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Best Online Bachelor’s In Accounting Degree Programs

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Best Online Bachelor's Programs

A bachelor’s degree in accounting can pave the way for a profitable job in finance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants in the United States make a median annual salary of $71,550, nearly twice the median salary for all occupations.

A bachelor’s degree in accounting yields 120 academic credits out of the 150 required to sit for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam in most states. Many employers hire candidates with a bachelor’s in accounting for entry-level accounting positions, but company recruiters increasingly prefer those with CPA licensure for higher-paying accounting positions.

Advertisement Accounting.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

The ranking below, which we revise yearly to keep prospective students abreast of the latest developments in online accounting education, provides detailed information about the nation’s top online bachelor’s degrees in accounting.

Top 10 Best Online Accounting Schools

Rank School Location
1 Regis University Denver, CO
2 Trine University Angola, IN
3 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
4 Peirce College Philadelphia, PA
5 Misericordia University Dallas, PA
6 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
7 DeSales University Center Valley, PA
8 Champlain College Burlington, VT
9 The College of Saint Scholastica Duluth, MN
10 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO

What Is Accounting?

Accounting is the enterprise of collecting, processing, plotting, and presenting economic data to facilitate financial decision-making.

Accountants are pivotal to a business’s prosperity, as these specialists oversee regulatory compliance, gather and appraise financial information, and produce quarterly reports for business leaders and shareholders.

A bachelor’s degree in accounting focuses on developing easily transferable skills, such as critical reasoning, statistical analysis, strategic problem-solving, and business ethics. These skills qualify bachelor’s in accounting graduates for a wealth of careers across industries and occupations. Common jobs in accounting include accountant, auditor, budget analyst, and personal financial advisor.

Many bachelor’s in accounting programs offer concentrations that cultivate accounting skills geared toward specific sectors or professions. Graduates seeking specific jobs in particular industries may pursue a specialized bachelor’s degree to gain an edge over candidates with just a general bachelor’s in accounting.

A bachelor’s degree in accounting can furthermore increase students’ chances of admission into top-tier accounting graduate programs and qualify learners for higher-paying accounting positions, such as financial analyst, financial manager, management analyst, or top executive.

Why Get an Online Accounting Bachelor’s?

An online accounting degree can open the door to a satisfying and lucrative career, likely to bring a high return on investment (ROI) a few years down the line. Most online bachelor’s accounting programs offer flexibility to working professionals. Read on for three more key benefits of earning an online bachelor’s accounting degree.

Versatility
A bachelor’s degree in accounting delivers highly versatile skills in economics, statistical analysis, effective communication, and business law, which transfer across a variety of sectors and occupations. The degree’s amenability to career changes makes it an attractive credential in today’s rapidly changing economy.
Flexibility
Most online bachelor’s accounting programs enable students to study at a pace that fits their busy schedules. An online accounting degree can thus be an appealing option for learners with demanding vocational or family commitments.
CPA Certification
A bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited school provides 120 credits, which count toward fulfilling the requirement to sit for the CPA exam. Aspiring public accountants can earn the additional 30 credits by taking a graduate certificate or a master’s degree.

The Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Accounting

  1. Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in Denver in 1877, Regis University is grounded in Jesuit traditions. Over 90% of Regis alumni report employment within half a year of completing their program. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the university.

    Regis offers a bachelor of science in accounting through the College of Business and Economics. This degree hones the analytical and reasoning skills needed for accounting professions.

    To graduate, degree-seekers must earn 120 credits in areas such as macroeconomics, communication, accounting ethics, and business law. The program also mandates a senior capstone. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or similar credential and should list their work history on the application.

    Learners can work toward almost any master's from the Anderson College of Business while earning this bachelor's degree in accounting.

  2. Trine University
    Location

    Angola, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Trine University in Angola, Indiana, educated 5,184 students in Fall 2017 and boasts accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Nearly 100% of Trine 2018 graduates earned careers or entered advanced programs in six months or less.

    Learners can earn a bachelor of science in business administration. This 120-credit accounting program introduces learners to QuickBooks and PeachTree software and helps learners prepare for certified public accountant or certified management accountant exams.

    The curriculum addresses concepts such as strategic management, organizational behavior, business law, and cost accounting. These courses are taught by field professionals.

    The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs accredits this program. Trine does not charge higher tuition for out-of-state learners and offers military personnel financial assistance through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

  3. Concordia University-Saint Paul
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Concordia University has been a Christian institution since it was founded in 1893. This school offers a bachelor of science in accounting that prepares learners to tackle financial issues, maintain budgets, and oversee tax processes for companies.

    Coursework in this 120-credit degree examines the basics of Microsoft Excel; financial concepts such as cost accounting; and business topics such as marketing, organizational behavior, and legal concerns for entrepreneurship.

    This online bachelor's in accounting can help degree-seekers pursue certified public accountant and certified management accountant credentials. Graduates may qualify for positions as credit analysts, loan officers, and treasurers.

    Around 95% of university alumni earn career opportunities within 12 months of graduation, and 44% of alumni obtain salaries that surpass the U.S. average income. Concordia is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. Peirce College
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Peirce College began as Union Business College in 1865. This Philadelphia-based school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls around 2,000 students.

    Peirce learners enter the school's bachelor of science in accounting program to explore administrative, analytical, and ethical issues related to accounting. The program also emphasizes research and relevant technology.

    This 121-credit online accounting degree includes classes such as auditing, statistics, and a capstone. The department features a generous transfer policy, accepting as many as 90 transfer credits. Alumni can pursue careers as staff accountants, cost analysts, and auditors.

    All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency, and learners may earn discounts by working for companies such as Cigna, UPS, and Penn Medicine. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

  5. Misericordia University
    Location

    Dallas, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1924, Misericordia University is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The school offers over 400 bachelor's programs, including the bachelor of science in accounting. This online accounting degree equips learners with technical, problem-solving, and communication skills for accounting careers in various industries.

    Learners can choose the accelerated learning path for this 121-credit degree to graduate in under three years. Specific courses for this bachelor's in accounting include microeconomics, information systems, management of human capital, and international business. The International Accreditation Council for Business Education accredits this program.

    Applicants must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA or at least be in the 50th percentile of their high school class. Candidates must submit ACT or SAT scores for admission. The university's accreditation comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  6. Thomas Jefferson University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Thomas Jefferson University was founded in 1824. The university hosts a dozen colleges and schools, including the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, which offers the bachelor of science in accounting program.

    The curriculum for this 120-credit bachelor's degree in accounting incorporates eight-week classes in economic decision-making, managerial accounting, and auditing. With the help of advisors, students select electives to customize their degree path.

    Students can complete the program in under three years. Career opportunities for alumni include tax specialist, treasurer, and businesses analyst. Graduates can also pursue certified public accountant credentials.

    Program tuition does not vary by residency. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits this Pennsylvania-based institution.

  7. DeSales University
    Location

    Center Valley, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Designated as a military-friendly school, DeSales University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The institution offers several distance programs, including the accelerated bachelor of science with a general accounting path. This curriculum teaches students to make business decisions at national and international levels.

    This bachelor's degree in accounting online requires 120 credits. The department accepts as many as 75 transfer credits for prior classes, training, and military experience.

    Coursework for this bachelor's is delivered through Blackboard and examines topics such as quantitative business analysis, managerial accounting, and strategic cost management. These classes may use synchronous or asynchronous delivery.

    Bachelor's students can also choose a specialization in forensic accounting. The program's accreditation comes from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

  8. Champlain College
    Location

    Burlington, VT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Champlain College is a private institution in Burlington, Vermont, that holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

    The school offers a bachelor of science in accounting that embraces standards set forth by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Core Competency Framework. Students learn to identify financial problems and risk areas, as well as apply legal regulations to accountancy practices. Candidates also build communication and technological skills for analysis and consultation purposes.

    Degree-seekers must earn 120 credits in courses such as internet security, federal tax concepts, and business law, along with a capstone. These asynchronous courses last seven weeks each.

    Students can also pursue a certificate in accounting, advanced accounting, cost accounting, or forensic accounting. Career options for this bachelor's degree in accounting include accounting clerk, budget analyst, and bookkeeper.

  9. The College of Saint Scholastica
    Location

    Duluth, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1912, the College of St. Scholastica is a Catholic school located in Duluth, Minnesota. The college maintains accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    The institution's bachelor of arts in accounting trains learners to deal with frauds, consult on tax concerns, and conduct audits for corporations. This bachelor's degree in accounting requires 128 credits and addresses topics such as financial accounting and microeconomics. Classes last eight weeks each and use Zoom and Blackboard technology.

    By completing two courses during each of the college's six terms, learners can graduate in less than three years. Candidates can graduate sooner by earning transfer credits. Graduates can pursue certified public accountant or certified management accountant credentials. Tuition rates are the same for resident and nonresident students.

  10. Maryville University of Saint Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Maryville University of Saint Louis boasts accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and offers over 90 programs, including a bachelor of science in accounting.

    Learners in this program study modern trends in technology. This exploration includes insights into related fields, including marketing and finance, as well as relevant technologies and processes for tax, audits, and fraud detection.

    This 128-credit program is customizable, allowing students to focus electives in areas such as financial reporting or data analytics. Learners can also gain early access to graduate classes to earn credits for the school's master's in accounting.

    The department offers courses asynchronously and does not require on-campus attendance for this bachelor's degree in accounting. Candidates may graduate in 30 months to pursue careers as financial advisors, actuaries, and auditors. The program also helps candidates prepare for the certified public accountant exam.

  11. Bay Path University
    Location

    Longmeadow, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Bay Path University offers innovative online and on-campus programs for women. Founded in 1897, the university boasts an alumni network of 16,000 professionals around the world. The institution's accreditation comes from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

    Bay Path's bachelor of science in business with an accounting major builds skills for careers in management. Learners complete courses in cost management, legal environments of business, federal income tax concepts, and communicating in business.

    The program helps to prepare degree-seekers for the certified public accountant exam, and many learners go on to graduate school to meet all educational requirements for CPA certification. Students may also gain field experience by participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Possible careers for graduates include treasurer, stockbroker, payroll manager, and budget analyst.

    Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA for admission and may undergo an interview.

  12. Northwood University
    Location

    Midland, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    With history dating back to 1959, Northwood University emphasizes business education. The school, located in Midland, Michigan, holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    The university's bachelor of business administration in accounting gives learners concrete skills in both finance and leadership. Freshmen begin accounting courses immediately, rather than after a year or two of general education.

    Courses in this 123-credit program include principles of management, federal taxation, and statistics. Over 75% of program alumni earn accounting careers, including as forensic accountants, tax managers, and chief financial officers. Employers of program alumni include Walt Disney World, Deloitte, and Titan International.

    The university also delivers a bachelor's/master's of business administration path that learners can complete in four years.

  13. Linfield College-McMinnville Campus
    Location

    McMinnville, OR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Chartered in 1858, Linfield College educates nearly 2,000 students from over 20 countries through an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The Oregon institution features accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

    The college's bachelor's in accounting explores accounting careers in different industries, both public and private. Learners take classes in business law, strategic management, cost accounting, auditing, and organizational behavior and management. The program includes no on-campus components.

    Program graduates go on to careers as bank examiners, tax specialists, actuaries, and financial analysts. The department accepts transfer credits for certain classes.

  14. St. Catherine University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    St. Catherine University is a private school in Minnesota that focuses on providing a Catholic, liberal arts education to women. The university boasts an alumni network of more than 55,000 graduates and accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    The College for Adults and the School of Business deliver a bachelor's in accounting that emphasizes analytical thinking in accounting processes. This program requires coursework in business finance, statistical analysis, and microeconomics. Candidates must submit a business portfolio to earn this online bachelor's in accounting.

    The department uses case studies, discussions, and group assignments, and classes typically feature no more than 20 students. Learners may also complete a practicum for field experience. Students can graduate in under two years.

    Organizations such as PwC, Deloitte, and Wipfli, have hired past alumni. Potential careers for graduates include internal auditor, public accountant, and financial analyst.

  15. Washington State University
    Location

    Pullman, WA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1890, Washington State University currently educates more than 20,000 learners. The university holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

    Learners at WSU can pursue the accounting option for the bachelor of arts in business administration. This program priorities problem-solving and leadership skills. Graduates often move on to careers with nonprofit agencies, accounting firms, and government organizations.

    Students must earn 120 credits in general education and core business requirements. Topics include cost accounting, taxation, and accounting systems. The College of Business also gives learners international experience through study abroad and internship opportunities.

    The program's accounting accreditation comes from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  16. Alaska Pacific University
    Location

    Anchorage, AK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Alaska Pacific University began offering coursework in 1960. The institution is affiliated with the Methodist Church and boasts accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

    APU's bachelor of arts in accounting prepares learners to carry out accounting tasks in an ethically sound manner. Students build research, communication, and analytical skills for careers in various industries. The curriculum also helps degree-seekers prepare for certifications in public accounting, internal auditing, and managerial accounting.

    The 128-credit curriculum examines auditing, accounting information systems, and business finance. The program culminates in a senior project. Candidates can also declare a 12-credit nonprofit management emphasis.

    Applicants should hold experience in a business or accounting position. Degree-seekers must complete six credits in accounting coursework before entering the program. The department accepts exam scores and portfolios for this prerequisite.

  17. University of Mary
    Location

    Bismarck, ND

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation founded the University of Mary in 1959. Located in Bismarck, North Dakota, this Catholic institution has earned accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    The Gary Tharaldson School of Business delivers a bachelor of science in accounting that addresses regulations from organizations such as the IRS and SEC. Students explore international business concepts and enhance their problem-solving, communication, and analytical skills. Degree candidates also learn how to perform detail-oriented accounting tasks.

    Through courses such as fund accounting, fraud examination, and auditing, students explore concepts relevant to the certified public accountant exam. Graduates may work as bookkeepers, tax preparers, accounting clerks, and auditors.

    Degree-seekers all pay the same flat-rate tuition rate, regardless of location. The business department is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

  18. Pace University
    Location

    New York City, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Pace University began in 1906 as an accounting-focused institution. As a result, the school has a strong legacy of business and accounting programming. Pace also maintains a number of career-focused institutes, labs, research facilities, and clinics. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits this university.

    The Lubin School of Business offers a bachelor of business administration in business studies. This degree focuses on accounting and internal accounting, introducing students to relevant software and preparing them to detect fraud, create statements, and conduct other accounting tasks.

    This 120-credit program features coursework in marketing, financial management, business law, and statistics. The curriculum also prepares learners for the certified public accountant exam. Candidates can earn transfer credits for life experience and prior college courses.

    More than 90% of the Lubin School of Business's 2018 bachelor's alumni secured employment after graduation. Accounting graduates often pursue roles as internal auditors and forensic investigators.

  19. McKendree University
    Location

    Lebanon, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1828, McKendree University is the oldest university in Illinois. Around 97% of undergraduate alumni secure employment or enter graduate studies within six months of graduation. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this university.

    The McKendree University School of Business offers a bachelor of business administration with several concentrations, including accounting. This online program includes coursework in ethics, auditing, information systems, and taxation, and fulfills a significant portion of the requirements for the certified public accountant exam.

    Graduates can pursue tax planning, managerial accounting, and finance positions at government, nonprofit, and corporate organizations. The curriculum also provides a solid foundation for graduate coursework.

    Courses follow eight-week sessions and are available through Blackboard. The program holds accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. McK charges equal tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state learners.

  20. University of Minnesota-Crookston
    Location

    Crookston, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Minnesota Crookston is a small university that offers personalized attention and hands-on learning opportunities. The institution holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    The school's bachelor of science in accounting equips learners with problem-solving skills and the accounting knowledge needed to excel in different industries. To earn this online accounting degree, learners complete 120 credits that address topics such as income tax, audits, and ethics.

    This curriculum prepares students to pursue certified public accountant, certified internal auditor, and certified management accountant credentials. Candidates may also qualify for positions as tax accountants, financial advisors, and management advisory consultants. Over 90% of UMC graduates obtain work in their field within half a year.

    Resident and nonresident students pay equal tuition rates. The university also offers a certificate in taxation and provides learners with internship opportunities.

  21. Saint Leo University
    Location

    St. Leo, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Saint Leo University began in 1889 and embraces its Catholic heritage to this day. The institution boasts regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Saint Leo offers a bachelor of arts in accounting focused on relevant concepts for working in multicultural organizations of different sizes and various industries. Classes for this bachelor's degree in accounting include intermediate accounting, cost accounting, auditing, and financial statement analysis. Learners can also complete an internship.

    Graduates can move into careers dealing with fraud, financial reporting, and business regulations. This 120-credit program may also help candidates earn hours for certified management accountant or certified public accountant credentials. Graduates can also apply for admission into Saint Leo's online master's in accounting program.

  22. Temple University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Temple University is a public, Carnegie-classified institution in Philadelphia. The school's accreditation comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    The Fox School of Business and Management offers a 124-credit bachelor of business administration with an option to major in accounting. This program covers accounting concepts such as financial reporting, liabilities, cost analysis, and information systems.

    Degree-seekers examine topics in federal taxes and cost accounting. Program courses may last six, seven, or 15 weeks. In order to graduate, learners must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA and participate in the Fox leadership development program.

    Learners all pay the same tuition rates, regardless of residency. Candidates can increase their professional networks by interacting with student groups such as Ascend and the Fox Accounting Association.

  23. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
    Location

    Amherst, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a renowned research institution that holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education. The school is nationally recognized for its strong academics, and graduates have obtained employment with prestigious organizations such as NASA, CNN, and General Electric.

    The Isenberg School of Management's bachelor of business administration in accounting trains students to provide financial services to corporations in diverse fields. Courses in this 120-credit program cover subjects such as certified public accountant law and accounting information systems. Graduates often pursue careers as auditors, treasurers, and bank examiners.

    The program accepts as many as 75 transfer credits. UMass also offers online certificates in areas such as business studies and sustainable business practice. After completing the bachelor's, learners may pursue the university's master's in accounting.

    Tuition for the online bachelor's degree in accounting does not increase for out-of-state learners.

  24. Albertus Magnus College
    Location

    New Haven, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs founded Albertus Magnus College in 1925. This Catholic institution in New Haven, Connecticut, is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

    The Tagliatela School of Business and Leadership delivers a bachelor of science in accounting that emphasizes practical application of business knowledge. The curriculum includes courses such as cost accounting, business spreadsheet development, and corporate financial management. Learners also complete a capstone and an internship to earn this bachelor's degree in accounting.

    Alumni often pursue careers as grant administrators, government accountants, and IRS agents. Students may also apply to the college's 30-credit master's in accounting program. For interested learners, the bachelor's degree fulfills requirements to sit for the certified public accountant exam in most states.

  25. California Baptist University
    Location

    Riverside, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    California Baptist University began in 1950 with connections to the state's Southern Baptist Convention. This Christian institution's accreditation comes from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

    CBU's bachelor of science in accounting trains learners in business, marketing, legal, and financial concepts relevant to accounting professions for international, government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations. The program incorporates classes such as quantitative business analysis, intermediate accounting, and federal income tax.

    Students can graduate in 36 months and pursue credentials as certified management accountants or certified public accountants. Alumni can earn employment as tax examiners, internal auditors, and forensic accountants. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs accredits this degree path.

    Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Tuition does not vary by location.

What To Expect From Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs

Typical bachelor’s in accounting programs expose learners to an array of foundational and specialized topics in accounting such as financial and managerial accounting, auditing, macro- and microeconomics, business statistics, federal taxation, compliance, business law, and forensic accounting. Each degree-granting institution offers its own unique bachelor’s degrees in accounting and concentration options.

During the first part of a typical curriculum, students take required foundational courses. During the second part, degree-seekers can choose to complete electives or courses needed to satisfy a chosen concentration. Some bachelor’s in accounting programs offer an optional capstone or thesis seminar, in which learners can apply the knowledge acquired from their studies to real-world business problems or academic, theoretical problems.

Online bachelor’s in accounting programs follow different formats. Some run synchronously, allowing for an immersive experience with contemporaneous online lectures, classroom discussions, and peer collaboration. Other programs provide fully asynchronous courses, in which students listen to prerecorded lectures and complete readings, homework, and tests at their own pace, provided that they meet the deadlines for each course module.

READ MORE ABOUT ACCOUNTING PROGRAMS

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to a bachelor’s in accounting program, learners must have passed a high school equivalency test or hold a high school diploma, typically with an unweighted GPA of at least 2.0, though top-tier schools often require an unweighted GPA of 3.0 or higher. Many schools also factor in standardized test scores like the SAT or the ACT.

Once it’s time to apply, the Common App can help streamline the application process, allowing applicants to apply to multiple colleges in one go. More than 900 schools accept applications via this application platform.

Degree and Concentration Options

There are several types of accounting bachelor’s degrees offered by higher education institutions. Common degrees include the bachelor of accountancy (BAcc), the BS in accounting, and the bachelor of business administration (BBA) with a concentration in accounting.

The main difference between the BAcc and BS in accounting is that a BS requires more courses in quantitative areas like math and statistics. A BBA, on the other hand, gives students an excellent foundation for an MBA with courses about the fundamentals of business. A BBA with a concentration in accounting can lead to high-paying positions like financial manager or CFO down the road.

Business schools typically allow students to add a concentration in a specialized topic. Popular areas of concentration include:

  • Financial accounting
  • Managerial accounting
  • Business administration
  • Information technology
  • Actuarial science
  • Forensic accounting

Students who plan to work in accounting immediately after graduation should keep in mind that a specialized bachelor’s could narrow their career options. However, a concentration can help applicants stand out in a crowded job market.

Popular Accounting Courses

A typical bachelor’s in accounting program offers courses that concentrate on building foundational accounting skills, electives that explore specialty areas, and sometimes a capstone or thesis. The following are examples of classes you may find in a typical accounting curriculum.

Federal Taxation
Most programs require students to take a class in taxation. A course in federal taxation focuses on deepening students’ understanding of core concepts involved in preparing a federal tax return, such as itemized deductions, personal exemptions, and property taxes.
Assurance Services
Assurance services is a common component of a core bachelor’s in accounting curriculum. In this class, students learn how to assess a business’ processes and controls in order to minimize the risk that economic errors make their way into financial decision-making.
Financial Management
Most programs require learners with a concentration in business administration to take a class in financial management. In this class, students learn a variety of strategies and analytical skills needed to assess financial risks and opportunities, make economic decisions, and set financial goals.
Forensic Accounting
In most online accounting programs, degree-seekers can choose an elective in forensic accounting. A fairly recent addition to the accounting curriculum, forensic accounting seeks to cultivate the necessary skills for investigating financial crimes, such as organizational fraud and money laundering to enable terrorism and racketeering.
Capstone or Thesis Seminar
Some bachelor’s in accounting programs offer a capstone or thesis seminar that allows students to apply theoretical expertise acquired throughout their study to tackle real-life or theoretical business problems. For example, a final thesis in accounting might address the problem of how to minimize the adverse effects of a pandemic on local businesses’ financial health.

How Much Will a Bachelor’s in Accounting Cost?

The typical costs of a bachelor’s in accounting depends on a variety of factors, including whether the school is public or private, whether the degree is online, and the student’s state residency, among other considerations.

The average cost of tuition and fees for an in-person degree at a top-ranked private college is $35,087 annually. The cost of tuition and fees at top-tier public colleges depends on whether you are a resident in the state in question. In-state residents pay $9,687 annually and out-of-state residents pay $21,184 per year for an in-person degree.

An online accounting degree at a private school or a public school as an out-of-state resident is more cost-effective. The average total cost of an online bachelor’s degree is $60,593 at a private school, $38,496 for in-state residents at a public school, and $54,183 for out-of-state residents.

A bachelor’s normally takes four years to complete, and students may be able to cut costs by transferring previous credits and pursuing financial aid. Many schools automatically consider applicants for merit-based scholarships. Alternative ways to finance a bachelor’s degree in accounting include financial aid and student loans. The links below provide more information about these options.

Jobs for Bachelor’s in Accounting Graduates

A bachelor’s in accounting can be a stepping stone to a profitable and challenging career. The BLS reports that the median salary for accountants and auditors is $71,550, which is nearly 80% higher than the median salary for all occupations. Additional education, such as a master’s or graduate certificate in accounting, can significantly increase graduates’ earning potential.

The BLS projects a 4% growth in accountant and auditor jobs from 2019 to 2029. The outlook is even better for some of the occupations reviewed below:

  • Budget Analyst

    Budget analysts help analyze and identify shortcomings in a corporation’s budgets and propose changes to the budget going forward.

    – Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field

    – Job Outlook (2019-29): +3%

    – Median Annual Salary: $76,540

  • Cost Estimator

    Cost estimators estimate the cost of the resources, such as labor and materials, a startup or organization needs to produce a product or provide a service.

    – Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field

    – Job Outlook (2019-29): -1%

    – Median Annual Salary: $65,250

  • Financial Examiner

    Financial examiners scrutinize corporations’ financial records to ensure that they comply with the financial regulations and identify strategies for ensuring compliance going forward.

    – Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field

    – Job Outlook (2019-29): +7%

    – Median Annual Salary: $81,090

  • Personal Financial Advisor

    Personal financial advisors advise individuals on how best to manage their finances and budget for the future.

    – Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field

    – Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%

    – Median Annual Salary: $87,850

  • Financial Analyst

    Financial analysts analyze and evaluate the financial health of public and private organizations and provide guidance on where to cut costs.

    – Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field

    – Job Outlook (2019-29): +5%

    – Median Annual Salary: $81,590

Choosing the Right Accounting Program

Aspiring accountants contemplating where to apply should consider several other factors besides a school’s ranking/prestige. Key factors to weigh before selecting a program include accreditation, alumni network, and future education opportunities.

Two types of accreditation can affect the credibility of a bachelor’s degree in accounting: Prospective students should prioritize a degree-granting institution that is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting bodies, as regionally accredited schools allow students to apply for federal aid and more easily transfer credits between schools or toward a graduate degree.

But program-specific accreditation is equally important for boosting the credibility of a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Accreditation by program-specific agencies such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business ensures that the program has a proven track record of high educational quality.

A program’s alumni network can also impact learners’ future careers in powerful ways. Most quality programs organize events where students meet accomplished alumni. Making a lasting impression on just one fellow graduate can be the beginning of a solid professional network that potentially can assist with career advice, recommendations, and pointers to job openings.

Future education opportunities offered by a program are pivotal to the ROI on your degree. While some undergraduates seek a job immediately after graduating, a certificate or graduate degree can increase your earning potential and help you meet the requirements for the CPA exam.

Why You Should Get Your Degree Online

Many working professionals and busy learners opt to pursue an online accounting degree, which can be a more affordable and convenient alternative to an on-campus degree.

Highly ranked online programs generally boast similar educational outcomes and networking and recruitment opportunities as their on-campus equivalents.

The online degree format varies by school and program. An asynchronous format allows learners to study at their own pace, whereas a synchronous format requires students to attend lectures and tests at set times. An allochronic format provides maximum flexibility and convenience but also requires substantial self-direction and time management skills.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents another impetus for pursuing a degree online. Most universities and colleges have already transitioned to a fully online or hybrid format, and institutions that still offer on-campus classes predominantly host professional activities and office hours online. Given the lower cost and higher quality of a degree designed to be online, a 2021 online bachelor’s accounting degree may be a smart choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I major in to become an accountant?

    To become an accountant, you should pursue a bachelor of art in accounting, a bachelor of science in accounting, or a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in accounting. All of these options amount to “majoring” in accounting.

  • Can I get an accounting degree online?

    Yes, you can get a bachelor’s degree in accounting online. The recent surge in the popularity of distance learning has incentivized many reputable business schools to develop top-quality online accounting degrees.

  • What do you do with a degree in accounting?

    A bachelor’s degree in accounting can be a stepping stone to a lucrative and highly gratifying career as a forensic accountant, a financial analyst, a financial manager, a controller, or a CFO.

  • Is accounting a good degree?

    Yes, accounting is a good degree. A bachelor’s degree in accounting builds skills that are transferable across industries and occupations. Accounting graduates also command high wages: In the U.S., accountants make a median annual salary of $71,550 — almost double the median salary for all occupations nationwide.

Professional Organizations in Accounting

Professional organizations offer networking opportunities at conferences and events, professional development resources, and career services. Accounting students can join professional organizations while in school to gain access to special student discounts and scholarship opportunities. Many organizations also provide job boards, career counseling, and tips for interviews and resumes.

  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners The ACFE administers the certified fraud examiner examination. It also oversees events, training sessions, and professional development resources.
  • American Accounting Association The AAA focuses on academic accounting and publishes research. It also hosts conferences, other events, and a career center with job postings.
  • National Society of Accountants Emphasizing tax accounting, NSA provides a tax resource library, a tax help center, and several publications. It also hosts a professional member directory.
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants American Institute of Certified Public Accountants: The AICPA designs and administers the CPA exam. This organization, which dates back to 1887, also maintains professional standards for CPAs, offers career guidance, and awards scholarships.
  • Institute of Management Accountants Institute of Management Accountants: IMA provides educational resources and career guidance, and it conducts research on accounting and financial services. The institute also confers the certified management accountant credential.

Related Reading

Guide to Accounting Bachelor's Degrees Best Associate in Accounting Degrees Best Master's in Accounting Best Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees

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