Can You Get an Accounting Degree Online?

Absolutely! Pursuing an accounting degree online has become a highly accessible and flexible option for many students. Whether you're stepping into the field for the first time or looking to advance your career, online programs offer a comprehensive curriculum that mirrors their on-campus counterparts. Here’s what you need to know:

Benefits of Online Accounting Degrees

  • Flexibility: Balance your studies with work, family, and other commitments.
  • Accessibility: Study from anywhere, eliminating the need for commuting.
  • Variety of Programs: Choose from a wide range of degrees, from associate to master's levels.
  • Cost-Effective: Often more affordable than traditional programs due to reduced expenses on transportation and campus facilities.

Types of Online Accounting Degrees

  • Associate’s Degree: A foundational step into accounting, covering basic principles and preparing you for entry-level roles.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: Offers in-depth knowledge and skills, making you eligible for various accounting positions and certifications like the CPA.
  • Master’s Degree: Advanced study focusing on specialized areas of accounting, enhancing your expertise and career prospects.

What to Look For in an Online Accounting Program

  • Accreditation: Ensure the program is accredited by a recognized body like AACSB or ACBSP, validating the quality of education.
  • Curriculum: Look for a comprehensive curriculum that covers essential accounting principles, software, and practices.
  • Flexibility: Consider programs that offer asynchronous courses allowing you to study on your schedule.
  • Support Services: Access to resources such as tutoring, library services, and career counseling is crucial for online learners.

Career Opportunities

With an online accounting degree, you can pursue various roles, including:

  • Public Accountant
  • Management Accountant
  • Government Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Financial Analyst


Opting for an online accounting degree can be a smart move for aspiring accountants. It offers the flexibility and resources needed to succeed in today’s dynamic job market while providing a solid foundation in accounting principles and practices. Just ensure you choose an accredited program that fits your career goals and learning style.

Is an Online Accounting Degree Worth It?

Deciding whether to pursue an online accounting degree can feel like a major financial and time commitment. However, understanding the value it provides can help you make an informed decision. Here's why an online accounting degree is often considered worth the investment:

  • Flexibility: Online programs allow you to balance your studies with personal and professional obligations. You can often set your own pace, making it easier to continue working while advancing your education.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Typically, online degrees can be more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. You save on commuting, housing, and various campus fees, which can add up.

  • Wide Range of Opportunities: Accounting is a backbone of every business sector. With an accounting degree, you're not limited to traditional roles; you can explore careers in finance, auditing, tax preparation, and even forensic accounting.

  • Certification Preparation: Many online programs prepare you for critical certifications like the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or CMA (Certified Management Accountant), making you more competitive in the job market.

  • Updated Curriculum: Online accounting programs often stay abreast of the latest industry trends and technologies, ensuring that your education is relevant and up-to-date.

  • Networking Opportunities: Contrary to popular belief, online studies offer ample networking opportunities through virtual meetups, discussion forums, and group projects, connecting you with professionals worldwide.

  • Skill Development: Beyond accounting principles, these programs often emphasize critical thinking, analytical skills, and technological proficiency – skills highly valued in today’s job market.

Considering these points, an online accounting degree can be a strategic step towards a rewarding career. It's not just about earning a diploma; it's about equipping yourself with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the ever-evolving business landscape. Whether you aspire to climb the corporate ladder or start your own firm, an online accounting degree can provide a solid foundation for your career aspirations.

Are Online Accounting Degrees Respected?

When considering advancing your career or diving into the accounting field with an online degree, a crucial question often comes up: Are online accounting degrees respected? The straightforward answer is yes, but let's delve into why and how this respect is earned and maintained in the professional world.

Accreditation is Key

  • Look for accredited programs: The respectability of an online accounting degree largely hinges on the accreditation of the program. Accredited programs meet rigorous standards set by recognized accrediting bodies, ensuring a high level of education quality.
  • Regional vs. National Accreditation: Preferably, aim for a program with regional accreditation, which is often held to higher esteem in the academic and professional arenas.

Industry Perception

  • Increasing Acceptance: The perception of online degrees has significantly improved over the years. Today, many employers value the flexibility, dedication, and time management skills demonstrated by students who successfully complete online programs.
  • Comparable Curriculum: Online accounting programs often offer the same curriculum as their on-campus counterparts, ensuring that graduates gain the relevant knowledge and skills needed in the workforce.

CPA and Other Certifications

  • Meeting Certification Requirements: Most states allow credits from accredited online programs to count towards the educational requirements for CPA certification. This certification is key to being respected in the field.
  • Preparation for Exams: Many online programs provide specific courses aimed at preparing students for CPA and other relevant exams, further enhancing their respectability.

Networking and Resources

  • Access to Resources: Respected online programs offer extensive resources such as virtual libraries, tutoring, and career services to support students’ success.
  • Networking Opportunities: Through forums, group projects, and alumni networks, online students can build valuable connections that can enhance their careers.

Success Stories

  • Alumni Success: Look for programs where alumni have gone on to successful careers in accounting. This not only demonstrates the effectiveness of the education but also helps in building the program’s reputation.

In conclusion, online accounting degrees are indeed respected, provided they come from accredited institutions that offer rigorous curricula and support towards certifications. The evolving perception of online education, coupled with the success stories emanating from these programs, underscores the value and respectability of an online accounting degree.

What Types of Accounting Degrees Are Available Online and How Long Do They Take to Complete?

When you're ready to dive into the world of accounting through an online degree, it's essential to know what your options are and how long you'll need to commit. Here's a straightforward guide to help you navigate your choices:

  • Associate's Degree in Accounting

    • Duration: Typically takes about 2 years to complete.
    • Overview: An excellent starting point for those new to accounting or seeking entry-level positions. Courses cover the fundamentals of accounting principles, software, and financial analysis.
  • Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

    • Duration: Generally requires 4 years of full-time study.
    • Overview: This degree prepares you for a wide range of accounting positions and provides a thorough understanding of accounting practices, taxation, and auditing. It's also a critical step for those aiming to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).
  • Master's Degree in Accounting

    • Duration: Can be completed in 1-2 years, depending on whether you study full-time or part-time.
    • Overview: Ideal for those looking to specialize in a particular area of accounting or aiming for higher-level positions. A master's degree can also help meet the 150 semester hours required to sit for the CPA exam in most states.
  • Doctorate Degree in Accounting

    • Duration: Usually requires 4-7 years of study.
    • Overview: Suited for those interested in academic research or teaching at the university level. The program focuses on advanced research methods and theories in accounting.
  • Certificate Programs in Accounting

    • Duration: Can vary widely, from a few months to over a year, depending on the program's intensity and focus.
    • Overview: Certificates are great for professionals looking to gain specific skills or knowledge areas quickly without committing to a full degree program. Popular options include forensic accounting, tax accounting, and managerial accounting.

Each of these paths offers unique benefits depending on your career goals, time commitment, and current level of education. Whether you're starting out or looking to advance your career, there's an online accounting degree that fits your needs.

How to Choose an Online Accounting Degree Program?

When you're deciding on an online accounting degree program, the sheer number of options can feel overwhelming. Yet, choosing the right program is crucial for your future career in accounting. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you make an informed decision.

Understand Your Goals and Preferences

  • Determine your career objectives. Are you aiming for a CPA certification, or are you more interested in managerial accounting?
  • Consider your learning style. Do you prefer synchronous (real-time) classes, or are asynchronous (on your own time) courses more your speed?
  • Reflect on the level of degree you're pursuing. Are you looking for an associate degree, a bachelor's degree, or perhaps a master's in accounting?

Accreditation Is Key

  • Ensure the program is accredited by a recognized accrediting body such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).
  • Accreditation guarantees the quality and credibility of your degree to employers.

Curriculum and Specializations

  • Review the curriculum carefully. Does it cover the fundamentals of accounting as well as areas you’re specifically interested in?
  • Check if the program offers specializations that align with your career goals, such as forensic accounting, tax accounting, or auditing.

Flexibility and Format

  • Look for programs that offer flexibility in terms of coursework completion and exam schedules, especially if you are working or have other commitments.
  • Understand the format of the program. How much of it is online? Are there any on-campus requirements?

Faculty and Resources

  • Research the qualifications and experience of the faculty members. Experienced instructors can provide valuable insights into the accounting profession.
  • Check out the resources available to online students, including digital libraries, tutoring services, and career advising.

Costs and Financial Aid

  • Compare tuition fees and other costs across programs. Don’t forget to factor in books and any additional fees.
  • Explore financial aid options. Many institutions offer scholarships, grants, or loan opportunities specifically for online students.

Student Support and Networking Opportunities

  • Investigate the level of student support provided. This includes technical support, academic advising, and mental health services.
  • Look into networking opportunities such as online clubs, professional organization partnerships, or mentorship programs.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose an online accounting degree program that not only meets your educational needs but also sets you up for a successful career in accounting. Remember, the right program for you is one that aligns with your career goals, fits your lifestyle, and meets your educational expectations.

Online Accounting Degree Resources

Professional Associations

As you navigate through your online accounting degree, connecting with professional associations can significantly enhance your learning experience and career prospects. These organizations offer a wealth of resources, including networking opportunities, industry insights, and professional development tools. Here are some key associations to consider:

Industry Publications

Staying updated with the latest trends, research, and news in accounting is crucial. These publications are fantastic resources for students and professionals alike to stay informed about the accounting world:

Other Resources

Beyond professional associations and publications, there are several other resources that can support your studies and career development in accounting. Explore these platforms for additional information, tools, and networking opportunities:

  • Career.Guide
    • Your go-to source for career advice, including tips on pursuing an online accounting degree.
  • Coursera
    • Offers a variety of online courses in accounting from universities and colleges worldwide.
  • Khan Academy
    • Provides free online courses on basic and advanced accounting principles.
  • LinkedIn Learning
    • Offers courses on accounting topics and software, which can be beneficial for career advancement.

Leveraging these resources can significantly impact your success in an online accounting degree program. Whether you're looking for in-depth industry knowledge, networking opportunities, or skill development, there's something out there to support your journey in the accounting field.

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