Are you looking to acquire an accounting degree but are confused between the traditional and online routes? 

Here is a stat that might help. As per the 2022 report of the State of Higher Education – a whopping 54% of students dropped out of college. They mentioned ‘Costs’ (tuition fees, and other expenses) as the major contributing factor.

To get rid of this factor, many students are now trusting online platforms to acquire their degrees. Online learning is an amazing choice because it provides flexibility, affordability, and better accessibility.

Now, like many others, you could also trust online platforms to acquire your accounting degree. But which platforms to choose, or what degrees to get, and most importantly, how to get one – to put rest to your confusion we bring to you this article where we will be discussing all of that and much more.

So, let us begin the exploration –

Online Accounting Degree

Accounting Degree Online

You now know why most students trust online learning, for it is cheaper and more flexible. With an online accounting degree, you get the same valuable knowledge offered by the universities and colleges, and the same valuable certificate. 

More On -> What Can I Do with an Accounting Degree? 

All of that online, by sitting anywhere, without needing to quit your job or needing to drop your responsibilities. The flexibility it offers is amazing.

Also, the online programs are cheaper and offered at one-fourth the price of the on-campus ones. You also can save more on those by enrolling in some scholarships or aids.

But these are the stuff that we all know, what we really don’t is how to select the best online schools to get an accounting degree online.

Let’s discuss how to choose your online degree –

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How to choose?

While choosing your accounting degree online you need to ensure that there exist a few features in the program. Not all features are important, but some are decisive, for it determines the worth of your online degree.

To avoid any embarrassment and loss after acquiring a degree, it is advisable to check the below-mentioned features while choosing your online accounting school.

Before choosing a program, do check –

Is the program Accredited?

The very first feature that you need to check while choosing your online accounting degree is whether the course is accredited, or not. Accreditation of schools signifies quality education and value to your certificate.

The accreditation providers are – the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

How Affordable is it?  

The next thing is to check the cost of the program. You would require almost $20,000 to $40,000, to complete a full-time 4-year degree in accounting from a college or university.

While, for the same degree online, you would need to spend around $6,990. So, do check the program cost and try to choose the one that suits you the best.

Does it offer a University Certificate post-completion?

The most important feature to check is whether your course provider will offer you a university certificate or not. A university certificate guarantees your degree would hold the same value in the eyes of the employer as the ones from the on-campus traditional path.

What Can I Do with an Accounting Degree Besides Accounting

Will it prepare for licensure and offer an externship/internship opportunity?

Post-completion of your online accounting degree, you might need to gain some licensure depending on your career, like a CPA licensure. You need to check and select only the ones that provide you with the preparation assistance.

Also, try to seek online schools that offer you some hands-on experience opportunities in the form of internships or externships. 

What is the Graduation Rate?

You need to check the graduation rate of the online school that you wish to enroll in. The higher the graduation rate, the better. The graduation rate signifies that the school doesn’t leave anyone behind and assists them all, depending on their issues, to acquire a degree.

Are the sessions flexible, and is the program better accessible?  

Learning should be fun, or else you will miss the beauty of online learning. The program needs to be Self-paced, meaning you learn at your own pace.

Also, the lessons are on-demand and are not like a scheduled online meeting. The study materials are mostly holistic with a variety of learning materials like – slides, e-books, videos, etc. 

Online Accounting Degree Levels

If you are interested in acquiring a degree in accounting online you can choose an associate, bachelor, or master’s depending on your career goal.

An associate degree would enable you to achieve entry-level roles, a Bachelor’s degree would make you eligible for mid-level roles, and a master’s would make you eligible for high-level roles.

More on -> What Can I do with an Accounting Degree?

But if you aspire to educate students, or try out careers in research and administration, then a Ph.D. is what you need apart from the master’s degree. Overall, these 3 accounting degree levels are mostly offered by online schools.

Online Associate Degree in Accounting

Course Duration – 1 to 2 years

Course Credits – 60 to 90

Course Cost – $2,880 to $20,000 

The online program, Associate of Science (AS) in Accounting, deals with the foundational concepts in accounting, finance, and business.

You will be learning about – financial accounting, managerial accounting, preparation and interpretation of financial statements, US tax laws, Internal Revenue Codes, and sourcing documents relevant to tax returns.

Post-completion of the course, you can either continue to get your bachelor’s or master’s, or you can start earning by joining some entry-level positions.

Online Accounting Bachelor’s Degree

Course Duration – 2 to 4 years

Course Credits – 120

Course Cost – $15,820 to $31,640 (depends on your time commitment)

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting degree is the most popular among students, and it is the most sought-after degree by employers as well.

You will learn about – Accounting Information Systems, Intermediate Accounting, Federal Taxation, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.

There are many mid-level roles in this field that you could pursue with a Bachelor’s degree, and with it, you could also unlock other roles besides accounting.

More On -> What Jobs can you get with an Accounting Degree? 

Online Accounting Master’s Degree

Course Duration – 2 to 3 years

Course Credits – 30-36

Course Cost – $19,820 to $29,730

An MS in accounting degree is an advanced degree for aspirants aiming for acquiring CPA licensure and achieving high-level positions like controller, or accounting manager.

You will learn besides accounting – financial management, strategic management, and management communication.

If you aspire to admin level or research or teaching-related roles, you might need to acquire a Ph.D.

How Long does it Take to get an Accounting Degree Online?

What Can I Do with an Accounting Degree

Getting an accounting degree online depends on certain factors like your time commitment or hours you spend learning, finishing the projects, and clearing each semester’s exams.

However, most of the students finish the online accounting degrees in the following time –

  • Associate Degree – 2 Years
  • Bachelor’s Degree – 3 to 4 years
  • Master’s Degree – 2 Years

Read More:

-> Is an Accounting Degree Worth it?

-> Requirements for Accounting Degree

-> How Long Does It Take to Get an Accounting Degree? 

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How To Get an Accounting Degree Online?

Getting an accounting degree online is so easy. All you need to do is follow this step-by-step guide.

Step 1 – Research Programs

Start by researching online accounting degree programs offered by accredited universities and colleges. Check the above-mentioned program features and choose the best schools that fit your goals, and suit you the best.

Step 2 – Choose a Degree Level

Decide on the level of degree you want to pursue. Online accounting programs are available at associate’s, and bachelor’s, to start with and then master’s, and doctoral levels to advance your education.

Step 3 – Check Admission Requirements

Every program would have different admission requirements, so you need to review them closely. These may include submitting transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, and possibly standardized test scores.

Step 4 – Apply

Now, you need to fill in the application and submit it with all the required materials. Be sure to meet deadlines.

Step 5 – Complete Coursework

Once admitted, you’ll begin taking courses online. These may include foundational accounting courses as well as general education courses. The coursework is designed to teach you the necessary skills and knowledge for a career in accounting.

Step 6 – Attend Virtual Classes & Participate in Discussion Forums

Some online programs offer live or recorded virtual classes where you can interact with instructors and fellow students. Participate in these sessions to enhance your understanding of the material.

Many online courses have discussion forums where you can engage with classmates and instructors, ask questions, and discuss course topics.

Step 7 – Complete Assignments and Exams

Just like in traditional programs, you need to complete the assignments, and exams to demonstrate your understanding of the subject.

Step 8 – Meet Degree Requirements

To be eligible to take the final exam you need to fulfill all the degree requirements, like completion of credit hours, achieving a minimum GPA, and fulfilling any major-specific requirements.

Step 9 – Consider Internships or Externships

As mentioned above, you need to select a program that offers hands-on experience opportunities. You need to join and carry out those attentively. These experiences can provide real-world exposure and enhance your resume.

Step 10 – Get the Degree  

Post-completion of the program by meeting all the requirements, you’ll appear for the exam and once you clear it, you will be awarded your online accounting degree.

Step 11 – Explore Career Opportunities

With your degree in hand, you can now explore various career opportunities as an Accountant in accounting, finance, auditing, and related fields. Don’t worry, your online degree holds the same value as a degree earned through traditional means.

So, go out job hunting with some swag.

Step 12 – Prepare for CPA

This step is for those who aspire to upgrade their education depending on their career goals. If you wish to become a CPA then you can begin to prepare for it and enroll in a Master’s program. The master’s program will prepare you for the licensure examination. 

Pros and Cons – Accounting Online Degree

Types of Accounts in Accounting

Just like any other online degree, an online degree in accounting also holds some advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore them –


Here are the advantages of the online accounting degree –


Online accounting degrees are cheaper, compared to the traditional on-campus ones. It costs almost one-fourth of the on-campus ones. 

You would require almost $20,000 to $40,000, to complete a full-time 4-year degree in accounting from a college or university. While, for the same degree online, you would need to spend around $6,990.

Same value as on-campus ones

Your online accounting degree holds the same value as the degree earned through traditional means. All you need to check while choosing your online accounting degree is whether the course is accredited, or not. The accreditation of schools signifies quality education and value to your certificate.


The beauty of online programs is that they allow you to study at your own pace – self-paced learning, and on your schedule – on-demand classes. The flexibility it offers is ideal for individuals with work, family, or other commitments. 

Further Education

If you’re already working in accounting or finance, an online degree can help you advance in your career without interrupting your current job. If you hold an associate degree you can easily get a BS in accounting or choose some bridge programs for AS to MS in accounting.


Here are some disadvantages of a degree in accounting online –


While online programs offer virtual networking opportunities, they might not provide the same level of in-person networking events as on-campus programs. Also, the online events wouldn’t be as effective as the in-person attended seminars.

Can Be Isolating

Also, it can turn out to be isolating since you won’t have the same level of face-to-face interaction with instructors and classmates that you would in a traditional classroom setting.

Yes, there are group discussions and one-on-one sessions but they are with selected individuals. This lacks the on-campus nature where you could choose to discuss stuff with people you gel well with.

Technology Reliant

Not as the biggest drawbacks like the above 2, but it still is. There could be days when your internet might not be working well or your computer has some issues, you will lag behind.  

Also, computer skills are essential for online learning because technical issues can disrupt your coursework if you have no idea on to address them promptly.

Read More:

-> Forensic Accounting Degree

-> Finance vs. Accounting Degree

-> How to Become a Forensic Accountant? 

FAQs – Online Accounting Degree

Bachelor's Degree Accounting

Is an Online Accounting Degree worth it?

With an online accounting degree –

  • You get your degree at Cheaper Costs.
  • Flexible Learning – without quitting your job or dropping your responsibilities.
  • You get the same certificate value as the on-campus degree.
  • Same employment opportunities and the same salary.

These factors indicate that opting for the online route will not hamper the degree’s worth. So, it is super worth it to acquire your accounting degree online.

What is the best Accounting Degree to get online?

A BS in accounting. A bachelor’s degree is the most sought-after by employers. Also, it is the most popular option, meaning your competitions are holding it, so should you.

A BS in accounting will require you to spend around $30,000 and would require approx. 2 years to complete the program. 

The ROI is much higher as you become eligible for mid-level roles and become eligible to earn somewhere around $80,000 to $100,000 per year.

Can you earn 6 figures with an accounting degree?

Absolutely. Some positions allow you to earn the six-figure dream mark. However, the salary depends on the education you possess, your experience, and your expertise in the subject. 

The professions are –

Actuary – Annual average salary: $108,350

Financial Manager – Annual average salary: $129,890

Accounting Manager – Annual average salary: $129,890

Tax director – Annual average salary: $166,938

Chief Financial Officer – Annual average salary: $184,460

Accounting professor – Annual average salary: $79,640 to $202,080 

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.