% State: Alabama

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) offers an online bachelor’s program in accounting through its Collat School of Business.

The program focuses on accounting principles from a global perspective with a practice-oriented educational experience to prepare students with both conceptual and practical business knowledge. Course choices include accounting information systems, income taxation, international accounting, macroeconomics, and microeconomics.

Additionally, the program prepares students for many professional certification exams, including the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam, the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam, the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exam, and the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.

Students will be prepared for careers in many areas of accounting, including:

  • Tax accounting
  • Financial accounting
  • Auditing
  • Cost/Managerial accounting
  • Governmental accounting
  • Forensic accounting

The program is fully online, although some courses may include on-campus orientations, exams, or presentations. However, if a student is unable to come to campus, alternate arrangements may be possible. Course materials are delivered through a variety of means, including video and audio lectures, online readings, slideshow presentations, and other forms of media. Students have access to a 24/7 help desk for technical issues, as well as electronic access to library resources.

ACO Score: 93.51 Student to teacher ratio: 32:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 80% State: Florida

Florida Tech University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in accounting to help prepare students for careers in a variety of finance and business related fields. The program helps students develop a foundation for becoming a Certified Public Accountant or Certified Management Accountant, after the certification exams.

All Florida Tech online students begin their program with a one-credit eLearning course, designed to orient students with online learning. This is a support resource that gives students more background on what to expect as an online student and how online courses work.

Online courses are delivered through Florida Tech’s course management system. Students can view course lectures synchronously through streaming video or view them later. Students are able to download lectures to a mobile device or computer and “attend” classes from anywhere. They communicate with instructors and fellow classmates in live chat rooms through Florida Tech’s virtual office hours. Students also meet, collaborate and network with one another via discussion boards and email.

Online students have access to a variety of student support services, including an online learning program advisor, customer support, technical support, tutoring services and more.

ACO Score: 93.31 Student to teacher ratio: 13:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 72% State: Alaska

The University of Alaska Southeast offers an e-Learning Bachelor of Business Administration program with an accounting emphasis. This program prepares students to work as accountants in private or public business fields, as well as to pursue additional education and experience to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

The program begins with a solid foundation of business courses, including business communications, elementary statistics, principles of management, and the legal environment of business. Students focusing on accounting will then take accounting emphasis courses, including income tax for individuals, advanced managerial cost accounting, auditing, governmental accounting, and fraud and forensic examination.

E-Learning courses at the university are delivered through several means, including audio conference, web conference, satellite, and online. Some classes may use a combination of methods. Some online classes are synchronous, requiring students to log on at a set meeting time, while others allow students to participate and view course materials at any time during the week. Local students who live in Juneau, Ketchikan, or Sitka can choose to take some classes on campus as part of their degree if they wish.

Costs for this distance program are approximately the same as for the school’s on-campus programs, including identical tuition, technology fees, and textbook fees. However, online students have to pay an e-Learning fee, while on-campus students have to pay other additional fees (such as the student activity fee).

ACO Score: 93.21 Student to teacher ratio: 11:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 99% State: New Hampshire

New England College (NEC) is a private, four-year liberal arts college accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Established in 1946, NEC offers 36 bachelor’s degree programs, including an online Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Business Administration in Accounting. Through this online program, students will have access to downloadable and streaming lectures, interactive discussion boards, and professor-led live chat rooms.

Distance students will learn how to record, prepare and examine financial transactions and statements in private industry, government, and non-profit entities, as well as how to apply business analytic techniques and methods. The program will give students the necessary skills and knowledge required to be a budget analyst, financial analyst, tax examiner, FBI Special Agent, and more.

To earn a BA in Accounting, the degree requires a total of 120 credits:

  • 40 in liberal arts foundation
  • 44 in business core courses
  • 16 in concentration courses
  • 20 in elective courses

Applicants are required to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. There is no minimum G.P.A requirement or ACT/SAT score requirement. However, students must take a minimum of 30 of the required credit hours at NEC.

ACO Score: 92.92 Student to teacher ratio: 14:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 96% State: Tennessee

The University of Memphis offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree with a major in accounting. Students pursue their BBA degree online through the School of Accountancy, Fogelman College of Business, and Economics.

In order to graduate, students must complete all requirements for the Fogelman College BBA, as well as all of the courses required to fulfill the accounting major. Required upper-division accounting courses include Intermediate Accounting I, Intermediate Accounting II, Cost Accounting, Federal Income Tax I, Accounting Systems, as well as Audit and Assurance Services.

Students must also complete two accounting electives. They may choose from Information Systems Auditing and Assurance, Financial Statement Analysis, Federal Income Tax II and Governmental, and Health Care & Not-for-Profit Accounting.

There are also graduate programs available for students who wish to continue onto advanced degrees.

Distance learners are offered an online orientation program that provides them with everything they need to know about what will be required of them, the resources they’ll have at their disposal, and expectations of how their studies will progress.

The University of Memphis is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university is authorized to award bachelor’s, first professional, master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees.

ACO Score: 92.23 Student to teacher ratio: 41:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 80% State: Utah

Western Governors University offers an online accelerated bachelor’s degree program in accounting. The program is designed for working accountants and bookkeepers, as well as students who wish to enter the field of accounting but have no experience.

The program covers the essential skills needed by an accountant, including leadership and management; business research and writing; accounting; business law and ethics; marketing and communication; project management; quantitative analysis for business; and more. The program emphasizes effective accounting and prepares students to work in a business, non-profit entity, or other organization. Students complete a capstone project at the end of their program.

Students work with a personal mentor who assists in creating a degree plan and choosing coursework that will lead most directly to graduation. The school estimates that students in the program should set aside at least 15 hours per week for their studies.

Learning is done through textbooks, web tutorials, and online courses. Students complete assessments to demonstrate their learning and don’t have to take traditional classes if they are knowledgeable about subject matter. This allows students with work experience and prior knowledge to progress through the degree more quickly. Completed assessments earn the student “competency units,” which are the equivalent of credits. The accounting program is 121 competency units, and transfer credits are accepted.

ACO Score: 92.11 Student to teacher ratio: 18:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 81% State: Maryland

The University of Maryland – University College offers a wide range of online degrees, including a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Program coursework focuses on several key skills for the accounting profession, including communication of accounting and financial issues with financial and nonfinancial audiences; producing financial and business reports; advising stakeholders through the analysis of processes, systems, and financial data; and collaborating, networking, and solving problems through collaboration and leadership.

Students who complete the program will be prepared to take the standard accounting certification and professional exams. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to work in many areas of the field, including accounting information systems, internal auditing, fraud studies, and federal financial management.

Online courses use Learning Experience Online (LEO), an online classroom that provides an interactive calendar for assignments and course events; communication tools including audio messaging, chatrooms and forums, and email; instructional tools such as audio and video lectures; and smartphone and tablet compatibilities. Distance learners who need assistance with technical matters can contact the university’s 24/7 help desk for issues with LEO, bug reporting, and troubleshooting.

Transfer students can meet with advisors to determine how many credits from previous classes, job training, and military training can apply towards the degree. The school will accept up to 90 credits from a four-year university or 70 credits from a two-year college.

ACO Score: 92.09 Student to teacher ratio: 15:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 99% State: Texas

Northwood University’s Texas campus offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree that allows students to achieve their entire degree online. Students may also pursue a hybrid course of study that supplements online work with traditional study at the physical campus. The faculty that teaches the online courses are the same instructors who teach in campus classrooms.

Best of Schools ranked Northwood’s online BBA as among the top 20 in the nation.

Students will learn advanced principles of accounting, such as financial record keeping and profit maximization, but they will also be immersed in management courses throughout the program. This unique double course of study will culminate in the completion of a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

The program takes four years or eight semesters to finish and requires the successful completion of 132 credits. Unlike many similar programs that require preparatory courses to be completed before major courses are introduced, Northwood University-Texas’s BBA program immerses students in major coursework during their very first semester.

Freshman courses include Principles of Management, Finite Math and Fundamentals of Financial Accounting. Sophomores will take courses such as Speech and Environmental Science. Juniors will take courses such as Business Law and Ethics, and senior courses include Auditing and Advanced Accounting.

ACO Score: 92.04 Student to teacher ratio: 19:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 79% State: Iowa

Upper Iowa University offers several distance degree and certificate programs, including online and self-paced bachelor’s degree programs in accounting.

The online accounting program is held through asynchronous courses that follow an eight-week term schedule. Students can complete classwork and participate at any time during the week, with no set log-on times. Assignments and coursework have due dates throughout the term. Students communicate frequently with their classmates through online discussions.

The self-paced degree program can also be completed fully at a distance. Students in this program interact closely with professors while completing work at their own pace, with no set terms or semesters. Instruction is delivered through texts, study guides, and other course materials. Students submit assignments and communicate with professors through mail, email, or a web-based classroom.

Students can transfer up to 90 credit hours from other academic institutions towards their bachelor’s degree. The school also has articulation agreements with local community college to facilitate the transfer of credits earned at these schools.

The university states that the average online student spends 15-20 hours per week on each online course. Those considering distance learning can take a demo course on the university’s website to determine if they would like to pursue a degree online instead of on-campus.

ACO Score: 91.45 Student to teacher ratio: 20:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 98% State: Iowa

AIB College of Business offers business-related degree online programs. Adult learners interested in earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting can do so through AIB completely online. Graduate students from this program gain strong problem solving skills, with 98 percent who find jobs or continue their education after graduation. Students who choose to focus on another area for their bachelor’s degree can also earn a minor in accounting through online learning.

AIB’s online program incorporates distance learning with face-to-face class time. The school’s blended learning program integrates online and mobile learning with traditional classes. Blended classes meet for two hours in the evenings and the remainder of the class time can be spent at home. AIB offers a bachelor’s degree in accounting as well as a transfer degree and a minor in the blended format.

Online courses are delivered via AIB’s course management system. Students use this system to access to all course materials as well as chat programs to communicate with their instructors and peers. Online programs are open to students in nearly every state across the country, so students do not have to live in Des Moines to attend AIB.

ACO Score: 90.88 Student to teacher ratio: 14:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 75% State: California

Golden Gate University is a private, non-profit, nonsectarian university that specializes in education professionals in law, business, taxation and accounting. Established in 1901, GGU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. They have been ranked in the top 100 of U.S. News and World Report’s “Top Online Graduate Business Programs”. Although their main campus is located in the Financial District of downtown San Francisco, they have been offering fully accredited online degree programs since 1998, including 2 undergraduate degrees (with 8 concentrations) and 10 undergraduate certificates.

Through the School of Accounting, undergraduate students can earn their Bachelor of Science with an Accounting Concentration, or an undergraduate Certificate in Accounting. The B.S. prepares students for careers in financial and management accounting, auditing, consulting, and taxations. It requires 21 units in required course and 12 in electives. The certificate prepares students for the CPA and CMA exams, as well as the graduate accounting program.

Applicants are required to have a:

  • Minimum G.P.A of 3.0 or higher from an accredited high school, or G.E.D equivalent
  • 3+ years professional work experience
  • Statement of purpose
  • $55 application fee

The GGU eLearning program is offered entirely online through virtual classrooms, delivering quality educational experiences through the Moodle learning management system, with courses taught by world class faculty.

ACO Score: 90.61 Student to teacher ratio: 14:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 50% State: California

Located in Irvine, California, Brandman University offers a host of online degree options for distance learners. For those interested in accounting and finance, Brandman has a bachelor of business administration with an accounting or finance emphasis. Graduates of either program are prepared for entry-level to middle management opportunities in the business world.

Online courses at Brandman begin six times throughout the year and are condensed into 8-week sessions. Brandman online students access course materials through Blackboard, an online course management system. The school offers a course demo that allows students to see what to expect in their online courses prior to committing to a program.

Brandman’s online accounting programs are asynchronous, so students can access course materials at any time of the day or night. Online students have access to all student services, including registration, financial aid assistance and admission services. Brandman also offers a wide variety of professional development and certificate programs in the business field for working professionals, including certification exam preparation and a seminar series for business professionals.

ACO Score: 90.4 Student to teacher ratio: 17:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 67% State: Alabama

Athens State University is located in Athens, Alabama. However, location is not a limiting factor for students who want to earn an online bachelor’s degree in accounting. Athens State offers two different online accounting bachelor’s degrees—one with a minor and one without.

The bachelor’s in accounting without a minor prepares students to sit for the CPA exam with specialized classes totaling 150 semester hours. The bachelor’s in accounting with a minor gives students a wider knowledge base in business but does not include the courses that prepare students for the CPA exam.

Students take classes through Blackboard, Athens State’s online course management system. Students use this system to access course lectures, download supplemental reading materials, participate in discussions with instructors and other students, submit assignments and view grades. Most classes are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to participate in class at their convenience while still meeting instructor-mandated deadlines. Some classes may require a campus visit or an online meeting at a specific date and time. Students should check the academic schedule for more information and requirements for specific courses.

Online students have access to the same gamut of resources as traditional on-campus students, including library resources, academic advising, career counseling and more.

ACO Score: 89.09 Student to teacher ratio: 25:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 27% State: Missouri

Central Methodist University offers a bachelor’s degree in accountancy online. CMU’s College of Graduate & Extended Studies seeks to prepare individuals for the professional world through ethical leadership and social responsibility. The degree requires 124 credits total, including 54 credits for the major and additional general education courses such as economics, statistics or computer applications. Students must earn a grade of C or above in the professional accounting courses.

The online accountancy program is available to residents of many U.S. states.

Graduates with the necessary qualifications can pursue certifications such as Certified Public Accountant, Certified Managerial Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Financial Planner or Actuary.

Web-based classes run in either 8-week or 16-week sessions, depending on the course. The curriculum of online studies is analogous to that of on-campus classes. Courses meet via Elluminate, the online learning management system. Content delivery is asynchronous, allowing students to access course materials at their convenience—any time of the day or night. Those enrolling in this program are encouraged to take an orientation module to familiarize themselves with the format of online classes. Students also have access to a variety of online support systems, including library resources and tutoring—right on CMU’s website.

ACO Score: 88.67 Student to teacher ratio: 11:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 25% State: California

National University, the second largest private, non-profit institution in California, is the flagship institution of the National University System. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and offers over 70 undergraduate degree programs and more than 1,200 courses online.

Through the School of Business and Management’s Accounting and Finance Department, undergraduates can enroll to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Accountancy. This online degree program prepares students for positions in public and corporate accounting, internal auditing, Internal Revenue Service, and more.

For a B.S. in Accountancy, students must complete at least 150 quarter units:

  • 45 must be completed in residency at NU
  • 76.5 in upper-division levels
  • Minimum 70.5 in general education requirements
  • 15 courses in core business requirements
  • 12 courses in core accounting requirements
  • 4 courses in preparation for the major

Through the online degree program at NU, students will receive a quality education through virtual classrooms, multimedia rich presentations, and weekly discussions.

Applications are reviewed year round, so students can begin classes at any month during the year. All undergraduates will be required to take the ACCUPLACER mathematics and English evaluation exam, have a cumulative G.P.A of 2.0 or higher, and pay a $60 application fee.

ACO Score: 88.28 Student to teacher ratio: 26:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 30% State: Colorado

At Colorado State University’s Global Campus, students can earn a fully online bachelor’s degree in accounting. Students can also choose a specific specialization to complement their major based on their future career interests, including healthcare, information technology, marketing and criminology. Students in the online bachelor’s in accounting program learn legal and ethical issues in the field as well as best practices and theories used in today’s global marketplace. The focus is on real-world concepts that graduates can put to work in their careers.

CSU’s online programs are accelerated and with 8-week classes starting every month, students can begin their degree program year-round. And every class is available during every term so students can earn prerequisite credits without having to put higher-level classes on hold. The university’s SuccessReady program lets students shorten the time to graduate even further by accepting work experience, competency-based exams and prior learning assessments as alternative credit options.

Tuition in CSU-Global’s online programs includes a tuition guarantee that all students pay the same in-state rate. Courses are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to access lectures, complete assignments and participate in discussion boards on their own time, as long as they meet course deadlines.

ACO Score: 86.9 Student to teacher ratio: 20:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 12% State: New Jersey

Adult learners may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree in accounting online through Thomas Edison State College. For students who plan to become Certified Public Accountants, their BSBA degree can easily be applied to a graduate master’s CPA Degree.

BSBA students will receive instruction on the foundational principles of financial and managerial accounting. They will also study cost accounting, auditing, and the methods of analyzing earnings performance. Students must complete 120 credits to graduate. Credits are made up of 60 General Education Requirements credits, 54 Professional Business Requirements credits, and six free elective credits.

General Education courses are broken down into four categories: intellectual and practical skills, human cultures and the physical and natural worlds, personal and social responsibility, and general education electives.

Professional and Business Ethics categories are business core, area of study: accounting, and business electives.

Thomas Edison College has one of the most flexible credit-transfer policies of any school in the United States. Students may transfer up to 80 credits from a regionally accredited community college or up to 120 credits from a regionally accredited four-year institution.

Candidates will undergo an academic evaluation upon applying, where their transcripts, military history, professional training, and licenses will be considered.

A Complete Guide Online Accounting Degrees

Accountants serve as the gatekeepers of financial records. They examine records for accuracy, processes for efficiency, and practices for compliance with state and federal laws. Types of accountants include public, management, government and internal (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants and Auditors). Becoming an accountant, no matter which type you choose, requires at least a bachelor’s degree in the field, although some begin with an associate degree and/or move on to advanced study – usually a master’s. Let’s start by taking a closer look at the most common online accounting degrees and how they fit into an overall higher educational timeline.

The Online Accounting Degree Timeline

Every educational path is unique. Students make degree choices based on where they currently reside in their careers and where they eventually want to be. This means different starting points, different ending points and different in-betweens. To understand their choices, it’s important to examine the full accounting degree spectrum, from the earliest potential starting point to the last possible end. The following timeline details how one student might go from associate degree through doctorate, and discusses the various decisions he or she may need to make along the way.

Associate Degree Online – Two Years

An online associate degree in accounting often serves one of three distinct purposes. The first and most common is the acquisition of basic knowledge and skills needed to transition to an entry-level accounting career. Coursework focuses on general college requirements, but also includes a healthy dose of accounting and finance basics, business law and legal concepts, taxation 101, accounting systems and more. These introductory courses also apply to the second reason for earning an associate degree in the field: transfer. Earning the two-year degree first provides a cost-effective way to complete the initial stage of a full bachelor’s program. Before going this route, however, students should visit with academic counselors at the two-year college and target four-year college to ensure all credits will transfer successfully.

Some associate degrees, albeit relatively few in accounting, allow students to hone in on a certain program or skill. For example, a set of courses might concentrate on managerial accounting only, which could help entry-to-mid level professionals move into a more supervisory role – either with a current employer or with a new one.

Bachelor’s Degree Online – Four Years

The online bachelor’s degree in accounting remains the educational benchmark for a successful career in the field. In addition to the core elements learned at the two-year level, the four-year degree dives deeper into critical concepts, expands the knowledge base and skill set, and helps further define the professional path. At this point, students should have at least a rough idea of the type of accounting that interests them, and in which environments (public, private, nonprofit) they’d like to work. Key coursework in years three and four of an online bachelor’s program include:

Financial accounting: Focuses on accounting as a support for economic decision-making. Students learn about and complete basic financial analyses, collect and examine data to make organizational decisions, and learn how to finances work within various public and private entities.

Ledger applications: Introduces students to spreadsheet software and teaches how to complete basic accounting and bookkeeping tasks. This includes entering transactions into organized systems, understanding entries and adjustments, and preparation of official financial statements.

Federal income taxes: In addition to basics of federal income taxes, students get a more detailed understanding of the system and its complexities. Some of the course concentrates on how certain tax decisions affect monetary outcomes.

Accounting information systems: The application of software and other technology to information gathering and record keeping. Focuses on best practices, case studies and sometimes how to develop custom applications to meet specific accounting needs.

Other primary courses:

  • Auditing
  • Business law
  • Cost accounting
  • Macroeconomics
  • Managerial accounting
  • Principles of finance
  • Principles of management

Applying to a Bachelor’s Program

The application process can differ by school and level of degree being sought, but online accounting programs usually ask for five individual sets of materials:

  1. Formal application. Filled out on paper or online, the formal application is designed to learn about a student and his or her family, including where they attended high school, their GPA, extracurricular activities and other important personal and academic information. If applying to an accounting department directly, they may look more intensely at strong courses and grades in math and business.
  2. Academic transcripts. Official transcripts must be delivered to a college in a sealed envelope, and include a list of courses and grades from all years in attendance – both for high school and any previous college.
  3. Test scores. Many colleges still ask for test scores, such as the SAT or ACT. Yet some don’t, opting to place more emphasis on GPA, course rigor and community service. For students looking to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting – either on campus or online – taking the SAT isn’t a bad idea.
  4. Statement of purpose. Why do you want to go to college? And this college? Why do you want to earn an online degree in accounting? Colleges and accounting departments may ask these questions before enrolling or declaring your major.
  5. Essay. Essays may be one of the most underrated elements of a college or program application. Admissions officers and department heads want to hear how the topic connects with you personally.

In addition to these basic elements, online accounting degree programs and the institutions that offer them may require additional materials from applicants. For example, a school may require – or at least strongly suggest – that students take and pass an online learning suitability test. This quiz assesses a student’s likely ability to earn a degree remotely. It looks at self-determination, independence, technical savvy and other traits that successful online students typically possess.

Master’s in Accounting Online (MACC) – Six Years

Earning an accounting degree online at the master’s level generally takes two years, although some accelerated programs may take one. Coursework dives deeper into accounting principles but can also follow certain tracks depending on student interest. For instance, some master’s programs offer a management track, complete with courses on business decision making and advanced principles of accounting management. These paths tend to attract those who wish to work in a leadership role after graduation.

Another popular track involves the marriage of accounting and law. Students pursuing advanced study here may take courses in business law, legal issues at business stages and fraud prevention. Degree holders often work for companies on internal matters, to ensure the entity falls in line with legal compliance.

Doctoral Degree in Accounting Online – Eight Years +

In accounting, the doctorate degree prepares students for work in research and teaching. Most doctoral students who take the research path investigate financial or managerial accounting issues, or conduct behavior analyses of auditors and other professionals using statistics, psychology and social sciences. Coursework for the doctorate include topics such as social science research methods, statistical models, econometrics, game theory and qualitative metrics, depending on their focus. In addition to courses, doctoral candidates need to fulfill pre-set research requirements and eventually prepare and defend a dissertation. The teaching track may seem similar, but include courses in accounting instruction and communication and fewer on methods and metrics. Candidates usually need to teach an undergraduate course in accounting.

Although most PhD programs occur on campus, some for-profit institutions do offer the online option. Like many advanced online programs, a periodic visit to a campus may be required, with the remaining 90% of time spent researching, studying and submitting materials via the web.

Signs of a Strong Online Accounting Program

Online accounting programs come in all shapes and sizes, and come from a variety of different institutions: junior colleges, state colleges, private universities and for-profit schools. No matter which type of online college, those with quality programs share certain characteristics. Let’s examine four signs of a strong online degree program.

Accreditation

The school or online accounting program should be accredited by at least one of the following: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), or one of the six regional accrediting agencies endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation means an independent agency has reviewed a school to ensure it meets quality academic standards on an ongoing basis and has the financial resources to meet these standards. Accredited online accounting programs have received an official stamp of approval that’s recognized by other schools, employers and the government.

Student Support

All colleges and programs should support their students, so this shouldn’t be a shocker. However, when considering online accounting programs, certain metrics can help you determine if the institution and its accounting department or faculty has what it takes to help you succeed. For example, what percentage of students sit for and pass the CPA exam? A high success rate could be an indicator of curriculum rigor and active test prep. Furthermore, how many companies hire graduates of the program? High placement rates mean that companies and other hiring entities take a degree from the school (and the program) seriously.

Resources

For online accounting programs, resources come in two distinct forms. First, does the school have solid tools and tech that make their online programs stand out? It’s important to have communication technology, support, digital libraries and other platforms and materials available 24/7. One major benefit of distance learning is flexibility, and every program should have it. Second, does the school have a faculty with documented professional credentials in both accounting and online learning? Many programs have professors with experience in the field, but they should also have experience teaching students online.

CPA Exam Prep

The program should prepare graduates to pass the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. The CPA credential is a requirement for career advancement in the accounting field. It typically requires 150 hours of coursework, so someone with a bachelor’s online accounting degree will still need to complete an additional 30 hours of study. Nevertheless, an undergraduate accounting degree should serve as the foundation for passing the exam. The CPA exam pass rate for graduates of an online accounting degree program should be higher than or align with the national average of around 50%, as reported by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).