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Best Online Accounting Degree

What is the Best Online School for Accounting?

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An accounting degree is a great choice for students who want a financially focused career. And for many of these students, an online accounting degree is the ideal choice. An online degree program means students can pursue higher education while working full-time. They also may be able to leverage their current experience and knowledge so they can accelerate through courses. This means they can graduate faster and enhance their careers even sooner.

An accounting degree program will cover business fundamentals, as well as important accounting concepts such as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), spreadsheets, financial and managerial accounting, debits and credits, tax and audit rules, and more. These accounting courses are key in preparing you for the job market.

But not all accounting programs are created equal. When comparing different online accounting programs it's important to consider a variety of factors to decide which one is best for you. Compare top online programs to determine which one will be the best fit for your needs.

Best Online School for an Accounting Degree

Doing research is key as you compare online accounting programs. The cost of the program, the amount of time it will take to graduate, and the course offerings are all important when making your decision. Additionally, it's valuable to look at the overall ROI of the degree, how many online students a university has, and other factors when deciding which program will really meet your needs. Compare top accounting programs to decide which online degree option will be the best for your education. 

1. Western Governors University

  • Exclusively Online Students: 136,139
  • Tuition: $6,670 per year

ROI: 202%

2. Southern New Hampshire University

ROI: 159%

  • Exclusively Online Students: 106,703
  • Tuition: $31,136 per year

3. Walden University

ROI: 110%

  • Exclusively Online Students: 48,420
  • Tuition: $12,150 per year

4. DeVry University—Illinois

ROI: 103%

  • Exclusively Online Students: 17,103
  • Tuition: $17,798 per year

5. Ashford University

ROI: 95%

  • Exclusively Online Students: 32,620
  • Tuition: $12,400 per year

6. American Public University System

ROI: 93%

  • Exclusively Online Students: 45,249
  • Tuition: $7,324 per year

7. Capella University

ROI: 93%

  • Exclusively Online Students: 37,859
  • Tuition: $14,540 per year

8. University of Phoenix—Arizona

ROI: 90%

  • Exclusively Online Students: 93,777
  • Tuition: $9,552 per year

9. Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs

ROI: 83%

  • Exclusively Online Students: 26,143
  • Tuition: $12,529 per year

10. Purdue University Global

ROI: 82%

  • Exclusively Online Students: 37,757
  • Tuition: $8,03711,130 per year

Ranking Methodology

Our goal in this ranking is to objectively look at how many online university programs compare to one another. This is why we have used third-party data to help us reach our conclusions about programs we rank. 

Data sources:

Explanation and requirements for ranking:

  • Universities were ranked on their ROI ratio. The ROI ratio is a comparison of two-year post-graduation earnings and student debt at graduation. High ROI is better.
  • Universities must offer four-year degree programs to be considered
  • Universities had to have non-zero debt and earnings numbers.
  • We chose to include only online universities by only including schools that have at least 90% of their total student population be exclusively online. This eliminates brick and mortar institutions with online programs from our ranking.
  • We chose to include only institutions that are doing online education at scale because we believe this is a better experience for students pursuing an online degree. We chose to only include institutions that had at least 15,000 total online-only students for this reason.
  • The use of the word "best" is subjective, but we are using the term based on the ranking methodology explained above, and in a way that reflects WGU's values.

Learn About WGU's Accounting Program

If you're looking to get an accounting degree, consider the online bachelor's degree program at WGU. This online accounting program is meant to help you boost your résumé with accounting courses that give you critical experience which can help you enhance your career. You'll be well-prepared for a lucrative and exciting career in accounting, finance, or business with the help of this bachelor's degree program. Learn more about the specifics of this program to see if it's the right fit for you.

Accounting – B.S. Business Administration

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?

  • Time: 62% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Accounting manager
  • Financial director
  • Vice president of finance and operations
  • Chief financial officer
  • Forensic accountant

Take your first step toward CPA certification and learn how to use GAAP, ledgers, and journals.

What is an Accounting Degree?

An accounting degree is an undergraduate program that teaches about accounting and financial fundamentals. A traditional or online bachelor's degree in accounting is the first step to a career in business or finance, including becoming a CPA or Certified Public Accountant. Accountants work in all kinds of industries and can have a variety of different jobs. They create financial reports, review income and expenses for companies, prepare taxes, and ensure compliance with government regulations.

Can You Earn an Accounting Degree Online?

Absolutely! There are many options for students who want to pursue an online bachelor's accounting program. Online bachelor's degree programs offer students accounting courses in taxation, auditing, accounting information systems, financial and managerial accounting, along with other business fundamentals. If you are interested in pursuing an accounting degree online it's vital to know if the program is accredited and well-respected. WGU's online bachelor's accounting program is ACBSP accredited, a designation showing that it rigorous and will be respected by your employer.

What Is the Best Online School for Accounting?

Based on our ranking methodology here are the top 5 online accounting schools:

1. Western Governors University. ROI: 202% Exclusively Online Students: 136,139. Tuition: $7,150 per year.

2. Southern New Hampshire University. ROI: 159%. Exclusively Online Students: 106,703. Tuition: $9,600 per year

3. Walden University. ROI: 110%. Exclusively Online Students: 48,420. Tuition: $9,750 per year

4. DeVry University—Illinois. ROI: 103%. Exclusively Online Students: 17,103. Tuition: $15,420 per year

5. Ashford University. ROI: 95%. Exclusively Online Students: 32,620. Tuition: $15,300 per year

Are Online Accounting Degrees Good?

If you choose the right online bachelor's program for your accounting degree, it can be a fantastic option for your career. Be sure to find a university and online bachelor's program that is accredited and well-respected to ensure your employer and colleagues will see value in your degree. You want to be sure your courses will cover the important aspects of accounting you will need to know to be successful. Do you research to make sure the online school you choose is one that is valued and respected in the accounting industry, and be sure the courses will cover all of the relevant material that accountants need to know.

What Will I Learn in an Accounting Degree Program?

Calculator And Pen

In an accounting degree program there will be several fundamental skills you will need to learn. These skills and the experience you will gain will be key in helping you be prepared for relevant accounting careers. Some of the most important skills you will learn in an accounting degree program include:

  • Reading and interpreting financial statements
  • Understanding GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)
  • Analyzing financial data
  • Advanced Excel and spreadsheet knowledge
  • Taxation rules and regulations
  • Taxation formulas
  • Auditing rules and regulations
  • Auditing formulas
  • Managerial accounting principles
  • Business intelligence software 

What Can I Do with an Accounting Degree?

If you want to pursue an accounting-related career, an accounting degree is a critical first step. This type of degree will prepare you for a wide variety of careers in the business and finance world. Every industry has a need for qualified and professional accountants to help ensure their finances are accurate and on-track. Some of the many jobs a degree in accounting can prepare you for include:

  • Forensic accountant
  • Tax accountant
  • Auditor
  • CPA
  • Controller
  • CFO
  • Financial manager
  • Bookkeeper
  • Payroll accountant
  • Financial advisor
  • Banker
  • Wealth manager
  • Financial analyst
  • Tax attorney

Is an Accounting Bachelor's Degree Worth It?

A young accountant works at an in-home office.

Absolutely! For most accounting positions and to progress in an accounting or finance career, a bachelor's degree will be the first step. A bachelor's degree or more will likely be required for many accounting jobs due to the specific knowledge and experience you will need to perform job functions well. Degree-holders can expect to qualify for better job opportunities, higher pay, and can give your résumé an important boost that can lead to better job security overall.

An Accounting Bachelor's Degree and the CPA Exam

Earning an accounting bachelor's degree is also the first step toward taking the CPA exam and becoming a certified professional accountant. This license is key in giving you additional opportunities and credentials as part of your accounting career. While each state has unique requirements for becoming a CPA, nearly every state requires a bachelor's degree in accounting or a high amount of relevant coursework and credits. A B.S. in accounting is a great place to start if you're hoping to pursue this highly respected license and designation. 

Benefits of an Accounting Degree

Average Salary


The average salary for accountants in the United States is around $73,000 per year. This will vary based on your experience level, the location where you work, and your education background. CPAs tend to make 15% more than other accountants, and those with a bachelor's or master's degree can expect higher salary levels than those without that educational background.


Job Growth


The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that jobs in accounting will grow 4% by the year 2029, which is as fast as the national average for career growth. This means that there will be many opportunities for those with an accounting degree to enter or advance in the field over the next several years.

Job Opportunities


Every industry and every location will require accountants who are well-versed in finances. Public accounting firms, large or small businesses, non-profits, governments, schools, hospitals—every industry you can think of will need accountants who can help keep finances on-track and up-to-date. Whatever type of industry you're interested in, or wherever you live, you can find a position as an accountant.

WGU Bachelor of Science in Accounting at a Glance

41 Months

70% of B.S. Accounting students finish their WGU program in 41 months or less.



After graduation, WGU students report earning $15,053 more per year.


Icon Piggy Bank Blue


WGU's tuition is charged per-term instead of per-credit, so finishing faster helps you save.

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41 Courses

The curriculum of the accounting bachelor's degree program is designed for working professionals.

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Common questions about online accounting degrees.

The cost of your online accounting degree will vary based on the school you choose—different schools will have different tuition and fee amounts. WGU is one of the most affordable options for an online accounting degree, with tuition costing just $3,575 per six-month term. Tuition is charged per term, not per credit, so you can take as many courses as you're able during your six-month term. That means graduating faster will cost less! 

Yes! There are many online degree programs that offer accounting degrees online. Do your research to learn which kind of online university is the best fit for you. For example, WGU offers entirely online degrees and no set class times—you do your coursework on your schedule. This helps you take control of your education and earn an online accounting degree on your timeline. 

There are many online colleges that offer accounting degree programs, so it's important to do your research to find the best fit for you. Look at tuition costs, accreditation, educational models, and coursework to figure out which program is best. WGU is highly reputable, accredited, and affordable. Our online accounting degree program has helped thousands of students pursue an accounting career and find success.

A degree in accounting qualifies you to work in a number of positions related to accounting and finance. The positions you qualify for depend on your level of education. With a bachelor’s degree, you may be most qualified for entry-level positions as a bookkeeper, accounts payable specialist, or assistant payroll administrator. With a master’s degree in accounting and as a certified public accountant, you may find you’re more qualified for leadership positions and senior-level roles. These include accounting manager, auditor, investment banker, and chief financial officer.

In general, it takes about four years or 120 credits to complete an online accounting degree. However, with a competency-based education model, like what is offered at WGU, students can graduate more quickly by passing assessments using their existing skills and knowledge.

An online accounting degree is extremely valuable if you want to become an accountant. For most accounting positions you will need at least a bachelor's degree. This will help you learn about fundamental accounting principles, rules, regulations, financial statements, and more. And if you want to become a CPA you'll absolutely need at least a bachelor's degree, if not a master's degree.

In order to sit for the CPA exam you'll need to have an accredited bachelor's degree. When researching an online accounting degree, you'll need to ensure that your online degree is from an accredited institution. 

An online accounting degree can be a fantastic choice if you are currently working full-time and want to maintain your job while furthering your education. An online accounting degree also allows you to get valuable credentials that boost your résumé, preparing you to move forward in your career. An online accounting degree can be a great option for many working professionals and students who are looking for an accessible degree option. 

Yes! There are many online programs that offer accredited bachelor's degree programs for students to pursue. These online bachelor's degree programs can be a great option for students who are working full-time so they can continue to pursue their online education while still earning money.

With a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you may be able to secure a job in a number of different accounting-related areas. While Certified Public Accountants often work more in management and senior-level positions, with a bachelor’s degree in accounting you may be qualified for some of the following entry-level positions:


  • Accountant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Financial analyst
  • Controller

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