Best Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs

Online Accounting Schools, Timelines and Career Resources

Accountants are found in virtually every job sector, from schools to Fortune 500 companies to government and private organizations. They help prepare and audit financial records for individuals and businesses, allowing organizations to run efficiently and transparently. Prospective students searching for the best online bachelor’s degree program in accounting have lot to think about — specializations, program details, career paths – but this guide breaks down what to expect from online bachelor’s degree programs in accounting, how to pursue a degree and what possibilities beyond graduation.

Search Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs

Pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in accounting may be a more flexible option for students who work and have other commitments. Because accounting is a numbers-driven field consisting of financial records, spreadsheets, software and data, it lends itself well to online learning.

Students interact with professors and classmates with tools like Skype, Blackboard and Adobe Connect, while learning to work independently and in teams. Emailing and file sharing programs offer convenient ways to submit coursework and assignments.

If this sounds interesting, take the next step and search for the best online bachelor’s in accounting programs using a variety of personalized criteria below.

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Online bachelor’s degree programs in accounting are designed to give students a strong foundation in finance and the laws and regulations associated with managing personal and organizational financial accounts. These programs provide more in-depth coursework in addition to entry-level accounting classes, including auditing and taxation principles and practices. Students become familiar with accounting software and are encouraged to develop valuable critical thinking skills.

Start narrowing down the choices by checking out this list, which ranks the best online bachelor’s in accounting programs for 2016.

1 Canisius College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 99.82
Read more

Canisius College offers the following five tracks of study for accounting majors: BS/MBA in accounting, BA/MBA in professional accounting, BS in professional accounting, BS in accounting, and BS in accounting information systems. All accounting students take the same courses for the first five semesters, giving students time to decide on which track to pursue. These tracks take between four to five years, depending on the program, and most provide 150 hours required to sit for the CPA exam. Students can apply for several internal accounting scholarships, and through the Experience Program, juniors can get assistance finding summer employment in the accounting field.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
2 Northwood University-Michigan
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
95%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 99.37
Read more

Northwood University’s accounting program offers on-site instruction at one of 20 on-site locations, including two military-friendly campuses, and online. Qualifying students may also participate in the four-year bachelor of arts/master of business administration option. Students may join a number of professional associations to meet others in the industry and to make connections that might lead to job growth. Graduates may qualify to sit for exams to be certified as a public accountant, management accountant, internal auditor or financial manager. Northwood’s mission is to develop leaders of a global, free-enterprise society.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
3 Hawaii Pacific University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
9
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
40%
Ranking SCORE 99.12
Read more

The online accounting degree at Hawaii Pacific University prepares graduates to sit for the certified public accountant exam. The school has an active accounting club, which enables students to make connections in the professional world, including to industry leaders who offer internship opportunities. Scholarships and financial assistance are available to qualifying students and online support is available as well. HPU’s student body is diverse and its faculty members are experts in their fields. In addition to the online accounting degree, the university also offers a number of other distance learning opportunities including a Navy college program.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Davenport University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
89%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
40%
Ranking SCORE 99.05
Read more

The bachelor of business administration degree in accounting at Davenport University is a traditional four year program with opportunities for specialty certification. Courses teach students how to excel in the accounting industry through a practical and applicable set of skills that enable students to synthesize accounting information as a resource for effective decision making. The 120 credit hour program is through the business college and allows students to focus on one of two areas; internal auditing or management accounting. The university is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and offers students multiple resources on campus including libraries, counseling centers, and tutoring centers.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
5 Washington State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 98.29
Read more

The bachelor’s degree in accounting is the largest degree program in the Washington State University’s business department. It’s also available online, with 24-hour technical support and a student services staff member that are both specifically dedicated to online support. Online students have access to Global Connections which provides webinars, resources and live-streamed events that enhance the program offerings. Threaded discussions help online students maintain a sense of community within the program and among their peers. Online students can also participate in ASWSU Global, the online community’s student government. In addition to the accounting degree, there are eight other undergraduate programs available online.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
6 Northern Arizona University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 97.82
Read more

A bachelor of science in accountancy from Northern Arizona University can prepare graduates for a degree in financial analysis, accounting, auditing and credit management. The university’s goal is to provide the foundational skills and knowledge that students need to start their career in the field and then grow from there. The program is offered only on the school’s main campus, where students can participate in a wide range of cultural and recreational activities. NAU serves nearly 30,000 students statewide and online with just over 20,000 of those attending courses on the main campus.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
7 Kent State University at Kent
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
75%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 97.70
Read more

Accounting students at Kent State University can earn a bachelor’s degree or participate in a five-year program that also includes a master’s in the field. Graduates of the program have the functional understanding of taxes and C corporations and can analyze issues in accounting transactions and financial statements. The program requires students to maintain a minimum grade point average and prepares graduates for careers in accounting, tax preparation, company management, finance and the government. The university serves more than 30,000 students on its campus and online.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
8 Auburn University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
65%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 97.14
Read more

Accounting majors at Auburn University are highly recruited by companies looking for quality interns. In addition, most graduates secure jobs prior to graduation and also go on to earn a master’s degree in the field. Students who seek a second bachelor’s degree qualify for the online bachelor of science in accounting. This program is for those changing career paths or who want the coursework required to sit for the CPA exam. In this program, students watch recorded lectures of the on-campus classes and follow the same academic calendar as their traditional counterparts.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
9 University of Alabama at Birmingham
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
48%
Ranking SCORE 96.80
Read more

A bachelor of science in accounting at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is available in a flexible format to help more students gain the degree they want to move their careers forward. In addition to being available on campus, it’s one of six fully online bachelor’s degree programs. It offers students insight into working in the public, private and nonprofit sector and allows students to sit for a variety of certifications, including certified internal auditor and certified management accountant. A fast-track program is available for high-achieving students who have completed 15 hours of work at the school and have 45 or fewer hours to earn before graduation.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
10 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 96.72
Read more

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a Catholic liberal arts college that aims to pair intellect with spirituality within its programs. It has a very low student to faculty ratio, giving students an opportunity to work closely with their instructors and peers. Its online accounting program includes 51 credit hours in core instruction. The school has offered distance education programs since 1973 and currently educates more than 800 students around the world. Students have numerous scholarship opportunities for programs that were designed specifically for busy adults.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Buena Vista University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 96.69
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Immaculata University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
53%
Ranking SCORE 96.66
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
13 Northern State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
67%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
46%
Ranking SCORE 96.42
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
14 Saint Joseph's College of Maine
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 96.39
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
15 Franklin University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
0%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
13%
Ranking SCORE 96.37
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
16 Southern New Hampshire University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
71%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 96.32
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
17 University of Memphis
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
40%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
40%
Ranking SCORE 96.23
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
18 University of the Incarnate Word
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
48%
Ranking SCORE 96.20
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
19 Tiffin University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
92%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
33%
Ranking SCORE 95.72
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
20 Missouri State University-Springfield
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
55%
Ranking SCORE 95.69
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
21 National University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
23%
Ranking SCORE 95.66
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
22 Alaska Pacific University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 95.62
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
23 Baker College Center for Graduate Studies
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
72%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
25%
Ranking SCORE 95.53
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
24 Morehead State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
70%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
43%
Ranking SCORE 95.38
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
25 Gardner-Webb University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
45%
Ranking SCORE 95.38
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
26 University of Louisiana at Monroe
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
56%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
37%
Ranking SCORE 95.37
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
27 University of Charleston
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
90%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
41%
Ranking SCORE 95.17
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
28 Indiana State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
75%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
43%
Ranking SCORE 95.15
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
29 LeTourneau University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
61%
Ranking SCORE 95.10
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
30 Indiana Wesleyan University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
50%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 95.01
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
31 Southwestern College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
95%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 94.99
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
32 Concordia University-Saint Paul
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
85%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
47%
Ranking SCORE 94.98
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
33 Old Dominion University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
41%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 94.98
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
34 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
37%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
86%
Ranking SCORE 94.79
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
35 DeSales University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 94.65
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
36 William Penn University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
31%
Ranking SCORE 94.61
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
37 Dickinson State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
63%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
35%
Ranking SCORE 94.60
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
38 Aurora University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 94.52
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
39 University of Houston-Downtown
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
34%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
12%
Ranking SCORE 94.49
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
40 Brenau University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
45%
Ranking SCORE 94.47
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
41 University of the Southwest
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
22%
Ranking SCORE 94.45
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
42 University of Minnesota-Crookston
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
84%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
47%
Ranking SCORE 94.42
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
43 Cleary University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
77%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
47%
Ranking SCORE 94.30
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
44 Huntington University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 94.25
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
45 University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
60%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 94.23
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
46 University of Houston-Victoria
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
92%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
N/A
Ranking SCORE 94.10
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
47 Saint Leo University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
43%
Ranking SCORE 94.06
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
48 Colorado Christian University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
40%
Ranking SCORE 93.96
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
49 Belhaven University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 93.91
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
50 Florida International University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
48%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 93.87
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo

Timeline: The Online Accounting Bachelor’s Degree

In accounting, an online bachelor’s degree program can generally be completed in four years, with accelerated programs taking closer to three years to finish. Many factors contribute to the length of time it takes for a student to earn his or her degree, including the chosen program, specialization within the field and graduate degree possibilities. Life-influencing factors like financial aid, full-time work and family obligations play a large role as well. Learn how to prepare right here, for everything from the application process and applying for financial aid to specializing within the field and putting yourself in the best position for accounting certifications.

The Application Process

The first step in getting to know the options for online bachelor’s programs in accounting is to understand the varying application processes. Programs’ criteria can differ, so it’s important to identify and understand what each school requires. Below are some such requirements, and a few pointers on how to become familiar with them.

Make an accounting application timeline

Students should create an application timeline for each interesting bachelor’s level accounting program to help stay organized and ensure timeliness and accuracy when submitting multiple applications. It will also be simpler to track different program demands and prerequisites, and may be a way to help students prioritize or choose one accounting program over another.

Take the tests bachelor’s level accounting programs require

Standardized test scores from the SAT and ACT are widely accepted, and one or the other is usually required, though some online bachelor’s level accounting programs may require both. Applicants should plan to take these tests early and possibly more than once, as scores often improve over time and with multiple efforts.

Collect accounting program or high school transcripts

When applying for an online accounting bachelor’s program, students should secure a copy of a current transcript and check it for accuracy. This is especially helpful for students who are transferring from an existing accounting program, to determine which credits may transfer. For those just entering into undergraduate years, most online bachelor’s programs will need an official transcript from high school.

Stand out from other accounting applicants

Admissions officers, even for online accounting programs, often want to know who they are accepting into their program. Some applications may include an essay or personal statement portion, giving students a chance to describe who they are, what about accounting interests them, and what their future goals may be.

Pinpoint bachelor’s level accounting pre-requisites

Different degrees have different pre-requisites, including online bachelor’s degree programs in accounting. Most require students to complete general education classes before they can enroll in any upper-level accounting classes, while others may allow accounting work experience to satisfy electives or general education requirements.

Apply for accounting-specific financial aid

There are many financial aid resources for students earning their bachelor’s degree in accounting online, from both the public and private sectors. For example, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is accepted by many online programs, and many schools have their own scholarship and aid opportunities for accounting program hopefuls to apply for. Check for accounting-specific awards from businesses and accounting organizations.

Year 1 Milestones

The hard work begins once an accounting student has been accepted into their online program of choice. Bachelor’s level students should set self-standards for grades and performance, because sticking to those standards can be difficult once school starts. This milestone map is here to help.

Pick accounting complimentary core courses

Online bachelor’s level accounting students will likely have to work through a few semesters of general education classes before settling into heavy accounting coursework. Choose courses that compliment accounting, like economic or historical analysis and mathematical concepts courses. If general education courses aren’t prerequisites, bachelor’s level accounting students will likely take them during the first few semesters.

Set a realistic accounting school-to-life ratio

Life can make the pursuit of an online bachelor’s degree in accounting degree tricky. Some students may have kids at home and others may work full time. Though online degree programs may allow for more flexibility, it is important for each student to lay out realistic expectations for him or herself, and decide what will need to be consistently done in order to uphold those standards.

Good accountants start with good school habits

Bachelor’s level accounting program participants should work to form good study habits and establish patterns of double checking the details of their work in their first year. It’s easier to work more efficiently on a schedule in any degree program, but future accountants especially need to have a keen eye for details and practical organization.

Year 2 Milestones

With two semesters complete, digital bachelor’s level accounting students should be settled into a groove with their online coursework and study habits. With most general education classes finished, year two will bring more accounting-related courses.

Meet the accounting adviser each semester

Advisers are there for a reason, and online accounting students should take advantage of the services they offer just like traditional students. Meetings don’t have to be done in person thanks to online programs like Skype, and can help students plan a schedule, answer questions and create a path to graduation.

Explore specializations within accounting

The third and fourth semesters are a good time to become familiar with potential accounting specializations. Bachelor’s level accounting students should know which accounting focuses their online program offers, and gather information that will eventually help them make an informed specialization decision.

Know different accounting job sectors

Not only do online accounting students need to consider which type of accounting interests them, but bachelor’s earners should also explore which job sector interests them. Some accounting fields are specific to the private sector, and others to the public sector, while some are specific to non-profit organizations.

Year 3 & 4 Milestones

Some online bachelor’s level accounting students may plan on doing an accelerated program so they can finish school in less time. For those students, please read ahead to Graduation Requirements. For undergraduates in four-year programs, years three and four will be similar, and will mark the beginning and build-up to the most intense accounting-specific courses.

Gain accounting work experience

Internships, job shadowing and prior work experience is a huge factor in the accounting world after graduation. Many online bachelor’s level accounting programs will have a network to link students with internships or work study opportunities. This is a chance for participants to see the reality of the field, and to get a clear idea of what different specializations are like in practice.

Finalize accounting advisory meetings

Online bachelor’s level accounting students should review transcripts with their adviser to ensure that all core requirements have been met. Before your final year, it’s important to identify and register for the accounting-specific electives and capstone courses needed to graduate.

Complete accounting grad standards and capstone work

These courses put emphasis on the real-world tasks accounting students need to succeed after graduation. From using pro accounting software to profiling accounting professionals, bachelor’s level accounting students will likely keep a journal on their experiences or organize another type of course compilation project for their capstone work.

Post-Graduation

Whether students in bachelor’s level online accounting programs have completed a four-year or accelerated degree, getting to graduation is an accomplishment. Moving forward, it’s good to keep in mind that before entering the work force, graduates may need to pass certification exams in their given field.

Additional accounting coursework may be necessary

Most online bachelor’s degrees in accounting require 120 hours of coursework; however, some states’ credentials require 150 hours. For example, the additional 30 hours may be made up in CPA Exam Prep or other common accounting certification courses. Use this checklist as a post-graduation guide.

Check your state’s accounting residency requirements

According to the American Institute of CPAs, some states require residency and citizenship in order to sit for the CPA Exam.

Prepare for accounting certification exams

Certifications cost additional money and have pass rates that hover around 50 percent. For example, in the first quarter of 2016, the CPA exam had a 48 percent pass rate, according to the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Classifying Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Accounting

Degree titles vary from school to school, meaning prospective students should be sure to check for all of the following online bachelor’s programs in accounting when searching for the right school.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting (BSACC)

Coursework focuses on a broad training on the technical and analytical aspects of accounting.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Accounting Concentration (BSBA)

Curriculum is centered around professional business training and financial problem solving.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting (BBA)

A business based curriculum with emphasis on accounting practices and policies.

Bachelor of Accounting or Accountancy (BAC)

Offering a foundation of accounting topics, typically the first step to an advanced degree, such as a Master of Business Administration or Master of Accounting.

What Can You Do with an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting?

Many accountants decide to focus on a particular specialty, depending on their career aspirations. Some concentrate on risk management or assurance services for an organization, or even a particular industry like health care or banking.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for accountants and auditors is positive overall, as companies face evolving financial laws and regulations, tighter lending standards and changing economic and business trends like globalization. Take a look at a few examples of areas of study and corresponding careers a student interested in earning an online bachelor’s degree in accounting student may choose to focus on.

Browse Bachelor’s in Accounting Careers
Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors work with organizations and individuals to check the accuracy of different types of financial reports and records. Accountants verify financial statements and tax returns are prepared according to accounting practices and laws, and may also review and analyze a company’s operations and corporate spending to recommend potential efficiencies and cost savings.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

13.1%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$63,550 per year

Real Estate Appraisers

Appraisers of residential and commercial properties will calculate the worth of land and buildings before transactions, such as sales, mortgage changes or insurance contracts. Appraisers inspect all types of real estate, from single family homes and condos to retail stores and parcels of land that are yet to be developed. They compare estimated value with nearby properties and official records before writing a report to present their findings.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

5.6%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$49,540 per year

Budget Analysts

Organizing and overseeing budgets is the main task of a budget analyst. Combining and verifying financial information from various departments, analysts are the ones who create a master plan, prepare spending recommendations and make financial projections. They check funding requests for accuracy and weigh the pros and cons of proposed projects, covering profits and losses and calculating revenue.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

6.0%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$69,280 per year

Credit Analysts

Also known as risk analysts or underwriters, a credit analyst calculates the risk associated with loaning money based on a client’s ability to repay funds. For individuals, this might mean examining earnings, savings and credit history reports and creating proposals for payment plans. For businesses, this might mean assessing income growth, market share and overall finances, as well as liquidity and profitability with similar organizations.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

10.4%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$61,080 per year

Source: BLS

Skills Learned in an Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Program

Bachelor’s in Accounting

  • Business Skills Outside the Numbers

    While number crunching might be the main focus, there are other important business skill students will learn earning their bachelor’s degree in accounting online. Those aspiring to become accountants will learn more about the inner workings of businesses, such as how to collaborate and work as part of a team and what goes into marketing, research and sales efforts.

  • Familiarize with Laws and Ethics

    An online bachelor’s in accounting program will help train students on the legal realm of business practices. Trustworthiness is a positive attribute for accountants, and understanding the laws, rules and regulations, as well as what to do in tough ethical situations goes a long way when working in the accounting field.

  • Communication is Key

    Some of the most important skills students in an online accounting bachelor’s program will learn to hone are in communication. Accountants are often mislabeled as loners in the business world, but the ability to accurately convey and report information is paramount, and learning how to give constructive advice and form relationships is key to building strong business alliances.

Leaderboard: Best Online Accounting Bachelor’s Programs 2016

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
1 Davenport University 99.79 85% 3 14:1 40%

The bachelor of business administration degree in accounting at Davenport University is a traditional four year program with opportunities for specialty certification. Courses teach students how to excel in the accounting industry through a practical and applicable set of skills that enable students to synthesize accounting information as a resource for effective decision making. The 120 credit hour program is through the business college and allows students to focus on one of two areas; internal auditing or management accounting. The university is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and offers students multiple resources on campus including libraries, counseling centers, and tutoring centers.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth5
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance Rate93%
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2 Northwestern Oklahoma State University 99.73 81% 1 14:1 31%

The goal of the accounting program at Northwestern Oklahoma State University is to provide students with the necessary skill set to compete for entry level accounting jobs or, if already employed, qualify for career advancement. This is achieved through a flexible curriculum that is changed frequently to reflect industry trends and the current needs of accounting employers. Students can expect their courses to train them in accounting, economics, finance, management, and information systems. At the conclusion of their program, they will be prepared to enter the workforce as effective leaders or to continue on to graduate or professional schools.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate66%
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3 Cleary University 99.66 98% 2 12:1 47%

Cleary University is a school with a unique, project based approach to its many certificate and degree programs. The university puts a large emphasis on the individual student by maintaining a strict 11:1 student to faculty ratio. Students that complete a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting will be prepared to enter the workforce and take a leading, positive role in their communities. The university is located in Michigan and has three different campus locations in Flint, Ann Arbor, and Howell. Campus 'visit days' each month allow interested students to see if the school is a good fit for them.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate79%
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4 Baker College of Flint 99.29 81% 1 24:1 10%

Students working toward a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting at Baker College of Flint benefit from a faculty of working professionals that incorporate market trends into their curriculum immediately. In the program, students apply accounting theory to real world situations and business applications. Baker College boasts the highest graduation rates in the state and provides each graduate with lifetime employment assistance. After graduation, students can seek employment in a public government office or in a private business. Students completing the accounting degree are eligible to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination in Michigan.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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5 University of Houston-Downtown 99.27 6% 3 22:1 12%

The bachelor of business administration degree at the University of Houston-Downtown prepares students for future employment in the government sector, public business market, or even in private enterprise. The program also gives students a strategic business foundation for continuing their education at a graduate school. In the program's course curriculum, accounting students can choose a professional track that includes financial reporting, auditing and taxation, cost management, or accounting information systems. The accounting program is 120 credit hours long and provides students with everything required for them to sit for the Texas certified public accountant examination.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate84%
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6 Baker College of Muskegon 99.21 8% 1 33:1 18%

Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan. Its student-focused approach to education means smaller class sizes and a student to faculty ratio of 11:1. The bachelor of applied business degree in accounting prepares students with the business and financial skill set necessary for continuing education or entry level employment and career advancement. In their coursework, students are taught to apply accounting theories to the complex issues that businesses face today in a dynamic global market. Baker College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. The college currently operates on a quarter-year system but will switch to a semester calendar in 2017.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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7 University of Memphis 99.16 76% 3 14:1 40%

The University of Memphis School of Accountancy offers student pursuing a degree of bachelor of business administration degree a unique environment to learn real world applications of their accounting coursework. Students work with businesses in the metropolitan area of Memphis on projects and internships as well as participating in the Cook Analytics and Trading Lab, which mimics a Wall Street trading firm. The program's electives allow students to tailor their education to their professional goals with courses in non-profit accounting, information systems auditing, and financial statement analysis. Students can utilize the school's professional development center to help secure future employment.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate47%
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8 Baker College of Clinton Township 99.16 77% 1 25:1 14%

Students working toward a bachelor degree of business administration in the accounting program at Baker College of Clinton Township benefit from being taught by professors that are also working professionals. This gives students an opportunity to apply the curriculum of accounting theories to real business scenarios. The accounting knowledge, ethical discipline, and leadership skills that students learn in the program prepare them to successfully compete for employment in a government position, public business office, or in a private business enterprise. Students completing this degree are eligible to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination in Michigan.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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9 Indiana State University 99.15 71% 3 20:1 43%

Indiana State University offers a bachelor of science degree in accounting for students interested in working in finance or other business related fields. The degree curriculum includes coursework in a foundational studies program, incorporates many core business classes, and offers extensive accounting classes and electives. The wide range of course options allow students to customize their education to fit their professional goals. Students in the program benefit from small classes taught by professors with academic credentials and real market experience. The program also emphasizes internships, both for pay and credit, that help students gain experience and accumulate required hours for the CPA exam.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate82%
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10 Dickinson State University 99.12 59% 2 11:1 35%

The Bachelor of Science Degree of Accounting at Dickinson State University is designed to fill the educational needs of students preparing for careers in corporate, governmental and non-profit organizations. The curriculum combines a well-rounded general education, accounting courses in the major, and core courses in human resources. The 128-credit program can be completed on line or on campus and allows students to focus on elective coursework in their chosen accounting area. Program specialties include auditing, banking, international accounting, tax preparation, and forensic/investigative accounting. The university was founded in 1918.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate61%
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11 Baker College Center for Graduate Studies 99.10 62% 2 13:1 25%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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12 Baker College of Port Huron 99.05 82% 1 19:1 32%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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13 University of Alabama at Birmingham 99.03 56% 3 18:1 48%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance Rate85%
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14 Baker College of Auburn Hills 99.03 72% 1 22:1 8%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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15 Northwood University-Michigan 98.85 73% 4 16:1 54%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate69%
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16 Northwestern State University of Louisiana 98.85 76% 1 20:1 36%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate72%
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17 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale 98.78 85% 1 12:1 60%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate48%
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18 Keystone College 98.71 92% 1 11:1 45%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate92%
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19 Northern State University 98.71 47% 3 18:1 46%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance Rate82%
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20 University of Massachusetts-Amherst 98.70 69% 2 17:1 70%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate61%
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21 University of the Incarnate Word 98.70 76% 3 14:1 48%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate93%
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22 Athens State University 98.69 65% 1 16:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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23 DeSales University 98.68 78% 2 14:1 68%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate79%
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24 University of Charleston 98.67 86% 2 15:1 41%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate60%
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25 Thomas University 98.66 81% 1 10:1 14%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate60%
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26 Concordia University-Saint Paul 98.62 66% 3 15:1 47%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate53%
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27 Clarion University of Pennsylvania 98.61 61% 3 19:1 48%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate92%
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28 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus 98.61 69% 3 17:1 86%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate50%
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29 Columbia College 98.58 6% 2 34:1 42%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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30 Hawaii Pacific University 98.57 56% 3 13:1 40%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate61%
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31 Old Dominion University 98.53 54% 3 20:1 49%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate81%
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32 Franklin Pierce University 98.51 85% 1 12:1 50%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate84%
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33 University of Maine at Augusta 98.51 62% 2 17:1 13%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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34 Kennesaw State University 98.51 6% 1 21:1 37%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate79%
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35 Roberts Wesleyan College 98.50 97% 1 13:1 59%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate68%
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36 Hiram College 98.42 88% 1 11:1 63%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate62%
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37 Bay Path University 98.41 94% 1 12:1 50%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate63%
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38 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College 98.39 78% 2 8:1 62%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate1%
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39 Tiffin University 98.38 78% 2 18:1 33%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance Rate54%
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40 Southern New Hampshire University 98.38 65% 3 28:1 59%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth4
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance Rate84%
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41 Humphreys College-Stockton and Modesto Campuses 98.37 73% 1 18:1 51%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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42 Madonna University 98.36 59% 1 11:1 36%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate58%
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43 Misericordia University 98.30 85% 1 13:1 68%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate71%
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44 Liberty University 98.26 84% 1 18:1 46%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate22%
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45 Trine University-Regional/Non-Traditional Campuses 98.21 59% 1 10:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate66%
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46 Metropolitan State University of Denver 98.21 48% 2 19:1 25%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate65%
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47 Granite State College 98.19 5% 1 12:1 50%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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48 Bemidji State University 98.14 58% 1 22:1 44%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate93%
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Real Student Review: Online Bachelor’s in Accounting

Why get a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and why earn it online? Get the answers first-hand from a former online accounting student in this Q & A segment.

Name: Dawn D. Degree: Online Bachelor’s in Accounting
What has been the biggest benefit of distance learning at your college?

The greatest benefit of distance learning is not having to commute between home and college for classes. Gas is so expensive now that any commuting savings can be put toward future tuition, books, and even living expenses. Spending time and money commuting to a single class four nights a week becomes a burden which is easily solved by taking classes online.

What role has technology played in your online program and courses?

Technology is a wonderful thing! I am a non-traditional student, being a first-time college student at age 58, and I have personally experienced the world of learning without technology, specifically computers. I don’t know what I’d do without my laptop and the Internet anymore. From organizing materials more efficiently and streamlining the composition and submission of assignments to communicating with professors and fellow students almost instantaneously, technology has created an optimal learning environment for students.

How does your online program help prepare you for a career after graduation?

Online classes have introduced me to a whole new facet of learning, which requires a much higher degree of dedication, perseverance, and personal control than traditional, face-to-face classes. Students must be the sole ‘drive’ or motivation to schedule study times and complete assignments promptly, unlike face-to-face classes where the physical professor is another motivational force. This absence of a physical professor leaves all motivation in the hands of the student, which teaches valuable skills needed in real life and the student’s career after graduation.

Accounting Certifications Beyond a Bachelor’s Degree

Earning a bachelor’s degree can lead to many exciting, entry-level careers, and also provides a jumping off point for many specialized certification programs. An online bachelor’s degree in accounting provides students with the basic knowledge needed to take the CPA and CMA exams and many other related certifications that can set future financial experts apart from their competition.

Full-time workers with a certification or license earn 34 percent more pay weekly, which is nearly one third higher than their peers without credentials – $1,004 versus $747 per week, respectively.
23.5 percent of management level financial operations and business workers have an extra certification or license.
23.8 percent of standard level financial operations and business occupation workers hold an extra certification or license.

Source: BLS, 2015

Explore the options, requirements and timetables for earning a specialized accounting certification below.

Certification What it Entails Average Timeline Prerequisites Benefits
CPA –Certified Professional Accountant

One Tier System: Four-part test and completed prerequisites

OR

Two Tier System: Four-part test with agreement to fulfill professional experience and educational requirements in the future

3 months to 3 years

Professional experience in public accounting fields (time varies by state)

A completed program of study in accounting at a college or university

CPA’s make 5 to 15 percent more than their non-CPA peers (Robert Half Salary Guide, 2016)

Career resources, discounts and professional guidance opportunities from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

CMA –Certified Management Accountant

Completion of the CMA coursework program

Two-part exam

30 hours of continuing education and ethics training to maintain certification annually

12 months to 3 years

Two years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management

Minimum of bachelor’s level degree

CMAs earn 61 percent more than non-CMA peers (IMA Global Survey, 2016)

Connections to career resources from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)

CGFM –Certified Government Financial Manager

Completion of three two-hour comprehensive exams all relating to accounting and finance in a governmental environment

Two or more years

Two years of professional experience in GFM

Read and agree to Association of Government Accountants (AGA) Code of Ethics

Bachelor’s degree

Highly-valued and highly-respected credential among accountant certifications

Member benefits of the AGA include a large networking community, professional development, and continuing education

CIA –Certified Internal Auditor

Three-part exam

OR

Take one of four specialty certifications

24 months (post bachelor’s degree) to seven years

Two years post-secondary education (associate degree equivalent)

Five years of verifiable experience

OR

Seven years of verifiable experience

Character references

Agreement to abide by Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Code of Ethics

IIA membership includes discounts on courses, materials and resources, and a large member network

Earn as much as 40 percent more than auditors who do not have the CIA credential, according to the Institute of Internal Auditors

CIA is a globally accepted designation

CFE –Certified Fraud Examiner

Ten-hour, four-section exam made of 500 multiple-choice questions

Two years plus exam time

Join the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)

Agree to Code of Professional Ethics of ACFE

Bachelor’s degree in any field, or an associate degree with two years of fraud-related professional experience

23 percent salary premium over non-certified professionals

Membership in ACFE, with diverse networking community and leadership development opportunities

EA –Enrolled Agent

Three-part exam called Special Enrollment Exam (SEE)

Exam prep time to five years

Knowledge of taxation laws and regulations

Five years of professional experience if not taking the SEE

There is no educational prerequisite

Membership benefits with National Association of Enrolled Agent network

Opportunity to work for someone or to run your own business

CFP –Certified Financial Planner

Two three-hour sessions

170 multiple-choice questions

Four years plus exam time

Bachelor’s degree with completion of a Financial Plan Development capstone

Three years of professional experience or two years of apprenticeship experience

Ethics Requirement, agreement to adhere to statement from Certified Financial Planners Board

Submission of a background check

Certified Financial Planner Board has an extensive database for career development, leadership opportunities and community networking

26 percent higher income earned than non-credentialed financial advisors

Firms with CFP-certified staff make 40 percent more revenue, according to (CFP, 2015)

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