Online accounting degrees are more flexible, convenient, and accessible than traditional programs, making them an increasingly popular option for students that want to advance their careers while balancing their other responsibilities.
However, the cost of pursuing a degree is a major barrier to entry, and it’s important to understand how much you can expect to pay before enrolling in an online program.
To make it easier to start planning your education, here’s a closer look at how much an online accounting degree costs and what financial aid is available to help you finance your degree.
Is an Online Accounting Degree Worth It?
Online accounting degrees can prepare you for a wide range of high-paying and secure careers.
A degree in accounting can help you become a certified public accountant (CPA), auditor, financial analyst, or tax accountant, among other roles. If you decide to pursue a graduate degree, like an MBA, you’ll be eligible for high-level leadership roles, like a chief financial officer (CFO).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for accountants and auditors is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations in the United States.
The median annual salary for accountants was $77,250 in 2021, with the top 10% earning more than $128,970. The potential for a high salary, combined with a stable job outlook, makes an online accounting degree a valuable investment.
Tuition and Fees For an Online Accounting Degree
The cost of an online accounting degree varies depending on the school and the program. On average, an online accounting bachelor’s degree costs anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000. However, some programs can cost more than $100,000. The cost of a master’s degree in accounting can range from $30,000 to $70,000 or more.
It is recommended that students who wish to save money attend a public school rather than a private institution. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that private institutions charged over $37,000 on average for tuition and fees in 2020-2021, compared to less than $10,000 for public in-state colleges and universities.
Generally speaking, tuition for online accounting programs is about the same as in-person programs. However, some schools charge the same rates for all distance learners, regardless of whether or not they qualify for in-state tuition. In these cases, an online program can be more affordable for students that want to attend an out-of-state school.
Other Costs to Consider
When considering the cost of an online accounting degree, it’s essential to factor in the cost of textbooks, course materials, and technology fees. These additional costs can add up, so check with your school for a complete breakdown of the expenses you may incur.
You may also need to budget for other miscellaneous costs when pursuing an online accounting degree. For example, if you need to travel to attend an on-campus orientation or take proctored exams, you will need to factor in transportation and lodging costs. Additionally, if you need to purchase a new computer or other equipment to complete your coursework, you must also factor in those costs.
How to Apply for Financial Aid
One way to offset the cost of an online accounting degree is to apply for financial aid. Most students rely on scholarships, grants, and loans to finance at least a portion of their education.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the primary application for federal financial aid, including grants, work-study, and loans. You need to fill out this application every year that you attend school to remain eligible for aid.
When filling out the FAFSA, you can enter the schools that you’ve applied to or the school that you currently attend, and your application information will be sent to these schools. They will use this information to put together your financial aid package, which you can choose to accept or decline.
You should also check with your school for additional scholarship opportunities. Make sure to apply for any scholarships that you qualify for as soon as possible, as scholarship funds are typically limited and can run out if you don’t submit your applications in time.
Lastly, it’s worth checking with your employer to see if they offer tuition reimbursement programs. Some companies will cover a portion or all of your education expenses if it helps you perform better at your job.
What are the Admission Requirements for an Online Accounting Degree?
Each school has its own admission requirements for an online accounting degree program. However, there are some general admission requirements that most schools share.
The application process typically involves submitting an online application, which includes personal information and academic history. It may also ask you about your volunteer or work history.
If you plan on applying to several schools, consider using the Common App, a single application platform that more than 1,000 schools accept.
You may be required to submit standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, or a graduate-level test, such as the GRE or GMAT.
More schools are becoming test-optional, meaning students can choose whether or not to submit their test scores. In these cases, you should only submit your scores if you did well on your tests and think they will improve your application.
Letters of recommendation
Some schools require letters of recommendation from former teachers or employers.
You may need to submit one or more essays as part of your application. You will typically be provided one or more prompts and will write an essay based on your personal experiences.
You must submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended — students attending from high school must submit their official high school transcripts.. These transcripts should reflect all coursework completed and grades earned. Some schools may require a minimum GPA for admission.
How To Choose the Right Online Accounting Program
Choosing the right online accounting program is crucial to achieving your academic and career goals.
Here are some factors to consider when selecting an online accounting program.
Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain standards of quality and prepares students for their chosen career paths. Look for programs that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
The cost of an online accounting program can vary significantly, so it’s essential to consider your budget when selecting a program. However, keep in mind that a higher cost doesn’t always translate to better quality. Be sure to research and compare program costs and take into account additional fees, such as textbooks and technology fees.
Online students often need additional support to succeed academically. Look for programs that offer student support services, such as academic advising, tutoring, and career services. Additionally, it’s important to consider the program’s faculty and their experience and qualifications in accounting.
Pursuing an online accounting degree can be a valuable investment. When considering an online accounting program, take into account the cost, accreditation, and student support offered by the program. By choosing the right program, you can gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the field of accounting.
Interested in a degree instead?
Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.