If you’re considering pursuing an accounting degree online, you may wonder how long it will take to complete the program. With the rise of online education, many students are turning to online accounting programs as a flexible and convenient way to earn their degree.
Not only do online programs allow you to take control of your schedule, but in some cases, they can also let you earn your degree faster than traditional programs.
To help you better understand your options, here’s a closer look at how long it typically takes to get an accounting degree online.
How Do Online Accounting Programs Work?
Online accounting programs are designed to offer students a flexible way to earn their degrees. Instead of attending classes on campus, students complete their coursework online, using a combination of video lectures, discussion forums, and interactive assignments. Many online programs also offer students the opportunity to connect with their professors and classmates in real time using video conferencing and other digital tools.
Programs can either be synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous programs require you to attend live online lectures and complete exams and quizzes at specified times. In contrast, asynchronous programs allow you to complete coursework at your own pace as long as you meet deadlines.
Traditional colleges and universities and specialized online schools may offer online accounting programs. Some programs are entirely online, while others may require students to attend some on-campus classes or complete internships or other experiential learning requirements.
Accounting Degree Levels & Program Lengths
The length of an online accounting program will depend on the level of the degree you are pursuing.
An associate degree in accounting typically takes two years to complete. This degree provides students with a foundation in accounting principles and practices and may be sufficient for entry-level accounting positions.
A bachelor’s degree in accounting typically takes four years to complete. This degree gives students a more in-depth understanding of accounting principles and prepares them for a wider range of accounting careers.
A master’s degree in accounting generally takes an additional one to two years to complete after earning your bachelor’s. This degree provides students with advanced knowledge and skills in accounting and may be required for certain specialized accounting positions.
An MBA with a concentration in accounting typically takes two years to complete, assuming you already have an undergraduate degree. This degree combines advanced business coursework with accounting specialization and prepares students for leadership roles in accounting and finance.
A Ph.D. in accounting typically takes four to six years to complete after completing your undergraduate program. This degree is designed for students who wish to pursue academic or research careers in accounting and requires original research and the completion of a dissertation.
Are Online Accounting Programs Faster Than In-Person?
Whether online accounting programs are faster than in-person programs depends on a few factors. In general, online programs may offer more flexibility in scheduling, allowing students to complete their coursework at their own pace.
However, some online programs may require students to take a certain number of credits per semester or complete assignments on a schedule, limiting this flexibility. In these cases, an online program will take just as long as an in-person program.
Some online programs may offer accelerated options that allow students to complete their degrees in less time than a traditional program. However, these accelerated options may require students to take on a heavier course load or complete coursework during the summer or other breaks.
Online Accounting Degrees: Pros & Cons
Online accounting programs offer a range of benefits that make them attractive options to students with busy schedules outside of school. However, these programs aren’t for everyone.
It’s important to consider the pros and cons of online programs to determine if they’re the right fit for you.
Some of the main advantages of online accounting programs include the following:
Online programs allow students to complete their coursework at their own pace and on their own schedule, which can be ideal for students who need to balance school with work or other responsibilities.
Online programs may be less expensive than traditional programs, as they may not require students to pay for on-campus housing, meal plans, or other expenses.
Online programs may provide access to programs and schools that would otherwise be unavailable to students due to geographic or financial barriers. Students can choose from a wider range of programs and schools, allowing them to find the program that best fits their needs.
Earning an online accounting degree can help students advance their careers or transition into new fields. The flexibility of online programs may allow students to continue working while earning their degree, which can help them gain valuable experience and advance in their current field.
While online programs offer flexibility and convenience, there are a few drawbacks. Here are the main disadvantages of online accounting degree programs:
Online programs may not provide the same level of interaction with professors and classmates as in-person programs. This can make asking questions, getting feedback on assignments, and building relationships with classmates and instructors more difficult.
Online programs require students to be self-motivated and disciplined. Students who struggle with time management or need more structure may find it challenging to stay on track in an online program.
Online programs require students to have reliable internet access and access to a computer or other device. Students who do not have access to these resources may be unable to complete their coursework.
Is an Online Accounting Degree Right for Me?
Whether an online accounting degree is right for you depends on your circumstances, learning style, and goals.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding if an online accounting degree is a good fit for you:
- Schedule: Do you need flexibility in your schedule in order to balance school with work or other responsibilities? If so, an online accounting program may be a good fit.
- Learning Style: Do you learn well in an online environment, or do you prefer in-person interactions with professors and classmates? If you need a lot of interaction and support to stay motivated and engaged, an online program may not be the best fit.
- Goals: What are your career goals? Do you need a degree to advance in your current field, or are you looking to transition into a new area? Understanding your goals can help you determine whether an online accounting degree will help you achieve them.
- Technology: Do you have access to reliable internet and a computer or other device that meets the requirements of the online program? If not, you may need to consider other options.
Enrolling in an online accounting program can be a great way to earn a degree while balancing work and other responsibilities. However, it’s important to consider the pros and cons carefully and make an informed decision based on your needs and circumstances.