Earning an Accounting Degree Online Tips

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Do Traditional, On Campus Schools Offer Online Accounting Degree Programs?

Traditional Schools Offer Online Accounting Degree Programs

For many years traditional, on-campus colleges and universities refrained from offering online accounting degrees, or any other degrees, for that matter. However, the continued and growing success of Internet-based online schools has reminded many campus-based institutions that education is also a business. To continue to provide quality education, all schools need students and their tuition monies. Therefore, now you have a good selection of universities to earn an accounting degree online. They often prefer to call their online accounting degree programs “distance learning,” but many offer pure online Associate's and Bachelor's degrees in accounting. Some also now offer the ability to earn an online Master's degree in accounting.

Avoid the potential mistake of automatically assuming that campus-based institutions will give you a better accounting education online than Internet-based universities. A good school is a good school, period. Many of the online colleges and universities have a great deal of experience offering courses and degrees, and have perfected accounting education online. Many have more experience creating online accounting courses, subject presentation and time flexibility (a large benefit for you). As long as you are earning an accredited online accounting degree, the quality of your online accounting degree will be equal to many campus-based institutions now offering online courses.

What Type of Jobs Can I Get If I Earn an Online Accounting Degree?

Jobs You Qualify for With an Online Accounting Degree

Your career opportunities and compensation level will increase if you earn an online accounting degree. An online Bachelor's degree in accounting should immediately move you to a job title of Accountant, Senior Accountant (if you have experience), Auditor or Senior Auditor, among other opportunities. If you are already in or want to join public accounting, you will want to consider taking the uniform CPA exam to get licensed. An online Bachelor's degree in accounting should also bring you new opportunities in private industry or government management positions, not only in the accounting department, but also in operations, finance, branch management, marketing and even human resources.

Should your online accounting degree be at a Master'ss level, jobs like Accounting Manager, Controller, Vice President of Accounting and even Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will be within your reach. If you wish to deviate from the accounting department, mid- and upper-level management opportunities will present themselves in operations, finance, marketing and human resources.
Along with all of the above, the growing importance of the Information Technology (IT) area in private industry, government and nonprofit operations requires talented accounting graduates with both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in accounting. This career path can often be the fastest track to senior management positions, leaving the others in the dust. The need for talent is always the most important job opportunity consideration and even the IT division needs accounting talent since their performance is also evaluated in accounting terms.

Is It Possible to Find Free Online Accounting Courses?

Free Online Accounting Courses

While you would be hard pressed to find a complete, free in-depth accounting education online, there are a few free and basic accounting courses available. Websites like accountingcoach.com and wannalearn.com provide basic accounting education online, but not degree-level courses. Do not totally disregard these free online accounting courses, though. For instance, let's assume you are in a dead-end job or career and think that accounting is a field that might interest you. Before you spend your hard-earned money and time in an online accounting degree program, spend a little time going through a few free online accounting courses to determine if accounting is really what you want. If it isn't, you have only spent a little time and no money finding out that another field may be better for you. Should you enjoy the subject, you can proceed more confidently in evaluating the variety of online accounting degree programs that are available. You can then find an accredited online accounting degree program that gives you the education you want. It's a total win-win situation for you.
If you want to go further, you will find Associate's and online Bachelor's degrees in accounting programs that are cost effective and provide a solid education to improve your career track in a short period of time. Pursuing an accounting degree online also gives you the option to continue working while you take your courses.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Accounting Degree?

Time Period to Earn an Online Accounting Degree

The time period from enrollment to graduation in an online accounting degree program depends on the degree being earned, course requirements and your available time and finances. Normally, an Associate's degree in accounting will take around 18 to 24 months to complete. An online Bachelor's degree in accounting normally occupies 36 to 48 months of your time. Should you earn an undergraduate degree and wish to earn an online Master's degree in accounting or an MBA, you will spend around 18 to 24 months of study.

The potential advantage of earning an accounting degree online is the flexibility in course scheduling and cost savings you receive. You will value this flexibility if you're facing a semester that you know is “work heavy” with fewer hours available for study. You could cut back on your course load, knowing you can increase it next semester when your available time for education will be expanded. For instance, suppose you're working as a junior tax preparer for an accounting firm. A normal second semester college year, running from January through May, is a time frame when you're working 80 hours per week during tax season. Are you really able to handle a full course load this semester? Ask your psychological counselor. Don't worry, you'll need one. Possibly your work schedule will then relax to the point that you're only putting in 25 to 30 hours the following semester and you can add an extra course or two if you have the study time available. A similar plan is much more difficult in an on-campus situation as course offerings are a function of students' preferences, availability of physical classrooms, professor course schedules, etc.

Why Is It Important to Earn an Accredited Online Accounting Degree?

Earn an Accredited Online Accounting Degree

All colleges and universities offering accredited online accounting degrees, and all other course offerings, have been “accredited” by an agency or source. Like everything else, all accrediting sources are not created equal. Accreditation, according to elearners.com, is often defined as “a validation process by which institutions of higher education are evaluated against established standards to ensure a high level of educational quality.” It is important to note that, unlike many other countries, accreditation in the United States is not performed by a government agency but is the responsibility of private accreditation agencies. The U.S. government's role is only that of examining the various accreditation agencies to ensure they are holding true to their purpose. You should also get more information about the agency that provided accreditation to a school in which you have interest so you can be equally comfortable.
An accredited online accounting degree is important because many major employers refuse to give credit to job candidates who have earned degrees from non-accredited schools. You do not need to spend many dollars and hours of study time earning a designation that is not accepted by corporate America. Accreditation is also important to you personally as it denotes that some agency has examined the course content of your school and has given its “stamp of approval” that you are receiving a quality accounting education online. There are both regional and national accreditation agencies in the U.S. and you should have little trouble learning about any of them on the web.

Can I Earn an Online Master’s Degree in Accounting?

Earn an Online Master's Degree in Accounting

If you have already earned a Bachelor's degree in accounting, either online or on-campus, you can now earn an online Master's degree in accounting. There are also some options that allow you to earn an MBA with a concentration in accounting, which might also fit your career plans. An online Master's degree in accounting or an MBA with an accounting concentration can be earned in 15 to 24 months of study.
You can choose between online universities and some traditional, on-campus institutions, which now also offer an online Master's degree in accounting. A major factor in your decision of which school to choose will depend on your current career path and future professional plans. Are you going to pursue a long-term career in public accounting (in which case you'll also need to earn a CPA certification), private industry management or government/non-profit senior officer-level service? Do you want to specialize in one area like management accounting, internal or external auditing, forensic accounting or taxation? These questions, and more importantly, the answers will give you the information you need to select the best online Master's degree in accounting program for you. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited and accepted by the employment community so your hard work and educational achievement will be properly rewarded.

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