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 certification. 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:

Taxation

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.

3 Popular Accounting Areas

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. 

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

15 Online Accounting Degrees

Online schools offer accounting within business admin programs. There are also more intense online degree programs. Here are 15 schools with online degrees in accounting at all levels.  

  1. Southern New Hampshire University
  2. Washington State University
  3. University of Massachusetts: Amherst 
  4. Florida Atlantic University  
  5. Arizona State University
  6. Western Governors University  
  7. University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill 
  8. Rutgers University  
  9. University of Texas: Dallas 
  10. Golden Gate University: San Francisco 
  11. Saint Leo University  
  12. Walden University
  13. Capella University  
  14. Northcentral University  
  15. George Fox University

FIND AN ONLINE ACCOUNTING DEGREE

Let’s take a closer look at the online accounting degrees that these 15 schools have to offer. 

1

Southern New Hampshire

Bachelor of Science in Accounting  

Fully Online


SNHU offers an online BS in accounting. 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. There is a faster paced BS to MS path way option too.  Sample courses include: 

  • Cost Accounting
  • Business Law
  • Federal Taxation

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $31,136
Grad $18,810
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,888

Average Net Price:
$39,071

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
New England Commission of Higher Education.

2

Washington State University

Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration  

Fully Online


WSU’s online BA in business admin has a business core. These cover finance, operations, marketing and strategy. Before you take upper level accounting you take 30 credits of basics. These are for certification. There is also a 6 credit global experience to cap your studies. Courses may include:

  • Cost Accounting
  • Intro to Taxation
  • Auditing

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $26,419
Grad $26,850
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$9,532

Average Net Price:
$17,297

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

3

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting 

Fully Online


UMass has an accounting focus in their online BBA degree program. The core classes cover business analytics, operations and law. You also take a series of classes devoted to key concepts. They have topics like:

  • CPA Law
  • Cost Accounting
  • Individual Taxation

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $35,710
Grad $31,724
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$9,757

Average Net Price:
$21,740

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), AACSB.

4

Florida Atlantic University 

Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting  

Fully Online


Florida Atlantic 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.

  • Federal Taxation
  • Auditing and Assurance
  • Cost Accounting

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $17,324
Grad $17,921
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$8,450

Average Net Price:
$9,486

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

5

Arizona State University 

Bachelor of Arts in Business – Corporate Accounting 

Fully Online


ASU offers an online BA in business with a major in corporate accounting. It aims to prep you to pursue a career in management accounting. As such, you may learn to function within a team of experts. And to understand compliance, laws and marketing. The program also serves as a study guide for two industry exams. CMA and CGMA. Courses include:

  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Taxes for Corporate Accounts

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $29,428
Grad $27,048
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$9,985

Average Net Price:
$13,081

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

6

Western Governors University  

Master of Science in Accounting 

Fully Online


WGU’s online MS in accounting allows you to move through your classes at your own pace. The 30 credit hours also serve as study guides for industry exams. CPA, CMA and CIA. You also pay on a six month term rather than per credit.  Sample classes include:

  • Corporate Tax Strategy
  • International Tax
  • Mergers

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $6,670
Grad $7,790
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$2,635

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

7

University of North Carolina

Master of Accounting 

Fully Online


UNC offers an online MAcct degree that mirrors the campus format. If you have prior accounting courses or an MBA, you may be eligible for GMAT or GRE waiver. The program focuses on taxation, auditing and financial reporting. At the same time, it may nurture soft skills like leadership. Courses may include:

  • Government and Non Profit Accounting
  • Advanced Auditing
  • Fraud and Forensic Accounting

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $20,339
Grad $20,864

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,021

Average Net Price:
$14,987

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.

8

Rutgers University 

Master of Accountancy in Financial Accounting 

Fully Online


Rutgers’ MA in Accountancy offers a focus in financial accounting. The hybrid program melds online and in person learning. And may take as little as one year to complete. It also features classes that aim to prep you for the CPA and CMA exams. Students may take classes like:  

  • Accounting in the Digital Area
  • Audit Analysis
  • Strategic Cost Analysis

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $32,189
Grad $32,391
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$12,159

Average Net Price:
$16,295

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

9

University of Texas – Dallas

Master of Science in Accounting  

Fully Online


University of Texas offers a hybrid MS in accounting program. While online, you need to take 15 credits on campus to meet state board rules. This is to help you meet their specs for the CPA exam. The program also has classes in auditing, ethics and taxation.  Students will take courses such as:

  • Managerial Accounting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Databases

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $38,168
Grad $27,796
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$10,645

Average Net Price:
$9,989

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.

10

Golden Gate University – San Fransisco

Master of Science in Accounting  

Fully Online


Golden Gate’s online MSA program comes with a few anchor points. You can tailor your degree and go in depth into one of 4 areas, financial accounting and reporting, forensic accounting, internal auditing, and management accounting. The program also helps you fulfill the 150 hours needed for the CPA exam.  Courses include:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Federal Income Tax

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $16,095
Grad $19,705
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,609

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization.

Accredited:
WASC Senior College and University Commission.

11

Saint Leo University 

Doctor of Business Administration – Accounting 

Fully Online


Saint Leo’s online DBA allows you to major in accounting. The program aims to prep you to teach, lead in academia and consult. As such, it focuses on research, critical analysis, and application skills. And consists of business and accounting topics.   Topics include:

  • Management Theory
  • Global Leadership and Ethics
  • Analytics for Decision-making

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $23,750
Grad $7,296
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$10,869

Average Net Price:
$20,036

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

12

Walden University 

Doctor of Business Administration – Accounting 

Fully Online


Walden offers an online DBA with a focus in accounting. The program delves into a business core including strategy and data analytics. It also includes research and writing classes. The classes focus on cost prediction, cash flow and decision making. And, you have up to 8 years to finish your dissertation.  Courses include:

  • Managerial Accounting
  • Performance Evaluation Systems
  • Business Strategy

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,150
Grad $12,539
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,885

Average Net Price:
$21,276

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC.

13

Capella University

PhD in Business Management – Accounting 

Fully Online


Capella’s online PhD in business management comes with an accounting major. Here you may study ways to build a business as you focus on research. The program aims to foster a system thinking approach too. As such, the classes also touch on modern issues, processes and business functions.   Classes may include:

  • Financial Reporting
  • Accounting in the Global Era
  • Forensic Accounting

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,540
Grad $15,233
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$5,051

Average Net Price:
$13,387

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC.

14

Northcentral University

Advanced Accounting PhD – BA 

Fully Online


NCU offers an online PhD in business admin with a focus in accounting. A research focused program, it takes you through the finer points of data analysis. You also study business activities, economics, and forensic analysis. And, as a grad, it may help you pursue a leadership role in accounting, auditing or teaching.  Classes may include:

  • Forensic analysis 
  • Business performance 
  • Research based accounting 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,474
Grad $18,095
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,239

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
WASC Senior College and University Commission, HLC.

15

George Fox University 

Doctor of Business Administration – Accounting  

Fully Online


George Fox U offers a hybrid DBA with a focus in accounting. The program takes about 4 years to complete as you need to produce a dissertation. For the ACCT major, you study advanced ways to apply ethical reasoning and compliance. You also take a series of core business, research and teaching courses, like:

  • Ethical reasoning and compliance  
  • Accounting seminar 
  • Faith and spirituality in business  

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $37,280
Grad $13,980
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$17,116

Average Net Price:
$29,925

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, & recognized student vet organization.

Accredited:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

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