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If you are employed in a posi­tion that has you per­form­ing book­keep­ing or account­ing duties as part of your job descrip­tion, then an accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree can make a huge dif­fer­ence in your occu­pa­tion­al options. Accel­er­at­ed account­ing pro­grams enhance your employ­a­bil­i­ty and pro­vide you with the nec­es­sary edu­ca­tion to per­form your duties at a high­er lev­el. Get­ting an accel­er­at­ed degree takes less time than get­ting a tra­di­tion­al pro­gram, and get you clos­er to a CPA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, mak­ing it a quick avenue toward becom­ing a CPA.

Over­all, engag­ing in an accel­er­at­ed account­ing bach­e­lor’s pro­gram is some­thing that ben­e­fits you in terms of less time spent in school, learn­ing the same cur­ricu­lum as a full four-year degree, and get­ting start­ed in a career soon­er, but earn­ing the same salary. Going through high­er edu­ca­tion is always ben­e­fi­cial in terms of your earn­ing potential

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Accounting Degree Online

When it comes to rank­ing the best accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online pro­grams, speed is impor­tant, but it’s not every­thing. So Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter edi­tors not only researched accred­it­ed pro­grams that offer accel­er­at­ed options, but ranked them accord­ing to real fac­tors includ­ing Cost, Salary Poten­tial, and Stu­dent Reviews.

1. Western Governors University

West­ern Gov­er­nors Uni­ver­si­ty has a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Account­ing that full-time stu­dents can com­plete online in 36 months. This pro­gram stress Gen­er­al­ly Accept­ed Account­ing Prin­ci­ples (GAAP), jour­nals and ledgers and track­ing finan­cial assets and lia­bil­i­ties for clients. Grad­u­ates can go on to take WGU’s Mas­ter of Account­ing to earn the 150 semes­ter hours need­ed to take the CPA exam. This accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online allows busy elearn­ers to set their own sched­ules for studying.

West­ern Gov­er­nors has a 100% accep­tance rate and an online for­mat, mak­ing this pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty high­ly acces­si­ble. With an enroll­ment of approx­i­mate­ly 89,000 under­grad­u­ates, the school offers elearn­ers a chance to min­gle with a diverse stu­dent body. Busi­ness, Nurs­ing and Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion are pop­u­lar majors.

High­light: Near­ly 90% of stu­dents agree that the course­work is man­age­able and 83% are sat­is­fied with class availability.

Degree: Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Accounting

West­ern Gov­er­nors Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Accounting

2. University of Maryland Global Campus

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land Glob­al Cam­pus has a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in account­ing that allows elearn­ers to trans­fer up to 90 cred­its to its online for­mat. Elearn­ers can set their own pace as they mas­ter the­o­ry and prac­tice on ana­lyz­ing and report­ing the finan­cial activ­i­ties of var­i­ous orga­ni­za­tions. Bud­get­ing, account­ing, account­ing sys­tems, finan­cial analy­sis and report­ing, inter­nal con­trols, tax­a­tion and audit­ing are all skills learned in this accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online.

Mary­land is a top-tier pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty with sev­er­al loca­tions. Its main cam­pus has 28,501 under­grad­u­ates. With an accep­tance rate of 47%, less than half of all appli­cants move beyond the admis­sions process. Stu­dents study a wide vari­ety of sub­jects, and some of the most pop­u­lar are Biol­o­gy, Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence and Eco­nom­ics. Although the admis­sions process can be gru­el­ing, Mary­land grad­u­ates 86% of accept­ed stu­dents, This speaks to the qual­i­ty of stu­dent sup­port at the school

High­light: The Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land is the top-rat­ed pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty, accord­ing to Niche.com, lend­ing greater weight to the degree earned.

Degree: Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in accounting

Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land Glob­al Cam­pus BS in Accounting

3. Wilmington University

Wilm­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty offers a B.S. in Account­ing and per­mits 90 trans­fer cred­its for the online degree pro­gram. Suc­cess­ful grad­u­ates achieve a firm foun­da­tion in finance and account­ing. Course­work includes finan­cial plan­ning and analy­sis, account­ing, tax account­ing and cor­po­rate finance. Besides being able to com­plete school­work at times con­ve­nient for them, stu­dents can choose oth­er class­es that help them obtain their pro­fes­sion­al goals. This accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online pre­pares stu­dents to take the CPA, account­ing for 120 cred­it hours toward the 150-hour CPA requirement.

Wilm­ing­ton is a pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty, and its brick-and-mor­tar site is in Wilm­ing­ton Manor. This small school has just 3,400 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents. With an accep­tance rate of 100%, it makes high­er edu­ca­tion acces­si­ble to all. Pop­u­lar majors include Busi­ness, Nurs­ing and Behav­ioral Sciences.

HIgh­light: Wilm­ing­ton offers stu­dents coop­er­a­tive learn­ing options where they can gain pro­fes­sion­al experience.

Degree: B.S. in Accounting

Wilm­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty B.S. in Accounting

4. Old Dominion University

Old Domin­ion Uni­ver­si­ty has a BSBA account­ing online pro­gram that accepts up to 90 trans­fer cred­its. Elearn­ers gain tech­ni­cal account­ing knowl­edge in this pro­gram, and oth­er skills that are empha­sized include com­mu­ni­ca­tion, com­put­er skills and ana­lyt­i­cal abil­i­ties Stu­dents grad­u­ate with the skills need for a career and grad­u­ate school, and they can fin­ish their accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online from the com­fort of home.

Old Domin­ion is a respect­ed uni­ver­si­ty with a phys­i­cal cam­pus in Nor­folk, Vir­ginia. Over 15,000 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents study at this large uni­ver­si­ty. With an accep­tance rate of 87%, Old Domin­ion is very suc­cess­ful to a diverse pop­u­la­tion of appli­cants. Pop­u­lar majors include Men­tal and Social Health, Psy­chol­o­gy and Crim­i­nol­o­gy. The school receives high marks for diver­si­ty and value.

High­light: ODU’s account­ing pro­gram is one of a few with a sep­a­rate accred­i­ta­tion issued by the Asso­ci­a­tion to Advance Col­le­giate Schools of Busi­ness – International.

Degree: BSBA in Accounting

Old Domin­ion Uni­ver­si­ty BSBA Accounting

5. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

At South­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty Car­bon­dale, stu­dents can com­plete an Account­ing, B.S. — Online Account­ing Pro­gram (OACCT) pro­gram in 18 months. This pro­gram is designed for stu­dents who need to com­plete the last two years of their under­grad­u­ate degree. By allow­ing stu­dents to fin­ish their bach­e­lor’s online, this pro­gram accom­mo­dates stu­dents with fam­i­ly oblig­a­tions and oth­er respon­si­bil­i­ties. The accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online pre­pares elearn­ers for four pos­si­ble career paths: man­age­ment, account­ing, inter­nal audit­ing and gov­ern­ment accounting.

South­ern Illi­nois Car­bon­dale, locat­ed in Car­bon­dale, Illi­nois, is a pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty. It has over 8,000 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents, and the 72% admis­sions rate is a bit com­pet­i­tive. Stu­dents give the instruc­tors high rat­ings for pre­pared­ness and accomplishments.

High­light: With a low stu­dent-fac­ul­ty ratio of 13 to 1, SIU offers stu­dents plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties to inter­act with fac­ul­ty members.

Degree: Account­ing, B.S. — Online Account­ing Pro­gram (OACCT)

South­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty Car­bon­dale BS in Accounting

6. Indiana Tech

Indi­ana Tech offers an Account­ing B.S. that elearn­ers can com­plete in three years. Course­work includes online and cam­pus com­po­nents, pro­vid­ing stu­dents with a well-round­ed expe­ri­ence. Tech-savvy instruc­tors guide stu­dents on how to lever­age tech­nol­o­gy for the ben­e­fit of cus­tomers and employ­ers. This pro­gram fea­tures indus­try intern­ships that let stu­dents devel­op career skills and make con­tacts for job place­ment. Stu­dents who com­plete this accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online can go on to com­plete an MBA in account­ing in an extra year.

Indi­ana Tech pro­vides learn­ers with pro­fes­sion­al edu­ca­tions. Its mis­sion is to pre­pare all stu­dents for lead­er­ship and career advance­ment in soci­ety. The end goal is hav­ing an accom­plished life or worth and significance.

High­light: Indi­ana Tech offers an active learn­ing envi­ron­ment, and its instruc­tors are experts in their respec­tive fields.

Degree: Account­ing, B.S.

Indi­ana Tech Account­ing B.S.

7. Colorado Christian College

Col­orado Chris­t­ian Col­lege has an Account­ing Bach­e­lor’s Degree B.S. that lets prospec­tive stu­dents trans­fer up to 90 cred­its. Stu­dents gain a sol­id under­stand­ing of busi­ness and eco­nom­ics, includ­ing spe­cial­ized fields such as non­prof­it and gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions, tax account­ing and cor­po­rate account­ing. Elearn­ers val­ue this accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online which allows them to con­tin­ue their edu­ca­tion while meet­ing oth­er obligations.

Col­orado Chris­t­ian is a pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty based in Lake­wood, Col­orado. The small school has just over 1,800 under­grad­u­ate learn­ers. All appli­cants are wel­come and the school has a 100% accep­tance rate. Busi­ness, Nurs­ing and Psy­chol­o­gy are top majors at Col­orado Chris­t­ian. The 15:1 fac­ul­ty-to-stu­dent ratio assures stu­dents indi­vid­ual atten­tion from online instructors.

High­light: Col­orado Chris­t­ian if ranked num­ber sev­en among the coun­try’s most con­ser­v­a­tive colleges.

Degree: Account­ing Bach­e­lor’s Degree, B.S.

Col­orado Chris­t­ian Col­lege Account­ing B.S.

8. Sullivan University

Sul­li­van Uni­ver­si­ty offers a BS Account­ing online degree that stu­dents can fin­ish in 18 months. This on-cam­pus and online degree blends of busi­ness, account­ing, infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy and oth­er edu­ca­tion­al require­ments so that those who suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete the course­work grad­u­ate as high­ly qual­i­fied account­ing pro­fes­sion­als. Poten­tial career choic­es for grad­u­ates include pub­lic account­ing, non­prof­it, man­age­ment account­ing, tax, and oth­er spe­cial­ties. This accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online pro­vides stu­dents with a tra­di­tion­al cam­pus expe­ri­ence com­bined with the con­ve­nience of online learning.

Sul­li­van ranks high for cam­pus safe­ty and is phys­i­cal­ly locat­ed in Ken­tucky. Its total under­grad­u­ate enroll­ment includes less than 1,700 stu­dents. Every­one who wish­es to study at Sul­li­van gets a chance to fur­ther their high­er edu­ca­tion — the school’s accep­tance rate is 100%. Pop­u­lar majors include Culi­nary Arts, Busi­ness and Com­put­er Sys­tems Tech­ni­cian. Stu­dents give the school high marks for instruc­tor pre­pared­ness, class avail­abil­i­ty and course­work man­age­abil­i­ty. Approx­i­mate­ly 93% of stu­dents receive finan­cial aid to help them pay for their edu­ca­tion at Sul­li­van University.

High­light: Stu­dents grad­u­ate from Sul­li­van with mar­ketable skills such as design­ing account­ing systems.

Degree: BS Accounting

Sul­li­van Uni­ver­si­ty BS Accounting

9. Southern New Hampshire University

At South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty, stu­dents can obtain a BS in Account­ing and trans­fer up to 90 cred­its to this online pro­gram. SNHU’s online account­ing degree is accred­it­ed and helps stu­dents mas­ter a vari­ety of goals includ­ing how to inter­pret account­ing rules, cre­ate finan­cial state­ments, pre­pare tax returns, effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cate with stake­hold­ers, audit finan­cial data and make eth­i­cal deci­sions. This accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online pro­vides max­i­mum flex­i­bil­i­ty for stu­dents with full sched­ules who wish to extend their education.

For eight decades, SNHU has offered stu­dents a qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion. The uni­ver­si­ty has more than 300 under­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate pro­grams designed to keep up with the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy. U.S. News & World Report named South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty as a “Most Inno­v­a­tive” region­al uni­ver­si­ty, and the school is ded­i­cat­ed to pro­vid­ing high-qual­i­ty, afford­able edu­ca­tion to its stu­dents. The accep­tance rate at the uni­ver­si­ty is 73%.

High­light: Most stu­dents feel that SNHU fac­ul­ty mem­bers put a lot into prepar­ing for the course and that the course­work is man­age­able, with high avail­abil­i­ty for nec­es­sary classes.

Degree: BS in Accounting

South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Accounting

10. Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­ver­si­ty offers a B.S. in Account­ing that full-time stu­dents can com­plete with­in two or three years. Elearn­ers com­plete 100% of the course­work online. The cur­ricu­lum focus­es on account­ing fun­da­men­tals and stu­dents learn about account­ing tech­nol­o­gy and the lat­est gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions. The flex­i­ble accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online pre­pares grad­u­ates equal­ly for con­tin­u­ing their edu­ca­tion at the mas­ter’s lev­el or pur­su­ing a career in accounting.

This pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty is in Philadel­phia, Penn­syl­va­nia. Less than 3,000 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents attend this small uni­ver­si­ty. Admis­sion stan­dards are high — just 58% of appli­cants move for­ward to pur­sue a degree. Besides Account­ing, stu­dents pur­sue pop­u­lar majors such as Fam­i­ly Prac­tice and Pedi­atric Nurs­ing and Fash­ion and Appar­el Mer­chan­dis­ing. To help with the cost of tuition, 99% of stu­dents receive finan­cial aid.

High­lights: Medi­an salaries for Thomas Jef­fer­son grad­u­ates exceeds that of many oth­er 4‑year schools.

Degree: B.S. in Accounting

Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­ver­si­ty B.S. in Accounting

Should I Get an Accounting Certification?

When tak­ing a look at an account­ing cer­tifi­cate vs degree, it’s quick­ly appar­ent that account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions take less time to obtain, but do offer a sol­id foun­da­tion in account­ing prin­ci­ples. They dis­pense with the gen­er­al edu­ca­tion of busi­ness pro­grams and focus on prac­ti­cal account­ing skills.

Some account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, such as the Cer­ti­fied Man­age­ment Accoun­tant (CMA), are inten­sive cours­es that pre­pare stu­dents for posi­tions that require informed deci­sion mak­ing and plan­ning. In fact the Cer­ti­fied Man­age­ment Accoun­tant (CMA) is worth tak­ing a look at when con­sid­er­ing an account­ing cer­tifi­cate vs degree. The more com­pre­hen­sive the study, the bet­ter the employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties because you offer an employ­er some­thing more than basic book­keep­ing skills.

Anoth­er avenue of employ­ment involves earn­ing gov­ern­ment account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. Some­one who holds gov­ern­ment account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions can find employ­ment in the local, state, and fed­er­al lev­els. This type of account­ing cer­tifi­cate is inves­ti­ga­tion­al in that the accoun­tant per­forms finan­cial audits, looks for signs of poten­tial fraud in ongo­ing account­ing prac­tices, and make sure that com­pli­ance is being observed by the cor­po­ra­tion or gov­ern­ment enti­ty that’s being examined.

A few cer­ti­fi­ca­tions to look into include:

  • foren­sic accounting
  • finan­cial reporting
  • man­age­r­i­al accounting
  • finan­cial accounting
  • busi­ness law
  • income tax
  • cost account­ing
  • account­ing infor­ma­tion systems
  • finan­cial management

You have the option of going to a phys­i­cal school or going online to get an account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Get­ting account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions online is ben­e­fi­cial if you’re already employed and want to have more skills to offer to your employ­er, or you want to move onto a new career path. Those who want to try the account­ing field, but don’t want to com­mit to the required edu­ca­tion for an online bachelor’s degree, can find out if account­ing is right for them by tak­ing class­es for account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions online.

Will I Make More Money with a Certification?

It’s true that hav­ing some form of high­er edu­ca­tion helps you earn more mon­ey over your life­time and opens doors for career advance­ment. The aver­age annu­al salary for some­one who has an account­ing cer­tifi­cate is $54,000. You may be able to earn a high­er account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions salary depend­ing on your expe­ri­ence and skillsets that are relat­ed to your account­ing cer­tifi­cate. In the event that you are cur­rent­ly employed, your employ­er may reward you with a high­er salary because you’ve tak­en it upon your­self to add to your edu­ca­tion and become more valu­able as an employee.

Becom­ing a full CPA requires 150 hours of school and two years of work expe­ri­ence, then sit­ting for and pass­ing the CPA exam. It’s a lot of time invest­ment that you might not have if you’re cur­rent­ly employed or want to start your career soon­er than lat­er. Going through an account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram opens up new avenues of employ­ment and at high­er salaries. It’s espe­cial­ly ben­e­fi­cial to get an account­ing cer­tifi­cate if you’re already per­form­ing book­keep­ing duties. The edu­ca­tion that you earn while work­ing can be com­bined with what you learn in school and make you into a more viable can­di­date for a posi­tion that has bet­ter pay.

Can I Work From Home as an Accountant?

Many employ­ers offer telecom­mut­ing account­ing jobs that require lit­tle-to-no office pres­ence for employ­ees. The cur­rent shift towards work at home means more employ­ers are open­ing up roles that can be per­formed in a home office. It’s eas­i­er than ever to find telecom­mut­ing account­ing jobs that allow you to work pri­mar­i­ly from home. Some employ­ers, such as gov­ern­ments, are less like­ly to have work at home roles due to the nature of the work. If you are look­ing to get gov­ern­ment account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, you may find that there is a lim­it­ed amount of posi­tions that allow you to work from home.

If work­ing at home is impor­tant to you as part of your career loca­tion, make sure that you focus your edu­ca­tion in areas of account­ing that let you work remote­ly. Look for an account­ing firm that pro­motes work­ing remotely.

Some areas of account­ing, such as foren­sics, require you to trav­el to off-site loca­tions so you can per­form your work, espe­cial­ly if you’re work­ing in a legal capac­i­ty. Audit­ing finan­cial records is fre­quent­ly done on site as the own­ers of the books want to have over­sight and make sure that the audit­ing team is per­form­ing hon­est­ly. Be aware of the work­ing envi­ron­ment required of the dif­fer­ent roles in account­ing and make your edu­ca­tion­al plans in accor­dance with where and how you want to work.

A master’s degree in busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion may accept col­lege cred­its from your cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and may be nec­es­sary if you wish to become a cer­ti­fied pub­lic accoun­tant. There are 150 cred­it hours required for licen­sure. Your account­ing career can go fur­ther with an account­ing degree pro­gram. Account­ing cours­es like advanced account­ing and con­cen­tra­tions can open the door to spe­cial­ized careers like bud­get analyst.

Relat­ed Rankings: 

25 Best Bach­e­lor’s in Accounting

15 Best Online Bach­e­lor’s in Accounting

10 Most Afford­able Online Bach­e­lor’s in Accounting