Online Accounting Degrees and Careers

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Next to business administration, an online degree in accounting is the most common business degree, with 14% of business students majoring in this discipline.

Earning Your Accounting Degree Online

Leading to one of the most in-demand careers for employers with some of the highest entry-level salaries, an online accounting degree is one of the most popular specialized degrees for students. In fact, next to business administration, an online degree is the most common business degree program, with 14% of business students majoring in this discipline. Compared to a traditional degree, an online accounting degree is virtually identical. Since most accounting work is done independently, the curriculum is well-suited to online study, which allows for more flexibility regarding when and where the work is done. While the occasional accounting online degree does have scheduled classes that are held in real-time, they are rare and usually made available during nights when mandatory.

In addition to greater schedule flexibility, one of the distinct advantages students find in choosing an online accounting degree is in the length and cost of study. Though some online programs are identical to the on-campus variety, an online degree can often be completed in less than four years, depending on the student’s course load. Additionally, online accounting courses typically cost less than in-person courses because they don’t require payment for campus facilities. While most online accounting degree programs can be completed entirely online, some online bachelor’s degrees do have on-campus requirements or internships that involve commuting. Internships are uncommon at the undergraduate level but students should expect them in an online accounting master’s degree.

The Best Online Accounting Programs

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1

Misericordia University

13 to 1 54% 80% 71% 30% 72% 5.9%

Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., offers an online accounting degree. Distance learners can earn Misericordia’s bachelor’s of science in accounting in just two-and-a-half years of part-time study through the school’s accelerated degree program. The accelerated program is designed for working adults with prior college credits or relevant work experience. The program is structured into into seven-and-a-half-week terms offered eight times per year, and students with previous accounting experience are eligible to apply for prior learning credit. Distance learners take courses, including principles of marketing, macroeconomics, and a seminar in business policies. Students gain real-world experience by completing a mandatory six-credit internship at an accounting firm or company near home. Incoming freshmen need a minimum 2.5 GPA and a minimum 850 SAT score (combined math and critical reading). Transfer students must hold at least 15 college credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

N/A
301 Lake St
Dallas, PA 18612-1098
Program Page
2

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

12 to 1 44% 75% 48% 68% 69% 17.8%

Distance learners can earn an online accounting degree at Keiser University-Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Keiser offers more than 100 career and academic degrees from the associate through the doctoral level and serves more than 16,000 students annually. Graduates of Keiser's BA in accounting program are prepared to work as entry-level accountants in business, government, and the nonprofit sector. Keiser not only provides students with a broad overview of the field, it also instills an advanced understanding of specialties within accounting. Topics covered include ethics, communication skills, taxation, and auditing. Students must complete the following three-credit prerequisites before enrolling in any accounting courses: microeconomics, macroeconomics, and statistics. To graduate with the 120-credit bachelor’s degree, students must complete 45 general education credits and 75 major credits. Auditing courses available to online accounting students include income tax accounting, advanced managerial accounting, and project management.

N/A
1500 NW 49th St.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
Program Page
3

Touro University Worldwide

8 to 1 20% 67% 33% 72% 13% 4%

Students interested in getting their accounting degree online find an excellent option at Touro University Worldwide, based in Los Alamitos, CA. The self-paced program is fully online, with no in-person requirements. Each course lasts eight weeks and each tuition credit costs a flat rate, regardless of where you live. The bachelor’s of science in business administration (BSBA) with an accounting concentration at Touro requires 120 credits for completion. This includes 45 general education credits, 39 core credit requirements, 24 elective credits, and 12 credits in a concentration. Accounting is one of the seven available concentrations for BSBA students. Individuals who select the accounting concentration can work in financial accounting, financial reporting analysis, and cash management. Students enrolled in the BSBA with an accounting concentration program can graduate after three-and-a-half years of full-time study. Transfer students who bring in credits from previous study complete the program more quickly.

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10601 Calle Lee #179
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
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4

Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion

16 to 1 69% 84% 95% 45% 70% 6.5%

Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion offers an accounting degree online through its BS in accounting program. Distance learners can complete the entire program online, with no required campus visits. The degree is designed for adults already working in the accounting field and focuses on the core issues of accounting theory, auditing, and taxation. Graduates have the skills needed to enter into or advance in accounting. The degree also provides a solid foundation for individuals interested in taking the CPA exam to be become certified. The degree can be completed in just 18 to 20 months if previous college credits transfer. Elearners benefit from a supportive cohort structure, in which they go through the program and take classes with the same group of students. Tuition is the same cost regardless of where individuals live.

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4201 South Washington Street
Marion, IN 46953-4974
Program Page
5

Temple University

14 to 1 36% 89% 61% 27% 66% 5.8%

Students searching for online accounting programs will be interested in the bachelor’s in business administration (BBA) with a concentration in accounting from the Fox School of Business at Temple University in Philadelphia. The accelerated bachelor’s program takes just three years to complete, and students can earn their master’s of accountancy (MAcc) with one more additional year of study. The program covers accounting fundamentals necessary to succeed in entry-level positions, including taxation, ethics, and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The BBA is a good starting point for individuals interested in becoming CPAs. Faculty advisors help students figure out how the program can help them complete the requirements and prepare for taking the CPA exam. The same faculty members who teach on the physical Temple campus also teach the online courses, ensuring students get the same high-quality instruction. Numerous local and regional accounting firms recruit accounting students from Temple’s BBA program.

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1801 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6096
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6

Champlain College

14 to 1 56% 80% 64% 17% 63% 4.6%

Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., offers distance learners the opportunity to earn an accredited online accounting degree. Students must complete 120 credits in order to graduate from the program -- 57 in general education and 63 in accounting. The bachelor’s of science in accounting degree is designed for busy working adults, with most courses presented in accelerated seven-week sessions. Classes offered include managing behavior in organizations, cost accounting, and decision making through critical thinking. The program strives to provide students with a solid understanding of the broad theories of accounting, as well as practical skills needed to succeed in the field today. Online learners may also earn certificates in accounting, advanced accounting, or cost accounting as they progress through the curriculum. As students approach graduation, they take an accounting capstone course, in which they reflect on their time in the program, identify current problems or questions in the field of accounting, and research solutions.

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163 S Willard St
Burlington, VT 05401
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7

Bay Path University

12 to 1 45% 77% 63% 22% 91% 9.4%

Students who want to earn a degree at one of the accounting programs online will be interested to learn the details of the bachelor’s of science in business-accounting online program at the American Women’s College at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Mass. Bay Path is a private university with a history of supporting female students. The accounting program provides instruction in the fundamentals of accounting theory, like auditing, business ethics/laws, and financial accounting. Available courses include federal income tax concepts, financial reporting, and contemporary issues in accounting. Bay Path also requires students to take courses related to career development, like strategies for career growth and leadership in practice. Courses last six weeks, and there are six sessions each year. The accelerated format makes it possible to earn the BS in one to three-and-a-half years. Up to 90 credits can be transferred into the program.

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588 Longmeadow Street
Longmeadow, MA 01106
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8

Saint Joseph's College of Maine

11 to 1 45% 77% 78% 22% 65% 5%

An accredited online accounting degree is available for distance learners at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine in the town of Standish. The BS in interdisciplinary science with an accounting minor consists of 128 credits. Transfer students appreciate that only 25% of the required credits must be completed at Saint Joseph’s, allowing them to transfer up to 75% of the credits needed to graduate. The degree is available entirely online, with no on-campus requirements. Additionally, students interested in the master’s of accountancy degree at Saint Joseph’s have the option to fast-track the application process, as coursework for the bachelor’s includes most prerequisites needed for the master’s program. Program faculty have real-world, practical experience, and the curriculum helps prepare students to sit for the CPA exam. Students take six accounting courses (18 credits), choosing from classes like business finance, federal income taxes, and managerial accounting.

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278 Whites Bridge Rd
Standish, ME 04084-5236
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9

Viterbo University

11 to 1 33% 71% 69% 28% 74% 5.8%

Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis., offers an online accounting degree designed for individuals who already hold an accounting associate degree or have completed certain prerequisite accounting courses. Viterbo is a private Roman Catholic and Franciscan institution, and all students must take two religious courses. The bachelor’s of business administration in accounting program at Viterbo can be earned 100% online, with no on-campus requirements. The program has a generous transfer credit policy, allowing transfer students to earn their bachelor’s more quickly. Students can also apply to get academic credit for prior learning received through on-the-job training and experience. Graduates of the program are prepared to take the CPA exam upon completing 150 credit hours. Online students benefit from special online tutoring, eight-week terms, and personal advising services. Courses offered include external reporting to strategic management, applied business statistics to legal aspects of financial and commercial transactions.

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900 Viterbo Drive
La Crosse, WI 54601-8804
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10

Hiram College

11 to 1 58% 69% 62% 20% 77% 8.6%

An accredited online accounting degree is available at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio. Distance learners can earn a bachelor’s of accounting and financial management 100% online, or they can choose to enroll in a blended program that combines on-campus and elearning. The program prepares graduates to work in entry-level positions in accounting and finance. Some of the available courses include accounting information systems, organizational behavior, and professional responsibilities. To receive the bachelor’s, students must earn 120 credits. By completing additional coursework (30 extra credits, totaling 150), students are eligible to sit for the CPA exam. Another option is to take advantage of one of Hiram’s articulation agreements with Ohio Northern University of Case Western Reserve University and pursue a master’s of accountancy at one of those two institutions. Students finish with a required senior seminar/capstone experience to reflect on key things learned while studying for their degrees.

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11715 Garfield Rd
Hiram, OH 44234-0067
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11

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

17 to 1 54% 90% 61% 20% 60% 4.9%

Distance learners looking for accounting schools online find a bachelor’s in business administration-accounting at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management. The program prepares students to work in accounting, tax, consulting, and auditing positions. Faculty members who teach on campus also provide online instruction, and all professors have professional experience in accounting. Topics covered include information systems, taxation, financial reporting, and managerial accounting. Required major courses span from CPA law to cost accounting. Accounting majors also complete 11 core business courses like business data analysis, corporate finance, and management communications. Students must complete 120 credits in order to graduate, with at least 45 taken at UMass Amherst. Distance learners benefit from academic advisors with an average of 10 years experience helping online students and a university career center dedicated to helping graduates land jobs at global accounting firms.

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374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
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12

McKendree University

14 to 1 33% 76% 61% 35% 56% 9.3%

McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill., offers an online accounting degree through its School of Business. The bachelor’s of business administration-accounting concentration program is designed for busy working professionals. Online courses last eight weeks, and most elearners take two classes at a time. Students in the online 120-credit bachelor’s program can choose to apply their credits toward the 150 credits required to sit for the CPA exam, and may earn the additional 30 credits needed by taking extra undergraduate or graduate courses at McKendree. Transfer students appreciate the school’s generous transfer credit policy: only 30 of the required 120 credits must be taken at McKendree, so up to 90 transfer credits with a grade of ‘C’ or better may be accepted from regionally-accredited institutions. At least 40 credit hours must be taken at the 300 or 400 level. Accounting courses offered include business ethics, taxation of business entities, and auditing.

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701 College Rd
Lebanon, IL 62254-1291
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13

Northwest Christian University

15 to 1 33% 70% 71% 30% 81% 5.2%

Students interested in online accounting degree programs find a bachelor’s of science in accounting at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Ore. The degree is designed for people already working at the entry-level in accounting, and includes coursework in marketing and management, as well as accounting. Northwest’s flexible program includes six start times each year, eight-week sessions, and an optional one-night-per-week in-person class. Students may get credit for prior learning experiences in the military, law enforcement, or on-the-job training. Prerequisites for the major include principles of accounting I and II, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. Required classes cover auditing, accounting for nonprofit organizations, and small business management. Students also take a capstone and an internship, providing real-world experience in the accounting field. Graduates leave the program prepared for accounting-related positions in government, professional CPA firms, not-for-profit groups, and corporations.

N/A
828 E. 11th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401-3745
Program Page
14

Northwood University-Michigan

16 to 1 40% 78% 69% 36% 71% 11.6%

Northwood University-Michigan offers distance learners a BBA in accounting. Based in Midland, Northwood is a university focused on the business professions and one of the best online colleges for accounting. The private, nonprofit school serves more than 23,000 students annually. The BBA in accounting degree curriculum blends accounting and management courses, and students start taking accounting classes their first semester in the program. Classes are available in either eight- or 16-week sessions. The 123-credit, four-year bachelor’s degree program requires courses like accounting ethics, estate planning theory, philosophy of American enterprise, and strategic planning. Students interested in an intensive, accelerated program of study may be eligible to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s in just four years total, with the four-year BBA/MBA track. In this fast-track program, students earn their bachelor’s degree in three years and then spend the fourth year working on their master’s in business administration.

N/A
4000 Whiting Dr
Midland, MI 48640-2398
Program Page
15

California Baptist University

18 to 1 45% 83% 79% 32% 77% 8.1%

One of the best online colleges for accounting is California Baptist University, which offers distance learners a bachelor’s of science in accounting. Located in Riverside, CBU is a private, Christian school with a liberal arts focus. The accounting program prepares students to sit for the CPA exam and to begin entry-level accounting work in numerous industries. CBU’s online professors have real-world experience in accounting, and small class sizes give distance learning a more personal touch. In addition to general education requirements, students in the BS in accounting program must complete 73 units within the accounting major. The curriculum explores financial analysis, government accounting, quantitative business analysis, and information systems. During their senior year, students take a zero-credit pass/fail exit exam covering basic business concepts. Students interested in gaining more experience outside the standard curriculum have the opportunity to participate in a two-week summer program in England at Oxford University.

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8432 Magnolia Ave
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
Program Page
16

Washington State University

15 to 1 39% 80% 82% 34% 49% 5.2%

Distance learners searching for online accounting degree programs find a bachelor’s of science in accounting at the Carson College of Business at Washington State University. Located in Pullman, WSU is a public research school serving close to 30,000 students each year. The degree stands out for its emphasis on technology and intellectual innovation. WSU’s flexible online format features seven-week courses, and students can attend either part- or full-time. The curriculum is available entirely online, with no on-campus requirements. Each learner works with a special online advisor to plan out their program of study. To earn the BS, students must complete the university’s general education requirements, which can be satisfied with a direct transfer degree, as well as business and accounting courses. The program requires a six-credit international experience, designed to ensure that students find success in the global marketplace. Numerous options exist for fulfilling the requirements, including coursework, study abroad, and international internships.

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French Administration Building
Pullman, WA 99164-5910
Program Page
17

Campbell University

16 to 1 40% 72% 68% 19% 75% 5%

Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., offers an accounting degree online. Campbell is a private university with an enrollment of more than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The BBA in accounting offers the curriculum completely online, with no in-person requirements, and eight-week accelerated semesters allow students greater flexibility and the ability to graduate more quickly. The program prepares students for work as CPAs in environments including government, corporations, and nonprofit groups. The degree provides a broad background in general principles of business, and is considered especially good preparation for students who want to try entrepreneurship. The 124-credit bachelor’s of business administration requires 42 general education credits and 78 within the accounting concentration, and students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate. Transfer students may receive credit for up to 64 semester hours from a regionally-accredited institution. Accounting courses at Campbell vary, from philosophy of business to management information systems to corporate finance.

N/A
450 Leslie Campbell Ave
Buies Creek, NC 27506
Program Page
18

University of Mary

15 to 1 6% 76% 78% 48% 65% 4.2%

Students can earn an accounting degree online at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. The private Catholic and Benedictine university makes it a point to include these religious and ethical viewpoints in all courses. The BS in accounting, offered through the Gary Tharaldson School of Business, is designed for busy working adults, and can be earned completely online or in a hybrid online/face-to-face program. Students learn numerous business principles and how to apply accounting practices in various settings. The curriculum includes courses like Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, auditing standards, and SEC reporting requirements. The program’s accelerated format means students have greater flexibility and can complete their degrees more quickly than possible in a traditional on-campus bachelor’s program. Students can choose to continue on in the MBA in accountancy program or to pursue additional credits in order to be eligible to take the CPA exam.

N/A
7500 University Dr
Bismarck, ND 58504
Program Page
19

Liberty University

18 to 1 24% 69% 22% 46% 66% 7.5%

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., is one of the best online colleges for accounting. Liberty is a private, non-profit research university with a Christian focus and an enrollment of more than 110,000, making it the largest Christian university in the world. Distance students can earn a bachelor’s of science in accounting entirely online with no on-campus or residency requirements through Liberty’s School of Business. Tuition is the same regardless of where students live. Featured courses in the program include international business, accounting ethics, taxation, and governmental and not-for-profit accounting. Liberty’s 120-credit BS degree allows transfer students to get credit for up to 90 credit hours of previously completed coursework. Thirty credit hours must be completed at Liberty. All Liberty students must complete three courses (12 credit hours) on Christian life and thought. Graduates find accounting-related work in numerous industries, including government, education, corporations, and non-profits.

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1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
Program Page
20

Point Park University

13 to 1 39% 77% 70% 25% 74% 10.4%

Students looking for accounting schools online find a bachelor’s of science in accounting available at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. The fully online program gives students practical accounting skills and an understanding of key subjects like macroeconomics, using computers in accounting, and business law. All online instructors have years of real-world experience in accounting, and focus on providing students with the skills needed to succeed professionally. Graduates of the program are prepared to work in entry-level jobs across multiple industries in positions like tax preparer, internal auditor, government accountant, and financial analyst. The 126-credit degree takes two to four years to complete, depending on previous coursework transferred in to the program. Each course lasts eight weeks and tuition is charged as a flat fee per credit, regardless of where students live or what their residency status may be. The curriculum features courses including management science, micro computing, and corporate finance.

N/A
201 Wood St
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1984
Program Page

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Job Outlook for Accounting Graduates

Due in large part to the increasing complexities of tax laws and regulations and the growing economy overall, the accounting profession is expected to continue its rapid growth of 11% through to 2024. As accounting regulations have become more complicated and strict, more accountants with specialized skills are needed. This has led to an increased demand for accountants at each level of higher learning, with the exception being entry-level accounting positions that require an associate degree or lower. While entry-level accounting positions, such as bookkeeping, are still accessible with an associate degree, easy-to-use accounting software has significantly decreased the demand for such positions. The number of available jobs in this area are expected decline by 8% between now and 2024.

For those who complete an online accounting degree at the bachelor’s level or higher, however, the field is expecting substantial growth. Not only does accounting have a lower-than-average unemployment rate of 4.1%, but, according to the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NCES), 68% of new graduates with a bachelor’s online degree are offered employment, the highest of any major in the survey. The entry-level median salary of $48,000 for accountants is also one of the highest available at the bachelor’s degree level in any field. With experience, graduates of a bachelor’s accounting online degree earn up to $85,000 a year.

Of all the online accounting degree program options and available certifications, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) have the best career prospects. Even though obtaining a master’s degree while pursuing CPA requirements is not mandatory, it is a common route; therefore, the career prospects are the same for both qualifications. While the median entry-level salary for those with a master’s degree and/or CPA credentials is only $8,000 more than those with an online degree in accounting, some states, such as Texas, pay these higher-level accountants as much as $20,000 more than bachelor’s degree graduates. With experience, accountants with master’s degrees and/or CPA credentials can earn a median salary of $102,000, an increase of 20% over undergraduate degree recipients. As a result of the improved salary and career growth opportunities available to accountants with graduate degrees and specialized certifications, the number of online accounting degrees at the graduate level has more than doubled in the last 10 years.

Degree Level Placement Rates Entry-Level Median Salary Experienced Median Salary Placement Growth Rate
Associate N/A $33,000 $47,000 -8% decline
Bachelor’s 68% of new grads are offered jobs (highest %);
4.1% unemployment rate
$48,000 $85,000 11% growth
Master’s Approx. 85% of new graduates are employed;
approx. 2.5% unemployment rate
$57,000 $102,000 11% growth in the field, but master’s degrees are more in demand; 19% growth in median salary.
Certificates (CPA) CPAs have the highest demand in the field $57,000 $102,000 11% growth in the field, but CPAs are more in demand than bachelor’s or master’s degree holders

Sources: PayScale, Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Institute of CPAs, and Deseret News.

Types of Accounting Careers

Public Accountant

Public accountants perform standard accounting tasks, including tax filings, audits, and consultations, for individuals, organizations, and/or the government. While many public accountants are CPAs, the minimum requirement is typically a bachelor’s degree. Most public accountants are self-employed or work for an accounting firm. The median salary for public accountants is $68,000.

Management Accountant

Management accountants typically specialize in corporate or industrial accounting, analyzing and translating complex financial information for business managers. Many management accountants specialize in financial forecasting for organizations in the areas of budgeting, planning, and investing, whereas some management accountants are involved with performance evaluation and asset management. It is common for accountants at this level to be CPAs or have a master’s degree. The median salary for management accountants is $70,000.

Government Accountant

Government accountants are employed by the government to either examine and audit private businesses or to analyze and maintain records of other government agencies. These positions are available at every level of government, including federal, state, and regional offices. Most government accountants use their expertise to ensure that the financial records are maintained and compliant with the laws and regulations. The median salary for government accountants is $65,000.

Internal Auditor

Internal auditors are employed by organizations to ensure that finances are managed properly and effectively. Auditors check for financial mismanagement, such as waste or fraud. They also analyze and evaluate different areas of the business, identifying financial processes that can be improved upon. The median salary for internal auditors is $55,000.

External Auditor

Similar to an internal auditor, an external auditor examines and evaluates an organization’s financial documents to ensure that everything is accurate and properly maintained and reported. The primary difference between an internal and an external auditor is that external auditors are employed by an organization separate from the one being audited. Most commonly, external auditors are self-employed, work for an auditing firm, or work for the government. The median salary for external auditors is $54,000.

Types of Accounting Degrees

The clear majority of accounting professionals have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, but the gap between undergraduates and graduate-level accountants is decreasing steadily. As entry-level positions for bookkeepers and accounting clerks with associate degrees decline, more organizations look to hire certified public accountants (CPAs) and/or accountants with graduate degrees. According to AICPA, almost 50% of the new accountants hired in 2012 had a master’s degree and were CPAs. That’s a strong indicator of contemporary hiring trends in the field considering that more than 70% of the new graduates came from a bachelor’s program.

While the accounting field is projecting an 11% growth overall between now and 2024, the demand for master’s graduates and CPAs is expected to be even more substantial. Not only are job prospects improving for CPAs and accountants with graduate degrees, but the starting salaries are typically between $8,000 and $20,000 more for accountants with higher than a bachelor’s degree. Plus, the considerable growth in availability of online accounting courses, specifically at the master’s level, allows for accountants to work and complete a graduate degree (as well as the 150-credit requirements for the CPA) at the same time. With these credentials, accountants have access to careers in management, forensics, and high-level government positions, many of which command salaries of $100,000 or more with experience.

Degree Level Definition Possible Concentrations Median Annual Salary
Associate An associate degree in accounting is a starting point for people looking for entry into the accounting profession. Students gain an understanding of basic accounting principles. Since most accounting positions require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, many associate degree graduates continue their education in a bachelor’s degree program after completion. Bookkeeping, Accounting, Auditing Clerk $38,000
Bachelor’s A bachelor’s degree in accounting is one of the most common concentrated degrees available. Students gain an understanding of core business principles while learning how to read, write, and analyze complex financial documents. As a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in accounting is required by most organizations to obtain an entry-level position in the field. Auditing, Financial Planning, Consulting, Technical Accounting, Finance Specialist $68,000-$69,000
Master’s A master’s degree in accounting prepares students with a more in-depth understanding of the laws and regulations in the field, including the areas of finance and taxation. Graduates also receive knowledge of business management principles. Though it’s not mandatory, many master’s degrees in accounting are designed to also fulfill the CPA requirements. Auditing, Tax Accounting, Management Accounting $68,000-$96,000
Certifications There are several certifications available in accounting, most of which require the completion of higher learning courses. The CPA is the most common certification and creates career opportunities similar to what a master’s degree grants its graduates. There’s also a Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF), which opens up a career in the field of law working with fraud and financial criminal activity. Another common certificate is the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), which involves business management literacy and improves an accountant’s chances at progressing into a management accountant position. 1. CPA
2. CFA
3. CMA
1. $68,000
2. $67,000
3. $96,000

Accounting Certifications and Licensing

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Since accountants deal with some of the most sensitive and regulated financial information available, certifications and special licenses are regularly required. The most familiar certification is the certified public accountant (CPA). Since the educational requirements for a CPA is 150 semester hours (or credits), many CPAs obtain their master’s degree in accounting while fulfilling the necessary CPA hours. In fact, many of the best online colleges for accounting design their master’s degree programs as a CPA pathway. Most managerial-level and consultant-level positions require accountants to be CPAs.

Other popular and in-demand accounting certifications are the certified management accountants (CMA) and the certified in financial forensics (CFF). Both of these certifications grant an understanding in a specialized area of accounting, allowing for higher earning potential. The CMA is often pursued by accountants or CPAs who wish to enter into management or consulting positions, while the CFF is usually pursued as a credential on its own, allowing recipients to work within the fields of financial fraud and criminal activity. Another common certification in accounting is the certified accounting paraprofessional (CAP). A CAP usually assists or works below a CPA. To obtain this certification, degree-holding accountants must pass the five-part examination. The certification also requires continued education each year, the primary reason why many recipients obtain this license while pursuing the demanding CPA requirements.

Accounting Scholarships

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average post-secondary student is awarded nearly $10,000 in grants and scholarships each year. Since accounting is such an in-demand and growing field, many institutions and organizations encourage students to pursue this career by assisting in the funding of their education. While there are a substantial number of scholarships and grants available to accounting students in particular, online accounting degree majors also have access to scholarships for business and business-related degrees as well.

NSA Scholarship Foundation

See Scholarship
The NSA Scholarship Foundation is a program that awards and assists students that are dedicated to a career in accounting. Eligible students are in an accounting program and have earned at least a 3.0 GPA.

  • Amount: $500- $2,200
  • Deadline: April
The Minorities in Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship

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The Minorities in Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship is an annual prize awarded to outstanding minorities pursuing a career in government finance. Applicants must be an upper-division undergraduate with a high academic performance record. Applicants must also be preparing for a career in state or local government finance.

  • Amount: $9,000
  • Deadline: April
The Paul S. Mills Scholarship Program

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The Paul S. Mills Scholarship Program awards annual scholarship prizes to students pursuing careers in financial services. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and prepare a 500-word essay on why they wish to pursue a career in the field of financial services field and why the scholarship is important to them.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: March 30
The Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship

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The Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship is awarded to students that are preparing for careers in state and local government finance. Eligible students are registered in a full-time program that is related to a finance field and are at least in their junior year.

  • Amount: $9,000
  • Deadline: April
Women in Transition Scholarship

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Women in Transition Scholarship is a renewable prize from the Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting Scholarship, a group dedicated to the advancement of women in the accounting profession. The scholarship is awarded to a woman who is the primary source of support for her family and returning to school to pursue an accounting degree. Applicants must be enrolling as a freshman into a bachelor’s degree program in accounting. The award is renewable for up to four years if the recipient maintains a 3.0 GPA.

  • Amount: $16,000 over four years
  • Deadline: April 30
Women in Need Scholarship

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Funded by the Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting Scholarship, the Women in Need Scholarship is awarded to female sophomore students that are the primary source of support for their families. Applicants must be completing their sophomore year in a bachelor’s degree in accounting. The award is renewable for up to two years if the recipient maintains a 3.0 GPA.

  • Amount: $2,000 per year for 2 years
  • Deadline: April 30
The Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) Scholarship

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The Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) Scholarship is awarded to deserving Latino students who aspire to be leaders in the fields of finance and accounting. Applicants must be of Hispanic heritage with an ALPFA membership. Applicants must also be full-time students and have completed the freshman year with a 3.0-3.4 GPA and demonstrate financial aid.

  • Amount: $2,500 – $10,000
  • Deadline: June 1
The Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship

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The Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship is annually awarded to a student enrolled in a business-related program who has an interest in a career in fraud examination. Eligible applicants are enrolled in a full-time four-year business program. Applicants are also encouraged to meet with a local Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and request a letter of recommendation.

  • Amount: $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000
  • Deadline: January
AICPA/Accountemps Student Scholarship

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The AICPA/Accountemps Student Scholarship is awarded to outstanding accounting students who show the potential to be future leaders in the CPA profession. Applicants must be enrolled in a four-year AACSB and/or ACBSP accredited accounting program (or an accounting-related major). Applicants must also plan to become a CPA, have an AICPA Student Affiliate membership, and maintain a 3.0 GPA with at least 30 credits completed.

  • Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: April 1
AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship Award

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The AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship Award is given to a bachelor’s degree-holder in a non-accounting discipline who wishes to pursue graduate studies in accounting. Applicants must be pursuing both graduate studies in accounting and the CPA licensure but cannot have started the graduate program yet. Eligible applicants must not have earned more than 12 credits in accounting or business during their undergraduate program.

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: April 1

Professional Organizations

Joining a professional organization in nearly any field has its benefits, but in a regulated and specialized field, such as accounting, it’s often considered a necessity. Most organizations provide countless networking opportunities and both educational and career development resources, such as courses and certificates, but there are many more opportunities available when part of a professional organization. Students and new graduates who join memberships have access scholarships, internships, and entry-level careers. Working professionals find value and benefits from joining professional organizations in gaining inside information on upcoming policy changes and industry standards. There’s also access to continuing education courses and discounts on conferences and other industry materials. The following is a list of some of the best and most influential professional organizations in the accounting field.

Open Courseware

The specialized field of accounting has many different sections that professionals spend years familiarizing themselves with. The educational requirements to become a certified public accountant (CPA) are demanding because there is so much ground to cover. Students must take 150 credits at the college level simply to sit for the exam, which is approximately five years of full-time schooling. Still, approximately 50% of students fail the CPA exam on their first attempt. Since the rules and regulations vary within public accounting, corporate accounting, the financial sector, and other areas of accounting, there is a lot of information to digest. Even top students at the best online colleges for accounting find it difficult to absorb and retain all the information. Since the accounting field is so vast and specified, open courseware has become one of the most powerful resources for professionals and students alike.

Whether it’s to prepare for the CPA exam, to stay sharp over the summer while in school, or to expand a professional portfolio, the available open courseware in accounting can help. While the majority of courses cover accounting basics, there are plenty of options for specialized learning, such as business analysis, legal studies, management accounting, and corporate finance. The following list covers some of the most popular accounting courses available for free online.

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