On this page 0
Best Online Accounting Degree Programs

Best Online Accounting Degree Programs

A bachelor’s degree in accounting can be your ticket to a high-paying career as a CPA, CMA, or other finance professional. Learn about this year’s best online programs that can help you get there while fitting in with your busy schedule.

Budgets, taxes, and other money matters make many people’s heads spin, but not you. You’re a numbers person and that has you interested in an accounting-related field. The first step is earning your accounting bachelor’s degree. The great news is that with so many accredited, fully-online accounting programs out there today, earning that degree has never been more convenient.

We’ve identified three of the very best accounting bachelor’s degree online programs below to help you in your program search. All three schools help prepare you academically for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, which you’ll need to pass before becoming a fully licensed CPA. These spotlights preview our full online accounting degree rankings coming later this year, so be sure to check back.

Best Online Bachelors Degrees in Accounting for 2024

We have ranked the top schools below. Our Rankings Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES.) Click the About the Ranking link below for more information about our methodology.


    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2024 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
    1. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.
    • For degree-specific pages, ex: Psychology degrees, we list the current number of online programs available at that school for that degree type, as self-reported by the schools.


    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: January of 2024

  • Parkville, MO
    Private not-for-profit $

    Park University offers a customizable accounting program. Students can select between a fully online or hybrid course of study for this bachelor’s degree. Plus,students can choose to earn their bachelor’s degree in four years or their bachelor’s and master’s in five years, with the latter option preparing them to sit for the CPA exam. Students also benefit from small class sizes and a rigorous accounting curriculum.

    Program Highlights:

    Accounting, B.S. or B.A.

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: 4-5 years
    • Cost: $550 per credit
    • Mode: Online or hybrid
    • Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • Macomb, IL
    Public $

    The bachelor’s in accounting from Western Illinois University is a forerunner in the field, with a 94% employment rate three months after graduating. The curriculum consists of general business and accounting courses and specialized classes in a student’s chosen concentration, either taxation or management accounting. While there is a fully online option, students can also elect to take some courses on campus if preferred.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Business in Accountancy

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $428.26 per credit
    • Mode: Online or hyrbid
    • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Howell, MI
    Private not-for-profit $$$$

    Cleary offers one of the best accounting programs, especially for those who want to become certified accountants in Michigan. To graduate with a bachelor’s, students take 120 credits. Should students wish to sit for the CPA exam, they take 150 credits and get a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. No matter which option a student chooses, 100% of the degree can be completed online.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Business Administration, Public Accounting

    • Credits: 120-150
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $10,815 per semester
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Durant, OK
    Public $
  • Augusta, ME
    Public $
  • Odessa, TX
    Public $
  • Saint Louis, MO
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • Fayetteville, NC
    Public $
  • Killeen, TX
    Public $
  • Saint Leo, FL
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • Tampa, FL
    Public $
  • Saint Charles, MO
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Johnson, VT
    Public $$
  • Grand Rapids, MI
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • La Grande, OR
    Public $
  • Tucson, AZ
    Public $$
  • Lynchburg, VA
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Bangor, ME
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Victoria, TX
    Public $
  • Birmingham, AL
    Public $
  • Greensboro, NC
    Public $
  • Carbondale, IL
    Public $
  • Fairbanks, AK
    Public $
  • Philadelphia, PA
    Public $$$
  • Virginia Beach, VA
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Oklahoma City, OK
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Midway, KY
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • Sioux Falls, SD
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Crookston, MN
    Public $$
  • Plattsburgh, NY
    Public $
  • Clinton, MS
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Mount Olive, NC
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • Maryville, MO
    Public $
  • Columbia, MO
    Private not-for-profit $$
  • Norfolk, VA
    Public $
  • Dickinson, ND
    Public $
  • Lakewood, CO
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • Waxahachie, TX
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Natchitoches, LA
    Public $
  • Toledo, OH
    Public $
  • Dover, DE
    Public $
  • Aberdeen, SD
    Public $
  • Clarion, PA
    Public $
  • Terre Haute, IN
    Public $
  • Mayville, ND
    Public $
  • Louisville, KY
    Public $$
  • New Castle, DE
    Private not-for-profit $$
  • Memphis, TN
    Public $
  • Utica, NY
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • Ellensburg, WA
    Public $

Arizona State University

Arizona State University is one of the biggest providers of online postsecondary education in the U.S. ASU’s Online Bachelor of Science in Accountancy is a great example of the many undergraduate degree programs from ASU presented 100% remotely. This 120-credit program is for students interested in pursuing careers in management accounting. Courses prepare graduates with professional skills in areas like strategic financial planning, corporate compliance, and decision-making. The curriculum combines all the general education and major-specific coursework required to earn the degree, which is designed to be completed in four years of full-time study. Coursework is delivered in an online asynchronous format, which means students are not required to log on and attend classes at specifically scheduled times. ASU’s BS in Accountancy program prepares graduates to sit for both the CPA and Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exams.

Program Highlights:

  • Online BS in Accountancy
  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $552 per credit in-state | $552 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC) (Institutional); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) (Programmatic)

Indiana University

The Chancellor’s Bachelor of Science in Accounting program at Indiana University is another excellent degree program delivered 100% online. With an in-state per-credit tuition rate of just under $250, it’s also one of the most affordable online accounting programs available. The degree requires 120 credit hours, including 24 credits of accounting and business foundations courses, 21 credits of accounting core courses, 12 credits of business core courses, and nine credits of accounting electives. General education coursework makes up the remaining 54 credits. Students can transfer up to 64 credits from an accredited community college or 90 credits from an accredited four-year college or university. Most coursework is asynchronous and taught through IU’s East, Kokomo, Northwest, Southwest, and South Bend Campuses. In addition to this fully online program, IU also offers a partially online BS in Accounting option at its East Campus in Richmond.

Program Highlights:

  • Chancellor’s BS in Accounting
  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $242.48 per credit in-state | $352.96 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully online (with partially online option at IU East)
  • Accreditation: HLC (Institutional); AACSB (Programmatic)

University of Arkansas, Little Rock

Another highly affordable online accounting degree option is the Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting program at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. The BBA in Accounting program offers a practice-based curriculum designed to prepare graduates for careers in business, finance, government, and public accounting. All required courses are available asynchronously online in a traditional 17-week format with many additionally available during the summer session in a five-week format. The program fulfills the requirements to take the CPA exam. Students who successfully pass the exam, however, must also complete a total of 150 semester hours of college education before obtaining their Arkansas CPA license. Students intending to practice as CPAs in other states are advised to contact their state’s licensing board or speak with a UA Little Rock advisor about the exam and CPA licensure eligibility before enrollment.

Program Highlights:

  • BBA in Accounting
  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $280 per credit in-state | $280 per credit out-of-state (Discounted rates available for active military and veterans)
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (Institutional); AACSB (Programmatic)

What You’ll Learn in an Online Accounting Degree Program

Most students earn accounting degrees to practice as professional accountants. Your online accounting program helps prepare you for taking the CPA exam, but it also helps you master the fundamentals of business, exposing you to concepts in management, economics, and, of course, math. 

While undergraduate accounting degree curriculums vary, below are the types of classes you can expect in most programs. The focus here is on accounting-related coursework but remember that your program will also include substantial general education coursework in the humanities, social and natural sciences, and communication.

Main Topics You’ll Cover

  • Accounting information systems
  • Financial and managerial accounting
  • Business economics
  • Business statistics
  • Decision making 
  • Finance
  • Leadership and management
  • Legal compliance and ethics
  • Marketing
  • Principles of auditing
  • Taxes and business decisions

Lower Division Curriculum (Years 1 and 2)

During the first two years of your four-year bachelor’s in accounting program, you’ll focus on foundational coursework in accounting-specific subjects. You’ll also complete the major portion of your general education course requirements with a particular focus on subjects like business fundamentals, mathematics (calculus is almost a given), critical thinking, and communications that are closely or tangentially related to accounting. 

Here are brief descriptions of five courses common to practically all undergraduate accounting lower-division curricula.

Common Courses

  • Cost and Managerial Accounting: This course examines all aspects of cost behavior and its relationship to business decision-making, planning, and control. Those include fixed, variable, and semi-variable cost types and cost-volume-profit analysis. Additional topics include the flexible budgeting process and the concepts of return on investment, residual income, and economic value added.
  • Introduction to Data Analytics: You’ll learn accounting concepts and practices through the application of data analytics and business application software in this course. Students learn to employ big data analytical tools to identify, interpret, and manipulate data to aid in the business decision-making process.
  • Introduction to Financial Accounting: Students in the course learn the foundational theory, principles, and practices related to business accounting. The heart of the course concerns the introduction of the accounting cycle and its use in recording business transactions under generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Principles of Economics: This class offers an introduction to the essential concepts and features of business economics. Specifics of microeconomics discussed include supply and demand, elasticity, cost of production, market structures, and market efficiency. Macroeconomic topics covered include aggregate supply and demand, open economy concepts, the measurement of macroeconomic variables, and trade policies and their impact on domestic and global markets.
  • Statistics: You’ll be introduced to the fundamental concepts of statistics, including basic algebra and graphing, measures of central tendency and dispersion, correlation and regression, probability, random variables, and hypothesis testing and confidence intervals in this course. Students are also instructed in the use of statistical software applications.

Upper Division Curriculum (Years 3 and 4)

Upper-division accounting coursework covers subjects like taxes, auditing, advanced financial strategies, global markets, business writing, and external reporting. For students in accounting programs that offer specializations or concentrations (e.g., forensic accounting, managerial accounting, public accounting, tax accounting, etc.), it’s in the upper division curriculum where they complete the bulk of their concentration-specific courses. Students in some programs also complete a capstone project (see below).

Here’s a look at some of the common advanced and specialized courses found in most accounting bachelor’s upper division curriculums.

Common Courses

  • Business Law and Ethics: This course explores the laws and ethical standards that apply to the practice of accounting in the workplace. Students compare ethical practices involving accepted professional standards and social responsibility through the application of critical thinking while examining moral systems and case studies. Also discussed are the consequences of ethical and unethical decisions.
  • Federal Taxation: This course introduces the characteristics of federal taxation as they relate to individuals and business entities. Topics covered for the taxation of individuals include determination of income, credits and deductions, and simple and complex property transactions. Business entity topics include entity types (e.g., S and C corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships), entity formation, operations, distributions, and liquidations.
  • Auditing: In this class, you’ll review advanced theories, concepts, and principles of internal and financial statement (i.e., external) audits. Internal auditing subjects include, among others, professional standards, internal control processes, and risk assessment and mitigation. External audit topics include planning and risk, internal controls, sampling, procedures, reporting and opinions, and more. 
  • Organizational Leadership: This is a comprehensive review of the fundamental concepts and practices involved in business and organizational management with particular emphasis on leadership and management styles. Topics discussed include effective leadership characteristics, team building and collaboration, problem-solving, and managerial ethics.
  • Accounting Capstone: Some online accounting programs, including ASU’s BS in Accountancy and Davenport University’s BBA in Accounting, culminate in the completion of a capstone project. These projects allow students to gain practical experience by taking on and resolving real-world accounting issues. Through the capstone process, students receive invaluable feedback from instructors, fellow students, and local business leaders.

Admissions: Getting into a Top-Ranked Online Accounting Program

In most cases, applicants to accounting bachelor’s degree online programs are only required to meet the school’s general undergraduate admissions requirements. There are typically no additional requirements specific to bachelor accounting programs. With that in mind, here is a brief look at the requirements you’ll likely need to meet:

  • High school diploma or equivalent (e.g., GED) with international students considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Prerequisite high school coursework with most programs also including an additional requirement that applicants have completed coursework in specific subjects while in high school. For example, applicants to undergraduate programs at Indiana State University must have completed the Indiana Core 40 high school curriculum or the equivalent for non-Indiana graduates. Other schools, like Arizona State University and the University of Toledo, provide a specific list of high school course subjects that must have been completed to be admitted.
  • Minimum GPA with most colleges also requiring that new college students meet a stated minimum grade point average for either their entire high school studies or for the specific prerequisite high school coursework. Transfer students must meet GPA minimums for their previously completed college coursework. Minimums vary by school, typically 2.5 to 3.0.
  • SAT/ACT scores that meet given minimums, which vary by program, either in addition to all other requirements or as an alternative to meeting the minimum GPA.

Remember, these are requirements like those for most online accounting programs. Requirements do vary from program to program, so it’s critical that you gain a full understanding of the specific requirements for any program you’re considering before you apply.

Paying for Your Online Accounting Degree: Costs and Financial Aid

Whether you’re studying online or on-campus, a college education is an expensive undertaking. So, it’s important you have a clear and detailed understanding of what your costs are before beginning any degree program. The total costs of accounting bachelor’s degree online programs vary, sometimes substantially. These cost variances are due to several factors, most notably whether your school is public or private, and, specific to public schools, whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. Also, your total cost can be significantly impacted by the number of college credits you transfer into your accounting degree program. With all that in mind, your total degree cost (assuming 120 total credits and including tuition, fees, books, supplies, etc.) will likely be $35,000 to $70,000. 

The chart below lists current tuition costs for five accounting bachelor’s degree online programs. Along with the rates given in the spotlights above, these figures give you a better idea of how much online accounting degree programs cost.

School NameSchool TypeTotal CreditsIn-StateOut-of-State
Baker CollegePrivate not-for-profit120$435/credit$435/credit
Colorado State University GlobalPublic120$350/credit$350/credit
Davenport UniversityPrivate not-for-profit120$885/credit$598/credit
Purdue University GlobalPublic180 (equivalent to 120 semester credits)$371/credit$371/credit
Western Governors UniversityPrivate not-for-profit120$3,575/six-month term$3,575/six-month term

If the program costs above have you a bit rattled, don’t worry. Online accounting programs are eligible for the full range of financial aid resources available to most undergraduate degree students. These include scholarships and grants, employer reimbursement programs, VA benefits for active military and veterans, and student loans, especially those available through the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid program.

Many schools, including Davenport University and Indiana State University, offer in-house scholarships for new and transfer undergraduate students, some exclusively for accounting students. Regardless of the online accounting program you’re interested in, contact the school’s financial aid office to find out about the funding opportunities available. For more on how to pay for your college education, visit our financial aid guide.

FAQs About Earning Your Accounting Bachelor’s Degree Online

  • Are online accounting degree programs offered 100% online?

    Yes. In fact, you’ll find that most online accounting programs on the bachelor’s degree level are offered 100% online with, in most cases, no campus visits of any kind required. That doesn’t mean you won’t have opportunities to go to campus if you want. For example, schools offering both online and on-campus accounting bachelor’s programs often provide online students the option of attending some on-campus classes.

  • What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in accounting?

    An online accounting degree can prepare you to become a Certified Public Accountant and work for practically any kind of business you can think of. CPAs also find employment with nonprofit organizations and in government. And, of course, you can go into private accounting practice on your own. All are options you’re probably aware of. But what you might not know is that an accounting bachelor’s degree can also be a great launching pad for careers throughout the business and finance worlds as well, including positions in administration and management. To give you just a hint of the careers your degree prepares you for, here are five common job titles for undergraduate accounting graduates.

    • Banking Examiner
    • Certified Public Accountant
    • Corporate Controller
    • Financial Manager
    • Senior Accountant
  • Will a bachelor’s degree in accounting prepare me to become a CPA?

    If you’ve been reading up to this point, you know that earning a bachelor’s in accounting prepares you to become a CPA. But it’s important to understand that obtaining your CPA license requires more than your degree. Except for the U.S. Virgin Islands, all U.S. states and territories require a minimum of 150 semester hours of college coursework, including some graduate-level courses, to qualify for CPA licensure. You also need substantial practice experience in the accounting field, typically one to two years. Specific licensure requirements vary by state, so it’s important to learn about the requirements you’ll need to fulfill based on your state or territory.

  • Is earning an accounting degree worth it?

    If your goal is to become a CPA and you do not have another bachelor’s degree, then a bachelor’s degree in accounting is a great way to go. You’ll have to earn some additional college credits to meet the 150 semester hours minimum required for CPA licensure, but an accounting bachelor’s is likely the most time- and cost-efficient way to get started. There are, however, other reasons why earning a bachelor’s in accounting may be worth the time and effort. They include higher salaries, expanded job options, and greater upward mobility in your business career.

  • What accreditation should I look for in an accounting degree program?

    There are two types of accreditations to look for when choosing your online accounting degree program. The first type is institutional accreditation, which concerns the quality of academic institutions taken as a whole. Institutional accreditation of U.S. colleges and universities is administered by several independent national and regional accrediting agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The second type of accreditation is programmatic accreditation. There are two accreditors of accounting academic programs in the U.S., the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) and the Accreditation Council for Business School Programs (ACBSP). You can confirm AACSB and ACBSP accreditation by using the program search engines on the accreditors’ websites.

  • How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting?

    The timeline for bachelor’s in accounting degree programs is like that for most bachelor’s programs in that they typically require four years of full-time study. It’s not unusual for accounting students – particularly those in online asynchronous formatted programs – to compress that timeline by transferring in previously-earned college credits. You may also be able to extend your degree completion time through part-time study but be sure to check with the program you’re considering before enrolling to see if part-time study is an option.

Employment Outlook for Accounting Bachelor’s Degree Holders

If graduating with an online accounting degree is your goal, you’re looking at a future characterized by great employment opportunities, solid salaries, and job security. Just how lucrative depends on the specific position, but according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for accountants and auditors in the U.S. is $77,250. That’s over $30,000 more per year than the median salary for all occupations combined. Below are recent BLS salary and job growth figures for five occupations often filled by graduates of online accounting programs.

CareerMedian Annual Earnings (2021)Job Growth (2020-2030)
Accountants and Auditors$77,2506%
Budget Analysts$79,9403%
Financial Analysts$95,5709%
Financial Examiners$81,41021%
Financial Managers$131,71017%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Interested in Bachelor’s Degrees in Business? Check Out These Other Specializations: