Complete Guide to an Online Forensic Accounting Degree
Online financial accounting degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. Forensic accountants may find jobs in many different settings, such as insurance companies, law offices, corporations, and the FBI , as well as various other government agencies. Their job duties usually center around looking over transactions and monitoring for illegal activity. They may also be involved in contract disputes and bankruptcies.
When choosing a degree program in forensic accounting, one aspect to consider is the program's accreditation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the main agency accrediting accounting degrees—their stamp of approval ensures that students are choosing a good program.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Forensic Accounting Bachelor's Degrees
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|# 1||Purdue University Global||$14,358||70% (406 reviews)|
|# 2||DeVry University||$18,197||60% (214 reviews)|
|# 3||Regent University Online||$18,620||43% (21 reviews)|
|# 4||Independence University||$14,585||56% (124 reviews)|
|# 5||University of Alabama at Birmingham||$20,400||100% (1 review)|
|# 6||Davenport University||$19,338||100% (3 reviews)|
|# 7||Eastern Oregon University||$21,729||80% (5 reviews)|
|# 8||University of Northwestern Ohio||$11,500||Add Review|
|# 9||DeSales University||$38,700||0% (1 review)|
|# 10||Champlain College||$41,828||60% (5 reviews)|
|# 11||Franklin University||$9,577||71% (7 reviews)|
|# 12||Lakeland University||$29,880||Add Review|
Overview of Online Forensic Accounting Degrees
Online forensic accounting degrees can be found at both the bachelor's and master's level; there are online certificate programs available as well. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to becoming an entry-level forensic accountant, though some employers do require a master's. A forensic accounting degree will prepare graduates to study financial transactions, looking for cases of fraud or other illegal financial activities.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Forensic Accounting
At the undergraduate level, students may pursue an online degree in accounting with a specialization in forensic accounting, or they may earn a bachelor's degree that focuses entirely on forensic accounting. Bachelor's degrees will prepare students for entry-level work, but if they wish to advance or to become a CPA, additional education will be necessary. A bachelor's degree in forensic accounting will take about four years to complete with a requirement of 120 credits. Typical coursework includes fraud examination, auditing and internal controls, interview techniques and legal aspects of fraud, and detection and prevention of fraudulent financial statements. In order to gain admittance to one of these bachelor's programs, a prospective student will have to have a high school diploma or GED. They will also have to fill out an application which often includes an essay, though requirements vary by school. Online forensic accounting degrees are offered at colleges and universities across the country.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Forensic Accounting Degree
Accreditation is the process through which an outside independent agency evaluates a school's or program's quality. Regional accreditation means that the school as a whole has been accredited. Students may want to check to make sure the school they plan to attend is regionally accredited for a few reasons. First, accreditation ensures that the school is offering an educational program that meets high standards overall. Additionally, federal financial aid can only be used at accredited institutions. Employers often prefer to hire candidates from accredited programs as well, and some professional certifications may require that the applicant have a degree from an accredited program or school.
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is an internationally recognized organization that accredits specific accounting degree programs. AACSB's standards are rigorous and students that attend a program that holds this accreditation can be assured they are receiving a quality education that will teach them exactly what they need to know to enter the workforce and start their career as a forensic accountant.
Forensic Accounting Jobs
Professionals who specialize in forensic accounting can work in a variety of settings, the most common of which are law offices, government agencies, and insurance companies. Their days will consist of seeking out instances of financial fraud and other types of corruption involving money. Forensic accountants may also find work with the FBI, investigating crimes such as political corruption and terrorism. They may spend their time analyzing the financial records of suspected terrorist groups or looking at possible cases of fraud committed by government employees. They will also be required to testify in court hearings and stay current with everchanging financial laws.
Another common career path for forensic accountants to become a fraud examiner. These professionals know how to pick out signs of fraud or identify places where the risk of fraud may be higher. They must understand financial law, how financial transactions work, and how to resolve issues regarding fraud allegations. Fraud examiners can earn the Certified Fraud Examiner credential, which demonstrates a high level of expertise and dedication to the subfield.