Explore career opportunities in accounting made possible with an online bachelor’s in accounting degree program. When you receive a bachelor’s in accounting, you may be eligible for a pay increase or promotion. If you’re working in another industry or not working yet, this degree can help you start a career in accounting. Learn more about this higher education opportunity with this helpful Campus Explorer guide.
What Is an Online Bachelor’s in Accounting?
An online bachelor’s degree in accounting equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary for entry-level positions in the accounting industry. A bachelor’s degree program typically takes four years to complete, though there are online accelerated programs that may be completed in less time.
When you study accounting, you prepare for a competitive career working as an accountant, manager, business owner, or other position in a stable industry. Here are some common roles that you can consider as you study online:
- Tax accountant
- Certified Public Accountant, or CPA
- Management accountant
- Personal finance advisor
- Financial analyst
Some positions, like a CPA, require additional certification and training. The exact coursework can vary between bachelor’s degree programs. As an accounting major, you can expect to take classes in auditing, business ethics, taxation, and related topics. You should be comfortable with numbers but typically use computer software to make complex calculations.
You can study accounting through a range of online programs. Consider the pros and cons of a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Bachelor of Arts in Accounting, or Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. A Bachelor of Arts degree usually offers more flexibility and elective options. Bachelor of Science degrees tend to focus more on the specific skills and training needed for a career in this field.
Most accountants and other accounting professionals prepare and review financial statements. Some work in government settings, while others work in corporate offices, non-profit organizations, or are self-employed. Most positions are full-time in an office setting, although some accountants can travel to clients’ businesses or work remotely. Accountants who specialize in taxation have busier seasons to prepare for quarterly audits and tax season.
Consider a career in accounting if you’re passionate about organization, detail-oriented tasks, and clear communication. Accountants must work ethically to review finances and advise business owners on a wise choice for investing and tax preparation.
How Much Does a Bachelor’s in Accounting Cost?
According to U.S. News, a typical online degree costs about $300 per credit. Most programs require approximately 120 credits. A typical total cost for a degree is between $40,000 and $100,000.
Costs vary depending on the school you choose. Private colleges tend to cost more than public ones. In-state tuition can also be significantly lower than tuition for individuals who aren’t residents of the state or county.
Scholarships, grants, financial aid, and in-state tuition reductions can all lower the total cost of an online bachelor’s degree in accounting. Online programs, on average, are less expensive than similar on-campus programs. They can also have more flexible schedules, allowing you to work part-time or full-time while taking classes.
If you’ve already completed some college courses or have an associate’s degree, then you may be able to use that experience toward your accounting major. Ask about how your previous credits may transfer and apply to your program.
Average Salary for a Bachelor’s in Accounting
Most entry-level accounting positions require a bachelor’s degree. The median annual salary for accountants and auditors was approximately $73,600 in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS.
There are many other related positions that have competitive pay and job outlook. Tax examiners and collectors, for example, earned a median annual pay of $55,600 in 2020. Budget analysts earned approximately $79,000 in 2020, according to BLS.
A bachelor’s in accounting degree gives you a competitive application for many of these entry-level positions. Some higher positions require years of experience and may require a master’s degree or other training. A few, like tax examiners, require moderate on-the-job training.
If you’re considering a career as a CPA, a bachelor’s degree is the first step. The CPA Exam requires 150 credits, so you may need to complete an additional year of classes to sit in on the test. Consider a master’s in accounting or post-baccalaureate CPA program to prepare for a career as a CPA.
What Is the Job Outlook for Bachelor’s in Accounting Holders?
Most careers in accounting are growing as fast or faster than the national average from 2019 to 2029, according to BLS. The job outlook for accountants and auditors is about 4% growth, while the number of financial analysts is expected to grow by 5%.
Accounting is an excellent field of study if you enjoy working with numbers. Assist individuals, corporations, or government offices in creating budgets, compiling reports, and financial planning. Accountants, auditors, and financial analysts work in a variety of office settings and financial situations, so you can choose the work environment that fits your personality.
Consider this career if you’re interested in a stable job with long-term growth and a comfortable work situation. Self-employed accountants and financial advisors create their own schedule and set their own rates, so you can enjoy a flexible job to fit your lifestyle.
A bachelor’s degree opens the doors to further education and advancement opportunities. Combine a degree with years of experience in the field to create a competitive application for management positions or raises for your current position.
Courses in Bachelor’s in Accounting
Expect to take a broad range of courses in accounting, finance, and business fields. Most bachelor’s degree in accounting programs include courses in the following areas:
- Auditing: Explore the audit process and find out how to perform risk assessments and audit reports. Successful auditing requires critical thinking and complex decision-making processes.
- Taxation: Whether you’re planning on working with the IRS or in a private corporation, you need to understand tax laws. Explore your obligations and options in legally filing taxes or analyzing tax reports.
- Managerial accounting: Accountants need to analyze financial information and make decisions about cost modification and extraction based on that information. This course is particularly beneficial for managers and entrepreneurs.
- Business ethics: Learn about ethical requirements and standards in the field of accounting in this course.
- Cost management: Similar to managerial accounting, this course helps you set competitive costs for products. You’ll also find out how to predict business expenses to ensure your business model is sound.
- Mathematics: Mathematics underscores the entire field of accounting. For more complex financial equations, a solid grounding of mathematics can be particularly helpful.
You will need to be comfortable working with numbers and working on detail-oriented projects. Your new career will likely feature heavy use of accounting software, so technology skills are also important.
A bachelor’s degree, particularly a bachelor’s of arts degree, offers you many opportunities to personalize your program. Looking to focus on taxes? Fascinated by organizational strategies? Tailor your coursework to reach your learning goals.
Consider your interests in the field of accounting as you look for online courses. Some schools offer degrees focused on a particular field, like auditing, while many others offer a broad range of coursework as you search for your career path in the broad and exciting industry.
Some of the most common courses that people studying accounting take include:
FAQs on Online Bachelor’s in Accounting
Core Takeaways for an Online Bachelors in Accouting
- Standard and accelerated accounting programs available
- Programs can typically be completed in 36-48 months
- Popular concentrations include public accounting and managerial accounting
- Degree program can be completed completely online
- Standard 120-credit program brings you close to the 150-credit requirement for CPA exam
- The field of criminal justice is growing so the job outlook is good.
- Provides essential training for accountants and personal finance advisors
- Can be completed in 36 months in an online, accelerated program
- Prepares students for a number of careers in the accounting industry
- Offers opportunities for the high-growth accounting industry
- Degree holders can qualify for many high-paying, entry-level positions
- Programs can cost as little as $40,000
- Costs are highly variable from school to school
- Scholarships and other support opportunities are available for accounting students
- Online programs typically cost less than on-campus ones
- Accelerated programs offer an affordable alternative