Online Accounting Degree

To meet a changing field, many online schools have accounting degrees. Accountants deal with taxes, cash flow, budgets and mergers. And are in steady demand. If you enjoy business, math and finance, you can earn a degree in this field online.

An online accounting degree studies business, finance and practical methods. It also helps you apply these ideas to prep taxes, audits, and reports. There are online accounting degrees at all levels. Bachelor’s, master’s and PhD. At each of these levels, you may build a set of skills to apply to many fields.  

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting 

A bachelor’s in this field is an entry level degree. It is also the first step to CPA certification. Most accountants need one, making this a good place to start. Here you may gain key skills in finance to help a business thrive. Many online schools offer a BS in accounting. There are also Bachelor of Business Admin (BBA) programs. Both may need 120 credits and about 4 years to complete. BS programs are technical, and math focused. They often study the field from all sides. Auditing, taxation, and the business skills to make sound financial choices. 

An online BBA or BSBA is distinct. These programs may help you gain a broad base of knowledge in business theory and practice. They foster the expertise and skill that you may need to enter the field. Going on to earn your Master of Accounting will help you meet the 150 hours that you need in order to sit for the CPA exam. Some schools offer an online BS to MS path to make this process smooth. 

To get into any bachelor’s program, you need a high school diploma or its equal. Some online schools also look at your GPA, ACT and SAT scores. Another thing that can change is tuition. Earning an accounting degree at a public schools costs about $6,341. Tuition is higher ($28,000) if you study out of state. That said, many online schools, the gov’t and private sources offer scholarships. So, you can look into ways to cut your costs.  

Master’s Degree in Accounting

An online Master of Accounting (MAcc or MSA) is a grad degree. It aims to meet your career goals, refine skills and prep you for exams. They aim to fill in the 30 hours extra that you need to take the CPA exam. Many offer ways to tailor studies to your interests too. Most programs entail 30 credits and take about 1 year to complete. As such, they satisfy the “150 hours” rule for professional certs. As you recall, bachelor’s programs cover the first 120, leaving a 30 credit gap. 

Three certs you might study for at this level are: 

  • CPA: Certified Public Accountant  
  • CMA: Certified Management Accounting  
  • CIA: Certified Internal Auditor  

As you prep for exams, you also study advanced topics. Like banking laws and audit analytics. There may be room to tailor studies too. To apply to an online MAcc program you may need a BS in the field. You also need to meet any of the school’s standards.  

These include GPA, references, personal goals and your CV. Some schools look at your GRE or GMAT scores while others may waive them. If you earned a bachelor’s but not in accounting, don’t fret. Many online schools offer make up courses to bring you up to speed. Another thing to check at each school is their tuition. On average, it may cost $11,617 if you earn your degree at a public school.   

PhD in Accounting

An online PhD in accounting is a research degree. It is the highest level of degree in the field. And is a program that tasks you to input new ideas to the field. PhD programs go deeper into theory and tactics. As such, there may be more about leadership, policy and planning. 

Many enroll in a PhD to enhance their careers. They may be execs, consultants or professors. Or aspire to a research focused job. As such, courses may center on three core areas. Business, research and education. Since most programs go wide and deep, expect a study plan of 57 or more credits. These map out over a period of about 4 years. And may involve some brief visits to campus. 

If you prefer to problem solve, there is another degree at this level. Many online schools offer Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs. Online DBA programs teach ways to manage a company and make sound business choices. As such, they often look at global markets and tactical financial plans. To enroll in a PhD or DBA, you need a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree. You might need a solid knowledge in finance, business or accounting.  

What can I do with an Online Accounting Degree?

An online degree in this field may serve as path to other lucrative fields. Complex tax laws and global trade can allow for opportunities in business, finance and budgeting. There are 10.9 million people in the work force. And there may be jobs at many levels of education. 

For most of the entry level roles, you need a bachelor’s degree. This field is also regulated and may demand a state license. Manager roles often call for a master’s degree, MBA and/or certs. If your goal is to teach accounting, you may also need a PhD.  

1. Accountants and Auditors 

Auditors and accountants prep and examine financial records. This ensures all reports comply with laws and rules. Most start out with a bachelor’s in accounting. Then pursue a master’s degree or MBA and industry certs. The CPA, CMA and CIA are a few that may add value to your resume.  

2. Forensic Accountants 

As a forensic accountant, you will look at financial crimes. Like securities fraud and cyber incidents. Many of these pros also team up with lawyers and law enforcement. If this sounds like a good fit, you may need a bachelor’s to start. 

3. Budget Analysts 

budget analyst looks at funding and spending. They prep reports for COO’s and help to organize budgets. To work in this job, you may need a bachelor’s degree, and may need to have strong math and analytic skills. From here, some go for the Certified Government Financial Manager (CFGM) credential.  

4. Financial Managers 

These managers direct the financial health of a company. They are in charge of accounting, audit, and budget teams within a company. Many of them have a bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years work experience. Some also earn other credentials. Among them, the CPA, CFA or Certified Treasury Professional. 

5. Cost Estimators 

The task of a cost estimator is to predict the time, money, resources and labor that are needed in order to complete a project. This takes an analytical mind set and ability to calculate. Many of them have a bachelor’s degree. Some also focus on an area, like construction.  

6. Financial Analysts 

As a financial analyst, you may steer a business or people to make sound financial decisions. This may involve watching the markets and economy. And, tracking clients’ stocks, bonds and investments. Financial analysts often launch a career with a bachelor’s degree. To advance, many go for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) cert.  

Is an Online Degree in Accounting worth it?

A degree in this field may yield flexible and marketable skills that apply to many settings and high paying roles. Accounting is a growing career field at the junction of business and finance. It has good prospects for entry roles. And better ones if you have your CPA, a master’s degree in accounting or MBA. There are 6% more jobs in this field forecast to 2028 and salaries around $70,500. Many of these jobs are in tax prep. Other roles could be in management, consulting and gov’t. If you prefer, you might use your skills in a finance career. Big data and tech are creating more work for financial analysts. The field is growing by 6% and salaries may get as high as $167,420

Accounting Degree Jobs & Salary

Occupation Average Salary Jobs
Marketing Manager $149,200 263,680
Public Relations Manager $116,180 81,200
Market Research Analyst $63,790 681,900
Chief Executive $193,850 205,890

Top States for Jobs as an Accountant

State Jobs Annual Mean Wage
CA 148,500 $83,910
TX 114,410 $79,360
NY 112,030 $98,650
FL 71,520 $72,630
IL 51,740 $77,640

Online Accounting Degree Courses

An online degree can cover a series of processes. These identify, measure and report economic info. And help users to make data driven choices. Each level of study may explore these themes in simple or complex ways. Below are a few sample course plans to give you an idea of what kinds of classes you might take.  

Bachelor’s Degree Courses

BS in accounting classes may follow the GAAP. GAAP is short for “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles”. These aim to prep you to perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax and consulting activities. Keep in mind, you may have gen ed classes too.

Below are a few classes you may take at the bachelor’s level:

Federal Taxation

Students may learn about U. S. tax laws in this class. They could focus on the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). They may then learn to apply these tax laws to creating federal tax returns. Many students might learn about tax liabilities. This intro course generally focuses on individual federal taxes. They may learn how to complete federal returns.

Financial Statement Analysis

You may learn about basic concepts of corporate statements. These reports help investors, and others have insight into company operations. The courses includes theories. It may include using tools. A focus on developing valuations is a part of this program. They may learn to develop documents for SEC filings. The goal of these programs is to teach the basics of valuations and analysis. This type of course may focus on publicly traded companies.

Cost Accounting

The cost accounting courses typically focus on details about how money is spent. Accountants need to show where every dollar goes. Students may learn cost terms and flows. They also learn about budgeting. Aspects of inventory control are a part of cost accounting classes. They could also learn about relevant costing, and to spot cost accounting problems.

Business Law

An intro to business law is a common course in accounting. Students may learn about real and personal property. They may also learn about business organizations. There is also a focus on creditor rights. Bankruptcy and estate planning may be a part of the class. The focus is on laws related to company regulations.

Graduate Degree Courses

MS in this field may go deep into the technical knowledge on taxation, auditing, and financial reporting and analysis. You’ll also develop critical soft skills, like leadership and communication. Some of the common classes include these areas.

PhD classes teach ways to conduct and present data. These aim to build quality research, critical analysis and the skills to apply both. You may also study business and finance through the lens of a leader. As such, your program may look at budgeting in a global context. If you choose an area of focus, this may impact your study plan. Here are a few classes you might take at the grad level:


A taxation class at this level tends to be more advanced. Classes may discuss special topics. It may include tax research methods. Estate and gift tax is also a component of this program in many cases. The course is not just for individuals. It may also include corps and partnerships. The class may include info on estates and goods taxes as well.

Management Accounting

This course tends to focus on the use of accounting in management functions. This may include in managing people or in decision making. The goal of a person working in this field is to improve performance. Controllership may be a part of this program. Some can specialize concentrate in nonprofit accounting. Others will focus on international accounting.

Auditing Principles

Audits are a common part of accounting. Studies here may focus on detection methods. There is also prevention strategy content in many courses. Students may also get an intro to fraud and forensics. This master program may also include auditing strategies. Information assurance is another area included in a master’s course.

Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting aims to aid companies in uncovering complex accounting methods. It could help to track complex transactions and help in areas of mergers. This type of course often includes insight into investigating with computers. Detection and prevention are key components here. Students may learn legal aspects of fraud. Focusing in this field is an option for many master’s programs.

To help you forge the career skills you’ll need, you might choose an area of focus. This adds depth to any core program and may prep you for industry certs. Here are a few areas that online schools offer. 

1. Forensic Accounting 

A major in forensic accounting studies the places law and finance meet. You may put your detective skills to work as you learn about tax fraud and corruption. 

2. Taxation 

A deeper focus in taxation covers current and emerging laws. You often study federal income tax as well as property and corporate rules and research. 

3. Corporate Accounting 

Corporate accounting studies the cost of doing business. Part of this means learning about budgets and performance metrics. You may study taxation and compliance too. 

4. Accounting Information Systems

This area studies asset safety, data security and threat protection. Some of this has to do with information technology and internal controls. You may also gain skills in fraud examination and risk.

5. Public Accounting

Public accounting has to do with CPA certification. You tend to learn about modern business law, ethics and tax planning. Both at the individual and organizational levels.

6. Mergers and Acquisitions

Relevant courses look into financial services and banking. This area also has to go with strategy, advanced reporting and negotiation. 

7. Financial Accounting

In this field, the focus is on financial data collection and analysis. As you study these areas, you may grow skills in tax law, investments and estate planning. 

8. International Tax

International tax has to do with inbound and outbound transactions. You study income tax treaties, comparative pricing and global issues. 

How long does it take to get an Online Accounting Degree?

It may take a full time student 4 years to earn a bachelor’s in accounting degree online. Students with transfer credits from an associate degree may need two years. CPA’s need to complete 150 hours of college credits. This is 30 hours more than a BS program. As such, many online schools offer a 5 year program. This rolls a bachelor’s and master’s into a longer format.  

If you plan to pursue a master’s, it may take from one to two years. Longer programs are often for students new to accounting. And PhD programs may take about 4 more years if you enter with a master’s.  

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
Southern New Hampshire University Bachelors 120 6 24
Washington State University Bachelors 120 3 48
University of Massachusetts – Amherst Bachelors 120 4 48
Western Governors University Masters 30 3 24
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Masters 36-48 4 24
Rutgers University Masters 30 3 24
Saint Leo University Doctorate 57 3 48
Walden University Doctorate 49+ Multiple 39
Capella University Doctorate 90QC Multiple 48

5 Scholarships For Accounting Majors

Offset the cost of accounting degree programs with a scholarship. This useful type of financial aid may lessen your need to take out student loans.

AfterCollege Business Scholarship

For U.S. undergraduate / graduate students. Applicants may major in business, accounting or a related field. There are four winners, each of $500. 

Deadline: December 31

Daniel B. Goldberg and Miller Public Finance Scholarship

For U.S. and Canadian graduate students. Applicants must be going for a career in state or local government finance. To apply, you need a recommendation letter, resume, transcripts and statement. One selectee will receive $20,000. Plus an invite to attend the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) conference.

Deadline: January 4

Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship

For U.S. and Canadian graduate students. As long as enrolled in an accounting program with a focus on government finance. Applicants submit recommendation letter, resume, transcripts and statement. One winner receives $10,000. And an invite to attend the GFOA conference.

Deadline: January 4

GFOA Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship

For minority U.S. or Canadian college juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Black or African American, Asian, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or a Pacific Islander. Applicants submit recommendation letter, resume, transcripts and statement. There is one winner of $10,000 who also gets an invite to the GFOA conference.

Deadline: January 4

Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship

For U.S. and Canadian part time graduate students who have been employed by a state or local government for two or more years. And are preparing for a career in state or local government finance. Four winners get a scholarship of $10,000 each. To apply, you must submit recommendation letter, resume, transcripts and statement. 

Deadline: January 4

15 Online Accounting Degrees

There are many colleges that offer online accounting programs. There are also more intense online degree programs. We have ranked our top 15 schools based on the number of graduates from the program in 2019. Our process looks at 2019 data from the NCES. And, it may help you narrow your search down.


College NameAbout The Accounting ProgramProgramsCourses May IncludeAvg Grants or Scholarship AidAcceptance Rate
University of Phoenix – ArizonaThe 120 credit online BSA program features 5 week long classes and is ACBSP accredited. In it you explore a range of business areas. These may help to grow skills in accounting functions for various industries. A choice of electives aims to allow you to tailor your studies to career goals.Bachelor of Science in Accounting
BSA W/AA in Business Fundamentals
MBA in Accounting
–Financial statement analysis
–Industry software
$4,114Open Admissions
Southern New Hampshire UniversitySNHU offers an online BSA, ACBSP accredited. A basic program, it covers business skills and practices. As such you may learn to plan and prepare tax returns. As well as audit financial info and produce records and statements.Bachelor of Science in Accounting  
BS-MS Pathway
MS Accounting: Auditing
MS Accounting: Forensic Accounting
–Cost Accounting
–Business Law
–Federal Taxation
Western Governors UniversityWGU’s online BSBA in accounting allows you to move through 41 classes at your own pace. This program aims to teach business basics, management skills and a range of accounting topics. You also pay on a six month term rather than per credit.Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Accounting 
MS in Accounting
–Financial Accounting
–Cost and Managerial Accounting
–Human Resources
$4,147Open Admissions
Texas A&M University College StationTexas A&M offers an AACSB accredited online BBA with a focus on accounting. You may pursue this 120 credit degree jointly with an MS. If, trying to complete the 150 CPA requirement. On its own, the program covers business basics and accounting for non accounting majors.Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting
MS in Accounting
MS Financial Management
–Survey of Accounting
–Managerial and Cost Accounting
–Financial Reports
University of Texas at DallasUT Dallas offers a MS in accounting in hybrid format. It entails 36 credits and comes with six career focused tracks. Taxation, Prof Accounting Internal Audit, Analytics and Research. There are also core studies to grow problem solving skills that cover theory and uses.Master of Science in Accounting 
MS Accounting Flex 
–Financial Accounting
–Cost Accounting
–External Auditing
Pennsylvania State University Penn State’s online BSA is AACSB accredited. It spans 120 credits and may prep for several certifications. CPA, CMA, CGMA, and CFE. Your online courses also cover strategy, business law, marketing and supply chain.Bachelor of Science in Accounting 
BS in Finance
MS Professional Accounting
–Financial Accounting
–Managerial and Cost –Accounting
Federal Income Tax 
Florida Atlantic UniversityFAU offers an online BBA degree with a major in accounting. This starts you with core business topics. Like economics, strategy, money and banking. You must pass an ACCT exam before you take more advanced topics. There is also a BS degree which entails 6 extra credits of advanced math.Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting
MS in Accounting
Master of Tax
–Federal Taxation
–Auditing and Assurance
–Cost Accounting
Liberty University Liberty’s 120 credit online BSA is ACBSP accredited. There are 8 week classes that cover basic accounting skills. Other general classes have a Christian focus.Bachelor of Science in Accounting 
–Accounting Ethics
–Nonprofit Accounting
University of Missouri: ColumbiaThe online master’s stresses professional growth. It aims to prep grads for the CPA test with the required 30 credit hours. Courses are semester based and students who work full time tend to take one class per semester to finish in three years. AACSB accredited.Master of Accountancy  
BSACC/MACC (campus)
PhD in Accounting (campus)
–Fraud Examination
–International Accounting
DePaul UniversityDePaul’s AACSB accredited online MSA program entails 36 credits. It covers basic concepts and accounting theory. These help one identify when and why specific accounting practices apply to business scenarios.Master of Science in Accountancy  
MS in Accounting
Financial Accounting
Cost and Managerial Accounting
Auditing I & II
Colorado State University – Global CampusCSU Global’s 120 credit online BSA studies accounting basics. It also looks at organizational behavior. This aims to help with business decision making. This may help you learn to analyze data including taxation using AI. ACBSP accredited.Bachelor of Science in Accounting 
MS in Professional Accounting
Legal Compliance
Cost Accounting
University of Maryland Global CampusUMGC’s online BSA consists of 120 credits. The coursework may grow your skills as a financial decision maker. You study basic and more advanced concepts in accounting. Plus classes related to business finance. Marketing, microeconomics etc.Bachelor of Science in Accounting
MS in Accounting and Financial Management
MS in Accounting and Information Systems
Accounting Info Systems
Cost Accounting
Fraud and Forensic Accounting
$3,803Open Admissions
University of Illinois Urbana- ChampaignDelivered in partnership with Coursera, the AACSB accredited iMSA is both hands on and practice oriented. You study accounting basics. Financial reporting, audit and control, and taxation. In total, the degree requires 32 credits and comes with three start dates around the year.Master of Science in Accountancy
MBA Financial Management 
Accounting Analysis I & II
Managerial Accounting
Federal Taxation 
George Mason UniversityGMU’s 30 credit online MSA aims to bridge the 30 credit gap to CPA licensure. It offers both a part time and full time option and is AACSB accredited. Apart from core topics in taxation and accounting, one may choose electives.Master of Science in Accounting Fraud and the Law
Governmental Accounting
Global Accounting
Colorado Technical University CTU’s online BSA which is ACBSP accredited entails 183 quarter credits. There are three start dates and a Fast Track™ option. The accounting courses do not lead to any license or certification. However, online students learn about key areas. Including corporate accounting and taxation.Bachelor of Science in Accounting  
MBA accounting
Auditing & Lab
Computerized Accounting
Global Managerial Accounting
$5,140Open Admissions

*Unemployment Earnings.  Sources for school stats and data include the NCES and IPEDS.