Hero Image The 15 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs 2021

The 15 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs 2021

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Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs

By pursuing bachelor’s degrees in accounting, students learn foundational practices in tax preparation, auditing, and financial analysis to qualify for entry-level jobs in the field. Many accountants continue to master’s-level studies, qualifying them to earn certified public accountant (CPA) credentials.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earned a median salary of $71,550 as of May 2019. Accountants enjoy flexibility and job security in many different industries.

This page highlights the 15 most affordable online accounting degrees for 2021, offering an excellent starting point for prospective accounting students. Readers can also find information about degree expectations, career paths, and tips for choosing the right program.

2021’s Top 10 Cheapest Online Accounting Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Trine University Angola, IN
2 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
3 Shorter University Rome, GA
4 Colorado State University-Global Campus Aurora, CO
5 Lakeland University Plymouth, WI
6 McKendree University Lebanon, IL
7 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA
8 University of Minnesota-Crookston Crookston, MN
9 Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM
10 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL

What Is Accounting?

The concept of tracking business transactions dates back to 2,000-3,300 B.C., as evidenced by unearthed clay tablets from the period. Luca Pacioli’s 1494 treatise on bookkeeping practices, which measures expenses against income, makes him the “Father of Accounting” in the eyes of historians. The Industrial Revolution saw the development of professional accounting organizations. Emerging technologies continue to catapult the field into the future. 

Today, the BLS reports 1,436,100 accountant and auditor positions in the United States, projecting employment in the field to grow by 4% from 2019-2029 and keep pace with the average growth for all occupations.

As of 2019, the largest accounting employers included accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services; finance and insurance; government; and management of companies and enterprises. 

Accountants maintain financial records for organizations and individuals. They oversee tax preparation and ensure their employers adhere to all necessary regulations. Accountants often possess excellent analytical, communication, and math skills, plus a strong eye for detail. With a bachelor’s in accounting, students can hone these skills and qualify for diverse roles in the field. 

A bachelor’s often meets the minimum educational requirement for entry-level jobs in accounting. Some organizations offer advancement opportunities to bachelor’s graduates, while others require additional education beyond an undergraduate degree.

Why Get an Affordable Accounting Bachelor’s?

By obtaining online accounting degrees, students enter a job market that continues to grow along with the overall economy. These in-demand professionals enjoy ample choices when it comes to location, business size, and industry. 

An aspiring accountant should consider their career goals and ideal professional role before committing to an online accounting degree. Prospective students may want to consider whether the curriculum emphasizes CPA readiness or attractive concentration options. As a common entry-level expectation, a bachelor’s in accounting paves the way to success in the field. 

Even in a field with well-paying job prospects, students often seek out affordable programs. Graduates can enter the job market with more options as they look toward future career goals. Benefits of pursuing an affordable online accounting program include: 

Further Education Requirements
Many employers want their accountants to obtain CPA credentials. Specifics vary by location, but most states mandate more than the typical 120 college credits of a bachelor’s degree, making further education a necessity for aspiring CPAs.
Faster Return-on-Investment
By obtaining an affordable degree, a graduate can earn back the money they spent on tuition more quickly. Whether paying off loans or avoiding them altogether, earning an affordable degree can help to minimize debt.
Quality
Online degrees carry the same level of prestige as their on-campus equivalents. An affordable degree can offer a solid accounting background that qualifies graduates for excellent job opportunities.

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs of 2021

Most potential accounting students want to find the best value for their degree. Read on for our list of the 15 most affordable online accounting programs for 2021. For more information on how we rank each program, check out our guide below.

  • What the Best Cheap Accounting Programs Have in Common

    All accounting programs emphasize test preparation for career-based certifications, such as the CPA credential. Each school has its differences, but these factors usually unite the best institutions:

    • They are accredited. When a school earns accreditation, it means the school has met the quality standards set by an external entity’s guidelines. Accreditation gives a degree value and affects how credits transfer. The schools on our list are all regionally accredited by one of the following agencies:
      • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC)
      • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
      • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
      • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
      • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
      • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
      • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

      Also take note of these program-specific accreditors:

      • International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
      • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
      • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
    • They offer academic excellence. “Academic excellence” gets thrown around as a popular buzzword, but we use concrete factors to determine the quality of learning at each school. We look at facts like graduation rate, the number of dedicated faculty, and retention rates to home in on the best schools. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College features one of the best student-to-faculty ratios (8-to-1) on this list, indicating that this school offers more personalized classes and extra time with professors.
    • They are reputable. Beyond accreditation, we know that other factors affect how future employers and grad schools view a degree. The program rankings are based on the percent of students admitted, admission yield, and the average earnings of alumni six years after graduation. For example, CSU-Global earned its spot on the list with a 68% admission yield for the fall semester of 2019. This yield suggests that the school is more selective and desirable to students who apply there.
    • They are affordable. The word “affordable” might satisfy others, but prospective accountants probably want to crunch the numbers. We base our rankings of affordability on factors like net price, the percent of students who receive aid, and the average amount awarded in each financial aid package. Bay Path University, another entry on the list, provided 74.8% of their undergraduate students one or more scholarships or grants during the 2018-19 academic year. Each package awarded an average of $12,364 per student.

  1. Trine University
    Location

    Angola, IN

    Located in the northeast corner of Indiana, Trine started teaching accounting and business law back when it opened in 1884. During the past 130 years, the school's dedication to fostering student excellence hasn't faltered.

    BS in Business Administration - Accounting

    The Ketner School of Business remains a focal point in Trine University's vision to offer personalized, career-based degrees online. The school takes its name from alumnus Ralph Ketner, who co-founded Food Lion, the national grocery chain. Classes start on an eight week rolling basis for flexible, faster credits.

    Students can learn how to make themselves marketable with the professional development and strategies course starting as early as sophomore year. Other classes focus on communication skills and strategies so students can effectively use what they learned in the workplace. Advanced topics like managerial finance extend beyond basic accounting with a spotlight on leading entire corporations, capital, and potential mergers.

    TrineOnline's Affordability

    As of the 2017 fiscal year, only 4.8% of Trine's graduates had defaulted on their loans within three years of earning their degrees. The school also offers an accelerated program, a flat cost per credit, and free educational resources to replace expensive books.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC, ACBSP
    • Tuition per credit hour: $399/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 1-4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, high school transcripts or GED certificate
      • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT
      • Cost: None
  2. Maryville University of Saint Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Founded over 150 years ago, Maryville started providing courses to underprivileged youths and women as part of the school's mission to make higher education more accessible. That legacy continues today as the school offers distance learning programs created with accessibility in mind.

    BS in Accounting

    Maryville's accounting program caters to students' desired career paths through multiple academic tracks within the degree. An early-access program allows students to earn credits toward a master's degree while pursuing their bachelor's in accounting.

    Maryville recognizes that accountants' roles are rapidly shifting. As a result, the school's accounting curriculum includes other desirable topics and skills such as marketing and sales.

    The digital foundations class prepares students to enter a job market that's constantly changing due to developing technology. Even before graduation, students can gain valuable network connections, internships, and potential job placements through Maryville's 30 business partners.

    Maryville's Affordability

    Maryville has frozen tuition for the 2020-21 academic year. The early-access program can save money on a master's degree, and the school's minimal 2.4% loan default rate as of 2017 is the best on this list. For the 2018-19 academic year, undergraduate students paid a net price of $29,357. Of Maryville's students, 99% receive financial aid; grant and scholarship aid packages average $14,968.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC, ACBSP
    • Tuition: $500/credit
    • Required Credits: 128 credits
    • Program Length: 2.5 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, high school transcripts or GED certificate
      • GPA: 2.5 minimum
      • Cost: None
  3. Shorter University
    Location

    Rome, GA

    Originally founded in 1873 as a women's college, Shorter University celebrates a long history centered around Christian traditions and values. The school continues to infuse Christian values and community service into its curricula while also developing its sports programs.

    Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

    Shorter's online programs run on eight-week terms for potential fast credit turnaround. The school also offers an accelerated program that lets students earn a bachelor's and master's degree in only four years. Military students can benefit from a host of discounts and programs at Shorter, including a 20% discount on all online courses counting toward a degree.

    Some accounting schools might focus on general accounting skills for a broader appeal, but Shorter doubles down on the business side. Students can take dedicated courses in QuickBooks and other interesting topics like swindles and schemes. The curriculum blends business theory and practice into each course while encouraging students to gain job experience through internships.

    Shorter's Affordability

    Most of Shorter's undergraduate students — 75.6% as of the 2019-19 academic year — receive financial aid. The average aid package over that time totaled $14,468. Military members take advantage of several additional benefits and discounts.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
    • Tuition: $367/credit
    • Required Credits: 121 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, high school or undergraduate transcripts, test scores
      • GPA: 2.25 minimum
      • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT
      • Cost: $25
  4. Colorado State University-Global Campus
    Location

    Aurora, CO

    An offshoot of the main school system, the CSU-Global houses a variety of online programs and resources for degree-seekers. The school provides the tools for students and professionals to thrive in an interconnected, global job market.

    Bachelor of Science in Accounting

    CSU-Global's online accounting program focuses on teaching skills and practices relevant to the modern, global business world. The school offers 26 specializations for an accounting degree. Students can enroll in nuanced courses like government and nonprofit accounting or forensic accounting and business valuation with artificial intelligence.

    Transfer students can bring up to 90 credit hours with them to cut down on their program length. Most CSU-Global accounting alumni (90%) continue on to careers in their intended field, reporting estimated starting salaries averaging over $65,000 per year.

    CSU-Global's Affordability

    CSU-Global offers low prices, plus a tuition freeze that lasts until graduation. With a 3.9% loan default rate based on data from 2017, a CSU-Global accounting degree can be a good investment.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: HLC, ACBSP
    • Tuition: $350/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, high school transcripts or GED certificate, test scores
      • GPA: 2.8 minimum
      • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT
      • Cost: $25
  5. Lakeland University
    Location

    Plymouth, WI

    Based in the Wisconsin area, LU supplies a liberal arts education with traditions based in the United Church of Christ. With multiple campuses throughout the state plus international locations, learners can use this flexible blend of course deliveries to fit their schedule.

    Bachelor of Arts in Accounting

    LU students have the luxury to switch between online, hybrid, and in-person courses to meet their academic needs. The school offers a fraud and forensics track for accounting majors, which can set up students in a career to identify and report corporate crimes. The program values real life experience and places students in internships with major institutions like Bank First National, Sargento Foods, and the IRS.

    The online accounting program familiarizes students with many aspects of real-world accounting jobs. One of the school's core goals involves teaching desirable universal skills such as problem-solving and asset management.

    LU's Affordability

    LU provides plentiful scholarship opportunities for online students. For example, the William R. Kellett Scholarship offers renewable aid, awarding $5,000 annually to full-time students. With 71.2% of undergraduates receiving gift aids for the 2018-19 year, students have a decent chance to save money.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $530/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: Online (synchronous or asynchronous) or hybrid
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, high school or undergraduate transcripts
      • GPA: 2.0 minimum
      • Standardized Tests: ACT
      • Cost: $35
  6. McKendree University
    Location

    Lebanon, IL

    McKendree builds off of its Methodist heritage to encourage open, respectful dialogue and academic curiosity. The university fosters a sense of identity and purpose in its students while also preparing them for the job market.

    Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

    With a focus on academic excellence, McK boasts a 97% placement rate for graduates pursuing higher degrees or finding full-time employment within six months of graduation. Flexible eight-week sessions allow students to progress at their convenience.

    The online accounting program tailors its pedagogy to build leadership and critical thinking alongside learning business practices. McK's business school highlights moral topics in the industry with required classes like business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Students not only gain the tools for a successful career, but they'll also understand when and how to apply their knowledge in the real world. The program tops off with a capstone research in accounting theory course to cover modern issues in the field.

    McK's Affordability

    Students can save money through the lower credit requirements and regional discounts available through McK. Over 90.1% of the school's undergraduates received aid as of the 2018-19 academic year, with aid packages averaging $18,945.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC, IACBE
    • Tuition: $390/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, high school transcript or GED certificate
      • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT (waived for candidates with with a minimum 3.0 GPA)
      • Cost: None
  7. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
    Location

    University Park, PA

    Stemming from Penn State's main system, the World Campus offers over 150 online degrees and certifications. The school's students benefit from plentiful academic resources and technology available through multiple campuses.

    Bachelor of Science in Accounting

    Penn State's business school holds AACSB accreditation, which is awarded only to 5% of business schools in the world. Accounting students receive instruction from esteemed faculty such as Richard Brown, a former entrepreneur who uses his experiences in the business world to instruct the next generation of business owners and financiers.

    Penn State offers plenty of networking opportunities to its students through an extensive pool of alumni. Business school staff offer course topics like supply chain management so students can develop interdisciplinary skills or begin their journey on a new career path.

    Penn State's Affordability

    Penn State provides scholarships and other forms of financial aid, such as the LGBTQ+ and Fannie Lou Hamer-W.E.B. Du Bois scholarships. The 5% loan default rate for 2017 demonstrates the program's potential value in the job market.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: MSCHE, AACSB
    • Tuition: $6,994-$7,549/semester
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, self-reported test score and academic record, high school or undergraduate transcripts
      • GPA: 2.0 minimum
      • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT (may be waived for adult or transfer students)
      • Cost: $65
  8. University of Minnesota-Crookston
    Location

    Crookston, MN

    With an even split between on-campus and online students, UMC-Crookston hosts various programs using modern technology and teaching methods. The school is founded on the belief that education enriches everyone's lives, and its curricula incorporate this ideal.

    BS in Accounting

    As a liberal arts college, UMC rounds out the accounting program with useful courses such as public speaking and business writing. Students can opt to build a certificate in taxation into their course schedule, and they can choose career-oriented tracks like forensic accounting and auditing.

    Unlike other curricula, the business school provides accounting certification test review courses to outline the materials and topics found on the exams. Students can even earn up to 12 total credits from these test prep classes toward the degree. You can also sample one of UMC's online courses so you know what to expect before you commit.

    UMC's Affordability

    UMC offers in-state tuition rates for online students and a low price of $11,483 for beginning undergraduates in the 2018-19 year. The cohort loan default rate of 5.6% as of 2017 suggests that graduates find decent job placements after graduation.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: HLC, ACBSP
    • Tuition: $402/credit (fewer than 13 credits); $5,219/semester (minimum 13 credits)
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
    • Admissions
      • Process: Online application, transcript or GED certificate
      • Cost: $25
  9. Eastern New Mexico University
    Location

    Portales, NM

    ENMU hosts hundreds of online courses with the goal to develop enhanced teaching methods using new technology. As a large university, the school aspires to provide students the skills they need in a rapidly changing world.

    Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

    Unlike other accounting programs, ENMU offers accounting degree tracks based on your desired career certification. The school lists more certification preparation options than colleges that focus only on CPA designation. Students meet with advisors to personalize their curricula based on which designations they plan to pursue (e.g., CPA, certified management accountant, certified internal auditor, chartered financial analyst).

    This program's curriculum incorporates a sense of global citizenship to prepare students for the international business world. Learners gain the skills to handle foreign and domestic business markets so they can know what to expect from business trades from around the world. Online students enjoy access to on-campus resources, including dedicated tutors and writing center services.

    ENMU's Affordability

    ENMU offers a low net price of $10,338 for beginning undergrad students in the 2018-19 year and out-of-state tuition waivers for residents of surrounding states. Accounting students can apply for several scholarships set aside for their major.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: HLC, ACBSP
    • Tuition: $3,264/semester (in state); $4,284/semester (out of state)
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous or asynchronous) or hybrid
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, high school transcripts or GED certificate
      • GPA: 2.5 minimum
      • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT
      • Cost: None
  10. Florida Atlantic University
    Location

    Boca Raton, FL

    FAU houses several high-ranking departments, including its College of Business. Though the school's foundation only dates back to 1961, FAU grew rapidly and now hosts large research programs.

    Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

    FAU's large accounting program, composed of nearly 1,200 students, holds the coveted AACSB accreditation. Before declaring a major in accounting, students must pass the School of Accounting Competency Exam after completing lower-level courses and general prerequisites. Beginning students can work toward an associate degree to earn those required credits. FAU also accepts transfer credits from other colleges with similar accreditation status.

    FAU's strict program standards may appeal to potential employers. The school's accounting advisors assist students throughout the program, and learners enjoy access to 24-hour tech support and other resources within the curriculum.

    FAU's Affordability

    FAU's affordability comes from the low in-state rates and a $9,861 net price for beginning undergrad students in the 2018-19 academic year. With 10 scholarships designated for accounting students and a 5.5% cohort default rate in 2017, the accounting program can provide great value for the degree.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
    • Tuition: $203/credit (in state); $722/credit (out of state)
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or hybrid
    • Admissions
      • Process: Online application, high school or undergraduate transcripts
      • GPA: 2.5 minimum (undergraduate)
      • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT (beginning students)
      • Cost: $30
  11. Gardner-Webb University
    Location

    Boiling Springs, NC

    As a Christian-based school in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, Gardner-Webb takes a holistic approach to education by mixing modern education with traditional values. The school prides itself on forging the world's next generation of leaders and scholars.

    BS in Accounting

    Students must earn prerequisite course credits before declaring a major in accounting. The Broyhill Undergraduate School of Management at Gardner-Webb emphasizes quick integration into the job market, teaching entry-level skills first.

    Gardner-Webb expands on foundational skills to teach about adapting to a quick-paced industry and fluctuations in global business markets. This program partners with Acadeum, a network of online courses from colleges around the nation. Acadeum can meet learners' career track needs when Gardner-Webb doesn't offer the desired classes.

    Gardner-Webb's Affordability

    Nearly half of undergraduate students received an average of $19,225 in scholarship and grant aid as of the 2018-19 academic year. This package includes incentives like tuition reward scholarships, through which students can earn "frequent saver" points at participating banks.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
    • Tuition: $448/credit
    • Required Credits: 128 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous or synchronous)
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, undergraduate transcripts
      • GPA: 2.0 minimum
  12. Seton Hill University
    Location

    Greensburg, PA

    As a Catholic liberal arts university, Seton Hill infuses its pedagogy with the vision of founder Elizabeth Ann Seton, who encouraged critical thinking and ethical decision-making in education.

    BS in Accounting

    Seton Hill's online program uses an eight-week session schedule and allows up to 90 transfer credits. Students can access the school's nationally recognized Professional Development Center, which boasts a 95% career or graduate school placement for online graduates.

    Through a national program, students can gain valuable work experience through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance internships run by the IRS. Accounting students can also take advantage of Seton Hill's expanded network through the Accounting Society and the Wukich Center for Entrepreneurial Opportunities, an organization that supports prospective entrepreneurs.

    Seton Hill University's Affordability

    Of all Seton Hill undergraduates, 76.9% received scholarships and grants as of the 2018-19 academic year, with aid per student averaging $22,975. The school's 4.9% cohort loan default rate and access to free credit transfer evaluations add extra incentive to look at Seton Hill's program.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: MSCHE, IACBE
    • Tuition: $639/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous or asynchronous) or hybrid
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, high school transcript or GED certificate
      • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT
      • Cost: None
  13. Bay Path University
    Location

    Longmeadow, MA

    Historically a women's college, Bay Path fosters a strong sense of gender equality and women empowerment in its community, also providing the tools and education needed for a successful career. The university retains part of its women's college status through its undergraduate schools.

    BS in Business

    The American Women's College, a unique school aimed at providing accessible online career preparation for women, houses the bachelor's in accounting. Bay Path students can develop their leadership skills through courses such as women as empowered learners and leaders.

    While earning credits, students build an ePortfolio to document and showcase their skills, projects, and experience to future employers. Bay Path delivers courses through the award-winning Social Online Universal Learning system, which uses advanced technology to adjust to students' learning style (visual, auditory, interactive, etc.) and provide the best course materials to match.

    Bay Path's Affordability

    Most Bay Path undergraduates, around 74.8%, received scholarship and/or grant aid averaging $12,346 as of the 2018-19 academic year. Students can also take "day one access" courses, which provide flat-fee course materials.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: NECHE
    • Tuition: $400/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 3.5 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous and asynchronous) or hybrid
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, high school or undergraduate transcripts, remote interview
      • GPA: 2.0 minimum
      • Cost: None
  14. Santa Fe College
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Established in 1965 with a focus on providing accessible higher education, Sante Fe College remains a community-focused institution. The school prides itself on responding to local feedback and creating opportunities for students to succeed and give back to their communities.

    BS in Accounting

    SF students can only declare their accounting major after completing course requirements and achieving a minimum GPA. Business program advisors guide learners through a strict curriculum, customizing students' courses to their desired careers. Students can explore potential job paths for their degrees through specialized courses like human resource management and principles of entrepreneurship.

    Throughout the program, students develop workplace skills such as team-building, problem analysis, and conflict resolution. Some course materials prepare students for the difficult issues they may face in the business world, such as politics and the environment.

    SF's Affordability

    SF offers a low in-state cost per credit hour of $107. High-achieving students can earn lucrative scholarships, such as the Bachelor's Degree Scholarship, which covers tuition costs up to 12 credit hours per semester.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
    • Tuition: $107/credit (in state, lower division); $126/credit (in state, upper division); $383/credit (out of state, lower division); $429/credit (out of state, upper division)
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous and synchronous) or hybrid
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, undergraduate transcripts or GED certificate or HiSET scores
      • GPA: 2.5 minimum
      • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT
  15. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
    Location

    Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

    Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College stands out as a Catholic liberal arts school founded as a women's college back in 1840. Now the school admits all genders and maintains its values in social justice, spirituality, sustainability, and gender equality.

    BS in Accounting

    Housed in the Department of Business and Leadership, this accounting program runs on eight-week sessions. SMWC's online program breaks the mold by providing more access to accounting classes than the program's on-campus counterparts. Traditional students might have to wait a year for an in-person course, while the online version opens up multiple times each year.

    The degree's lower credit requirement can speed up students' academic careers, while the 3+1 program allows learners to earn a bachelor's and master's degree in four years total. The 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio creates a personalized experience, and upper-level students can take certification prep courses.

    SMWC's Affordability

    Fewer credit hours can translate into student savings. SMWC also offers in-house payment plans for online students, on top of traditional aid packages, which averaged $17,088 for 85.8% of undergraduates based on the 2018-19 year.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $496/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years full time
    • Delivery Format: 100% online or hybrid
    • Admissions
      • Process: Application, high school transcripts or GED certificate
      • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT
      • Cost: None

Jobs for Bachelor’s in Accounting Graduates

Accounting degree-holders qualify for occupations in many different work environments. Graduates can pursue careers as public accountants, auditors, tax experts, or personal financial advisors. 

Accountants can earn potentially lucrative salaries. Accountants and auditors made a median annual salary of $71,550 in 2019, while personal financial advisors earned a median income of $87,850. Accounting skills represent an important business foundation, and professionals often advance to high-paying managerial roles. Chief executives, for example, earned a median salary of $184,460 as of 2019. 

An accountant can expand their career opportunities by earning a master’s degree or pursuing industry credentials like CPA or certified management accountant (CMA). 

  • Tax Accountant

    Employed by organizations, government bodies, and individuals, tax accountants prepare and file tax documents for their clients. They analyze financial documents and help clients to improve their asset management. A tax accountant must hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum, though many employers prefer a master’s degree and CPA credentials.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    • Median Annual Salary: $71,550

  • Personal Financial Advisor

    Working directly with individuals as self-employed accountants or members of a larger firm, personal financial advisors help clients organize their financial assets. They make recommendations to help clients meet their financial goals for retirement and college savings. Personal financial advisors also facilitate estate planning.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +3%
    • Median Annual Salary: $87,850

  • Budget Analyst

    Largely employed in industries like government, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services, budget analysts organize their clients’ finances. They analyze expenses and income, working with managers to develop appropriate budgets for the organization. Budget analysts also monitor an organization’s cash flow and make recommendations for budget cuts.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +3%
    • Median Annual Salary: $76,540

  • Internal Auditor

    Internal auditors monitor their organizations’ financial activities in strict detail, watching for inconsistencies or misuse of funds. They check for fraudulent activities, suggest potential cost-saving measures, and ensure that their companies adhere to financial regulations. They can seek professional credentials like certified internal auditor or certification in risk management assurance.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    • Median Annual Salary: $71,550

  • Top Executive

    Responsible for their organizations’ overall strategies, top executives work with managers to set goals, enact plans, and oversee major projects. They monitor financial operations, sometimes reporting to a board of directors. Accountants interested in executive management can pursue master’s-level education, such as master of business administration degrees.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    • Median Annual Salary: $104,690

What To Expect From Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs

Accounting degree programs emphasize foundational knowledge in accounting theory and practice, tax law, auditing, financial communication, and ethics. Often geared toward readying students for CPA and other industry credentials, accounting degrees present practical, career-focused curricula. 

A typical bachelor’s degree requires about 120 total credits for graduation, including general education coursework. Major courses comprise 30-50 credits. Generally, a bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete. Timelines differ depending on a student’s academic background and how many courses they take each semester. Affordable tuition typically costs $300-$500 per credit hour, though rates vary widely among programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for online accounting degrees vary. Most programs require a high school diploma or GED certificate, and some look for high school GPA minimums in the 2.0-3.0 range.

Other programs require students to complete general education college courses before applying to the accounting program. Students may need to maintain a minimum GPA before qualifying for the accounting major. Some schools require ACT or SAT scores.

Applicants also need to consider how their academic background fits with program requirements. Some online accounting programs require transfer credits, such as those earned through an associate degree or a certificate, while others offer all necessary coursework through online study. Prerequisite examples include accounting I and II, introduction to business, and economics.

Prospective students can use the Common App to submit one application to multiple schools, streamlining the process.

Degree and Concentration Options

When researching online accounting degrees, prospective students may encounter several types of programs. Degree-seekers should consider the types of jobs they want to pursue and pair them with the appropriate program. Common options include:

Bachelor of Science in Accounting


The BS in accounting provides in-depth knowledge of financial analysis, tax preparation, and auditing. Graduates can concentrate in areas like forensic accounting. Related career paths include public accounting, fraud examination, external and internal auditing, and managerial accounting.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting


The BBA provides a general business core in addition to accounting knowledge, with coursework that includes economics, business law, and statistics. Like the BS, the BBA opens the door to various accounting careers. With a more general business background, graduates may find more flexibility and advancement opportunities.

Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration



The BABA prepares students for leadership positions and adds a liberal arts emphasis. Aspiring accountants hoping to qualify for managerial positions might select this degree for a business core that includes courses like international business and operations management.

Popular Accounting Courses

Prospective students can expect to encounter similar major requirements among online accounting degree programs. A typical curriculum requires a core set of accounting courses that provide solid foundations in accounting principles like financial analysis, reporting, and tax knowledge. Many programs allow students to explore their areas of interest through electives.

Some schools also require each student to complete a hands-on capstone project at the end of their program. Required courses in accounting often include:

This course builds on accounting principles. Topics cover foundational subjects of financial statement preparation, income concepts and value measurement, balance sheet and reporting standards, and statement analysis. Most programs require intermediate accounting I and II.
Federal taxation covers United States tax laws and the Internal Revenue Code, familiarizing students with forms and documents, income determination concepts, tax liability standards for individuals and organizations, and decision-making relating to taxation.
Sometimes offered as an elective, this course covers accounting theories and procedures specific to state and local government, colleges and universities, healthcare facilities, and other nonprofit entities. Topics include the use of special funds, tax requirements, financial statements and reporting, and budgets.
This requirement for accounting majors teaches financial compliance, electronic data processing auditing, and strategies for communicating audit results to employers. The course also prepares students to use auditing software and design auditing systems for their organizations, including testing strategies.
This course covers ethical decision-making in accounting issues. The subject matter considers concepts from a political, societal, and technological point of view. Coursework explores legal, diversity, and other environmental factors.
Read More About Accounting Programs

Making Affordable Accounting Degrees Even Cheaper

Students looking for affordable online accounting degrees can benefit from many cost-saving tactics. Specific program attributes, such as delivery style and school size, can contribute to lower tuition rates. The following list offers several measures students can take to make their accounting degrees more affordable.

Online versus Traditional Delivery

Many institutions charge lower tuition rates for online degrees, sometimes matching in-state rates for non-residential distance learners. Online education eliminates the cost of living on campus or commuting. Students can continue to work while pursuing their degrees and even gain accounting experience in the process.

Financial Aid Opportunities

Accounting students can significantly lower the overall cost of their studies by pursuing financial aid opportunities like scholarships, grants, and loans. By filling out a FAFSA, degree-seekers open the door to work-study opportunities, low-interest loans, and need-based aid. Professional associations, nonprofit organizations, and local government agencies frequently offer scholarship opportunities.

Institutional Prestige

An institution’s reputation can play an important part in the school-selection process, but high price tags often accompany prestigious programs. Students can still find equally excellent degrees at more affordable rates.

Aspiring accountants should consider whether their career goals necessitate degrees from prestigious schools. Those hoping to pursue executive roles in large, competitive environments may garner a better return on their investment from more prestigious institutions.

Book Rentals

Students can often avoid buying expensive textbooks and materials outright. Online booksellers like Amazon offer textbook rental programs that allow learners to borrow books at very low rates. E-books and library resources also help reduce the cost of materials.

Credit Loading

When a school charges tuition by the semester rather per credit, degree-seekers can pack their schedules with extra coursework. This method accelerates the pace of a program, reducing overall tuition costs and allowing enrollees to graduate sooner. Before taking this route, students should carefully consider if their schedules and personalities allow for the increased workload.

Choosing the Right Affordable Accounting Program

While affordability represents a major factor in the search for an online accounting degree, students need to account for factors like accreditation, program setup, and university resources.

Candidates should ensure the accreditation status of every prospective school. Regional and national accreditation assess schools as a whole, and programmatic accreditation applies to particular programs. CPA licensure requires regionally accredited coursework, and many master’s programs do not recognize credits earned through unaccredited programs. 

Aspiring accounting professionals should also consider whether they want to pursue specializations, such as forensic accounting. Some students prefer online accounting degrees that feed directly into master’s-level studies. 

For many students, university resources and extracurricular opportunities factor as important elements in the decision-making process. Distance learners can ask how programs include online students in school culture. The availability of online clubs, events, and professional organization chapters may appeal to some learners, as well. Likewise, students can seek access to important resources like career centers, tutoring departments, and library services.

Why You Should Get Your Bachelor’s in Accounting Online

Online education increases in popularity each year as schools recognize the rising demand among prospective students. Distance learning can make higher education more affordable and accessible. With the COVID-19 pandemic likely to affect the state of education into 2021 and beyond, online degree options can help future accountants to begin their studies without delay. 

Accounting translates well to online education. With the help of their faculty, students can arrange any in-person program components, like capstones or internships, from afar. 

Online coursework requires the same focus and attention as face-to-face classes, and students should consider their self-motivation and time management skills before committing to a program. Some may crave the energy of on-campus activities, while others prefer to complete their studies from home. 

Degree-seekers with jobs, caretaking responsibilities, or financial restraints may particularly seek to take advantage of the opportunities that online education affords. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I major in to become an accountant?

    Aspiring accountants often pursue BS degrees in accounting. Other options include a BBA or a BABA with a concentration in accounting.

  • Can I get an accounting degree online?

    Yes. Like their in-person counterparts, online accounting degrees offer specialization options and CPA preparation.

  • What can I do with a degree in accounting?

    Accounting degree-holders can pursue careers in personal financial advising, auditing, tax accounting, government accounting, and more. Many top executives hold backgrounds in accounting, making it a great starting point for those hoping to advance to management.

  • How much does it cost to get an accounting degree online?

    While costs vary, students can find many options for affordable online accounting degrees. Generally speaking, the cheapest programs fall in the range of $300-$500 per credit.

  • Is an online accounting degree worth anything?

    An online accounting degree carries the same weight as its on-campus equivalent. In fact, many schools run identical curricula in both formats and feature the same faculty members.

Accredited Online College Programs

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