Higher education is changing at the same rapid pace as the labor market. Many students today rely on distance learning courses to help them reach their academic goals. According to the NCES, more than 7 million college-level learners will participate in online classes this upcoming academic year. In 2020, Wiley Education Services conducted research that found that 79% of students who took at least one online course thought it was worthwhile.
In today’s work environment, having a bachelor’s degree in accounting can put you ahead of the pack. There is a clear upward trend in employment opportunities, and incomes are much above average: There will be a 7% increase in demand for accountants and auditors between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS. According to the BLS, the median annual compensation for accountants and auditors was $77,250 in 2021, which is higher than the national average wage for all jobs at $52,010.
Bachelor’s degree programs in accounting teach students to use popular accounting software and apply theoretical concepts to real-world scenarios. Students who earn their bachelor’s degree in accounting online have many options for employment, including CPAs, forensic accountants, auditors, and financial analysts. Accountants are needed in a variety of businesses, including banking, insurance, and real estate.
Best Accounting Online Programs (2023 Guide)
Online accounting degrees are becoming increasingly popular and can help students prepare for professional certification exams like the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Financial Manager (CFM). Here you’ll find the top online accounting programs for 2022, and you can read more about how we arrived at this list of the finest bachelor’s programs in accounting below.
What to Expect From a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting Online
Similar to traditional classroom settings, online education frequently makes use of the same instructors that lead traditional classroom sessions. The courses you take for an online degree and a traditional university degree are often very similar to one another. There are, however, some distinctions between the two approaches to education.
Students enrolled in a traditional, on-campus bachelor’s degree program, for instance, must physically attend all classes and seminars. These classes meet at regular intervals and facilitate in-person communication between students and teachers.
On the other side, distance learning students never have to set foot on campus. Students in synchronous courses participate in live online lectures and discussions via tools like web conferencing. Since asynchronous classes don’t require students to be online at specific times, they can be scheduled around students’ busy schedules.
What Is the Difference Between an Online Accounting Degree and an On-Campus Bachelor’s Degree?
Flexibility is a fundamental distinction between online and traditional degrees. Online accounting degree classes may not have the same tight scheduling as their on-campus counterparts, depending on the course type. When their work and family obligations allow, students can watch prerecorded lectures and complete homework.
Online schools may provide accelerated programs that allow students to finish their degree in less than four years of full-time study. Some colleges and universities additionally have specific tuition rates for online students or charge in-state tuition to all distance learners regardless of state domicile. As a result, an online degree may be less expensive than an on-campus program.
Many on-campus accounting programs need students to perform internships or fieldwork before they can graduate, which may be challenging for remote students to organize. Learners can, however, network with local groups to find acceptable internship opportunities.
The tuition Cost Per Credit Hour in an online program is $239-$718, while the on-campus program is $682-$1,350
Scheduling: There are both real-time and asynchronous choices for online accounting software. Students in asynchronous classes can work on their assignments at their own pace, while those in synchronous seminars will participate in scheduled live virtual classroom sessions.
Classes meet in a traditional classroom setting at predetermined times. To best meet the needs of its students, some institutions now offer hybrid models that blend online and on-campus study.
Online Accounting Degree Program Accreditation
Accreditation is a method of ensuring that a school or program has been evaluated and found to be of a certain level of quality. Accrediting agencies are non-governmental organizations that conduct reviews of educational establishments and award accreditation based on their evaluations.
There are numerous advantages to earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an approved online institution: Credits from other colleges are usually only transferable to other approved schools. Federal funding is limited to students attending recognized institutions. Potential employees are prohibited from applying unless they hold a degree from a recognized institution.
Accreditations can be classified into three broad categories: regional, national, and programmatic.
Accredited Organizations and Courses
Although no central authority regulates the accreditation process, the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education both provide lists of recognized accreditation bodies. Institutional quality is assessed by regional and national accrediting authorities. To ensure that their degree programs are truly preparing students for successful jobs in their chosen fields, programmatic accreditors examine individual departments and programs.
Academic rigor and the quality of a school’s education are validated by accreditation assessments. The Higher Learning Commission, New England Commission on Higher Education, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education is all regional accreditors.
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs are two of the most important accrediting bodies for accounting degree programs.
Validation by the State
Distance students are better protected when schools have state authorization to teach students in other states. In order to get federal funding, schools must first obtain authorization from their state.
Course Formats for Accredited Online Accounting Degrees
One key difference between synchronous and asynchronous accounting degree programs is the amount of freedom students have in arranging their study time.
In contrast, synchronous courses call for students to gather online at set times for synchronous activities like video chats and discussions. Degree programs in accounting that may be completed entirely online are often asynchronous.
Students enrolled in a hybrid program must visit the physical campus for at least some of their education, whether for on-campus orientation, a residency, or to take a course that is not available online. An advantage of hybrid distribution formats is the increased potential for face-to-face interaction between participants.
These are some of the most typical types of online courses:
Self-Paced Learning is a method of online education in which students work through course materials at their own pace. Learners have unlimited access to the materials and are not constrained by a timetable or deadlines beyond the conclusion of the academic term.
Guided Learning is an approach to online education where teachers provide more structure and direction for their pupils. Scheduled tests and homework due dates may be set for every week or every month. Students often have consistent contact with a teacher or mentor.
Collaborative learning is a form of online education in which students work together to solve problems or complete assignments. Both synchronous and asynchronous settings support collaborative learning.
Before enrolling in an online course, students should give some thought to which of these forms best serves their needs.
Online Accounting Program Cost
A bachelor’s degree in accounting can be earned online for a range of prices. Average full-time tuition for 2019–20 at in-state public colleges was $9,349, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). In the same year, full-time tuition at a private high school was $32,769.
It is not uncommon for public universities to charge out-of-state tuition rates to all online students. Distance learners may be eligible for discounted tuition at some schools.
The cost of higher education, including tuition, books, and other supplies, can be prohibitive for some families. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting online can choose from a variety of funding alternatives. Scholarships, grants, loans, employment reimbursement, and work-study programs are a few options available.
Scholarships and grants are awarded to students on the basis of financial need or academic merit. Loans must be repaid by the student. Interest rates offered by the federal government for student loans may be more affordable than those offered by private lenders. Funding one’s education might be difficult, but work-study programs provide students with the opportunity to do just that.
Online students have additional expenses beyond tuition, including technology fees, textbook charges, and monthly fees for high-speed internet access.
The benefits of earning your bachelor’s degree in accounting online.
Individualized study plans are an advantage of earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting online. Online students can finish their coursework from the comfort of their own homes, while traditional students must attend scheduled class times and locations.
There are even accelerated and self-paced options for distance education. Therefore, distance learners can graduate in fewer than four years of full-time study, perhaps making them more competitive with their on-campus counterparts.
Although there are many advantages to online learning, there are also some drawbacks to think about. Is this a recognized institution? Is your preferred method of education supported by the software? Is there any part of the program that necessitates physical presence?
With online education, students can choose a course that suits their needs and interests regardless of their physical location.
Online education provides a great deal of freedom to students whose schedules are already full due to other commitments in their personal and professional lives.
The cost of obtaining an education through distance learning may be less than that of obtaining the same education on a traditional university campus.
The lack of direct instructor-student interaction can make earning an online degree challenging for certain students.
It’s possible that distance learners won’t have the same opportunities to network with employers or attend events like career fairs.