Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting are able to find jobs with greater ease in the years since the global recession. It was difficult to find accounting jobs during the recession when unemployment spiked. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook now puts the Job Outlook for Accountants and Auditors at 13%, which is as fast as average. Accountants also make excellent pay. The Occupational Outlook Handbook puts the median pay for accountants in 2012 at $63,550. This is a fantastic trade off of salary versus educational costs.
Featured Online Accounting Degree Programs
- AS in Accounting: IWU Online Naperville
- BS in Accounting: Grand Canyon University
- MBA in Accounting: University of the Southwest
It is never easy for anybody to complete a college education. There are always sacrifices that need to be made. This is especially true if the goal is a complete change of career by someone already working full-time. Online degree programs are perfect for this particular group of people; they offer flexible scheduling so the coursework can be completed at the student’s pace and on the student’s schedule. That level of flexibility can be a lifesaver when juggling a full-time job, family obligations, and a full-time degree program.
Another advantage to online degree programs is that they tend to be more affordable than their offline counterparts. It can be relatively cheap to get an accounting degree online. When considering a program, whether it is online or not, it is important to weigh factors other than the cost. The list below offers a list of the most affordable online accounting degree programs. The list also factors in rankings from other sources, such as the US News World Report. The US News World Report rankings of online programs do not consider accounting degrees specifically. The rankings are useful here because there are other factors involved in their ranking methodology. This includes reputation, student services, and the quality of the faculty. It is important to remember not to strictly base the decision on costs. This is why the list below is not exactly in order of descending price.
As a final preface to the below list, it is important to remember lists such as this one are merely a starting place. Degree programs and institutions are not one-size-fits-all. Therefore, it is important to research the choice with the seriousness it deserves. Be sure to weigh all aspects of the decision to ensure that the program is best-suited to your particular needs.
9. DeVry University
DeVry University, like the University of Phoenix, is nearly synonymous with online degree programs. They offer a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree. One of the best features of their program is that certain states offer the option to take classes both on campus and online. This can be helpful for students who wish to attend classes on campus. The degree is also available completely online.
The program at DeVry University also has a bit of a different focus from the one at the University of Phoenix or others on this list. There is a specific focus on federal income tax and tax law in their program. These fields are sometimes well beyond the scope of the courses taken online for an accounting degree. They can serve as a great jumping point into further education. Taxes and tax law are important to know about for graduate programs in Accounting.
There is also a Senior Project at DeVry. This is an intense course that is intended to link theoretical learning to real-world applications. The end result is a very well-rounded education that includes actual real-world experience. This can help immensely in the post-graduation job hunt.
DeVry offers several interesting financial incentives. The first six credit hours taken during a session are charged at $609 per credit hour. A 40% discount is applied to any credit hours beyond that in the same session. This can be extremely helpful. The cost of an average full-time load of five classes is cut by more than half by this discount.
Students will also benefit from DeVry’s Tuition Freeze. The University is freezing tuition at the 2012/2013 rates. Transfer credits can also reduce the rate. There is also financial aid available beyond all of these specific discounts. DeVry reports that 90% of its students are receiving some form of financial aid. That statistic only furthers the point that DeVry is one of the most affordable Universities.
Just like the University of Phoenix, military members and their spouses also receive discounts at DeVry. DeVry discounts the rate per credit hour by a full 58%. DeVry is already an affordable institution without this discount. Military members stacking these discounts with financial aid can get an affordable degree completely online.
8. Kaplan University
Kaplan University is another well-known online university. They offer a completely-online Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree. What sets the Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Kaplan University apart is that it offers several different “Emphasis Areas.” These allow the student to essentially tailor their degree to their goals. The Emphasis Areas offered are Auditing/Forensic Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Public Accounting and Tax Accounting. The total program is 180 hours. The Emphasis areas compose the final 24 credit hours of the program.
Kaplan also emphasizes teamwork, communication and collaboration. This is relatively unique among online degree programs. Some other online degree programs can make students feel like they are in a bubble or completely isolated. This is one of the major drawbacks of an online degree program. The fact that Kaplan attempts to compensate for that alienation indicates the strength of the program.
There is also a capstone project at the end of the program that is designed to apply the theories and concepts learned throughout the program. Capstone projects of this sort are fantastic additions to a resume or a CV. That can be a big help during the post-graduation job hunt.
The standard cost per credit for an online class at Kaplan is $371, but there are discounts, scholarships, and grants available. Corporate and Academic Partner Reductions are a particularly unique tuition reduction method offered at Kaplan. The University is partnered up with certain employers to offer discounted tuition for employees and their families.
Kaplan also caters very well to military personnel and their spouses. Active duty members can get up to a 55% reduction in tuition from Kaplan. A discount is also available to international students. Students who are not citizens of the United States are offered a 25% tuition reduction by Kaplan. That gives Kaplan University one of the lowest tuition rates for international students.
These factors indicate that Kaplan offers opportunities for tuition reduction to students seeking a bachelor’s degree. One of the additional perks Kaplan offers is a tuition reduction for alumni. Getting a bachelor’s degree at Kaplan may reduce the cost of a master’s degree from Kaplan by 20%. This is an excellent investment.
7. Penn State University, World Campus
Penn State is one of the most prestigious Universities in the United States. US News ranks it within the top 40 Universities. Other lists put it consistently in the top percentiles. The name recognition is perhaps the most significant benefit of the program at Penn State. It’s the largest University in Pennsylvania and is known worldwide. In fact, the online degree program is offered specifically through the World Campus. The program itself is a Bachelor of Science in Business Degree. Students must choose an “Option” during their completion of their degree. One of those options is Accounting.
Penn State is also quite affordable. In addition, the University offers tuition rates that are among the most straightforward on this list; the tuition costs page is only about a dozen lines. Most of the other Universities on this list have a labyrinth to navigate. Tuition at Penn State is $518 per credit hour for students with fewer than 60 credit hours. It is $559 per credit hour for students with more than 60 credit hours.
There are Financial Aid and Scholarship options as well. There are financial aid options available for military members at Penn State; however, they are not as extensive as the options available at DeVry or Phoenix. That can be almost completely insignificant when weighed against the name recognition that comes with a degree from Penn State. The Penn State University World Campus’s online Bachelor’s programs are rated as the third best by US News. Though this isn’t specific to the accounting degree, the seal is prominently displayed on the degree overview page. The rating is a strong indicator of a quality program.
6. Northeastern University
Northeastern University is also one of the best schools in the country. The online degree program for the Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting Management is run through the Boston campus. The US News ranks this particular campus among the top 50 Universities in the United States.
The program offered by Northeastern is geared largely toward students who may want to pursue advanced degrees in Accounting. It is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business because of the amount of control it provides students over their education. There is a core curriculum all students must take and an associate-level curriculum required to advance to the bachelor degree level. The student is in control from there. That can be guided toward either immediate employment or the pursuit of higher education.
The Northeastern University website estimates the total tuition for the program at $60,147. Note that the program requires 163 credit hours to graduate. This brings the per-credit-hour total down to $369. This amount is very affordable on its own; it almost compares to some community college rates. There are scholarships and financial aid available on top of that.
5. Walden University
Walden University is a completely online university. Because it is completely online, it has a global reach. That informs the curriculum of the program. Walden University is especially suitable for students seeking certifications in specific places or for specific things. That makes their Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree one of the most customizable on this list. It also puts the customization outside of the realm of education. Students at Walden who come in with a career goal can easily accomplish it without very much extraneous studying. This is what sets Walden apart from its competitors. Students work closely with advisers who have particular understanding of regional issues and specialize in helping people from all over the world. Advisers in other online programs are used to these issues as well; the difference is that this is one of the selling points of Walden.
The degree itself covers everything from the accountant’s role in an organization to the technical and functional expertise required by an accountant. There are two programs. There is a general accounting program and a Public Accountancy program. The Public Accountancy program is specifically geared toward students who are attempting to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam to get a CPA license. As with the specialty in dealing with regional differences, the specific focus on the CPA exam makes Walden University’s program unique.
There are certainly disclaimers all over Walden University’s website saying the responsibility ultimately lies with the student. They have disclaimers saying they can make no guarantee that completion of the program will make a graduate eligible to sit for the CPA exam.
Another unique feature of Walden University’s program is MobileLearn. This technology allows the student to listen to the program coursework on an MP3 player, access classrooms via iPhone, and other technological marvels that show that Walden University is absolutely on the cutting edge of online learning.
The bulk of the program is priced at $310 per credit hour. Walden University also offers financial aid, state grants, private loans, scholarships and fellowships. They also offer military discounts based on both the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Military members get additional tuition assistance as well. They are also eligible for the VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program. There is also a Yellow Ribbon Enhancement Program that covers costs not covered by the Post-9/11 GI bill. As with most of the programs on this list, military members can get an online accounting degree in a very affordable way by combining these methods.
Walden University is cheap for non-military members too in specific cases. It is important to weigh the benefits against the costs to understand why this is the case. If a student has specific regional needs or is seeking a program that is geared specifically toward the CPA exam, the program at Walden University is worth the cost even at $310 a credit hour.
4. Florida Institute of Technology
The Florida Institute of Technology offers two different types of online accounting degrees. There is an online Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a Specialization in Accounting. Both are available entirely online; they focus on different career goals. The BA in Accounting is largely geared toward to students who intend to become Certified Public Accountants (CPA) or Certified Management Accountants (CMA). It prepares students for careers in cost accounting, tax planning, auditing and other strictly accounting-based fields.
On the other hand, the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a Specialization in Accounting offers a broader business-based education that allows for education in all different disciplines of business and business management. Students learn about finances and accounting in addition to learning about management. This can be a more clear-cut bridge to a graduate degree in business. Florida Tech actually offers a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters of Accounting program online.
The undergraduate online programs at the Florida Institute of Technology are very affordable. The basic tuition rate is $495 per credit hour and may even be tax deductible. There are also great financial aid options available. Florida Tech claims that 9 out of 10 students who apply for aid qualify. Some students can qualify for up to $12,500 a year toward their undergraduate degrees.
Florida Tech also has special financial aid packages for both Florida residents and military personnel. Florida residents can qualify for the Florida Resident Access Grant. Active duty and active reserve military service members can reduce their tuition to $0 if they combine their military tuition assistance with Florida Tech’s military tuition aid. Florida Tech University’s Online program offers a special rate of $250 per credit hour to Active Duty, Select Reserves, National Guard service members and their spouses. They offer a 10% discount on undergraduate tuition to veterans and their spouses. That same 10% discount is available to the dependents of deceased or disabled veterans as well. With out-of-pocket undergraduate tuition reduced to $0, Florida Tech offers an online program that is almost an offer military personnel can’t refuse.
3. Colorado State University
Colorado State University’s Global Camus offers an Online Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. The goal for the program is lofty; the program description page directly states that the program will let students “learn to lead a corporation from a financial perspective.” It’s a largely theoretical program that focuses on understanding the theories behind accounting practices. This is particularly unique among other programs that may focus on practice rather than theory. There is also a capstone class called “Practical Applications of Accounting” that focuses on preparing students for the business world by applying everything taught throughout the program.
The school itself is well-known and highly ranked among various sources. Colorado State University is ranked #16 for Best Online Bachelor’s programs by the U.S. News and World Report. It is ranked #1 Best Online College by SuperScholar. These two rating scales take in many factors about the school. One of those factors is affordability.
The program is very affordable. The Online tuition rate at Colorado State University is $350 per credit hour. There are many finance options available for students. There are Military and Veteran benefits, financial aid, tuition deferment for employer reimbursement, payment plans and more. There are even scholarships available. Like Florida Tech, Colorado State University Global offers a special tuition rate to military personnel. The cost per credit for a Bachelor’s degree is reduced to $315 for military personnel and their families. The application fee is waived as well. CSU also offers veterans additional support through a specific scholarship for military members in addition to the discounted rates. That opportunity can make CSU a very attractive option.
2. Capella University
Capella University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business with an Accounting Specialization. The program caters to both students who may be fresh out of high school and to working professionals. It teaches all levels of strategies and techniques that are applicable to all sorts of business scenarios. They also offer graduate programs in accounting and other business fields. This includes a PhD in Accounting available online. The Bachelor of Science degree offers a good starting point.
It is also an affordable starting point. The tuition is tiered. The tuition for lower-level courses is $305 an hour. For upper level courses it is $360 an hour. As with most of the other programs on this list, there are financial aid options available. This includes scholarships and loans. Capella also offers Grants. New undergraduate students can apply for one of three different types of grants offered in addition to the Federal Pell Grant. The best part of these grants is that they do not ever need to be repaid. There are different requirements for the different grants, but they can help immensely. One of the grants, the SOPHIA Pathways for College Credit grant, can offer savings up to $13,725. Capella also offers a 10-15% military tuition discount to eligible students.
Students who are interested in pursuing a Master’s degree as well can benefit financially at Capella from their Combined Bachelor’s-to-Master’s degree option. This allows the student to complete master’s-level courses while working toward the bachelor degree. The master’s level credit hours are applied toward both degrees. This allows the student to save significant time and money.
1. Bellevue University
Bellevue University offers an online Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. The main goal of Bellevue’s program is to prepare students to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination. It does so by preparing students with a foundation in both theory and procedures in accounting.
Bellevue offers an option to pursue a Master of Business Administration through their 4+1 accounting program. The program allows seamless transition between the undergraduate Accounting degree to an MBA with an Accounting Concentration. All of the coursework is available online. This greatly reduces the number of hours needed in-residency to complete the undergraduate university and allows for early placement in the MBA program.
The school itself is well-reviewed among several sources. It is one of the top 20 Online Bachelor’s Degrees according to U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report also lists Bellevue as one of the Top 3 Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans.
Tuition at Bellevue University is $375 per credit hour for online classes. That is only a baseline tuition cost. Bellevue is explicitly committed to offering ways to manage the baseline tuition to make the college more affordable. The college has partnerships with some particular companies and organizations. As with other institutions, student loans can be used to offset some of the costs. There are also scholarships available.
The Admissions and Financial Services departments at Bellevue are also committed to ensuring that all transfer credits are recognized. They are also committed to ensuring that students do not end up taking more classes than they need. They will assist in planning the best streamlined educational path. They also offer refunds for students who drop out before the 60 percent point in the enrollment period.
Bellevue offers a work study option in addition to the scholarships, grants, loans, and reimbursements. This option is available for students who demonstrate financial need. Students may work up to twenty hours a week to earn extra money.
Bellevue’s financial department has an entire Veteran Services staff that works closely with veteran, active-duty and reservist students throughout the entire course of their educations. There are more than half a dozen different benefits available to military personnel through Bellevue University. The best part is that the Veteran Services department is devoted and committed to ensuring that military members are aware of these programs. Bellevue directly states that “from day one, serving Military students has been a top priority” of the university since its founding. This philosophy is what made it one of the top three universities for military veterans according to U.S. News. Bellevue also earned a top three ranking in the Military Times Best for Vets rankings in the Online and Non-Traditional School category. Military Advanced Education awarded Bellevue University the designation of a Top Military-Friendly University. Victory Media included Bellevue on its list of 2014 Military Friendly Schools. The school is affordable for everybody. Military members can benefit financially and otherwise.