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How to Get an Accounting Degree

Accountants and auditors have skills that people will always need. This is true whether the country is mired in a recession or experiencing economic prosperity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for accountants and auditors is set to increase by 13 percent from 2012 to 2022. Also, the bureau predicts that accountants and auditors can expect to earn $63,550 a year or $30.55 an hour. Before you will be able to break into this lucrative field, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree first.

Where Do You Want to Go to College?

You have the choice of earning your degree online or from a traditional college or university. In either case, the school you attend will need to be accredited. This means that your degree can be recognized by employers or other educational institutions if you decide to continue your education. An accredited school is one that follows standards set by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and assures everyone that you have a minimum set of skills.

What Courses Must You Take?

TAfter you are accepted to a college or university, you may be required to take around 120 credits of coursework to complete the program. Some of the required courses include Finite Mathematics, Principles of Accounting, Principles of Macroeconomics, Principles of Microeconomics, Fraud and Forensic Accounting, Cost Accounting, Federal Income Tax and Business Law. Some of the courses for your major will be in the upper division. For example, Federal Income Tax is an upper division course that you may take only after you have completed the introductory courses.

In general, you will complete 54 credits that will count toward your major. Another 41 credits will fulfill general education requirements, such as biology and writing. Lastly, you will complete about 25 credits in electives. The recommended electives for an accounting major include Federal Auditing and Advanced Accounting. Advanced Accounting is particularly important if you plan to become a Certified Public Accountant.

Receiving Your Degree

Once you have completed your coursework, you will be ready to graduate and receive your bachelor’s degree. Then, you can begin your search for a job as an accountant or auditor. However, you can increase your value if you become certified in one field of accounting, such as forensic accounting, cost accounting or tax accounting.

The last step is to apply for several rewarding jobs, including tax accountant, controller, business analyst and financial analyst.

Top Online Accounting Programs

Rank School FT to PT
Faculty Ratio
Fin. Aid Rate
Acceptance Rate Retention Rate Graduation Rate Accred.
Job Place. Rate
1 St. Catherine University

2004 Randolph Ave,
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55105

(651) 690-6000

4.24 to 1 99% 59% 83% 55% 98 0% N/A
  St. Kate's bachelor's degree in accounting combines the flexibility of an online education with the personal connections and attention of a more traditional setting. Through intensive core courses, entrepreneur internship and professional partnership programs, small class sizes, and one-on-one attention from expert faculty, students gain real-world experience, knowledge, and connections that help them secure jobs in their field shortly after graduation.
2 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

1 St Mary of Woods Coll,
Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana 47876-1099

(812) 535-5151

63.00 to 1 100% 64% 74% 62% 95 0% N/A
  Offered either strictly online or in hybrid format, the bachelor's degree in accounting, with strong roots in liberal arts, prepares students to adapt to the environment of organizations. The core courses in business and accounting ensure technical and professional competency, preparing graduates for a rewarding career.
3 Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

411 Central Methodist Square,
Fayette, Missouri 65248-1198

(660) 248-3391

1.05 to 1 100% 67% 72% 50% 99 0% N/A
  With most classes starting every eight weeks, Central Methodist University's online Bachelor of Accountancy degree provides students with a flexible program that will prepare them for a career in the accounting field. Some go on to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam, while others pursue graduate degrees in law or actuarial science.
4 Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Lincoln Drive,
Carbondale, Illinois 62901-4512

(618) 453-2121

6.84 to 1 40% 51% 61% 48% 101 0% 75%
  Southern Illinois University's online Bachelor of Science in Accounting program is designed to fit a busy life. The program is offered by the nationally ranked research university, and guided by syllabi and scheduling options. Students could complete their degree in as little as 18 months and still have time for family and work.
5 Saint Joseph's College of Maine

278 Whites Bridge Rd,
Standish, Maine 04084-5236

(207) 892-6766

1.17 to 1 100% 80% 76% 51% 53 0% 89%
  With the guidance of a personal academic advisor, Saint Joseph's College of Maine provides distance learning programs that fit your busy and full life. Their Bachelor of Science in General Studies: Accounting Specialization prepares students for the Certified Public Accountant Exam, the Master of Accountancy Program, and a career in the field.
6 Lakeland College

W3718 South Drive, Cth M,
Plymouth, Wisconsin 53073

(920) 565-2111

4.07 to 1 99% 60% 81% 46% 53 2% 98%
  Students pursuing an accounting degree online at Lakeland College have the freedom to determine which delivery method best suits their schedule on a week-by-week basis. With the ability to switch between taking classes fully online or in person, students receive a high-quality education that will prepare them to sit for certifying exams and instill an understanding of all aspects of this field.
7 Washington State University

French Administration Building,
Pullman, Washington 99164-5910

(509) 335-3564

2.57 to 1 50% 76% 82% 67% 96 4% N/A
  Students of Washington State University's online accounting degree program, which boasts specialized accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), will learn the skills needed to keep pace as the profession changes. They will be prepared to contend in the global market.
8 University of Minnesota-Crookston

2900 University Ave,
Crookston, Minnesota 56716-5001

(800) 862-6466

4.29 to 1 83% 73% 73% 47% 43 0% 86%
  The University of Minnesota's online Bachelor of Science in Accounting program provides 24/7 access to the courses needed to work in public, private, or governmental accounting. With courses in accounting, business, and liberal education, as well as Certified Public Accountant Exam preparation courses for college credit, U.M. Online provides an educational experience while instilling students with marketable skills.
9 University of Memphis

Southern Avenue,
Memphis, Tennessee 38152

(901) 678-2000

1.32 to 1 26% 62% 76% 40% 87 0% N/A
  Students enrolled in the University of Memphis's Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting online program are required to complete the core business courses to be eligible for graduation. This will make them knowledgeable in accounting's functional support of organizations and prepare them for a career at the global level.
10 Ottawa University-Ottawa

1001 South Cedar,
Ottawa, Kansas 66067-3399

(785) 242-5200

2.27 to 1 99% 96% 51% 40% 100 0% 50%
  Ottawa University offers small class sizes and a faculty dedicated to supporting learners from start to finish. The school's online accounting degree program will help students develop their communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills in a numerical context.