Online Accounting Degrees 2021

By ACO Staff with contributions from Sarah Gardam

Published on September 7, 2021

Online Accounting Degrees 2021

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Accounting Degree Online

An online accounting degree provides the fundamental background to start working in a number of finance professions.

Many bachelor's degree in accounting graduates pursue professional licensure and careers as accountants and auditors. These careers earn a median annual salary of $71,550, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS projects an average job growth rate of 4% for these professionals during 2019-2029. Earning an accounting bachelor's degree online also supports related career paths such as financial analyst, financial advisor, actuary, and cost estimator.

This article covers questions, benefits, and costs of an online accounting degree. We also provide example accounting courses, credentials, and scholarships.

Earning Your Accounting Degree

Q. Is an accounting degree worth it?

According to February 2021 PayScale data, professionals with bachelor's degrees in accounting earn an average $64,350 annually, over $10,000 more than the average mean salary for all occupations.

Q. What kinds of jobs can you get with an accounting degree?

Accounting degrees help graduates qualify for certified public accountant (CPA) licensure and roles such as forensic, environmental, tax, or management accountants. Other job options include cost estimator, financial analyst, actuary, and auditor.

Q. How many years does it take to be an accountant?

For CPA licensure, accountants typically need 150 college credits, including an accredited bachelor's degree. Attaining this education typically takes 4-5 years, and studying for the CPA examination often requires another year.

Q. What is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

Bookkeeping focuses on the tracking and recording of everyday financial transactions. Accounting includes financial analysis, reporting, and guidance based on these records.

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Explore these promoted online degree programs.

These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.

How Much Does an Accounting Degree Cost?

According to the College Board's 2020-2021 Trends in College Pricing, tuition at public four-year, in-state schools costs $10,560 annually. The same source indicates that out-of-state tuition at these schools costs about 2.5 times more, and private nonprofit schools costs about 3.5 times more. Accounting students save money by starting college at local public two-year colleges, costing just $3,770 annually.

Some schools allow online accounting degree students to pay discounted or in-state tuition rates, so enrolling online saves out-of-state learners a considerable amount. Distance learners usually save more money by maintaining their current jobs and bypassing commuting, residency, and university fees. Online accounting degrees typically do not require lab work or associated fees. Scholarships, grants, and loans can help accounting students fund their degrees.

Courses in Accounting

Bachelor's in accounting degrees include general education coursework, core coursework in various business disciplines, and core and specialized accounting coursework. This curriculum cultivates skills in tax preparation, auditing, financial reporting, and business decision-making. The best bachelor's in accounting programs include internship experiences that help enrollees gain professional experience and develop practical bookkeeping and accounting skills.

Many online accounting degrees encourage enrollees to specialize in particular fields such as managerial, financial, governmental, or forensic accounting. The following three courses appear in many, but not all, bachelor's in accounting programs.

[tabs] [tab-item title="Introduction to Management Accounting"]

Often appearing as a core course and a curriculum concentration, introduction to management accounting covers key business and accounting practices and principles. The course's foundational topics include cost behavior, cost allocation, activity-based costing, and job order and process costing. This class teaches participants how to prepare managerial accounting statements and evaluate organizational design, financial control, and budgeting.

[/tab-item] [tab-item title="Accounting Information Systems"]

This required accounting course familiarizes learners with the various information technologies and software that financial professionals use to control transactions and report financial information. Participants learn how to design AIS that can improve business outcomes. Some schools offer AIS as a concentration option.

[/tab-item] [tab-item title="Business Law"]

This core course surveys major ethical and legal issues relevant in business. Common topics include business crime, the Uniform Commercial Code, and the law of sales. Participants learn about torts, contracts, and constitutional law. Aspiring accounting professionals need this course to understand laws and ethics related to financial control, regulation, taxation, and reporting.

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Certifications and Licensure for Accounting

Accounting bachelor degree online graduates often pursue licensure or certification to qualify for desirable business and financial occupations. The commonly sought CPA license qualifies holders to serve as professional tax preparers for individuals and organizations. Other useful credentials include certified management accountant and chartered financial analyst.

State accountancy boards grant this credential, and requirements differ by state. Most CPAs need 150 education hours, one year of relevant professional experience, and a passing score on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' CPA examination. This credential supports various business careers, including management accountant, cost estimator, consultant, or financial manager. CMA certification requires a bachelor's or professional certification, two years of professional experience, and successful performance on the Institute of Management Accountants' two-part exam. CFA certifications usually serve investment management professionals. CFA candidates need 4,000 hours of professional experience and education, including a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Additional requirements include 2-3 reference letters and passing CFA exam results. The professional exam covers valuing assets, wealth planning, portfolio management, and investment tool fundamentals.

Scholarships for Accounting

Like other college students, online accounting bachelor program enrollees may qualify for scholarships. Various nonprofits, companies, and schools offer these awards to students demonstrating some combination of financial need, academic merit, and group membership. The following scholarships serve students pursuing degrees in accounting-related fields.

National Society of Accountants Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The NSA Foundation offers this scholarship to U.S. and Canadian accounting majors. Part-time or full-time enrollees at accredited U.S. two- and four-year institutions qualify to apply with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The selection committee considers academic achievement, leadership, honors and awards, work experience, and statements of goals and aspirations. Amount: $500-$2,200

Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting Undergraduate Scholarships

Who Can Apply: EFWA offers several scholarships for U.S. women pursuing degrees in accounting at accredited schools. Eligible candidates must demonstrate financial need, clear goals and plans, accounting career aspirations, and aptitude for accounting and business.

Amount: $1,000-$16,000

Online Bachelor's in Accounting Programs



Maryville University of Saint Louis View School Profile Saint Louis, MO Unconfirmed

Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville offers an online bachelor of science in accounting. Motivated students may also take three early access courses to apply to a subsequent master's degree and graduate with both degrees faster.

The curriculum includes both business and accounting core courses for foundational training in business settings. Notable requirements include digital foundations, principles of management, advanced managerial accounting, and forensic accounting and ethics. Students complete 128 credits and receive early access to graduate-level courses such as tax planning and decision-making, strategic accounting issues, and data analytics. Capstone courses allow students to explore issues in accounting, to collaborate, and to receive mentoring from faculty.

Students need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply for the program, but the school does not require standardized tests. Maryville is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus View School Profile Portales, NM $10918

Located in Portales, ENMU offers an online bachelor of business administration in accounting. Students complete 120 credits in both business and accounting courses.

Business core courses include both foundational and advanced coursework. Notable choices include principles of management, principles of accounting, and spreadsheets and data analysis. From there, students take specific course sequences related to accounting, including government and nonprofit accounting, income tax accounting, and accounting information systems theory. Students do not need to complete a practicum or internship.

Students must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores to apply. Adult learners (those over the age of 25) do not need to supply standardized test scores.

ENMU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Minnesota-Crookston View School Profile Crookston, MN $12135

Located in Crookston, UMC offers an online bachelor of science in accounting. Students complete 120 hours solely online and gain foundational knowledge in the theoretical and practical skills necessary for a career in finance.

Required accounting courses include principles of accounting, managerial finance, auditing, and taxation. The school prepares students to work in professional settings with the legal aspects of business, principles of marketing, and principles of management. Students can also choose to complete an internship at an approved business setting for hands-on experience or delve into niche subjects such as forensic accounting or business environments and concepts.

Students must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to begin the application process. The school does not require students to submit SAT or ACT scores but may require students to take placement exams.

UMC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Trine University-Regional/Non-Traditional Campuses View School Profile Fort Wayne, IN Unconfirmed

Located in Angola, Indiana, Trine offers an online bachelor of science in business administration with a major in accounting. Motivated learners can combine the school's bachelor's and master's degrees to graduate with both degrees faster and for less money.

Students begin the 120-credit program with business core such as professional development and strategies, international business, organizational behavior, and strategic management. The accounting department also requires students to complete courses such as cost accounting, intermediate accounting, and advanced managerial finance. Learners take either a business capstone or a business internship based on the student's performance and goals.

The school allows students to transfer up to 90 credits toward their degree. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit standardized test scores.

Trine is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Florida Atlantic University View School Profile Boca Raton, FL $9486

Based in Boca Raton, FAU offers an online bachelor of business administration in accounting.

The 120-credit program begins with business core coursework, including management and organizational behavior, management information systems, quantitative methods in administration, and global strategy and policy. From there, accounting courses include accounting applications of data analytics, cost accounting, and federal taxation. Elective options include government and nonprofit accounting and business law. Students do not need to complete an internship or capstone to complete the program.

Students first apply to the university with a high school diploma. After learners complete at least 60 credits with a 2.5 minimum GPA, pass the accounting competency exam, and complete prerequisite courses, they may petition the department to declare a major in accounting.

FAU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Northern State University View School Profile Aberdeen, SD $15668

Located in Aberdeen, South Dakota, NSU offers an online bachelor of science in accounting. Learners complete 120 credits, including business core and accounting-specific requirements.

The program begins with business courses such as business policy and strategy, advanced computer applications, organization and management, and the legal environment of business. Accounting requirements include intermediate accounting, cost accounting, nonprofit accounting, and business law. The department does not require an internship or capstone experience, but students can take seminars on current topics in business and accounting. Students who want work experience may choose to complete an internship through the business school.

Applicants must possess one of the following to qualify for admission: a minimum ACT score of 18 (SAT 960), a minimum high school GPA of 2.6, or a top 60% school ranking in their graduating class.

NSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

McKendree University View School Profile Lebanon, IL Unconfirmed

Located in Lebanon, Illinois, McK offers an online bachelor of business administration with a concentration in accounting. The program provides foundational training in accounting and business principles, preparing students for work immediately after graduation. The program also provides a foundation for CPA certification.

Students complete accounting requirements, such as taxation of business entities, managerial cost accounting, research in accounting theory, and business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Students also take business core courses such as principles of managerial accounting, business law, and business strategy and policy. The department does not require students to complete an internship or a capstone experience. Learners complete courses over eight-week terms.

Students must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. The school makes standardized testing and personal interviews optional.

McK is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Shorter University View School Profile Rome, GA Unconfirmed

Located in Rome, Georgia, Shorter offers an online bachelor of business administration in accounting. Students complete both business and accounting courses.

Program requirements include principles of financial accounting, principles of managerial accounting, governmental accounting, and macro and micro fraud examination. The program also provides a focus on forensic and fraud investigation, with several courses focusing on the skills students need to provide assistance to law enforcement and business auditors in uncovering evidence of fraud. Notable courses include forensic interviews and interrogations and swindles and schemes. Students also take a broad base of liberal arts courses to complete the program.

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores for placement and for scholarship purposes.

Shorter is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Seton Hill University View School Profile Greensburg, PA Unconfirmed

Located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Seton Hill offers an online bachelor of science in accounting. The school offers three start dates per year, as well as a generous transfer credit policy so students can finish faster.

Learners take courses such as principles of accounting, Excel and other small business software, managerial accounting, and federal taxation of individuals. The school provides a foundation in business principles, including management, marketing, and micro and macroeconomics. Most students complete an internship for hands-on experience, but participants with more than one year of relevant work experience may apply to waive the internship requirement.

The 73-credit curriculum occurs in an accelerated eight-week format. Students must make arrangements to complete undergraduate general education core as well. The program requires a high school diploma or GED for program eligibility.

Seton Hill is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Wesleyan College View School Profile Macon, GA Unconfirmed

Located in Macon, Georgia, Wesleyan offers an online bachelor of arts in accounting. The 120-credit program offers a solid foundation in financial principles.

Students participate in courses such as financial accounting concepts and applications, business ethics and society, government and not-for-profit accounting, and business information systems. The program offers multiple opportunities for professional development. The school can also help students coordinate internships through the university's extensive network of alumni and community businesses.

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Applicants do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores, but the department encourages test scores for scholarship consideration. The school offers a generous credit system for work, prior learning, and placement exams.

Wesleyan is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana View School Profile Natchitoches, LA $10448

Located in Natchitoches, NSU offers an onlinebachelor of science in accounting. The 120-credit program provides a solid foundation in business principles. Students prepare for a variety of financial positions, including managerial and governmental options.

Students take foundational courses such as basic business statistics, money and banking, principles of marketing, and financial policies and practices. Participants do not need to take an internship or capstone project to complete the program.

The school may grant prior learning credits to students with prior work experience or through assessments. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply for the program. All students except for nontraditional students must also submit SAT or ACT scores to apply.

NSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

University of Memphis View School Profile Memphis, TN $13174

Based in Memphis, Tennessee, UofM offers an online bachelor of business administration in accounting.

Students begin the program with business prerequisites such as fundamentals of accounting, intro to microeconomics, and business analytics. From there, students take upper-level business courses and begin accounting requirements. Notable courses include international monetary theory and policy, federal income tax, audit assurance services, and marketing business solutions for sustainability. Students receive training in the analytics, technology, and business principles it takes to pursue a career as an accountant.

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores to apply.

UofM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University View School Profile Alva, OK $9158

Located in Alva, NWOSU offers an online bachelor of business administration in accounting. Online students follow the traditional semester schedule, receive orientation through an online learning course, and take advantage of remote proctoring for major tests.

The 121-credit curriculum introduces foundational principles in both the business and accounting fields. Required business courses include financial accounting, legal environment of business, and introduction to statistics. Accounting core courses include individual income tax, government and nonprofit accounting, and cost accounting. Students can explore further topics in accounting through elective choices and choose any upper-level accounting course to complete the credit requirements.

Students first apply to the university with a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Once admitted, students take business prerequisites and apply to the business division once they complete the required coursework with a 2.25 GPA.

NWOSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Lakeland University View School Profile Plymouth, WI Unconfirmed

Located in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Lakeland offers an online bachelor of arts in accounting. Students complete the degree with optional emphasis areas, including business economics, digital marketing, international business, and nonprofit management.

Students complete accounting requirements, including financial accounting principles, federal taxation of individuals, auditing theory and practice, and advanced financial reporting. Students can choose from over 20 different areas of emphasis and do not need to complete an internship or a capstone experience. However, the school can help students if they want to work through an internship, thanks to the school's extensive network.

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent with a minimum GPA of 2.0 to qualify for admission. Transfer students also need a minimum GPA of 2.0 to apply. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores.

Lakeland is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

SUNY College at Plattsburgh View School Profile Plattsburgh, NY $13614

Located in Plattsburgh, New York, SUNY Plattsburgh offers an online bachelor of science in accounting as a degree completion program. Transfer students can apply their associate degree toward earning a bachelor's degree without setting foot onto campus.

Accounting requirements include an introduction to financial accounting, accounting information systems, legal environment of business, business ethics and professionalism in a global society, and government and nonprofit accounting. Students receive a foundation in business and accounting and can further focus through a series of elective choices. The program also includes economics and finance choices. Students can also choose to participate in an internship.

The school offers a holistic admissions policy. Applicants must possess an associate degree or equivalent transfer credits with the required prerequisites to qualify for admission. The school does not require SAT or ACT scores, but applicants can send them to strengthen an application.

SUNY Plattsburg is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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