Accounting is an incredibly stable, lucrative profession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the 2016 median pay for accountants and auditors was $68,150, or nearly $33 an hour. They also predicted a 10% growth in accounting/auditing jobs between 2016-26, which is faster than average. Accounting is also unique because it readily accepts people with Bachelor’s degrees and certifications like the CPA, which a Bachelor’s in accounting prepares students for (and in many cases confers the required hours to qualify for the test). To further maximize your options, and better facilitate earning your accounting degree, we’ve compiled some of the best online programs available. Over 200 programs were surveyed in the creation of this ranking. The methodology used to rank these programs includes flexibility, affordability, academic quality, national rankings and other special features. Let’s get into it!
1) Dickinson State University
Dickinson State University (DSU) is a public university and member of the North Dakota University system. It was founded in 1918. It serves nearly 1,400 students and has a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio. DSU offers certificates, Associate and Bachelor degrees in over 75 fields of study and through ten academic departments. It’s especially known for its business, accounting, teaching, and nursing programs. It has a fascinating history, and during World War II DSU was one of 131 higher educational institutions that participated in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which helped students gain a commission in the Navy.
DSU offers an online B.S. in Accounting. It comes in two specializations, personal and corporate. Both programs will build analytical and problem solving skills while grappling with the theory and practice of business, management, budgeting, accounting, and much more. Graduates will also be prepared to sit and pass the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). It also gives students 121 of the total 150 hours of education required to apply to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Sample classes include Computerized Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis, Entrepreneurship, Business Policy, Production/Operations Management and much more.
- Out of State Tuition and Housing in 2016-17: 8th ($38,728)
2) University of Mary
The University of Mary is a private university associated with Christian, Catholic and Benedictine religious traditions. It was founded in 1959. Its campus is located about four miles south of Bismarck, North Dakota, and it is the only private Catholic university in the state. Its undergraduate programs blossomed from nursing and education to now offer over 65 degrees, ranging from accounting to Catholic studies. The university has a total enrollment of 3,260 and a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. For students looking to make sure they get into an accounting program, Mary accepts over 90% of applicants.
Mary offers an online Bachelor’s in Accounting that’s designed for working adults (it is also offered on campus in the building). Mary’s School of Business has been ranked as the top business school in North Dakota by Best-Business-Colleges.com. The program is accelerated, allowing students to begin their MBA-accountancy program and qualify/prepare for the CPA exam in less time than traditional accounting programs. Students can earn their Accounting Bachelor’s online in three and a half years, and go straight into their MBA if they so choose, and earn a Master’s and complete their CPA within five years through this program. This program costs $470 per credit hour, and Mary has personal admissions reps that help students gain access to Financial Aid through the school.
- Out of State Tuition and Housing in 2016-17: 32nd ($28,449)
3) University of Minnesota Crookston
UMC is a four-year, public university in Crookston, Minnesota. It’s one of five campuses that make up the University of Minnesota system. It was founded in 1966. It offers 34 undergraduate degree programs (majors), 39 areas of concentration, and 22 minors through four academic departments: Agriculture and Natural Resources; Business; Liberal Arts and Education; and Math, Science and Technology. In 2004 the school got approval from the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to offer 14 more majors, fulfilling its commitment to expand its programming. Over 2,600 students attend the school, which has a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio. UMC has ranked in the top four on the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” in the “Midwest Public Regional Colleges” category consecutively from 1998 to 2017.
UMC offers an online Accounting B.S. It teaches fundamental and advanced techniques for helping both individual clients and firms through their financial reporting. Students will learn how to present numbers while maintaining accounting principles, use problem solving for profit, public and non-profit organizations, while using methodical strategies. Graduates often go on to careers in Financial Analysis, Public Accounting, Management Accounting, Banking, Taxation, or Finance, among others. Students have access to curriculum covering certifications like the CPA (through prep courses), a certificate in Taxation, the CIA and CMA and more. It has earned numerous accolades for its accounting program, from sources like Schools.Com, Niche, Online College Plan, and more.
- Out of State Tuition and Housing in 2016-17: 12th ($22,850)
4) Western Governors University
WGU is a private, non-profit university based in Salt Lake City, Utah. It has over 84,000 students and a 41:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It’s uses a competency-based learning model, in which students demonstrate through assessments that they have the knowledge and skill to earn their degree. Former United States Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said of this kind of results-oriented online programming, “…programs [like WGU] are now the exception, I want them to be the norm.” WGU is a multiple winner of the 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning from the United States Distance Learning Association. It was established in 1997, and grew parallel to the Internet, explaining some of its success at creating online programming. In the past few years WGU has become the nation’s top producer of science and math teachers. In 2013, it was ranked #28 out of the 50 most innovative companies in Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies Issue.
WGU offers an online accounting Bachelor’s degree. It’s been named a “Best Value School” by University Research & Review for four consecutive years. Students will learn to use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), ledgers, and journals to help manage financial assets and liabilities for businesses and individuals. Tuition for this program is $3,190 for a six month term, and 72% of graduates finish the program in 1-3.5 years. Because tuition is based on terms as opposed to credit hours, you can save time and money by loading up on classes in this program. Students are generally able to transfer 38 credits into this program. Topics covered include Taxation, Organizational Behavior, Communication, Business Strategy and Ethics, Spreadsheets and much, much more.
- Out of State Tuition and Housing in 2016-17: 2nd ($13,270)
5) Point Park University
Point Park is a private university based in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s a comprehensive doctoral-level university with a rich liberal arts tradition. The school was founded in 1960. Nearly 4,100 students attend the school, which has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Point Park conveys over 90 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and is divided into four schools: School of Arts & Sciences, School of Business, School of Communication and Conservatory of Performing Arts.
Point Park offers an online Bachelor of Science in Accounting. It covers macroeconomics, business law, computer programs related to accounting, and much more. This program requires 126 credit hours, and offers 8 week courses. It can be completed in 2-4 years according to Point Park. The cost is $433 per credit hour. Sample classes include Auditing, Corporate Finance, Strategic Planning, Management Science, Business Communications and Research among myriad other courses.
- Out of State Tuition and Housing in 2016-17: 50th ($35,480)
6) American Public University System
The American Public University System is an online, for-profit institution that comprises American Military University and American Public University, owned by American Public University Inc. It was established in 1991, and operates from Charles Town, West Virginia. APUS has an open enrollment policy. Over half its student body in 2016 said they were actively serving in the military. While not required, its military presence is essential to the school’s tradition, and demonstrates its commitment to veterans and active military members. Over 98,000 students attend the school (19:1 student-to-faculty ratio). APUS offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in addition to dual degrees, certificate programs and learning tracks. The school has been named a “Best for Vets College” by The Military Times each year since 2015. It tied at 92nd in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
APUS offers a B.S. in Accounting online. Students will gain theoretical knowledge, practical and research skills to deal with a barrage of complex accounting and economic issues. Topics covered include entry-level bookkeeping, the careers and lives of executives at major corporations, all in the aim of preparing to students to work at all levels of accounting, auditing, examining, and other financial related positions across public, private and non-profit sectors. This program was designed with input from industry business leaders, and is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and has earned additional ACBSP Specialized Accounting Accreditation.
- Out of State Tuition and Housing in 2016-17: 3rd ($16,112)
7) Bemidji State University
BSU is a public state university in Bemidji, Minnesota. It’s a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and University System. The school was founded in 1919. It’s known for its writing, social work and of course accounting programs. Bemidji offers certificates, Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees. USNR ranked it 92nd in its region for 2017. Over 5,100 students attend the school, which has a 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Bemidji offers an online Bachelor of Science in Accounting. The program was designed to fit your schedule, and can be completed in as little as two years. This program really prioritizes flexibility for its students. It also offers resident tuition rates in addition to financial aid services to students no matter where they live. The online program requires 71 credits, and presupposes students have already taken Accounting Principles I and II, Microeconomics, Markets & Resources, College Algebra, Business Statistics, in addition to an A.A. degree comprising all liberal education requirements. There are three and four year options for applicants that have yet to do so.
- Out of State Tuition and Housing in 2016-17: 9th ($20,208)
8) Troy University
Troy is a comprehensive public university headquartered in Troy, Alabama. It was founded in 1887. It’s the flagship university in the Troy University System. Nearly 18,000 students attend the school, which has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It offers 46 bachelor’s degree programs, 22 master’s degree programs, and two doctoral programs. In 2017, the school had an acceptance rate of 44%. In 2016, Forbes ranked Troy the 640th best school in the country. In 2017, USNR ranked it 23rd among Top Public Schools, 69th in its region, and 226th among Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
Troy’s Sorrell College of Business offers an online Accounting Bachelor’s. The program comes in several concentrations, including Forensic Accounting, Management Accounting and Public Accounting. Students may also choose a minor in Economics, Entrepreneurship, Global General Business or Promotion. These options stretch the utility and application of an accounting degree in directions you might not initially think of. Sample upper-level Business classes include Operations Management, Managerial Finance, Business and Society, Business Communications, and uniquely, Innovative Practices and Thoughts. This program also tackles financial analysis and reporting, forensic accounting, auditing, and culminates in a professional development program that reflects the specialization students choose.
- Out of State Tuition and Housing in 2016-17: 29th ($27,655)
9) Northern State University
NSU is a four-year, public university based out of Aberdeen, South Dakota. It was founded in 1901. The school offers 38 majors and 42 minors, as well as six associate, eight pre-professional and nine graduate degrees. Nearly 3,600 students attend NSU, which offers a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. NSU has overcome the Great Depression, World War II, and its own educational failings to continually improve. This improvement was finally recognized in 1987, when the Carnegie Commission bestowed the school with the second highest classification it had ever doled out to a South Dakota college or University.
NSU offers an online Bachelor’s in Accounting with diverse services. Students will be prepared to apply for professional certification and sit for the Certified Bookkeeper (CB), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) professional exams. The school offers an Accounting Club that features “opportunities for professional networking, industry knowledge and charitable work.” Graduates most often find work in private companies in accounting, managerial accounting, taxation, financial analysis and bookkeeping. The program also facilitates internships in auditing and taxation, banking and finance, and management in public and private organizations as well as government agencies.
- Out of State Tuition and Housing in 2016-17: 15th ($23,450)
10) York College
York is a public, city college in Jamaica, Queens. It’s one of eleven senior colleges in the CUNY system. Over 8,300 students attend the school (18:1 student-to-faculty ratio). It grants Bachelor’s degrees in over 40 fields. It has been lauded for leaving its graduates with much lower student debt than is expected in today’s bleak landscape. Through schools of Arts & Sciences, Business & Information Systems, and Health Sciences and Professional Programs York offers programs in Accounting, English, History, Spanish, Music, Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Journalism, Physician Assistant, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nursing, Aviation Management, and Communications Technology, as well as the combined B.S./M.S. in Occupational Therapy.
York offers a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Its curriculum focuses on the “concepts and methods needed to create financial records and statements for external and internal use of various entities: business firms, government bodies, non-profit organizations,” and more. Students will be prepared to sit and pass the CPA in New York State (and should check their state if that’s where they hope to be certified). Sample classes include Microeconomics, Economic Statistics, Principles of Accounting, Financial Mathematics, Business Law, Foundations of Finance, Regulations for Accountants and Financial Professionals, and much more. This program offers concentrations in Internal Auditing, Public Accounting, and General Accounting. Students also have opportunities to take internships and independent studies for credit.
- Out of State Tuition and Housing in 2016-17: 24th ($26,750)