Online bachelor degree programs in accounting are ideal for those who are fascinated by numbers, balancing budgets, and business reporting. The subject of accounting is a system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions and analyzing, verifying, and reporting the results. A typical bachelor’s degree program in this subject will cover such germane concepts as basic accounting, auditing, tax accounting, and management accounting. Students will also take general business courses in economics, statistics, corporate finance, business management, and business ethics. Because accounting is about number crunching and analyzing financial statements, students must be skilled at math, paying close attention to details, and spotting errors in reporting.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
A successful career in accounting or auditing begins with a bachelor’s degree. Although it is possible to work in an accounting department without a college education or with just an associate degree in accounting, it is very rare to see someone move up into a middle or advanced position without a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most accounting positions today require a four-year degree, and some even require a master’s degree. Additionally, all accounting certification exams (like the CPA exam) require testers to have at least a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience before testing for certification.
Getting into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Requirements for admission into an accounting degree program vary, depending on the college. However, most programs require the following from their candidates:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- Desired SAT or ACT score
- Completion of select pre-major courses with desired GPA
Inside an Accounting Bachelor’s Degree Program
It takes four years of full-time course work to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting. During the first year of the program, students are typically required to take an assortment of pre-major courses that teach a broad range of subjects in the liberal arts. Once a student completes these courses with an acceptable GPA, they may begin the major program. Most accounting degree programs include classes in basic accounting, financial reporting, financial statement auditing, taxation, and management accounting. Some colleges also require students to participate in internships and attend or watch a distinguished scholar lecture series. Assignments, projects, and exams are designed to test students’ knowledge of accounting practices and ability to solve accounting problems.
Online students who are working towards their bachelor of science in accounting follow a similar study schedule as traditional students, albeit more flexible. Course material is presented through slideshows and/or audio or video lectures. Assignments, projects, and exams are submitted through an online learning platform like Blackboard or through email. Online students are also provided with the same support system as traditional students. They are typically assigned an academic and financial aid advisor and given contact information for every faculty member in their program of study so that they will know who to contact in case of an emergency or for general inquiries.
What’s Next for Accounting Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Once you have graduated, you will be qualified to apply for most entry and some mid-level accounting and auditing positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you can expect to earn a salary of around $70,130. However, the actual amount one can earn depends on years of experience, certification, education level, location, and position. The BLS also reports that employment for accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 16% from 2010 to 2020; the average rate of growth for all occupations.
Because the CPA exam requires 150 college credit hours (30 hours more than is required for a bachelor’s degree), many professionals go on to get a master’s degree in accounting or a related field. Getting your master’s degree in accounting may also help you qualify for other upper-level career opportunities. Some schools offer special fast-track programs that allow students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the subject in five years. And for those interested in academia and teaching, there are Ph.D. programs in accounting.