Online Degrees in Accounting
Accountants are the financial minds responsible for the efficient running of businesses around the globe. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants fall into four main categories:
- Public accountants: These professionals perform a wide range of functions, from helping companies and individuals with taxes to auditing company records to advising companies on financial decisions. Many public accountants hold the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential.
- Management accountants: Typically employed by corporations, these accountants focus on strategic planning, budgeting and analyzing, and disseminating company financial information.
- Government accountants: These accountants work at all levels of government to help keep financial records for public agencies and ensure compliance with financial regulations. IRS agents also fall into this category.
- Internal auditors: Employees of businesses and corporations, these accountants check an organization's financial records to look out for fraud and inefficiency. They also make sure bookkeeping is accurate and conforms to company policies and government regulations.
An accounting degree provides a point of entry into all of these growing career paths.
Online accounting degrees
According to the BLS, most accounting positions require at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, and many accountants choose to get additional training to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which typically requires some coursework beyond the bachelor's degree level as well as a national licensing exam. CPAs generally have better job prospects than other accountants, the BLS reports, and can perform some additional functions, such as filing reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Although a bachelor's degree is the preferred credential, accounting degrees are available at all levels. A two-year associate degree in accounting could prepare students for entry-level jobs in a corporate accounting department in positions such as accounts payable, payroll or bookkeeping.
Bachelor's and master's degree holders should have a much wider range of job possibilities, and some individuals who pursue graduate accounting degrees may also go on to teach or research in the field.
Students earning accounting degrees take courses in economics, finance, business and mathematics. Specific course titles may include:
- Cost accounting
- Accounting theory and research
- Managerial accounting
- Federal tax law
- Business mathematics
- Business law
- Forensic accounting
More and more, online degrees in accounting are becoming a popular choice for those who are looking to earn a degree on a flexible schedule. Because many accounting classes focus on mathematical and computer skills, they translate well to the online environment. Additionally, the BLS reports that the use of technology is rapidly growing in accounting jobs as increasingly sophisticated software is used to track financial transactions and organize financial data. Online accounting degrees can help students gain familiarity with the software they'll be using in the business world.
Job prospects and accounting careers after graduation
According to the BLS, job prospects for accountants are expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018. This rapid growth is due to the growing number of businesses within the United States as well as changing financial regulations and accounting standards.
The mean annual wage for accountants and auditors in 2010 was $68,960, with the top 10 percent earning more than $106,880. Government accountants earned mean annual wages of $59,190 in 2010, while those in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services earned $74,250.
Accounting at a glance
- Education: Accounting degrees are available at all levels, but a bachelor's or master's degree is the preferred credential.
- Specializations: Accounting specializations include public accountancy, tax accountancy, managerial accounting and forensic accountancy.
- Job growth: Accounting careers are growing much faster than average, at 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Salary: The mean annual salary for accountants in 2010 was $68,960.
Online Degree Programs in Accounting
Set your career in motion at Virginia College Online.
- AS - Accounting Specialist
- BS - Private Sector Accounting
At University of Phoenix, we believe everyone deserves access to higher education.
Achieve your potential with an online degree from Capella University.
- BS - Accounting
- PhD - Accounting
- DBA - Accounting
- MBA - Accounting
Make a difference with a graduate degree from DeVry University's Keller Graduate School of Management.
Thanks to Florida Tech offering intensive degree programs 100% online, students located all over the world have the opportunity to access the same world-class education as those who attend classes on the main campus in Melbourne, Florida.
Earn a respected bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D. online at Walden University.