Best Accounting Degrees Online – Forbes Advisor

Know your time commitment

Think about how much time you can devote to your education. If you can take out loans for the duration of your studies and not work, full-time enrollment is the quickest way to graduate. Full-time programs can offer accelerated pathways, allowing participants to earn their degrees in even less time.

If you need to find employment or personal commitments while you study, part-time enrollment may be your best option. While it takes longer to study part-time, earning income while studying can ease your financial burden as a student.

Requirements for certified public accountants (CPAs) vary by state, but most jurisdictions set credit and experience requirements for candidates. In total, it usually takes seven years to earn the CPA license. Consider this long investment of time and your personal bandwidth at the beginning of your educational journey. For more information, see our guide to becoming a CPA.

See accreditation

Third-party organizations provide accreditations to institutions and programs to indicate that they meet strict independent standards. When searching for colleges, confirm that each prospective institution is institutionally accredited by an organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the US Department of Education. Proper accreditation makes it easier to transfer credits and pursue employment after graduation.

Programmatic accreditation indicates high quality in specific departments or concentrations within colleges and universities. If you are applying to a college with a specific major, research whether the program has relevant programmatic accreditation in that area.

The main accrediting bodies for business programs, including accounting majors, are the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

READ :  The Netflix of grocery shopping

The American Institute of CPAs considers AACSB a top accrediting body for accounting and business programs; AACSB-accredited schools meet the most stringent standards for CPA requirements in 17 states. ACBSP and IACBE accreditation also indicates high quality for business programs.

Graduate schools may prefer candidates from undergraduate programs with subject-specific accreditation, but will primarily consider institutional accreditation when admitting students to a master’s in accounting.

Consider your future goals

Before you apply to college or university, try to make a list of your educational and career aspirations. Research schools and programs with sample offerings that meet your goals. For example, if you want to work as an accountant, look for institutions with strong alumni networks or internships in the field of accounting.

State requirements vary, but an individual wishing to become a CPA is typically required to have 150 credits to sit the CPA exam and earn certification. To meet this credit requirement, prospective CPAs often pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting or related fields.

Bachelor’s degree holders can take up entry-level accounting positions, but if you plan to pursue graduate studies to meet CPA requirements, make sure you research schools with strong master’s programs. Institutions that offer both bachelor’s and master’s accounting programs often make the transition from bachelor’s to master’s programs smooth for their students.