Online Accounting Degrees Home

Online Accounting DegreeOnline accounting degrees help prepare students to work in all levels of public and private accounting firms. If working with numbers, assessing financial operations, and making sure best money practices are followed in business, accounting may be your career field of choice. If you have a strong interest in revenue, and feel financial vested in outcomes within your place of employment, accounting is the path to follow. Accountants spend most days examining financial records, reducing costs, and improving profit margins in businesses, corporations, and organizations. The job requires a certain degree of detail and a passion for helping others with their finances. An online accounting degree opens doors to a wide variety of positions, including auditors, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), financial analysts, Certified Management Accountants, or Certified Fraud Examiners.

Featured Accounting Programs

1. Kaplan University – Online BS in Accounting
2. Colorado State University – Global Campus –  Online BS in Accounting
3. Post University – Online BS in Accounting

Online accounting degrees are available from private institutions and universities alike. To ensure the best possible academic and professional outcomes, students should enroll in accredited accounting programs, as recognized by the US Department of Education. Whether you are looking for a career as an entry-level accountant or plan to take the CPA examination, an online accounting program is the first step in pursuing a rewarding and successful career.

Featured Rankings

Below is a comprehensive list of the 154 accredited colleges and universities that offer online accounting degree, diploma, and/or certification options. Net cost information is taken from NCES College Navigator and may not include additional fees. Contact the institution to obtain the latest information for your program.

Links to Accounting Degree Programs

Online Accounting Schools A-C
Online Accounting Schools D-G
Online Accounting Schools H-L
Online Accounting Schools M-Q
Online Accounting Schools R-V
Online Accounting Schools W-Z


American InterContinental University

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Net Cost: $17,193
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

American Public University System

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Net Cost: $8,839
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate Accounting Technology, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Anne Arundel Community College

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Net Cost: $13,363
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Business Management Certificate, Associate in Financial Accounting

Ashford University

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Net Cost: $20,266
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Ashworth College

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Net Cost: Not Available
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Basics Professional Certification, Associate in Accounting

Athens State University

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Net Cost: $10,740
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Auburn University

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Net Cost: $17,014
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Baker College

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Net Cost: $12,987
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Bellevue University

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Net Cost: $9,370
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Benedictine University Online

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Net Cost: $20,078
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Business Administration in Accounting

Bowling Green State University

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Net Cost: $17,409
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accountancy

Brandman University (Online)

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Net Cost: Not available
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Accounting, Master of Business Administration – Accounting

Brigham Young University (Idaho)

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Net Cost: $8,148
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Broward College

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Net Cost: $8,174
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Certificate in Accounting Technology Management, Operations, Specialist; Associate in Accounting Technology

California Baptist University

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Net Cost: $25,144
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

California State University – Fullerton

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Net Cost: $6,885
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Accounting, Master of Accountancy

California State University – Sacramento

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Net Cost: $9,006
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accountancy

Capella University

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Net Cost: $12,816
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Business Administration – Accounting

Chadron State College

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Net Cost: $10,233
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Accounting

City University of Seattle

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Net Cost: $31,659
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting, Graduate Certificate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Clarion University

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Net Cost: $14,588
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, CPA Certificate

Cleary University

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Net Cost: $11,966
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Cleveland State University

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Net Cost: $16,255
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

College of Southern Nevada

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Net Cost: $7,428
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting

Colorado State University Global Campus

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Net Cost: $8,400
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Colorado Technical University

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Net Cost: $16,852
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Columbia College

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Net Cost: $11,759
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Columbus State Community College

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Net Cost: $5,513
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting

Community College of Vermont

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Net Cost: $9,708
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting

Concordia University – Portland

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Net Cost: $20,857
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Concordia University – Wisconsin

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Net Cost: $22,448
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Craven Community College

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Net Cost: $9,553
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting

Creighton University

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Net Cost: $27,057
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Dakota State University

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Net Cost: $13,790
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Dallas Baptist University

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Net Cost: $21,724
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Darton College

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Net Cost: $6,614
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Certificate in Accounting

DeSales University

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Net Cost: $27,943
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

DeVry University – Online

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Net Cost: $18,743
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Edmonds Community College

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Net Cost: $7,727
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Certificate of Accounting, Associate in Accounting

Emporia State University

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Net Cost: $11,296
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accountancy

Excelsior College

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Net Cost: Not available
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Fisher College

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Net Cost: $25,555
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Florida Atlantic University

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Net Cost: $13,614
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Florida Tech University

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Net Cost: $10,140
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Business Administration – Accounting

Fort Hays State University Online

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Net Cost: $11,207
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Certificate in Accounting

Franklin University

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Net Cost: $22,128
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Front Range Community College

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Net Cost: $9,643
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting

Gardner Webb University

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Net Cost: $21,661
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accountancy

Georgia Southern University

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Net Cost: $15,783
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accounting

Grand Canyon University

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Net Cost: $20,084
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Granite State College

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Net Cost: $14,025
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Grantham University

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Net Cost: $11,773
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Haywood Community College

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Net Cost: $10,465
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Accounting Diploma, Associate in Accounting

Herkimer County Community College

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Net Cost: $7,827
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting

Herzing University Online

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Net Cost: $19,199
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Independence University

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Net Cost: $21,885
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Business Management & Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Indiana Institute of Technology

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Net Cost: $21,889
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Indiana State University

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Net Cost: $11,151
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Indiana Wesleyan University

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Net Cost: $24,546
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

ITT Technical Institute

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Net Cost: $23,245
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Jones International University

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Net Cost: $15,455
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Kaplan University

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Net Cost: $16,220
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Certificate in Accounting, Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Keiser University Online

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Net Cost: $21,420
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accountancy

Keystone College

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Net Cost: $16,302
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Lansing Community College

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Net Cost: $6,298
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting

Laramie County Community College

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Net Cost: $7,464
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting

Liberty University Online

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Net Cost: $23,191
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Luzerne County Community College

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Net Cost: $5,358
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting

Miller-Motte College Online

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Net Cost: $21,298
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting

Misericordia University

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Net Cost: $24,545
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Mohave Community College

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Net Cost: $11,356
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting

Montana State University – Billings

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Net Cost: $11,126
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting

Morehead State University

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Net Cost: $10,119
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Accounting

National American University

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Net Cost: $11,913
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Business Administration – Accounting

New England College

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Net Cost: $28,996
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

New England College of Business and Finance

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Net Cost: $10,433
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Northcentral University

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Net Cost: $10,250
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Accounting, Doctoral of Business Administration – Accounting

Northwest Technical College

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Net Cost: $10,283
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting

Northwestern State University – Louisiana

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Net Cost: $7,950
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Northwood University – Michigan

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Net Cost: $16,012
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Nova Southeastern University

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Net Cost: $27,615
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Ocean County College

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Net Cost: $8,780
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate

Old Dominion University

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Net Cost: $12,753
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Accounting

Ottawa University Online

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Net Cost: $11,670
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Our Lady of the Lake University

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Net Cost: $16,129
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Business Administration – Accounting

Pace University

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Net Cost: $27,466
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Penn Foster College

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Net Cost: Not available
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting

Pfeiffer University

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Net Cost: $17,032
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Philadelphia University

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Net Cost: $28,159
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Post University Online

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Net Cost: $31,254
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Purdue University Main Campus

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Net Cost: $13,541
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accounting

Rasmussen College

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Net Cost: $10,764
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Regis University

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Net Cost: $23,873
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Rio Salado College

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Net Cost: $8,164
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting

Saddleback College

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Net Cost: $11,314
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate

Saint Leo University

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Net Cost: $17,624
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Saint Mary of the Woods College

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Net Cost: $15,685
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Shorter University

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Net Cost: $16,612
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accounting

South Texas College

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Net Cost: $1,483
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale

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Net Cost: $14,347
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Southern New Hampshire University

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Net Cost: $28,095
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Southern Polytechnic State University

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Net Cost: $10,562
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Southern Utah University

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Net Cost: $13,862
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accountancy

Southwestern College – Kansas

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Net Cost: $21,609
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accountancy

St. Catherine University

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Net Cost: $23,994
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

St. John’s University

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Net Cost: $28,503
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accounting

St. Petersburg College

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Net Cost: $7,695
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate

Stark State College

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Net Cost: $13,726
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate

State University of New York

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Net Cost: $13,370
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting, Master of Accountancy

Stetson University

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Net Cost: $21,975
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accountancy

Stratford University

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Net Cost: $24,640
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Accounting Diploma, Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Suffolk University

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Net Cost: $27,090
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Business Administration – Accounting

Sullivan University

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Net Cost: $23,386
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Syracuse University

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Net Cost: $28,917
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accounting

Tennessee Technological University

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Net Cost: $12,389
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Tennessee Temple University

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Net Cost: $14,876
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Accounting

Texas A&M University – Commerce

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Net Cost: $9,971
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accounting

Thomas Edison State College

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Net Cost: $13,596
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Trine University

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Net Cost: $23,046
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

Truett-McConnell College

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Net Cost: $16,010
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

Tulsa Community College

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Net Cost: $6,600
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting

University of Alabama – Birmingham

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Net Cost: $13,745
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

University of Connecticut

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Net Cost: $18,411
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Master of Accounting

University of Dallas

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Net Cost: $27,841
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Master of Accounting, Master of Business Administration – Accounting

University of Hawaii at Manoa

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Net Cost: $11,345
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Bachelor’s in Accounting

University of Hawaii at West Oahu

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Net Cost: $6,163
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Accounting

University of Louisiana at Monroe

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Net Cost: $7,162
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

University of Maine at Fort Kent

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Net Cost: $12,240
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

University of Maine at Machias

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Net Cost: $9,727
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business and Entrepreneurial Studies – Accounting

University of Maryland – University College

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Net Cost: $9,489
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate, Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

University of Massachusetts

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Net Cost: $19,120
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

University of Memphis Online

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Net Cost: $12,060
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accountancy

University of Michigan at Flint

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Net Cost: $10,442
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accounting

University of Minnesota Online

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Net Cost: $15,531
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

University of Minnesota at Crookston

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Net Cost: $11,817
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

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Net Cost: $15,132
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Business Administration – Accounting

University of Phoenix

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Net Cost: $10,191 (varies)
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

University of South Dakota

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Net Cost: $14,584
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Accounting, Master of Accountancy

University of Texas at Dallas

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Net Cost: $8,064
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master in Accounting

University of the Potomac – Washington D.C.

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Net Cost: $18,725
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Associate in Accounting, Bachelor’s in Accounting

University of West Alabama Online

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Net Cost: $13,231
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Accounting

University of West Florida

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Net Cost: $11,873
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate

Upper Iowa University

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Net Cost: $17,654
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Utah State University

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Net Cost: $11,379
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Economics – Accounting

Utica College

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Net Cost: $22,764
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Economic Crime Investigation – Accounting, Master of Financial Crime and Compliance – Accounting

Walden Univeristy

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Net Cost: $12,240
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accounting

Walsh College of Accountancy

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Net Cost: $12,375
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accountancy

Washington State University Online

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Net Cost: $16,278
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting

West Georgia Technical College

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Net Cost: $4,542
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Diploma, Associate in Accounting

West Virginia University Online

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Net Cost: $9,826
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Accounting Certificate

Western Governors University

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Net Cost: $10,058
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Western International University

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Net Cost: $20,304
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Bachelor’s in Accounting, Master of Accounting

Western New England University

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Net Cost: $29,070
Online Accounting Degree Programs: Master of Accounting

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Online Accounting Degrees Overview

Online accounting degrees can lead to successful positions in the field of accounting. Despite the fact that most accountants spend their wakeful hours poring over numbers, an accounting career does not involve as much mathematics as is commonly thought. Changes in technology have absorbed most of the complicated math problems and number crunching once required. Today, accountants spend their days preparing taxes and inspecting financial reports. They provide consultations and present financial models for all types of businesses and organizations.

Entry-level accounting positions are available to those who complete undergraduate accounting certificates. Online schools often offer graduate certification programs in specific areas of accounting. Such certificates are needed to work as a controller or business analyst. Associate degree programs provide general education courses within the liberal arts, while accounting bachelor’s degrees offer an in-depth study of the field.

Master’s degrees in accounting are offered online and typically include a course of study for the management or leadership-focused student. Programs include studies in advanced auditing, managerial accounting, and corporate valuation. Graduates of a master’s degree accounting program are prepared for managerial and leadership roles. Doctoral degrees in accounting require significant and compelling research in the field. A dissertation requirement helps prepare doctoral candidates for a rewarding career in accounting academia, as well as other high-level positions.

Finding Value in Online Accounting Degrees

Warren Buffet once said, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” Value is more than monetary worth; it is the importance and usefulness of what you receive. Often, the work you put in is what you get out. These principles hold true when finding value in your online accounting degree. While value may be subjective or mean different things to different people, your degree is worth whatever value you place upon it.

Potential employers value an online accounting degree. The degree is essential in landing an accounting job. Without a degree from an accredited college, you are generally not able step inside the door of accounting companies and organizations, especially the top tier accounting firms. Your degree or certificate helps pave the way for employment.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an expected job growth of 12 percent for accountants over the next decade. Accountants and auditors who have earned professional recognition, awards, and specialized training will have the best prospects in their field. Applicants with graduate degrees, such as a master’s or doctorate in accounting with specific concentrations and areas of focus may have an advantage over those who do not. Competition in the field is strong, especially at the prestigious and most-recognized firms. Globalization of business should help increase the demand for accounting experts at a national and global level, adding even more value to an accounting degree.

If you are concerned about obtaining your accounting degree online, experts recommend looking for brand identity. This means that schools with a brand recognition in your chosen field are credible choices. Investigate the awards and accolades won by the school you are considering attending. Is the program accredited, and if so, has it won any national recognition? If the answer is yes, then the school and program are worth attending because the institution has acquired a brand. Most universities and colleges with on-campus degrees are accredited and have receiving national rankings or awards.

Go into your program and school selection with eyes open. Try not to be blindsided by things that don’t matter. Accreditation, cost, and school recognition are critical when making the right choice on where to attend. Look for well-regarded schools that have been awarding degrees for decades, if not centuries.

Online Accounting Degrees and Accreditation

Not all online accounting degrees are equal. The largest difference between programs is accreditation. When choosing an online degree program, it is highly recommended that the college and program be accredited. According to the United States Department of Education, accreditation ensures that the academic program meets the educational standard when it comes to quality. Programs are either accredited at the state, regional, or national level.

A variety of accreditation types may apply to online accounting degree programs. Some schools are accredited for their entire programs, while others have specific programs that are accredited. For students who plan to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), accreditation with AACSB is highly recommended. Be sure to check your state requirements for accreditation before enrolling in an online accounting program.

Accreditation status is awarded to an online accounting degree program when the school submits its curriculum and faculty list to the accreditation agency for evaluation. The agency reviews the materials to see if the school and/or program meet its standards. Accreditation guarantees that the students enrolled in the program received the minimum requirements for education in the field. Many times employers will only accept degrees from accredited institutions.

Students pursuing their online accounting degree should research their school and program’s accreditation. Two resources for research include the USDE’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Accreditation does more than determine the quality of the degree and program. Students who enroll in an accredited program are assured they may transfer credits to other accredited institutions. Accreditation is also required for students to receive financial aid.

Online Accounting Degree Rankings

Online Associate’s Degree in Accounting

An online associate’s in accounting provides a stepping-stone for entry into the field. This two-year program provides students with the foundational knowledge and skills required to understand and execute business and financial management processes. Those who enroll in an online accounting associate’s degree program must have earned a high school diploma or the equivalent. To complete the program, students must earn a minimum of sixty to sixty-four credits, depending on the college’s curriculum standards.

For those with a passion for numbers and a detail-oriented bent, the job outlook in accounting is promising. Whether you receive an online accounting associate’s degree or acquire it at a traditional college, coursework is the same. Students learn how to estimate the value of equities and liabilities in business, prepare and apply accounting standards, incorporate cost accounting fundamentals into daily accounting practices, and implement critical thinking methods and solve problems in the field.

Students who graduate with an online associate’s degree in accounting become qualified and in-demand professionals. Today’s public companies and businesses, face increasing pressure to maintain accurate and highly transparent financial data and reporting. These factors, in addition to an aging workforce, contribute to a favorable career outlook for those receiving an online accounting associate’s degree. Career opportunities may include work as an audit associate, financial data analyst, junior staff accountant, or payroll administrator. Students with an online associate’s in accounting may also continue their education and pursue a bachelor’s degree, which will expand career opportunities even more.

Online Bachelor’s in Accounting

An online bachelor’s degree in accounting prepares students for employment opportunities, continuing education, and career advancement. Eligibility requirements for online bachelor of accounting programs include a high school diploma or GED with an emphasis in high school mathematics. If numbers are a passion, the pathway to accounting may be the field for you. Core accounting courses include economics, mathematics, and various accounting principles. The bachelor of science in accounting typically takes four years to complete and requires approximately 120 credit hours of school. Some specialized accounting programs that prepare students for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant examination may require 150 credit hours.

Graduates of an online bachelor of accounting program become skilled in taxation, information systems, budgeting, and audit analyses. Typical courses include financial management, cost accounting, and macro and microeconomics. To earn an online bachelor’s degree in accounting, students must complete the required general accounting and business classes, as well as general education studies in social science, humanities, and natural science.

Graduates with at least 150 credit hours may sit for the Uniform CPA examination. Upon passing the exam, candidates will become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The CPA program is not a requirement for accountants to become employed in most states; however, the CPA credential increases job prospects and improves candidacy appeal with employers.

Online Master of Accounting

An online master’s in accounting requires completion of a bachelor’s degree and an additional one- to two-year graduate program, depending on the school requirements. The program is designed for students with advanced understanding of accounting skills and topics. Online master of science in accounting programs include coursework in financial accounting, financial management, taxation, and auditing.

To complete a master of science in accounting online program, students must meet the standards of the college or university and the minimum 150-credit-hour requirement. This is also the minimum standard for students to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination. Example courses required of many online master of science in accountancy programs include federal taxation of business entities, fraud examination, and intermediate and advanced assurance services. Financial accounting and economics courses are often required. Through the coursework, students explore new ideas in accounting, delving deeper into the profession.

An online master’s in accounting program provides leadership and managerial training required for accounting career advancement. Most financial managers in the accounting field hold a master’s degree. According to a recent survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, securing desirable accounting positions requires a master’s degree and/or certification. Earning a master’s degree helps students meet the credit-hour requirement needed to complete for the CPA examination, or any other certification.

Many of the big six accounting firms, such as Ernst & Young or Deloitte & Touch require master’s degree levels in accounting, or at least highly specialized certifications, such as the CPA. To ensure you are qualified to pursue even entry-level employment at some of the nation’s top accounting firms, it is important to satisfy or exceed the educational requirements. A master’s degree in accounting or in business with an emphasis in accounting is the first step to take. Once you have received your degree, you are eligible to apply, depending on the criteria demanded.

Online Doctorate in Accounting

Accounting doctoral programs are available to students who desire expertise in the development and understanding of particular economic, business, and quantitative studies. These programs are research-based with a completion time of four to five years, depending on the school and program requirements. Online doctorate of accounting options are available to students who hold an accredited bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting or pertinent area of study, and have taken the Graduate Management Admission test. Score requirements vary depending on the program.

Core requirements also vary depending on the area of focus, program, and college. Traditional course requirements cover areas like accountancy, behavioral science and humanities, economics, and statistics. Core requirements are typically met within the first two years of the online doctorate in accounting program. As with all doctoral degrees, a dissertation project is required. Doctoral candidates choose a specific area of focus, such as taxation policy, auditing in business, or mathematical elements in accounting, and develop a research question. Students work closely with a faculty member and the research becomes the focus of study the remaining two to three years while working toward the degree.

Most students who earn a doctorate in accounting online pursue employment in academia. Accounting PhD programs prepare students for a career as a college or university professor or high-level management position within the corporate setting.

The accounting doctorate may be highly specialized or have a particular area of focus. Some in-demand areas of specialty include forensic accounting and taxation. With the growing demands on the IRS and government related crime specialists, forensic accounting is an expanding field. Forensic specialists working in accounting team up with law enforcement officials and government agencies to investigate white-collar crime. Tax evasion, money laundering, and fraud are all under the skill set umbrella of a forensic accountant.

Taxation is another highly specialized field of accounting. From tax law to corporate taxation, taxation accountants work on a wide variety of tax planning tasks. Tax specialists must adhere to state and federal regulations and make crucial decisions for the growth of the company. Tax accountants are relied upon from the highest officials within the company or organization. Tax accountants working in small business often help employers navigate contracts, comply with OSHA standards and rules, and add employees. Larger organizations rely on tax accountants to ensure international tax agreements are adhered to and in compliance with tax law. Global business strategies are a key component of the tax accountants job.

Online Certificate Programs in Accounting

Earning a certificate in accounting is an excellent way to earn advanced skills and prepare for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination. Accounting certificate programs are often offered at universities, colleges, or university extension programs. Requirements vary depending on the certificate and program. Some schools require a bachelor’s degree or a certain number of college credits, while others have no educational requirement.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that earning an accounting certificate helps set entry-level accounting position candidates apart when applying for the same job. The accounting certificate helps prepare the individual for the CPA examination and improves employment candidacy appeal.

A solid foundation in accounting principles and practices are taught in online certificate programs. Students develop and hone basic accounting skills that are desired by employers. Coursework and studies provide students with the ability to interpret and use financial statements, apply financial and managerial accounting skills, and learn to use common accounting procedures and practices. Earning an online certificate in accounting prepares students for entry-level accounting positions in nearly every industry.

Whether you are looking for entry-level employment in the accounting field or you are already in the field and desire to upgrade your skill set, an online accounting certificate will help you meet your goals.

Pay increases by up to 10 percent may be awarded with each certificate obtained, barring employer promises and rewards. If an accounting firm or organization already gainfully employs you, be sure to check with your human resource office to see if pursuing another certification may be considered ongoing education. In some cases, certifications are paid for by an employer contingent on terms. By gaining a certification within the accounting field you may open the door up to advancement and pay increase.

Becoming a CPA

The road to becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) is a serious of carefully followed steps. Most states require CPA candidates complete at least 150 semester hours of accounting study to become eligible for licensing. Approximately 120 hours are accrued via a traditional bachelor’s degree program. The additional required hours are often accrued through coursework completed in specific topics of accounting. Students may choose a fifth year bachelor’s program or continue education toward earning a master’s degree to satisfy eligibility for the CPA examination requirements.

Prior to taking the certification examination that is required to become a CPA, most state boards require two years of work experience. Aspiring CPA candidates must find work in private or public accounting firms or organizations. Duties of employment may range from reviewing and preparing tax returns, verifying financial documents, and assessing financial measures in an effort to reduce mismanagement of funds, products, or services.

Once the education and work experience requirements are satisfied, CPA candidates are eligible to take the certification examination. Four exams must be successfully completed in order to earn the CPA credential. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) designed the examination to test candidates on accounting skills, such as financial reporting and attestation. Once the first exam is completed, candidates must complete the remaining sections within eighteen months. The CPA license is earned when all exams are passed within the allotted timeframe.

Continuing education requirements are necessary in most states as mandated by law. CPAs must stay current with accounting laws and practices. Renewal requirements are met by completing continuing education coursework. The majority of coursework consists of skills and practices in the accounting field, but some states also require CPAs include ethics and standards as part of the continuing education requirements.

Some of the most recognized and notably prestigious accounting firms in the world require a CPA credential. Without a CPA certification, most of the top firms will not allow you in the door, even at an entry level. If you are unsure which certification or credential to pursue, a CPA is a safe and effective choice, especially if you want to expand your employment options or move up the ladder quickly. Many of the accountant jobs at top-level firms, such as Price Waterhouse, require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with in excess of five years experience, or a master’s degree in accounting with a CPA certification. A proven track record of success is demonstrated by acquiring a CPA certification, especially when experience is lacking.

Other Accounting Certifications

There are a variety of accounting certifications that assist accounting professionals in honing their current skill set and competency level. Earning an accounting certification helps demonstrate your level of accountancy understanding to prospective and current employers.

Below are some of the most popular certifications earned by accounting professionals:

Becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

One of the most popular accounting certificates, especially for those who desire management and leadership positions, is the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification. The CMA is different from the CPA in that CMAs generally do not work with the public. CMAs work directly with financial organizations and businesses, offering advice and consultation regarding financial issues, concerns, and practices that impact success. CMAs are consultants for all financial matters, including overspending, taxation, planning, budgeting, compliance, and ethics.

The Institute of Management Accountants administers a special examination for candidates who have earned an accredited bachelor’s degree in accounting, or related field. Candidates must have at least two years of experience working in management accounting, or some other area of financial management. The CMA examination is designed to identify accounting professionals with superior skills in financial decision-making, risk analysis, and internal controls.

The most important thing to consider before deciding if you want to become a certified management accountant is to examine how the credential will benefit you and your career. With a CMA certification, you demonstrate to your employer that you possess skills and abilities to handle difficult and challenging issues. Passing the examination shows that you are skilled to work in all areas of accounting. It demonstrates your ability to make concrete decisions and abide by the field’s code of ethics.

Becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

In the United States, the most common complaint among Americans is financial related. Most Americans struggle with finances and have very little ability to plan for their future. The financial planning profession is on the rise, according to Money Magazine. The expected job growth is an increase of 41 percent by 2016. Financial planners are certified professionals with expertise in money management, financial investments, and economic outcomes. The goal of the financial planner is to provide sound advice with respect to maximizing their client’s profits, while adhering to tax laws.

Since the certified financial planner (CFP) is trusted with client investments, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards bestows a certification to those who meet the requirements and demands of the profession. CFPs must earn at least a bachelor’s degree or meet the board’s equivalent education credentials. A candidate for the credential must have worked at least three years (6,000 hours) in a financial planning work environment and pass the CFP examination. All educational and work requirements must be completed before the candidate is eligible to take the exam.

The CFP examination assesses comprehension and understanding of financial planning situations and contemporary tax law. While the examination is multiple-choice, the applicant must showcase knowledge rather than simple memorization. Principal topics covered on the examination include general financial planning information, insurance planning, estate planning, investment planning, income taxes, interpersonal communications, and professional conduct and fiduciary responsibility. Candidates receive a preliminary pass or fail result upon completion of the examination, and while at the test site. Formal notification is sent within three weeks following the exam.

Becoming a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

A certified internal auditor (CIA) is an expert, typically hired by corporations, businesses, and organizations, to examine financial records and search for inconsistencies. Sometimes internal auditors are on the hunt for fraud, while searching for inefficient means of handling finances within the workplace. A CIA may recommend strategies for financial improvement and integrity and consult with key management personnel to assess the mishandling of funds.

The Institute of Internal Auditors provides the most widely recognized set of ethics and standards for the practice of internal auditing. The organization also issues the credential required to work as a CIA. Certification is awarded to individuals who demonstrate a superior and comprehensive understanding of internal auditing.

In order to be eligible for the CIA credential, candidates must have earned a postsecondary degree in accounting, or any related field of business, from an accredited university. Applicants must provide formal documentation of the degree earned and an official transcript detailing the courses taken and grades earned. Two years of work experience is required in order to receive the CIA credential. Candidates with a master’s degree are only required to complete one year’s work as an auditor. Once eligibility is met, the CIA exam must be taken. The examination is administered in four sections – audit engagements, business analysis, business management, and internal audit activity. Upon passing the examination, the CIA certification is issued.

Becoming an Enrolled Agent with the IRS

An enrolled agent for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a nongovernmental tax professional that is licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury to represent taxpayers in cases brought to the IRS. Enrolled agents assist clients during times of auditing, court appeal procedures, and collection services. A career as an enrolled agent requires superior-level understanding of taxation and tax law.

To be eligible for a career as an enrolled agent there are particular steps that must be taken. First, the candidate must file for a Preparer Tax Identification Number. Once received, an examination must be taken. The test is a Special Enrollment Examination, or SEE, which covers a wide range of contemporary tax regulations and issues. The examination is broken into three categories: Individuals; Businesses; Representation, Practices, and Procedures. As an alternative option to taking the SEE, candidates who have worked as tax professionals within the IRS for at least five years may apply to become enrolled agents. The work experience is in lieu of the examination requirement.

If a candidate is successful in the completion of the examination, or has satisfied the work experience option, they have met the requirement to work as an enrolled agent with the IRS. An application for Enrollment to Practice must then be submitted, along with the proper fee to the IRS. All candidates must undergo an extensive background check to ensure there are no tax liabilities on record. If the candidate passes the background check, they become eligible to work as an enrolled agent.

Becoming a Certified Governmental Financial Manager (CGFM)

Certified Governmental Financial Managers have earned a credential offered by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). While the credential is not needed to work in financial management, many who do, hold the certification. The CGFM credential tells employers that you have the professional training and expertise required to excel in the financial management career trajectory. It is a way to set you apart from competition in the job market.

Requirements to become a CGFM include a bachelor’s degree in any subject plus an additional 24 semester hours of coursework from an accredited college or university. Completed courses must include at least one of nine different fields indicated by the Association of Government Accountants. Such fields of study include accounting, budgeting, or public administration.

Candidates pursuing certification, as a governmental financial manager, must spend at least two years working in a government financial management position. The work experience is in addition to the educational requirements. Upon successful satisfaction of the requirements, candidates are then eligible to schedule a time to take the CGFM examination. The exam is a three part multiple-choice test designed to assess comprehension of government accounting and institutional practice as well as financial management. The tests are fee-based and administered by the AGA. Successful passing of the exams warrant an official award letter and certificate from the AGA. The award certifies the candidate as a Government Financial Manager.

Becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

A Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) is an accountant who spends much of their day investigating theft, fraud, or corporate scandal. The need for CFEs is on the rise, but the job requires a specialized set of skills. To become a CFE, candidates must be members of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and pass the CFE examination. The CFE exam is required and tests knowledge and expertise in the following areas:

  • Fraudulent financial transactions
  • Fraud prevention and deterrence
  • Investigation methods
  • Legal elements of fraud

After the certification headquarters receives a completed application, an online examination preparatory course is available. You may study independently or attend one of the study and review courses. Fees are required for the exam application. Questions on the CFE exam are pulled from the Fraud Examiners Manual, while the rest is taken from information found in the Corporate Fraud Handbook. Upon passing the examination, candidates are credentialed as Certified Fraud Examiners and eligible for employment in both government and private agencies. Most governmental agencies require certification and prefer advanced degrees in accounting.

Application for the CFE examination requires proof of your education and professional recommendations. Applications must be completed and received at least one month prior to taking the CFE exam.

Becoming a Certified Bank Auditor (CBA)

Bank auditors are accounting professionals that ensure that financial institutions follow federal banking guidelines and comply with auditing practices. These highly skilled professionals assist external auditors when needed, present audit results to management, and often supervise internal audits. Bank auditors have earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting or other related financial field, and have gained experience working in a bank regulatory agency.

Requirements to become a Certified Bank Auditor (CBA) include an earned bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field and experience working with auditors in a financial institution. Once education and work experience requirements are satisfied, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers an examination. The examination covers four categories, including auditing financial service products, processes, regulatory environment, and financial services auditing. Successful completion and passing of the examination is required to receive the certification.

Once certification is issued, it must be maintained. Professional development and continuing education is required each year. There are several ways to satisfy the requirement. The CBA may become a member of a professional organization, complete educational activities and classes, and read approved publications. The IIA may also require a character reference before awarding the initial certification. It is unlikely for additional character references to be demanded once CBA certification candidates pass the examination.

The Certified Bank Auditor Common Body of Knowledge sets the benchmark for the basic and core skills required of all bank auditors. An accountant with a CBA credential shows their peer and employers that they are credible with regulators and standards, and understand critical issues normally mastered by bank audits.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for bank auditors will likely increase by over 10 percent by the year 2022, with the majority of jobs expanding in California, New York, and Texas.

Becoming a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Receiving a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) credential assures employers that you are capable of assisting them in measuring and assessing information technology (IT) controls while maintaining a baseline set of auditing skills. The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) issues the CISA certification to applicants who have passed a comprehensive examination covering a wide variety of auditing and IT subject matter.

Before the candidate is eligible to sit for the examination, he or she must show a minimum of five years of experience working in one of six categories of employment. These areas of employment, also known as areas of expertise, include:

  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
  • Information Systems and Audit Process
  • IT Governance
  • IT Service, Delivery, and Support
  • Protection of the Information Assets
  • Systems and Infrastructure Lifecycle Management

Once the candidate fulfills the experience requirement, they are eligible to take the examination. Upon passing the exam, the candidate must comply with the ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics. Once complete, the candidate is eligible to receive certification. Continuing education and ongoing skills training is necessary to remain relevant in the field. Continuing Professional Education credits are required and CISAs must adhere to additional training each year. The ISACA offers information regarding continuing education requirements.

Additional Certifications

There are a number of other accounting certifications that may be earned, depending on your field of study and focus. Additional certifications include:

  • Accredited Business Accountant
  • Accredited Financial Examiner
  • Accredited Tax Advisor
  • Accredited Tax Preparer
  • Certified Bookkeeper
  • Certified Financial Services Auditor
  • Certified Forensic Accountant
  • Certified Quality Auditor
  • Certified Payroll Professional
  • Certified Professional Environmental Auditor

A 2014 Salary Guide published by Robert Half suggests that accounting professionals may increase their salary by as much as 10 percent, simply by acquiring an in-demand accounting certification. Of course you must be willing to step outside your current employer and pursue advancement in another firm, although statistics suggest advancement and increased income potential is likely within the current place of employment.

Some employers are willing to consider certifications as ongoing education. When this is the case, employers may be willing to pay the cost of obtaining a certification. Be sure to check with the human resources department at your place of employment to see if the certification qualifies as ongoing education.

Interesting Accounting Jobs In Unlikely Fields

An accounting degree does not lock you into the bookkeeping office surrounded by filing cabinets and paperwork. Today there are less traditional types of accounting jobs that are exciting, interesting, and financially lucrative. With a special interest in any one of the fields of accounting, you can land an on-the-fringe job that offers a high reward.

Entertainment Accounting

If you have a passion for finance but adore all things entertainment, why not work as an accounting specialist for a television or movie production company? As an entertainment accountant, you will oversee production budgets, offer consultation on over or under-spending, and adhere to copyright laws. Accountants in the entertainment industry also work in gaming and music, so if you are interested in either of these fields, your career may expand. The best way to get your foot in the door is to intern with an entertainment firm or begin at the entry-level and move up. A background in copyright law and royalties helps set you apart from the competition.

Environmental Accounting

With the increase in demand for companies to “go green,” an expansion in environmental accounting is gaining momentum. Environmental accountants typically work for large organizations or corporations to assist in profitability while implementing environmentally sound and eco-friendly compliance. Environmental accountants strive to meet standards set forth by governmental regulations. Common accounting jobs in the environmental field include industrial byproducts consultants, construction site accountants, and green building advisors. If you have a passion for recycling, leaving a small footprint on society, and look forward to cleaning up the earth, a career as an environmental accountant may be a rewarding one.

Forensic Accounting

The unique combination of finance and fighting crime has spawned the forensic accounting field of employment. This unique career allows accountants to work directly with law enforcement professionals and federal agents to investigate white-collar crime that deals with finances. A forensic accountant may work on a money laundering scam, embezzlement case, or security fraud investigation. The key component of the forensic accounting job is to track the flow of money to the criminal or illegal organization.

Career forensic accountants are often CPAs or those that have extensive background working with the government, law enforcement, or military. To set yourself apart from the competition, job seekers should acquire a bachelor’s degree in accounting and become a certified public accountant. A strong skill set in solving financial and analytical problems is favored.

Software Development Accounting

The information technology (IT) field is ever expanding. As a result, accountants are in demand to support software developers and manage finances. Time tracking and billing responsibilities are one of the more common job-related tasks of a software development accountant, although licensing, copyright, and audit laws are also addressed. Many software development accountants also work on specialized accounting programs and design for in-house software. If you have a background or interest in computers and programming, along with an accounting degree, this field may be a dream career.

Sports Accounting

For those passionate about the sporting industry and padded with the right accounting skills, a career as a sports accountant can bring long-term success. The professional sports industry uses accounting practices on a daily basis. Sports accountants handle various kinds of tasks that involve money, from setting ticket prices to overseeing payroll. Most employers hiring sports accountants look for candidates with an MBA and emphasis in accounting. Online degree programs that offer MBAs are helpful in acquiring the necessary education to work in the sports accounting field. Most sports accountants rave on the perks of working in the field. Game tickets and inside access to some of your favorite teams are just some of the rewards of working in sports accounting.

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