Why Should I Pursue an Accounting Degree?
Aspiring accountants: we’ve done the math for you by determining the top 30 accredited online accounting college degree programs. Now, all you need to do is choose, and you’ll be on your way to one of the most in-demand professions.
At the heart of any successful business is a reliable accountant, and knowing the ins-and-outs of a company’s finances pays. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors earn an average salary of $70,500, while the top 10% of earners took home an average annual salary of $122,840 in 2018. Even better, accountants enjoy a high level of upward mobility, according to U.S. News & World Report. This means a degree in accounting can open doors to countless possibilities.
What Careers Does an Accounting Degree Lead To?
According to the BLS, accountants held 1.4 million jobs in 2018. As a public accountant, you might work for a large accounting firm, helping corporations prepare financial records for their investors or advising them on tax matters. As a private or management accountant, you’d work within an organization, preparing financial information that helps determine budgets and overall strategies.
Government accountants keep track of governmental agencies’ expenditures. They also audit private corporations and citizens, ensuring that they adhere to government standards and taxation laws. Forensic accountants investigate financial crimes, providing key insight for prosecutors at trial.
Why Earn an Accounting Degree Online?
Successful careers in business demand a quality education, but work experience is also highly valuable. Online degree programs let you add both to your resume at the same time, all while bringing home a paycheck. You don’t have to be a math whizz to understand that two (a degree plus years of experience) is more than one.
What Are the Best Accounting Degrees?
Accredited Online Colleges uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online Colleges considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. To learn more, visit our methodology page.
Business-minded students learn the value of networking early on. Enroll at Pennsylvania State University, and you’ll be joining a network of more than 692,000 alumni. Not only does this institution have the largest alumni association in the world, but Penn State also ranks at No. 8 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. This list takes into account a university’s graduation rates for online students and the quality of its faculty and support services.
Through Penn State World Campus, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Accounting online. This is one of the few online programs to be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Penn State’s 120-credit-hour Bachelor’s in Accounting prepares graduates to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. Students are encouraged to work with an advisor to tailor their course of study to their specific goals.
Ranked at No. 23 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, Washington State University Global Campus allows students from around the world to earn a degree from this respected university. And the Cougars not only live across the globe, but they like to explore it too. WSU offers more than 500 study abroad programs on all seven continents.
As an online accounting major in the Carson College of Business, you’ll get to take advantage of WSU’s strong global presence. This Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration requires a six-credit international experience. Students fulfill this requirement by studying abroad, interning internationally, or completing a course focused on global business practices.
WSU’s 120-credit-hour BBA with a major in Accounting is one of only seven programs in the Pacific Northwest to be accredited by the AACSB. In addition to accounting courses, the curriculum includes 18 credits of core business classes.
American Public University was founded on a mission to provide U.S. service members with the flexibility they need to continue their education. Today, 80% of its students are active-duty military and veterans. These students benefit from reduced tuition rates and potential transfer credits for their military experience. Military or civilian, 72% of students graduate without incurring debt from credits earned at APU.
APU offers aspiring accountants a fully online Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Accredited by the AACSB, this program requires 120 credit hours. Courses are delivered in an eight-week format, with new courses beginning each month. Students cover topics like law for accountants, governmental and not-for-profit accounting, and introduction to payroll.
As an APU accounting student, your capstone experience will allow you to put what you’ve learned into practice. You’ll undertake a research project that addresses an auditing or accounting issue by using real-world industry examples.
As a faith-based institution of higher education, Liberty University employs a mission to train “Champions for Christ” in all of its academic programs. This university is also committed to making a college degree affordable. Liberty’s undergraduate tuition rates have been frozen for the past four years. Additionally, electronic textbooks are free at Liberty, saving students up to $2,000 each year.
Liberty’s Bachelor of Science in Accounting is an entirely online degree program delivered in eight-week courses. On average, students take three and a half years to complete this AACSB-accredited program. Helping to speed up students’ academic journey is Liberty’s generous transfer credit policy. Here, you can transfer in up to 75% of the degree’s required 120 credit hours.
In addition to accounting classes, Liberty’s students take coursework in business topics like corporate law, operations management, and strategic marketing. All classes are taught by professors with professional experience, providing key on-the-job insight.
Today, Temple University’s reputation for academic excellence extends nationwide, ranking at No. 44 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools. Temple started, however, as a night school, helping Philadelphians advance their education after the workday ended. Remaining true to this beginning, Temple’s AACSB-accredited Fox School of Business offers a fully online Bachelor of Business Administration with an Accounting major.
Success in business often requires excellent people skills. At Temple, you’ll have the flexibility to earn your degree online, but you’ll also have opportunities to form key relationships with your fellow accountants-to-be. Students partake in weekly, real-time virtual discussions with peers and professors. Most coursework, however, is delivered in an asynchronous format.
In addition to a traditional 15-week semester format, Temple offers accelerated seven-week sessions in the fall and spring and six-week sessions in the summer. This means students can earn their bachelor’s in as little as three years.
Bellevue University is located on a picturesque campus just outside of Omaha, NE. Serving 9,000 students, Bellevue’s online programs provide global access to this private institution’s close-knit community.
Bellevue delivers its Bachelor of Science in Accounting both online and on-campus. This 127-credit-hour program is an excellent option for students who foresee a master’s degree in their futures. As an accounting major, you can get a head start on a Master of Science in Accounting by taking up to 12 graduate-level credits.
Bellevue’s Bachelor’s in Accounting is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). The curriculum is divided into 36 general education, 72 major, and 19 elective credit hours. Here, you also have the option to pursue an accountancy internship or specializations in Business Finance or Tax Accountancy. A requirement for all Bellevue undergraduates is the Kirkpatrick Signature Series, courses focused on American values and the importance of active citizenship.
The Florida Institute of Technology calls Florida’s “Space Coast” home. Situated in Melbourne, under an hour away from Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center, Florida Tech was originally founded to educate students interested in planetary science and space exploration. Today, the university’s strong academic reputation stretches far beyond to include all STEM fields. Become a Florida Tech Panther, and you’ll join ranks with astronauts and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
Florida Tech offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Accounting accredited by the IACBE. This program is designed to prepare graduates for the CPA or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exams.
As a Florida Tech student, you’ll undertake a 121-credit-hour curriculum covering topics like auditing, individual federal income taxes, and accounting information systems. You can access your coursework at any time and from anywhere. However, your professor will set deadlines for weekly assignments and discussions.
At Colorado State University Global, graduates get a 4:1 return on their investment. In other words, they get $4 in salary and benefits for every dollar spent on a CSU Global degree. Future accountants need to like math, and that’s some easy math to appreciate! Moreover, CSU Global ranks at No. 11 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
Here, you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Accounting entirely online. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP). You’ll complete 120 credit hours to graduate, and up to 90 of these can be transferred in from another four-year institution.
CSU Global’s curriculum includes 51 core accounting credit hours, covering subjects like business intelligence in taxation, auditing, and forensic accounting. Students have the option to complete a three-credit practicum to gain hands-on experience in a business setting.
Founded by a veteran U.S. Navy captain, National University is committed to helping U.S. service members advance their education. As a Yellow Ribbon School, National allows veterans to earn a degree at little to no cost. Additionally, active service members and their families receive reduced tuition. This military-focused private institution has several locations on bases and its main campus in San Diego.
NU’s online Bachelor of Science in Accountancy is a great option for students who plan to earn a Master of Business Administration in the future. The university offers a transition program, allowing undergraduate students who are within six courses of graduating to begin taking MBA classes as electives.
NU’s classes are delivered in four-week units. Students focus on mastering one topic before moving onto the next. The Accounting major is comprised of 11 courses, covering material like auditing, taxation, and accounting ethics.
Become a Boilermaker by enrolling at Purdue University and earn a degree from U.S. News & World Report’s No. 18 Top Public School. Purdue prides itself on graduating students with a strong work ethic and innovative spirit. In 2017, this university led online education to new heights by acquiring longtime industry leader Kaplan University to create Purdue Global.
Through Purdue Global, students can pursue an ACBSP-accredited Bachelor of Science in Accounting online. This 180-credit-hour program is delivered in ten-week terms. On average, Purdue’s online students study between 15-18 hours each week. This program offers concentrations in four types of accountancy: Auditing/Forensic, Managerial, Public, and Tax.
With monthly start dates, you can begin your Bachelor’s in Accounting right away. Better yet, Purdue Global offers a free three-week introduction to its virtual undergraduate courses. This trial can help you determine if online learning is right for you.
Headquartered in Boca Raton, FL, Florida Atlantic University has campuses up and down Florida’s stunning southeast coast. However, more impressive than a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean is FAU’s in-state tuition rates. To earn an online Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting at this university, you’ll pay just $201 per credit.
FAU’s College of Business is accredited by AACSB, and its online BBA program utilizes the same curriculum and accomplished instructors as its on-campus counterpart. FAU’s accounting students earn 120 credit hours to graduate, completing general education requirements, core business courses, and the Accounting major.
FAU offers 28 combined bachelor’s-to-master’s programs, making it a good option for those interested in graduate-level studies. Its Master of Accounting and Master of Taxation programs are designed to help students fulfill the CPA examination requirements in Florida. This state, along with many others, requires 150 credit hours before students can sit for the exam.
Southern Illinois University offers the only accredited online completion program for aspiring accountants in Illinois. Both SIU’s program and the College of Business have been given the stamp-of-approval from the AACSB.
Not only will an SIU education help you fulfill the educational requirements for Illinois’ CPA exam, but it will also teach you what a “Saluki” is (spoiler alert: it’s a dog!). SIU’s Saluki mascot is one the most unique around.
SIU’s Bachelor’s in Accounting is a degree-completion program. Students must enter the program with 60 transferable undergraduate credit hours. Its curriculum is comprised of 20 eight-week courses, totaling 60 credit hours. Students choose to take one or two courses at a time, completing their degree in as little as 18 months. This program is taught by the same faculty members who teach on campus, and the tuition rate is the same no matter where students live.
At the University of South Dakota, students get all of the benefits of a big institution, like joining an alumni network of more than 70,000, without the fear of getting lost in the crowd. This university has a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Accredited by the AACSB, the USD Beacom School of Business offers an online Master of Professional Accountancy to prepare students for the CPA exam. This 30-credit-hour program helps students with undergraduate degrees reach the 150-credit-hour requirement that many states have enacted for the exam.
As a USD student, you’ll take 21 credit hours of core, advanced accounting courses. Then, you’ll choose to complete your degree in one of three ways: by writing a thesis, by undertaking electives, or by completing an internship. You also have the option to add a specialization in Accounting Analytics, which will teach you how to use data to make well-informed accounting decisions.
If you want to switch to an accounting career, then Auburn University can help you reach your goals. Auburn’s online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Accountancy is intended for students seeking a second degree. This program helps students fulfill the CPA exam’s educational requirements in only five semesters or 30 semester hours of study.
Auburn’s online BSBA is AACSB-accredited, and program participants will have a near-identical experience as on-campus students. That’s because each accounting class is recorded, and online learners have the option to either stream the video live or watch at a time that works with their schedules.
A degree from Auburn comes with clout. This university is ranked at No. 44 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools. Moreover, Auburn’s Master of Accountancy students have an 85% pass rate on the CPA exam. That’s far above the national average, which is typically around 50%.
Based in the Magic City, the University of Alabama Birmingham’s online degree programs perform some magic of their own. Here, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Accounting without setting foot on campus!
UAB’s Bachelor’s in Accounting is provided through the AACSB-accredited Collat School of Business. This program is ideal for students pursuing a career as a private or management accountant. The Institute of Management Accountants endorsed its curriculum for preparing graduates to succeed on the CMA exam.
This Bachelor’s in Accounting is delivered entirely online, and 95% of the business school’s classes are offered both online and on-campus. This means that if you live nearby and want to have some traditional classroom experiences, you’ll have that opportunity. You’ll complete 120 credit hours to graduate, undertaking a mix of general education requirements, lower- and upper-level business courses, and 24 credit hours in the Accounting major.
Dream of starting your own business? If so, Old Dominion University might be the school for you. Centered in Norfolk, VA, this university prides itself on its entrepreneurial drive. Its Strome Entrepreneurial Center provides key resources to those who want to start their own companies.
Through ODU Online, students can complete their undergraduate studies and earn an Accounting Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. This degree completion program requires that students take at least 30 credit hours through ODU’s Strome College of Business. Accredited by the AACSB, ODU’s accounting coursework is delivered through live, synchronous online courses, and it follows a regular academic calendar.
If you’ve completed credits within the Virginia Community College System, then transferring into Old Dominion University is a breeze through its Guaranteed Admission Agreement. Additionally, if you plan on pursuing a Master of Business Administration, ODU can give you a heads start with its MBA Early Entry program.
The University of Toledo’s College of Business and Innovation boasts a 90% job-placement rate for its graduates. The process of securing a job is made easier for UToledo’s accounting students through its Alan Barry Accounting Lab. This departmental resource provides free materials, tutoring, and software for students preparing for the CPA or CMA exams.
AACSB-accredited, UToledo’s College of Business and Innovation offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. In this program, students focus their first two years of study on general education requirements before turning to their upper-division coursework. In addition to gaining a well-rounded understanding of business principles, like financial management, marketing, and manufacturing, students take at least ten courses in accounting.
At UToledo, 85% of business students undertake an internship. This can also be part of your plan of study, and regular job fairs will give you the opportunity to network with more than 100 employers.
Situated outside Tampa, FL, Saint Leo University is the oldest Catholic university in the state. Guided by its Benedictine tradition, Saint Leo emphasizes personal development in addition to supporting its students’ academic achievements. For example, all of Saint Leo’s students take a course in personal health and wellness as part of their general education requirements.
Saint Leo’s ACBSP-accredited School of Business offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Accounting taught by professors with years of industry experience. Here, students greatly benefit from faculty members’ impressive professional networks. Every summer, faculty members have helped students secure internships with Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, or PricewaterhouseCoopers, often called the “Big 4” accounting firms.
This bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours, 27 of which are within the major. You’ll undertake courses in auditing, accounting information systems, and international accounting. You’ll also take core business courses in topics like macroeconomics, statistics, and business law.
Founded in 1947, the University of Maryland Global Campus has served the U.S. armed forces by offering flexible degree programs to students juggling their studies with several competing responsibilities. Today, UMGC’s programs are ideal for any working adult who wants to earn a degree while continuing to take home a paycheck. Here, the median age for U.S.-based undergraduate students is 30.
At UMGC, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in accounting, completing 120 credit hours to earn their degree and fulfill the educational requirements for Maryland’s CPA exam. This major requires 36 credits or 12 courses delving into topics like fraud and forensic accounting, accounting for government organizations, and internal auditing.
With more than 140 locations worldwide, UMGC is a great option if you are seeking a hybrid program. This degree can be earned entirely online, but you also have the option to take in-person courses.
The University of Minnesota Crookston is one of five campuses that make up the esteemed University of Minnesota System. Here, students benefit from this public institution’s reputation while getting a personalized education. U of MN Crookston enrolls approximately 1,800 students, half of whom study online.
The U of MN Crookston’s Department of Business is ACBSP-accredited. It also has a valuable partnership with Gleim CPA Review that saves its students time and money. Through this relationship, accounting students can earn credit hours for CPA Exam Preparation courses. Four review courses are available in regulation, financial reporting and accounting, auditing and attestation, and business environment and concepts. Each consists of three credits.
U of MN Crookston’s online Bachelor of Science in Accounting requires 120 credit hours, 60 of which are in the major. While an internship is not required, it is recommended. Students can earn up to 12 credit hours for this hands-on experience.
Visit some of the most exciting companies across the country and you are likely to find a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst there. From NASA and Google to Broadway and Fenway Park, UMass’ more than 103,000 alumni work across the globe. What unites them is a degree from this impressive institution, ranked at No. 24 on U.S. News & World’s list of the Top Public Schools. UMass also holds the No. 23 spot on the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
The Isenberg School of Management offers an AACSB-accredited online Master of Science in Accounting that can be earned in as little as two semesters. This 30-credit program helps students fulfill Massachusetts’ 150-credit-hour requirement for the CPA exam. While students need a bachelor’s degree to apply, that degree does not need to be in accounting.
Enroll in the UMass accounting program and you’ll join the ranks of more than 10,000 accounting alumni.
Established in 1858 in McMinnville, OR, Linfield College is one of the oldest private institutions of higher education on the West Coast. And with over two decades of experience in online coursework, this college was at the forefront of distance education. Here, you can earn a Bachelor’s in Accounting entirely online, taking advantage of Linfield’s 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio from anywhere in the country.
Linfield’s Accounting major is comprised of 14 core courses. These cover specific topics in accounting while also giving students a broad understanding of business principles through classes in economics, organizational behavior, and strategic management, for example.
Linfield also has an online accounting certificate for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree. This requires six four-credit classes and can help graduates make a career switch to accounting.
Enroll at the University of Connecticut, and you’re likely to come down with “Huskymania.” The Huskies are known to dominate in the classroom and on the court. UConn is U.S. News & World Report’s No. 24 Top Public School, and it has won 15 national championships in women’s and men’s basketball.
At UConn, you can earn a Master of Science in Accountancy accredited by the AACSB. Moreover, the United States Distance Learning Association recognized this program for utilizing best practices in online education. UConn’s MSA program is delivered in an asynchronous format. Weekly modules dive deeply into one topic at a time, and professors prioritize collaborative learning through discussion boards.
As a UConn accounting student, you’ll undertake ten courses, eight of which are accounting electives that you choose from 17 available classes. This allows you to customize your plan of study to your specific professional goals.
Based in Trenton, New Jersey, Thomas Edison State University was established in 1972 for the express purpose of serving mature adult students. Today, this public university holds true to that founding mission. With an average student age of 35, it offers more than 30 online undergraduate degree programs.
Accredited by the ACBSP, Thomas Edison’s School of Business and Management offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting. This degree requires 120 credit hours, including 60 general education credits, 36 professional business credits, 18 accounting credits, and six electives.
Thomas Edison’s accounting students can also pursue a CPA & Master’s Track. This program grants students up to six credit hours for passing the CPA exam. These credit hours are then applied to a Master of Science in Management, which focuses on leadership in accounting.
Become a University of Memphis Tiger and earn your undergraduate degree from U.S. News & World Report’s No. 52 Best Online Bachelor’s Program. At UofM Global, there is no distinction between online and on-campus degree programs. Each is taught by the same respected faculty and utilizes the same rigorous curriculum.
UofM’s Fogelman College of Business & Economics is the only business school in Memphis accredited by the AACSB. It offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration with an Accounting major.
As a UofM accounting student, you’ll undertake 120 credit hours. In addition to seven core accounting courses, you’ll choose an elective focused on topics like advanced financial reporting, accounting ethics, or international accounting. Also, you might get a head start on your degree through UofM’s Prior Learning Assessment program, gaining transfer credits from work experience, military training, or standardized testing, for example.
In the 1990s, a group of U.S. governors came together looking for a way to drive growth in their states. Realizing that higher educational attainment correlates to higher salaries, they established Western Governors University as their solution. Committed to adult learners, WGU focuses on flexible degree programs designed with working students in mind.
At WGU, students can earn an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting accredited by the ACBSP. This degree program is comprised of 41 courses. Career-focused through and through, all of the general education requirements for this bachelor’s degree are chosen with the accounting field in mind.
A majority (i.e. 62%) of WGU’s graduates earn their degrees in just 36 months. To finish the program, you’ll undertake a capstone project that uses case studies to address a real accounting issue at a real organization.
Seattle is ripe with employment opportunities, from Boeing and Starbucks to Amazon and Microsoft, and every company needs accountants. Enroll at City University of Seattle, and you’ll have the opportunity to network with alumni who are employed at these world-leading businesses.
CityU’s online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration mirrors the innovative drive of Seattle. This 180-credit-hour online program is one of the first to require a course in artificial intelligence business applications. The BSBA also offers a specialization in Data Analytics, which is a trending business priority.
As a student at CityU, you’ll take courses in financial accounting, and you can also choose to undertake a specialized study to focus on your accounting interest. City also offers a 15-credit online graduate certificate in accounting, preparing graduates to sit for the CPA exam. It also qualifies for credits by the Washington State Board of Accountancy.
Based in Hays, KS, Fort Hays State University boasts the lowest tuition rates in the Kansas Board of Regents system. Here, undergraduate students pay approximately $218 per online credit hour. Currently, this university ranks at No. 42 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. FHSU was one of the first universities in Kansas to offer an online bachelor’s degree in accounting.
FHSU’s online Bachelor of Business Administration with an Accounting major is a highly customizable, 120-credit-hour program. Students take six core accounting courses. Then, they choose four accounting electives from a list of 12 courses, covering topics like advanced tax procedure, accounting ethics, and fraud examination. Students also choose two directed electives in business topics like financial planning, investments, and commercial law.
If you live near campus, you might join FHSU’s Accounting Club. This student-led organization plans an annual trip to visit prospective employers in Denver, Kansas City, or Wichita.
Indiana State University’s nickname is “The Sycamores.” With a mascot like this, you can expect to gain a solid, sturdy education at ISU. Based in Terre Haute, ISU is also a university invested in removing the classroom walls to expand learning outside the traditional setting. All of its programs require experiential learning. So, although you can earn a Bachelor of Science in accounting entirely online at this institution, you can expect to gain practical, hands-on experience as well.
ISU’s online Bachelor’s in Accounting is housed in the Scott College of Business, which is accredited by the AACSB. This degree requires 120 credit hours. Students take seven core accounting courses. They then choose three accounting electives, one of which might be a three-credit internship. Other elective options survey topics like fraud examination, business computer systems, and accounting research and analysis.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin University’s main priority is to help students finish what they started. Dedicated to adult learners, this private university maintains a generous transfer policy, of which more than 90% of the student body takes advantage.
Here, you can work with an advisor to determine the best way to utilize your previous academic work to earn your degree as quickly as possible. Better yet, Franklin’s tuition rate is 66% lower than the national average for private, four-year colleges. And the university grants $13 million in tuition assistance, including scholarships specifically awarded to business students. So, reaching the finish line will also be affordable.
Franklin’s Bachelor of Science in Accounting is accredited by the IACBE. It requires 124 semester hours, including general education requirements, core business courses, and 36 hours in the Accounting major. At Franklin, you’ll learn from professors with on-the-job accounting experience.
Why is accreditation important?
Choosing to continue your education at an accredited university or college is a no-brainer. Accreditation guarantees that a school’s educational offerings meet regional or national standards. It gives you the reassurance that you’re learning the right material from quality instructors, and that your degree will be well-recognized by employers.
There are two types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation means that an accrediting body, like the Higher Learning Commission, has completed a comprehensive evaluation of a university’s academic offerings and has found that they meet its standards.
Programmatic accreditation means that a school’s program has been given the stamp of approval from an industry-focused organization. These accrediting agencies confirm that a program’s curriculum covers the core competencies that are needed to succeed in a profession. Many of the universities on this list have received accreditation for their accounting programs on top of institutional accreditation.
For business schools, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is often considered the “gold standard” of accrediting agencies. Less than 900 institutions around the world have earned this distinction, and 190 schools have received separate accreditation for their accounting programs.
Additional accrediting agencies are the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). All of these organizations ensure the quality of a business school’s education, but each weighs criteria differently. For example, the AACSB stresses the caliber of a business school’s research, while the ACBSP focuses on the quality of the faculty’s teaching abilities.
What is the CPA exam?
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) administers a Uniform CPA Examination used by all states’ Boards of Accountancy. Candidates must pass this four-part test to earn their license to practice. Typically, states require that aspiring accountants pass all four parts of the exam within an 18-month period.
The CPA exam is challenging. According to the AICPA, the national pass-rate for each part of the exam hovers around 50%. An accredited bachelor’s program in accounting will help you prepare for this test, and a university’s pass-rate can be a great indicator of a program’s quality.
Passing the CPA exam is a feat worth celebrating. Not only will this boost your resume and open doors to new job opportunities, but it’s likely to result in a higher earning potential. According to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, CPAs make 10-15% more than non-CPAs.
Do I need a degree to take the CPA exam?
Yes, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Each state’s Board of Accountancy has its own regulations for becoming a licensed CPA. However, most states require 150 semester hours of college credit for licensure.
Do most accountants have a Master’s degree?
Earning a master’s degree is not a requirement for becoming an accountant. However, since most states require 150 credit hours to become a licensed CPA, a master’s degree is common. To earn a bachelor’s degree, you need 120 credit hours. A 30-credit master’s program gets you to the required 150.
Many universities offer convenient pathways for students to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s. Additionally, students can pursue a graduate-level certificate program to help them prepare for the CPA exam while also completing the additional credit hours.
What other certifications are common for accountants?
If your goal is to become a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), you’ll need to pass an exam administered by the Institute of Management Accountants. To take this test, you need a bachelor’s degree or professional accounting certification and at least two years of work experience.
To become a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), you’ll need to pass a four-part exam administered by the Institute of Internal Auditors. To sit for this test, you must have at least an associate’s degree. If you take the CIA exam while enrolled in an accredited institution, you might be able to receive a discount on the exam fees. However, you won’t become fully certified until you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree and worked for at least 24 months.
Additional specialized certifications exist for professionals working in auditing information systems, information technology, or business valuation, for example.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out our 15 Most Affordable Online Business Bachelor’s Degrees and the Top 12 Accredited Online Colleges with Low Tuition!