Best Online Accounting Bachelor's Degree Programs

By the OnlineU team | Updated February 22, 2021

An accounting career is an appealing path for many because the field is stable and has a promising salary outlook of $71,500 per year, on average. Career opportunities for accountants are varied: they prepare and verify financial records and exchanges for individuals, businesses, companies, and organizations to ensure they are accurate. They also detect inefficiencies or procedures that could be updated to maximize revenue or reduce overhead costs. Accounting is an excellent career choice for those who are organized and like working with numbers.

Demand for accountants is expected to remain steady, with job growth matching the U.S. average for all occupations through 2029. Continue reading for our ranked list of the best online colleges offering bachelor’s degrees in accounting. Our guide to accounting programs also includes information on degrees, certifications and licensure, accreditation, and answers to frequently asked questions.

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2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Accounting Degrees

2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting Badge

Across the country, the average ROI for a bachelor's degree in accounting is $475,300 over 10 years. The 25 top online colleges for a bachelor’s in accounting all offer ROIs above that average. UMass - Amherst, ranked first, has an estimated ROI of $623,200 for its online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. Tuitions for these top-ranked accounting degrees start as low as $6,450 with ROIs of over $480,000.

ROI amounts are based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuitions are manually researched in order to determine tuition amounts specific to online degrees. Read our methodology for more details.

Rank School Annual Tuition Median Starting Salary Median Debt 10-year ROI
# 1 #1 $14,250 $63,522 $24,676 $623,200
# 2 #2 $15,840 $57,564 $27,000 $559,000
# 3 #3 $12,000 $55,512 $27,000 $537,900
# 4 #4 $19,220 $55,286 $27,000 $535,500
# 5 #5 $14,970 $54,595 $22,238 $534,400
# 6 #6 $16,352 $54,382 $20,893 $533,800
# 7 #7 $19,830 $53,927 $17,750 $533,100
# 8 #8 $10,500 $54,752 $25,026 $532,500
# 9 #9 $20,856 $54,315 $24,865 $528,200
# 10 #10 $14,070 $54,209 $28,000 $523,200
# 11 #11 $15,098 $53,999 $26,937 $522,400
# 12 #12 $8,756 $52,733 $22,250 $515,200
# 13 #13 $17,760 $53,108 $27,000 $513,100
# 14 #14 $16,000 $52,733 $26,285 $510,200
# 15 #15 $9,540 $52,107 $25,000 $505,300
# 16 #16 $15,690 $51,106 $21,250 $499,700
# 17 #17 $19,040 $51,392 $25,000 $497,900
# 18 #18 $10,438 $51,169 $23,608 $497,400
# 19 (tie) #19 (tie) $14,970 $50,439 $19,500 $495,000
# 19 (tie) #19 (tie) $6,450 $50,012 $15,978 $495,000
# 21 #21 $18,275 $50,606 $22,960 $492,400
# 22 #22 $16,650 $50,320 $21,250 $491,600
# 23 #23 $11,829 $49,976 $22,640 $486,300
# 24 #24 $12,800 $50,105 $24,185 $485,700
# 25 #25 $20,677 $49,990 $25,000 $483,500

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting Rankings Details

#1

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Amherst (MA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $623,200
  • Median Salary: $63,522
  • Annual Tuition: $14,250
  • Median Debt: $24,676

The Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting degree at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst is an entirely online program offered through the Isenberg School of Management. This AASCB-accredited degree completion program prepares students for careers in accounting, auditing, and tax and consulting. By taking the required 20 courses in business and accounting foundations,... students will also learn financial reporting, managerial accounting, taxation, and information systems.

Classes are taught in an asynchronous format through the Blackboard Learn online platform, which can be accessed remotely 24/7. All students pay the same per-credit tuition fee for online courses, regardless of their state of residency. Online students are eligible for many types of financial aid, and the Isenberg School of Management awards more than $450,000 in undergraduate scholarships each year. Accounting majors have access to the Chase Virtual Career Center where they can schedule career appointments, interact with peers, participate in career events, prepare for interviews, and more.

Applicants must have earned at least 27 college credits before submitting an online application to this program. Online students have full access to support services, library resources, technical support, academic advising.

Cost per Credit: $475
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 80%
Acceptance Rate: 58%
Federal Loan Recipients: 91%
Average SAT Scores: 1200 - 1390
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,224

#2

Linfield College-Adult Degree Program

McMinnville (OR)
  • 10-Year ROI: $559,000
  • Median Salary: $57,564
  • Annual Tuition: $15,840
  • Median Debt: $27,000

Linfield College's online Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Accounting degree prepares students for the CPA exam. Online students take courses in advanced accounting, auditing, management, and marketing. Accounting majors can expand their studies with a study abroad program or an internship.

Online courses are delivered primarily asynchronously through the Blackboard Learn... online system. Students use Blackboard to access reading materials, engage in practice assignments, and participate in class discussions. Several institutional scholarships are available based on merit or need, such as the Robert J. and Vivian A. Bull Endowed Scholarship for online students with a GPA of 3.0.

Prospective students can obtain more information through Linfield's webinars before submitting an online application. Online learners have access to academic advising services.

Cost per Credit: $495
Credits Required: 128
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 244

#3

Messiah University

Grantham (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $537,900
  • Median Salary: $55,512
  • Annual Tuition: $12,000
  • Median Debt: $27,000

Messiah University online Bachelor of Business Administration-Accounting degree is offered fully online. Students in the program take courses in accounting, management, business law, leadership, and marketing. The university requires that students complete general education requirements in the Christian faith. Students in the accounting concentration take additional courses in intermediate... accounting and taxation.

Online classes are delivered on the Canvas platform, where students participate in discussion boards and group projects and view interactive web-based activities and presentations. Messiah University's per-credit tuition rates do not include any additional fees. Online students can participate in on-campus opportunities, such as the Impact Venture Challenge and Bloomberg Trading Challenge and 6-8 business networking per year.

There are several course start dates throughout the year. Prospective students should submit their online application to apply. No fee is required. Students have access to advising, counseling services, and library resources.

Cost per Credit: $400
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 78%
Acceptance Rate: 77%
Federal Loan Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 1080 - 1310
Accreditation: MSCHE

#4

Mount Saint Mary's University - CA

Los Angeles (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $535,500
  • Median Salary: $55,286
  • Annual Tuition: $19,220
  • Median Debt: $27,000

Mount Saint Mary's University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Accounting degree. The curriculum emphasizes leadership and decision-making skills through courses in global business, communication, business ethics, and management. Students typically complete the program in four years, and can choose to study full-time or part-time.

Students can select... from two formats: a fully-online program option or a hybrid format that blends in-person classes one day a week with online courses. Asynchronous coursework is delivered through the Canvas learning management system. MSMU accepts transfer credit for prior coursework and offers credit for prior work experience and military training. Merit- and need-based scholarships are also available to students.

Prospective students can submit the Common Application to apply. Once enrolled, students have access to an academic advisor.

Cost per Credit: $620
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 62%
Acceptance Rate: 81%
Federal Loan Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 930 - 1130
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 144

#5

University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi (MD)
  • 10-Year ROI: $534,400
  • Median Salary: $54,595
  • Annual Tuition: $14,970
  • Median Debt: $22,238

The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree. This program emphasizes theory and practice, covering topics in managerial accounting, accounting systems, financial reporting, and more. Students are prepared for accounting and finance roles at corporations, nonprofits, governmental organizations, and graduate school.UMGC's... vertical pathway allows graduates of this program to reduce their coursework for a master's degree in accounting.

Online coursework is asynchronous with no set log in times. Students participate in discussions, work on group projects, and interact with wither peers and faculty on the LEO learning management system. Online learners are provided with electronic textbooks for their courses at no additional cost. UMGC offers several scholarships, a monthly tuition payment plan, and military and veteran benefits. Students have access to the Accounting and Finance Community Hub that provides career exploration services, resources, and job listings.

Students must submit an online application to be considered. Once enrolled, students have access to tutoring services, the writing center, and library resources.

Cost per Credit: $499
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 15%
Federal Loan Recipients: 53%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 36,550

#6

Auburn University

Auburn (AL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $533,800
  • Median Salary: $54,382
  • Annual Tuition: $16,352
  • Median Debt: $20,893

Auburn University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accountancy second degree. The program is suitable for adult learners seeking a second business degree or needing additional credits to sit for the CPA exam. The 30-credit program is offered in both full-time and part-time formats. Students working full-time can graduate in five semesters while taking... six credits per semester.

Coursework is delivered asynchronously through Canvas, where students can view recorded lectures or stream live lectures. The AACSB-accredited program has the same instructors and level of academic rigor as the on-campus program. Online students are paired with a Student Success Coordinator (SSC) from orientation through graduation. The SSC provides support to students during the program and connects them to various other student services available.

Applicants to the program must have earned an accredited bachelor’s degree in business or an MBA and meet specific business prerequisites. Prospective students should submit a completed online application to apply. Enrolled students have access to academic advising, proctoring services, and career resources.

Cost per Credit: $511
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 78%
Acceptance Rate: 84%
Federal Loan Recipients: 75%
Average SAT Scores: 1150 - 1310
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 303

#7

Arizona State University

Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
  • 10-Year ROI: $533,100
  • Median Salary: $53,927
  • Annual Tuition: $19,830
  • Median Debt: $17,750

Arizona State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Business - Corporate Accounting through the W.P. Carey School of Business that is AACSB-accredited. This 120-credit program prepares students for careers in corporate accounting and to take the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) and CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) exams. Classes run for seven-and-a-half... weeks, and there are two terms each semester. The degree can generally be completed in four academic years if students enroll full-time; however, part-time study is also available. To graduate, students must complete 41 courses with topics in intermediate accounting for corporate accountants, management accounting, financial statement analysis, and more.

Online coursework is asynchronous and delivered through the Canvas learning management platform. The business school boasts award-winning faculty, including a Nobel laureate and National Academy of Science members. Online students have access to career and development services such as virtual career and internship advising and career events. For 2018-19 graduates, 89% were employed with a median salary of $54,000.

Start dates are available throughout the year. Students must submit online applications to be considered. Online learners have access to counseling, tutoring, technical resources, success coaching, student wellness services, and military student support.

Graduation Rate: 66%
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Federal Loan Recipients: 94%
Average SAT Scores: 1091 - 1298
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 28,353

#8

Colorado State University Global

Greenwood Village (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $532,500
  • Median Salary: $54,752
  • Annual Tuition: $10,500
  • Median Debt: $25,026

Colorado State University Global's Bachelor of Science in Accounting offers students various specializations in organizational leadership, project management, human resources and organizational leadership, and more. The curriculum emphasizes problem-solving skills and covers accounting, marketing, data analysis, auditing, and information systems. To graduate, students must complete... a capstone in accounting research and analysis and a practicum.

Online coursework is asynchronous and accelerated courses may be available. CSU allows students to earn academic credit through examination, self-study assessments, and prior learning assessment (PLA). The school notes that completing PLAs save students 75% on overall tuition costs and may allow them to graduate faster. CSU also offers fixed tuition rates and additional opportunities for students in the armed forces or employed by affiliates. Online learners also have access to career services that include access to a career coach, resume help, and interview preparation.

New classes begin monthly. To apply, students must submit an online application. Once enrolled, students have access to tutoring, the writing center, and technical support.

Cost per Credit: $350
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 64%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,054

#9

University of South Carolina-Columbia

Columbia (SC)
  • 10-Year ROI: $528,200
  • Median Salary: $54,315
  • Annual Tuition: $20,856
  • Median Debt: $24,865

University of South Carolina-Columbia's (USCA's) Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Accounting is an AACSB-accredited online degree completion program. Students prepare for careers in tax, auditing, advising, forensic accounting, or risk management. Students also develop strong business skills in oral and written communication, teamwork, ethics, and technology. Full-time... students can complete the program in two and a half years; part-time enrollment is also available for working professionals.

Students are taught by the same faculty that instruct the on-campus program. USCA offers exclusive tuition rates for online degree programs. There are also various scholarships available for resident and nonresident students. The career center provides students with tools to help plan for their career, including resume and interview assistance, and job and internship listings through Handshake,

Prospective students must submit an online application to apply. A college representative is available to assists students in determining whether they meet the prerequisites for the program.

Graduation Rate: 77%
Acceptance Rate: 72%
Federal Loan Recipients: 91%
Average SAT Scores: 1190 - 1360
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 140

#10

Colorado Christian University

Lakewood (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $523,200
  • Median Salary: $54,209
  • Annual Tuition: $14,070
  • Median Debt: $28,000

Colorado Christian University (CCU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. The program focuses on various accounting competencies, including financial reporting, auditing, and regulation. These subjects are aligned with sections of the CPA examination. Online students typically take one course at a time for five or seven-week blocks.

Asynchronous online classes are... delivered on the Blackboard learning management system. Students participate in discussions and submit weekly assignments. CCU's generous credit transfer policy allows students to transfer up to 90 credits towards their bachelor's degree. Students may also earn credit for previous life or military experiences through the Prior Learning Credit program. Students may be able to save money by completing general education coursework through Straighterline, a CCU partner. Various scholarships are available for transfer students.

To apply, prospective students must submit an online application. Once enrolled, students attend new student orientation.

Cost per Credit: $469
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 52%
Federal Loan Recipients: 99%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,281

#11

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

University Park (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $522,400
  • Median Salary: $53,999
  • Annual Tuition: $15,098
  • Median Debt: $26,937

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus offers two online degrees in accounting: a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in accounting. Both degrees are 120 credits and cover core business concepts such as finance, business strategy, marketing, and supply chain management. The AACSB-accredited BS in Accounting covers a range... of accounting disciplines and prepares students for several certification exams in the field.

Online courses are asynchronous and delivered on the Canvas platform. Online students complete course assignments, quizzes, group work, and participate in discussions. Qualifying students are eligible for scholarships, payment options, and military benefits. Students can take advantage of career services that include counseling services, online career fairs, internship search assistance, and career planning resources and support.

Online applications are accepted during the summer, fall, and spring. Once enrolled, students have access to tutoring, academic advising, and 24-hour technical support. and career advising

Graduation Rate: 29%
Acceptance Rate: 67%
Federal Loan Recipients: 72%
Average SAT Scores: 990 - 1260
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,346

#12

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville (AR)
  • 10-Year ROI: $515,200
  • Median Salary: $52,733
  • Annual Tuition: $8,756
  • Median Debt: $22,250

The University of Arkansas offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting through the Sam M. Walton College of Business. This AACSB-accredited program is designed to prepare students to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. The university offers traditional 15-week semesters in the fall and spring, with five-week sessions in... the summer term.

Online courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system, where students can communicate with professors via email, chat, and one-on-one meetings. Students are required to submit assignments and take exams according to weekly deadlines. Online students are eligible for financial aid, including state- and school-sponsored scholarships. Military service members and veterans are eligible for a number of scholarships and other benefits.

To apply, students should submit an online application through the school's website. Distance learners have access to the Online Student Liaison Office, library resources, individualized career coaching, virtual forums, and the Handshake job and internship platform.

Cost per Credit: $292
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 65%
Acceptance Rate: 66%
Federal Loan Recipients: 77%
Average SAT Scores: 1100 - 1290
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 887

#13

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $513,100
  • Median Salary: $53,108
  • Annual Tuition: $17,760
  • Median Debt: $27,000

The Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree at Elizabethtown College is designed to help students pass the CPA exam. The program is offered fully online and in a blended format. The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking skills and social responsibility. Coursework covers accounting and business ethics and law. To graduate, students complete a capstone course in corporate strategy....

Online courses are mostly asynchronous but may require synchronous live chats. Coursework requires that students participate in discussion boards and submit assignments. Elizabethtown College offers several undergraduate scholarships based on academic merit and financial need. The college also accepts transfer credit from other institutions and awards credits for prior work and military experience, CLEP or DANTES examinations, and direct course equivalency proposals (CEP). Students can access various career services such as job search assistance and planning, career advice, and access to Handshake.

Applicants must submit an online application. Once enrolled, students have access to academic advising, library resources, and tutoring.

Cost per Credit: $555
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 73%
Acceptance Rate: 74%
Federal Loan Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 1070 - 1290
Accreditation: MSCHE

#14

Maryville University

St. Louis (MO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $510,200
  • Median Salary: $52,733
  • Annual Tuition: $16,000
  • Median Debt: $26,285

Maryville University (MU) offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Accounting. The program prepares students for the CPA exam and emphasizes analytical and foundational skills in accounting and business. MU's early access program allows students to complete graduate courses that apply to their undergraduate and master's degrees. Students can complete the program in two and a... half years.

Online coursework is asynchronous with no required login times. Classes are small to allow for networking and development opportunities with peers and faculty. Transfer credits are accepted from accredited schools. Marysville University was recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for its technological leadership and innovation. Smarthinking services are available to all online students, including resume and cover letter review, interview practice, and business writing support.

The program offers start dates in the fall, spring, or summer. Prospective students must submit an online application. No application fee is required. Enrolled students receive support from academic advisors, tutoring services, and technical assistance.

Cost per Credit: $500
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 72%
Acceptance Rate: 92%
Federal Loan Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 1020 - 1240
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 581

#15

Champlain College

Burlington (VT)
  • 10-Year ROI: $505,300
  • Median Salary: $52,107
  • Annual Tuition: $9,540
  • Median Debt: $25,000

Champlain College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree. The 120-credit program prepares students to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. Online classes run for seven weeks, with two terms per semester and three semesters per year. The curriculum covers topics in financial accounting, forensic accounting, auditing, business law, critical thinking,... writing, and financial decision-making. Students can enroll full-time or part-time and must complete an accounting capstone to graduate.

Online courses are delivered in an asynchronous format and students have 24/7 access to coursework. Students may transfer up to 90 credits into the program. The university also offers a reduced cost-per-credit rate for military students, credit for prior knowledge, and exclusive partner pricing for students working for specific employers. Champlain students have access to the Fast Start Formula Career Course taught by an executive career coach that teaches students tips for getting hired.

Classes are offered in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Prospective students should submit an online application to be considered. Enrolled students have access to career services such as cover letter and resume advice and job and internship resources.

Cost per Credit: $318
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 64%
Acceptance Rate: 75%
Federal Loan Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 1090 - 1280
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,666

#16

DeSales University

Center Valley (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $499,700
  • Median Salary: $51,106
  • Annual Tuition: $15,690
  • Median Debt: $21,250

DeSales University offers an online, accelerated Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree. The ACBSP-accredited program is delivered fully online. Students can select a concentration in forensic accounting or data analytics. As a Catholic university, students are required to complete three courses in Christian values and theology.

Online courses may be synchronous, asynchronous,... or a blend of both formats. Students access course materials on the Blackboard platform. DeSales University offers special tuition rates, financial aid, and tuition deferment programs for qualifying students, including military students through the Yellow Ribbon program. Students may transfer up to 75 credits to the degree and earn credits through their prior learning assessment program. This program awards credit for previous life experience, military training, examinations, and portfolio assessments.

Prospective students must complete the online application to apply. Online learners have access to personal advisors and a career development center.

Cost per Credit: $523
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 71%
Acceptance Rate: 74%
Federal Loan Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 1010 - 1230
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 312

#17

Temple University

Philadelphia (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $497,900
  • Median Salary: $51,392
  • Annual Tuition: $19,040
  • Median Debt: $25,000

Temple University offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting through the Fox School of Business. The AACSB-accredited program focuses on accounting information systems, auditing techniques, cost analysis and control, data analytics in accounting, financial accounting and reporting, and taxation. Online students can choose from a traditional 15-week semester... or dual, accelerated six- or seven-week semesters. Accounting majors can apply for internships through the Center for Student Professional Development.

Courses are delivered through Canvas, and some use WebEx conferencing technology to connect students with their peers and instructors during live weekly sessions. All students pay the same per-credit tuition rates for online courses, regardless of where they reside. Online students are eligible for financial aid, and about 79% of first-year Temple enrollees receive financial assistance. There is also a Fly in 4 program that guarantees students graduate on time. Continuing education and career development courses are among the many benefits available to Temple alumni.

Online applications are accepted at any time, and students can enroll in the spring or fall semester. Distance learners will also have access to virtual resources like the university library and campus bookstore.

Cost per Credit: $595
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 73%
Acceptance Rate: 57%
Federal Loan Recipients: 90%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 489

#18

University of Minnesota-Crookston

Crookston (MN)
  • 10-Year ROI: $497,400
  • Median Salary: $51,169
  • Annual Tuition: $10,438
  • Median Debt: $23,608

The University of Minnesota-Crookston (UMC) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Students can earn a certificate in taxation and complete CPA review courses that apply toward the total credits needed for graduation. Students take courses in accounting, auditing, income tax, data analytics, and managerial finance.

Online coursework is asynchronous and delivered through... the Canvas platform. UMC offers the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students; Those taking 13 or more credits pay a flat-rate fee. Several online achievement scholarships are available, as well as specialty scholarships and online learning awards. Students can earn credit from previously earned college credits, military experience, and examinations. Career services available to students include career planning, workshops, resume and cover letter reviews, interview prep, and advising appointments.

Prospective students must submit an online application. Once enrolled, online students have access to academic advising, tutoring, and the writing center.

Graduation Rate: 48%
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Federal Loan Recipients: 95%
Average SAT Scores: 998 - 1176
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,060

#19 (tie)

University of Louisville

Louisville (KY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $495,000
  • Median Salary: $50,439
  • Annual Tuition: $14,970
  • Median Debt: $19,500

University of Louisville (UL) offers a fully online Bachelor of Business Administrations in Accountancy (BSBA). The AACSB-accredited program focuses on preparing students for the CPA exam and emphasizes accounting information systems in addition to general business knowledge. Students can graduate in four years and must complete a co-op course where they gain work experience in... an approved accounting position.

Online courses are asynchronous and hosted on the Blackboard program, where students interact with peers and faculty with experience in the field. Online tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state students; Reduced tuition rates are available for military students. UL offers various need- and merit-based scholarships to online students. They also accept transfer credits so students can graduate faster. The career center offers virtual appointments through Handshake, job postings, virtual workshops, resume and cover letter reviews, and interviewing tips.

Online applications are accepted for the fall, spring, and summer start dates. Online learners have access to an online enrollment counselor and a program director. Other resources available include access to online exam proctoring, tutoring, a writing center, and library services.

Cost per Credit: $499
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 56%
Acceptance Rate: 75%
Federal Loan Recipients: 97%
Average SAT Scores: 1070 - 1290
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,005

#19 (tie)

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City (UT)
  • 10-Year ROI: $495,000
  • Median Salary: $50,012
  • Annual Tuition: $6,450
  • Median Debt: $15,978

Western Governors University (WGU) offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Accounting degree. Students in this 41-course program learn about financial accounting, auditing, financial recording, taxation, payroll, organizational behavior, IT fundamentals, and more. In addition to the degree, students can earn a micro-credential in business, human resources,... or management. Students must complete 12 competency units per term (six months). To graduate, students must complete a business core capstone, which requires students to apply their knowledge to a simulated business environment. As the program is self-paced, students may be able to graduate faster.

Online coursework is flexible and competency-based: students progress through their degree by demonstrating that they've mastered the subject matter, whether as a result of the program or through life experience. WGU courses are developed with input from nationally recognized experts in the field. Tuition is calculated as a flat rate per six-month term in addition to textbooks and course materials. The average WGU student graduates with less debt than half the national average. There are also several scholarship opportunities available to students, such as the New Start Scholarship.

Start dates are the first day of every month. Prospective students must submit an online application to apply and have access to an enrollment counselor. Online students have access to the writing center, student success center, learning communities, wellness services, and helpdesk support.

Graduation Rate: 29%
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 88,921

#21

Northwest Nazarene University

Nampa (ID)
  • 10-Year ROI: $492,400
  • Median Salary: $50,606
  • Annual Tuition: $18,275
  • Median Debt: $22,960

Northwest Nazarene University offers an accelerated online Bachelor of Science in Accounting program that can be completed in as little as 20 months. The program provides students with a general overview of accounting principles and prepares them for careers in public, corporate, nonprofit, or governmental accounting. Students progress through the program in cohorts with the same... group of people.

NNU online programs are specifically designed for working professionals, who use the Canvas learning management system to access course materials, readings, assignments, and discussion forums. At NNU, 99% of undergraduate students receive financial aid, and 1 in 4 graduates complete the program with no debt. Students have access to career development services that provide assistance in career exploration, resume help, and internship and job search.

To apply, prospective students must submit an online application and will be connected with a business program coordinator. Enrollees also have access to academic advising and library resources.

Cost per Credit: $425
Credits Required: 172
Graduation Rate: 59%
Acceptance Rate: 73%
Federal Loan Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 1020 - 1250
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 289

#22

Regis University

Denver (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $491,600
  • Median Salary: $50,320
  • Annual Tuition: $16,650
  • Median Debt: $21,250

Regis University offers an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Accounting available online or on campus. The curriculum emphasizes ethical practice and real-world scenarios. Students take courses in accounting information systems, forensic and fraud auditing, and accounting ethics. Classes are available in 5- or 8-week terms.

Students can choose a fully online format or attend classes... on-campus in the evenings. Regis accepts transfer credits, including those earned from an associate degree. Online students who are transferring from a community college can apply to the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Scholarship that awards $3,500 towards tuition. Accounting students can earn both bachelor's and master's degrees in five years to reduce their overall tuition costs and the number of credits that are typically needed for two degrees.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The university recommends that students apply four weeks before their desired start date. Prospective students can contact an admissions counselor and submit an online application.

Cost per Credit: $555
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 69%
Acceptance Rate: 60%
Federal Loan Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 1050 - 1230
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,301

#23

Washington State University

Pullman (WA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $486,300
  • Median Salary: $49,976
  • Annual Tuition: $11,829
  • Median Debt: $22,640

Washington State University (WSU) offers an online, AACSB-accredited Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration-Accounting. Students develop a broad understanding of the business field in addition to core competencies in accounting. The program offers accelerated 7-week courses. Students take courses in taxation, accounting, auditing, and accounting systems and complete an international... experience requirement to graduate.

Online courses are flexible and available on the university's learning management system. WSU's Carson College of Business boasts award-winning accounting faculty that teach both online and in-person programs. Students must complete the Carson Career Amplifier Program that encourages students to apply what they've learned through practical, hands-on experiences.

Prospective students can submit an online application to apply. Start dates are available in the spring, summer, and fall. Once enrolled, students have access to career counseling services.

Graduation Rate: 59%
Acceptance Rate: 73%
Federal Loan Recipients: 90%
Average SAT Scores: 1020 - 1210
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,352

#24

Franklin Pierce University

Rindge (NH)
  • 10-Year ROI: $485,700
  • Median Salary: $50,105
  • Annual Tuition: $12,800
  • Median Debt: $24,185

Franklin Pierce University (FPU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Accounting. The program emphasizes core business competencies and communication and critical thinking skills. The curriculum includes courses in intermediate and advanced accounting, cost accounting, auditing, and taxation. Students can finish the program in 18 months and have the option to study full-time... or part-time.

FPU offers a generous transfer credit policy that allows students to receive credit for prior life experiences, including military training, job experiences, and professionals licenses or certifications. FPU students are eligible for grants, loans, and scholarships. Career services available to students include virtual coaching, career fairs, and video workshops.

To apply, students must submit an online application. Once enrolled, students have access to library resources, a writing center, and academic advising.

Cost per Credit: $400
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 50%
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Federal Loan Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 970 - 1130
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 212

#25

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham (AL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $483,500
  • Median Salary: $49,990
  • Annual Tuition: $20,677
  • Median Debt: $25,000

The University of Alabama (UAB) at Birmingham offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Accounting program. Graduates are prepared for careers in public, private, or governmental accounting positions. The AACSB-accredited program covers areas in the Certified Management Accountant examination and is endorsed by the Institute of Management Accountants. Students can complete their... degrees in four years.

Students can transfer credit from previous college coursework. Tuition for online programs is the same for residents and non-residents. Students in the program have access to career services offered through Handshake and networking opportunities.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered. There are three start dates per year. Once enrolled, students have access to academic advising, counseling services, tech support, and a tutoring lab.

Cost per Credit: $667
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 58%
Acceptance Rate: 92%
Federal Loan Recipients: 94%
Average SAT Scores: 980 - 1240
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,442

Online Accounting Degree Overview & Career Information

Undergraduate accounting certificates can lead to entry-level accounting positions. An online certificate program typically provides the basic skills and knowledge needed to work in accounting without going into any other subjects. Some schools offer graduate certificate programs in specialized areas, such as accounting for controllers or accounting for financial and business analysts. An associate degree program in accounting will also provide students with the basic skills and knowledge needed to work in the accounting field, with the addition of general education courses in the liberal arts.

Bachelor's degrees in accounting offer in-depth study in accounting principles, as well as additional general education classes and electives. Accounting courses may include federal tax, business law and math, and introductory and advanced accounting. Some bachelor's programs allow students to focus on a specific subspecialty, such as tax accountancy or auditing-forensic accountancy. Some programs may require that online students complete accounting internships or externships, while other degree programs may be completed exclusively online.

Master's degrees in accounting typically include management, leadership, and advanced accounting topics, such as managerial accounting, advanced tax for individuals and businesses, and advanced auditing theory. While most accounting positions require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree and the CPA label, many employers seem to be showing preference to those who have a master’s degree in accounting. These graduate degrees provide students with the skills necessary for managerial accounting roles. Doctoral degrees typically involve a significant amount of research and the completion of a dissertation; they can help prepare graduates for careers in accounting research and academia.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting

The bachelor's degree in accounting provides students with in-depth training to prepare and analyze financial records. As with all bachelor's programs, applicants need a high school diploma or GED. High school coursework in math may also be required. The accounting bachelor's usually takes four years to complete and requires about 120 credit hours of work. Specialized programs designed to prepare graduates for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant exam may require 150 credit hours or more.

The core of the accounting major consists of courses in economics, math, and different accounting principles. Macro- and microeconomics classes teach students about the way the market system works at the individual and national level. Accounting courses cover financial, management, and cost accounting. Other common courses include auditing, budgeting, information systems for accountants, and taxation. Many accounting bachelor's programs also include courses in general business topics such as management, leadership, marketing, and finance, and general education topics in social science, humanities, and natural science areas.

Accounting graduates with bachelor's degrees can apply for a range of entry-level and intermediate accounting positions, depending on their work or internship experience. Accountants are employed by the government, businesses, and individuals. Corporate accountants work for particular businesses and help by planning budgets, keeping track of spending, filing taxes, and providing investment advice; auditors and accountants with government agencies may work on in-house accounting, or they may work as part of the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that citizens file their taxes appropriately.

Accountants with at least 150 credit hours of coursework can sit for the Uniform CPA examination to become a Certified Public Accountant. While the CPA exam is not required to become employed in most cases, the CPA credential helps accountants gain clients, improve their job prospects, and increase annual salary.

The Importance of Accreditation

When selecting a particular learning institution for an online accounting degree, it is best to select a program that is accredited. Accredited programs offer a host of benefits that non-accredited programs do not, and guarantee that the students will receive a quality education recognized virtually everywhere throughout the professional and educational fields. According to the US Department of Education, the goal of accreditation is to ensure that the academic programs provided by institutions of higher education meet acceptable levels of quality.

Accrediting agencies are either state, regional, or national in their focus. An entire school may be accredited for all of its programs, and specific programs within a certain institution may be accredited as well, which is referred to as specialized or programmatic accreditation. There are several different types of accreditation that may apply to an online accounting degree. However, for those who would like to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), it is highly recommended to complete a program with AACSB accreditation, as it is required to sit for the CPA exam in some states.

In order for an online accounting degree program to gain accreditation status, it must submit its curriculum and faculty to the particular accreditation agency’s evaluation to determine whether it meets its standards. This guarantees students and potential employers that the program meets the minimum requirements for an education in this field. Although the Department of Education doesn’t explicitly accredit programs itself, it provides a list of agencies determined to be reliable authorities as to the training and quality of education of various didactic programs.

To properly discern whether or not a particular program for an online accounting degree is accredited, students should check with the USDE’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. It is possible for schools to be accredited by agencies not recognized by the USDE or the CHEA, which is why both organizations include the names of recognized accrediting agencies in their databases.  

Besides determining the quality of a degree, accreditation has other benefits within the sphere of education and professional accounting. Students must enroll in accredited programs to receive federal financial aid. Additionally, degrees from accredited programs are widely accepted in the accountant job market, while those from unaccredited schools may not be.

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Becoming a CPA requires a significant amount of schooling followed by a passing score on the Uniform CPA Exam, which is administered by the American Institute of CPAs. To begin the exam process, accountants must first meet the eligibility requirements set by their particular exam jurisdiction, which include stipulations for education, work experience, and state residency. Applicants can locate their exam jurisdiction by contacting the board of accountancy for the state in which they live. Some states also require other exams in addition to the CPA exam, such as an ethics exam. Depending on location, the application will be submitted to either the state board of accountancy or another organization that represents the board. Pay close attention to specific fees that may apply, since fee schedules can also vary between jurisdictions.

In addition to filling out the application, you must also submit any academic documents, ID photos, or special credentials that may be required. If your accounting requirements were completed outside of the United States, you may be required to have your credentials evaluated by an approved agency. Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive a notice to schedule your examination from the proper testing location assigned to you.

Once you have completed the examination and it has been graded, you will receive a report indicating your score as well as any prior credits you may have in your name. If you received a passing score, you will then be considered a licensed CPA. If you failed any of the sections, check the testing schedule to see if you can retake any of the sections before your credits expire. Most states require CPAs to complete continuing education hours in order to maintain their licensure.

Becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

A Certified Management Accountant, or CMA, differs from a Certified Public Accountant in that CMAs rarely work with the public. CMAs work specifically with businesses and organizations to offer advice regarding financial concerns that may be affecting their potential for success. They serve as counsel on all financial matters, including corporate spending, taxation compliance, planning, and budgeting. With the increasing number of industries turning to CMAs for financial help, the earning potential and job prospects for CMAs are very promising.

The Institute of Management Accountants offers the CMA program and examination to candidates with an accredited bachelor's degree and at least two consecutive years of experience in a management accounting or financial management capacity. The CMA exam identifies professionals with above-average skills in risk analysis, financial decision making, and internal controls.

To take the exam, you will need to file a registration form and pay the necessary fees. Once your eligibility has been confirmed, you will receive an acknowledgment form with an authorization number, testing opportunity window, instructions, and access to exam support. The first part of the CMA exam deals with planning, control, and performance, and consists of two essays and 100 multiple-choice problems. The second part of the exam is about decision making regarding financial issues. You might register to take your first exam sometime in your first year of accessing the CMA program, and you will need to complete both sections within 36 months. Once certified, CMAs must meet continuing education requirements to stay apprised of any changes within the field and to prove that they are keeping their accounting skills current.

Other Accounting Certifications

There are many certifications available to help accounting professionals specialize their skills and demonstrate their competency to potential employers and clients. Here are just a few of the popular certifications that accounting professionals can earn.

Becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Financial planners and advisers determine how to best manage the financial investments of their clients and offer consultation on new sources of income. The goal of financial planners is to maximize profits for clients by providing educated fiscal advice on stocks, tax laws, insurance, and other investment opportunities. In addition, financial planners meet with their clients to discuss their current financial status and determine what is required to meet future economic goals, such as investments or retirement.

Because they must be trusted with the proper investment of people's money, it is extremely important that clients have a means of assessing the professional standards of their prospective financial planners. To ensure the professionalism and overall competence of advisers, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards bestows Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification to those who meet the necessary demands.

Financial planners seeking CFP certification must have obtained at least a bachelor's degree or meet the CFP board's equivalent education credentials. They must also have at least three years (6,000 hours) of full-time work experience in financial planning. While the bachelor's degree does not have to be in any specific field, the CFP board does ask that applicants have a broad education in nearly 100 key subjects, such as retirement planning and estate planning. The degree and work requirements must be fulfilled within five years after passing the CFP examination, or applicants may no longer be considered eligible for certification.

Once an applicant has met the necessary educational requirements, they must pass the CFP certification examination. The CFP exam assesses individual understanding of realistic financial planning scenarios and contemporary tax laws. The test is multiple choice, but looks for the application of knowledge, rather than rote memorization. With the exception of military veterans, who can receive reimbursement, all applicants must pay a fee to take the exam. All applicants can retake the exam in the event of a failing grade, but no more than five times.

Once all other requirements have been met, applicants must agree to the CFP board's standards of professional conduct and disciplinary procedures. Furthermore, applicants are reviewed by the CFP board to ensure that they meet the fitness standards for candidates and registrants. Those who have, for instance, past felony convictions or personal bankruptcy claims can be denied certification unless they successfully petition the CFP board to reconsider.

Becoming an Internal Auditor

Internal auditors are hired by a range of corporations to examine companies' financial records in search of inconsistencies, inefficiencies, and fraud, and to recommend strategies for improving overall financial integrity. Internal auditors also provide oversight for managerial finance reports and inform company directors of any mismanagement.

Although there are no official regulating organizations for internal auditors, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers the most widely recognized standards of practice as well as certification of excellence in the field. The Certified Internal Auditor credential (known as the CIA, though not to be confused with the Central Intelligence Agency) is awarded to those who can demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of internal auditing. The CIA lets both employers and clients know that they can rely upon the auditors that possess it, which thus creates an occupational advantage for those who manage to obtain CIA credentials. To receive the CIA, all applicants must complete the following objectives:

Auditors must have earned a postsecondary degree in any field from an accredited university in order to qualify for the CIA. To confirm that they do in fact possess a degree, applicants must send formal documentation of their college graduation to the IIA either in the form of a transcript, a letter from their respective school, or a letter from evaluation services.

At least two years of work experience as an internal auditor is also necessary in order to receive the CIA. Individuals in possession of a master's degree, however, are only required to have completed one year's work as an auditor. Once they have met the two-year work requirement, candidates can then submit a form verifying and detailing their time spent as an auditor to the IIA.

Before anyone can be granted CIA credentials, they are first required to submit a form corroborating their ethical integrity to the IIA. The form in question must be filled out either by an already certified auditor, an employer or supervisor, or a university professor. Following the submission of their college degree documentation, CIA candidates are permitted to take a test that examines their skills as an internal auditor. The CIA exam comes in four sections: the internal audit activity, audit engagements, business analysis and information technology, and business management.

Becoming an Enrolled Agent for the IRS

Enrolled agents are nongovernmental tax professionals who become licensed by the United States Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers in cases brought before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Similar to attorneys, enrolled agents appear before the IRS in place of their clients during audits, collections, and appeal procedures. Additionally, enrolled agents are not restricted with regard to whom they can represent and act as consultants for single individuals as well as large organizations.

A career as an enrolled agent demands an in-depth understanding of taxation, and agents must constantly stay up to date with the latest developments in tax laws. Individuals are eligible to apply for enrolled agent status following the successful completion of the following:

Before anyone can be registered as an enrolled agent, they must first file for a Preparer Tax Identification Number (provided either online or on paper by the IRS). Once an individual has obtained an Identification Number, they must take the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE), a lengthy test that covers a huge range of issues in modern tax regulations. The SEE is divided into three parts: Individuals; Businesses; and Representation, Practices, and Procedures.

As an alternative to passing the SEE, individuals who work at least five years as tax professionals within the IRS can also apply to become enrolled agents. Professions eligible for promotion to enrolled agent status must specialize in the daily use and interpretation of the US tax code (e.g., tax examiners, revenue agents, and collectors). The educational achievements needed to obtain a job as a tax specialist in the IRS depend largely on the particular career, specialty, and branch of employment. However, previous work experience in addition to a bachelor's degree in accounting, business administration, economics, or a similar field are frequently required for employment with the IRS.

Once applicants have successfully completed the SEE or five years of work as a tax professional, they have effectively met the requirements to become an enrolled agent. To apply, applicants must submit an Application for Enrollment to Practice form and a fee to the IRS. Before they can be approved to work, all prospective enrolled agents must undergo an extensive background check to ensure that they have not failed to make any tax returns and that there are no tax liabilities on their record. If any problems are discovered during the background check, an applicant may be denied the right to become an enrolled agent.

Becoming a Certified Governmental Financial Manager (CGFM)

Government budget analysts, accountants, and auditors interested in improving their job performance, overall salary, and chances for employment may be interested in becoming Certified Government Financial Managers (CGFMs). Provided by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA), the CGFM credential is not needed to work as a financial management professional, but individuals who do hold certification have a simple way of demonstrating to employers that they possess the professional expertise and training needed to excel in their careers. Therefore, those who have earned the CGFM may have a considerable edge in the job market compared to those who only possess a college degree.

A bachelor's degree in any subject plus 24 semester or 36 quarter credit hours in coursework from an accredited college are essential for earning the CGFM designation. Additionally, the completed coursework must be part of at least one of nine different fields specified by the AGA, such as accounting, public administration, or budgeting. After graduation (or one year prior to graduation), candidates must send an application form to the AGA along with a fee and transcripts documenting their academic accomplishments.

Potential CGFMs are also required to have spent two years or more working in government financial management. Like the college coursework requirements, the financial management experience must have been completed within at least 1 of 14 AGA designated fields, such as financial report design/preparation or audit of contract compliance/costs. Again, like the college coursework requirements, a full report of your employment experience must be sent to the AGA's Office of Professional Certification via a work verification form.

Once candidates have submitted their school transcripts and application form, they are able to schedule a time to take the CGFM examinations, a series of three multiple-choice exams that test their comprehension of government institutions, governmental accounting, and financial management. There is also a fee for all three tests, which must be paid to the AGA. Upon successful completion of the CGFM examinations, candidates will receive an official award letter and certificate from the AGA designating them as a Certified Government Financial Manager.

Becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

A Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) is an accountant with specialized examination skills. Their job is part numbers, part investigation, and part criminology. With the growing amount of identity theft, fraud, and corporate scandals, the need for CFEs is growing. To become a CFE, you must be a member of the ACFE (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners) and pass the CFE Exam. The CFE Exam tests your expertise and knowledge in the four main areas of being a CFE: fraudulent financial transactions, investigation methods, legal elements of fraud, and fraud prevention and deterrence.

Once you are an established association member, you can submit an exam application along with proof of your education and any professional recommendations to the Certification Department at the association’s headquarters. You should do this at least one month before you will be ready to take the CFE Exam. A completed application with proper documentation is necessary to be able to take the exam. You will also be required to pay any necessary fees with your exam application.

After applying for the CFE Exam, you can prepare for it by making use of the online exam prep course, attending the exam review course in person, or studying on your own. A majority of the exam questions come from material that is in the Fraud Examiners Manual, and the rest is compiled from information from the Corporate Fraud Handbook. After taking and passing your exam, you will officially become a CFE.

Frequently Asked Questions About Accounting Degrees

Can you become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with an online degree?

Yes, you can become a CPA with an online degree, but you also need real-world experience working under a licensed CPA. Typically, you must earn a bachelor’s degree, pass an exam, and have one to two years of experience before you can become a licensed CPA, although requirements may vary depending on what state you live in.

What are the four areas of accounting?

The four main areas of accounting are public, private, government, and accounting education. Many of the job functions are similar but are performed for organizations with different purposes, stakeholders, and reporting obligations. Employees in public accounting often work with clients on a contract basis, and may work for a dedicated accounting firm. Private accountants perform financial analysis for one company or business. Government accountants work for government agencies, and this section includes state auditors. Accountants who work in education teach, conduct research, and train students to become accountants.

What types of accountants make the most money?

According to data from Glassdoor, chief financial officers and controllers make the most money in accounting, with salaries ranging from $78,000 to $286,000 per year, on average. These are top positions that are responsible for overseeing financial aspects of an organization. Starting your own accounting firm can also be lucrative, depending on the number of clients you have, among other factors.

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