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An accounting degree can open doors to numerous career opportunities in finance, business, and beyond. But if you’re someone who is looking to start their career as quickly as possible, a traditional four-year accounting program may not suit your needs.

Accelerated online accounting programs allow you to earn your degree and develop essential professional skills in less than four years. By condensing the curriculum, these programs can provide the same high-quality education as traditional programs in less time.

To help you find a program that fits your timeline, here are our picks for the best accelerated accounting degree programs online.

What Will I Learn in an Accounting Degree Program?

An accounting degree program equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in accounting, so you can expect to enroll in courses covering personal and corporate finance, taxation, and related topics.

Here are some of the topics typically covered in an accounting degree program:

  1. Financial Accounting: This course focuses on the preparation, interpretation, and analysis of financial statements, providing a foundation for understanding business transactions and financial reporting.
  2. Managerial Accounting: Managerial accounting delves into the internal aspects of accounting, emphasizing cost analysis, budgeting, decision-making, and performance evaluation to assist in organizational decision-making processes.
  3. Auditing: Auditing courses cover the principles and practices of examining and verifying financial records. Students learn to assess internal controls, identify potential risks, and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
  4. Taxation: Taxation courses explore the complex world of tax laws and regulations. Students learn about tax planning, compliance, and the impact of taxes on individuals and businesses.
  5. Information Systems: As technology plays an increasingly vital role in accounting, information systems courses provide an understanding of accounting software, data analytics, and integrating technology in financial reporting and analysis.
  6. Business Law: This course introduces students to the legal aspects of accounting and finance, including contracts, business organizations, ethics, and professional responsibility.
  7. Risk Management: Risk management courses focus on identifying and mitigating financial risks within an organization. Students learn techniques to assess, control, and manage risks effectively.

These topics provide a well-rounded education in accounting, equipping graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the field. You’ll also be able to customize your program with electives and specialization options.

While these are common topics most accounting programs include, review your program’s requirements to understand better what to expect.

Are Accelerated Programs Difficult?

Accelerated degree programs are designed to condense the traditional timeline of a degree into a shorter period. While these programs offer the advantage of completing your education quickly, they require significant time and effort. It is essential to consider your learning style and ability to grasp concepts rapidly before enrolling in an accelerated accounting degree program.

The condensed nature of accelerated programs means you will cover the same amount of material as in a standard program but within a shorter time frame. This pace can be demanding, requiring disciplined study habits, strong time management skills, and the ability to handle a heavier course load. While the courses themselves aren’t more complex, having to balance more work at once can make accelerated programs much more challenging than their four-year alternatives.

If you’re comfortable in fast-paced learning environments and are confident in your ability to keep up with such a rigorous curriculum, then an accelerated program may be an excellent fit. However, if you often struggle with quickly learning new concepts or find it challenging to maintain consistent study habits, you may discover accelerated programs are too demanding.

Is an Accounting Degree Worth It?

If you’re considering pursuing an online accounting degree, it’s likely because you want to access new career opportunities and increase your earnings. So, how much can you expect to make with an accounting degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earned a median annual wage of $77,250 in May 2021. In contrast, the median yearly salary for all occupations in the same year was just $45,760. This substantial difference in earnings makes pursuing a career in accounting a solid choice for anyone who wants a secure future.

Not only do accountants tend to earn decent salaries, but employment in this field is expected to increase by 6% over the next decade, ensuring that graduates with accounting degrees will have access to plenty of employment opportunities.

Accountants are needed in every type of organization, including nonprofits, making it possible for accountants and finance specialists to find employment in fields they’re passionate about, and there are countless opportunities for advancement if you choose to continue your education and earn a graduate degree in business or accounting.

Of course, when determining if a degree is worth it, it’s also important to consider the program’s cost. Online accounting degree programs can range from $10,000 to $30,000+ per year for tuition, depending on factors such as residency and whether it’s a public or private university.

However, while these programs can be costly, you can significantly reduce your expenses through scholarships and financial aid. If you need help paying for school, fill out the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out if you’re eligible for any loans, grants, or work-study opportunities.

Financial aid can drastically reduce your financial burden and, when combined with scholarships, can completely cover the cost of tuition in some cases. To maximize your chances of getting the aid you need, fill out the FAFSA and apply for scholarships as early as possible. Financial aid funds are limited and given on a first-come, first-served basis, so get your applications in early.

Our Research

This list features some of the country’s best accelerated online accounting degree programs. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution, either public or private, with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of the best accelerated online accounting degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The 50 Best Accelerated Online Accounting Degree Programs

Best Accelerated Online Accounting Programs Badge 2024

Penn State World Campus

CSU Global

SIU Carbondale

UAB Collat School of Business

Saint Leo University

Liberty University

University of Maryland Global Campus

Southern New Hampshire University

National University

Florida Tech

Franklin University

Bushnell University

Davenport University

Granite State College

University of Connecticut

Athens State University

Bemidji State University

California Baptist University

Purdue University Global

Indiana State University