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If you’re a working adult on the lower levels of the finance industry – say a bookkeeper or clerk – you probably already know you need to complete your bachelor’s degree before you can move up. You’ve probably already considered online programs, but time is of the essence. You want to see a change for the better, and you want to see if soon. That’s where accelerated programs come in. With online schools offering generous transfer agreements, credit for experience, and other incentives for finishing quickly, you can have your bachelor’s in less than a year. 

The online component of an Accounting program also helps to make it both accessible and economically feasible as a career-advancement opportunity. It’s a simple matter of determining which course of study will achieve the desired goals, and then accessing those online educational resources from the comfort of a home environment on a schedule that works for the entire family. The advantages are clear. With an online accounting degree it’s possible to realize the career most people want and dream of without the high cost, the hassle, or the inconvenience of more traditional degree programs. 

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Accounting Degree Online

Getting your degree quickly is great, but not if the degree isn’t worth it. Great Business Schools editors have ranked accredited, accelerated online accounting bachelor’s programs based on 5 factors, focusing on criteria with real-world impact: Alumni Salary, Cost, Graduation Rate, Job Placement, and Student Reviews. Our data is drawn from Niche, IPEDS, and College Scorecard. 

1. Old Dominion University

old dominion odu

When you’re looking for the best accelerated accounting degree online, you want to consider the program BSBA in Accounting at Old Dominion University. The bachelor’s degree program is considered a completion program and it allows students to transfer up to 90 credits into the online program. Students can finish up their degrees by taking only 30 credits through the university.

Old Dominion University differs from other programs by focusing on the relevant skills students need to take on leadership roles. The online degree program emphasizes accounting courses as well as communication and computer skills. The recognition that leaders in any business or accounting firm must have a strong grasp of effective communication ensures that students are ready to handle the challenges of a fast-paced work environment.

Highlight: Old Dominion University is ranked number 13 for its online accounting program when compared to other colleges and universities.

Degree: BSBA

Format: Online – transfer 90 credits

2. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

umass dartmouth

The accelerated accounting degree online from UMass Dartmouth is a completion program designed to help students finish up a degree at an accelerated pace. Students are able to transfer up to 75 credits into the online program and finish up their degrees without wasting time. The online program allows students to work at their own pace and finish a degree when they have time, so it gives students a flexible solution for their goals.

UMass Dartmouth stands out from other programs by giving students a flexible transfer program. Since the students can transfer up to 75 credits, they are able to finish up their degree in a short amount of time. It also focuses on the practical application of accounting skills in the workplace, so it ensures that students are able to keep up with their career objectives.

Highlight: UMass Dartmouth is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Degree: Bachelor’s of Science Degree Completion Program in Accounting

Format: Online – transfer 75%

3. Purdue University Global

Purdue logo

Purdue University Global has one the best accelerated accounting degree online programs for students focusing on a career in accounting. The bachelor of science in accounting prepares students for the rigors of a fast-paced work environment. It offers ten-week long courses that allow students to work at their own pace and complete the degree when it fits their situation.

A key way Purdue University Global helps students accelerate their degree is by allowing transfer credits. Students can transfer up to 75 percent of their credits from other programs to complete the degree. It ensures that students have greater flexibility to reach their goals and focus on their career objectives. It also allows students to finish a degree in a short amount of time.

Highlight: Purdue University Global offers multiple start-dates for the online program, which ensures that students have the flexibility to start on a degree when they have time.

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Format: Online – transfer 75%

4. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

southern illinois siu

Southern Illinois University in Carbondale offers an accelerated online bachelor’s degree in accounting that helps students start working in a short amount of time. The classes in the program are eight weeks long, which ensures that students work at a fast pace when completing the degree. Students often take two courses at a time, but have options to work on fewer or more courses if they can manage the material.

A key way Southern Illinois University in Carbondale stands out for the online program is the transfer requirement. The program requires students to transfer 60 college credits before they start the program. It is a completion program and students should have their general education credits finished before starting the specialized accounting courses.

Highlight: Southern Illinois University in Carbondale allows students to finish their bachelor’s degree in 18 months.

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

Format: Online – 18 months

5. Liberty University

liberty university

Liberty University offers an accelerated online degree in accounting at the bachelor’s level. The degree program allows students to transfer up to 75 percent of their credits into the program to accelerate the process of obtaining a degree. The program is fully online and the classes last for eight weeks. The accelerated pace of the classes and the option to transfer credits into the program means students can finish their degree at a fast pace.

Liberty University differs from other programs by preparing students for the CPA exam. The degree program allows students to develop the appropriate skills and training to start working on the qualification standards for the exam. It also recognizes that the exam requires students to have a strong ethical standard and it helps students develop a strong sense of ethics.

Highlight: Liberty University is an ACBSP accredited university and meets the standards of the organization.

Degree: B.S. Online Degree in Accounting

Format: Online – transfer 75%

6. Southern New Hampshire University

southern new hampshire snhu

Southern New Hampshire University offers an accelerated online BS in Accounting that prepares students for the challenges of working in an accounting firm or a corporate setting. The degree program prepares students for the CPA exam by focusing on accounting, auditing, and tax-related skills they need to pass the exam. It also allows students to take online master’s level courses to accelerate a master’s degree as part of the bachelor’s program if students plan to pursue a higher level of education.

The way that Southern New Hampshire University stands out is the option to focus on a concentration within accounting. Students can take the forensic accounting and fraud examination concentration to develop the skills they need to work with police departments or federal agencies to identify and address problems with fraud. 

Highlight: Southern New Hampshire University allows students to transfer up to 90 credits into the accelerated online program.

Degree: BS in Accounting

Format: Online – transfer 90 credits

7. Wilmington University

wilmington u

Wilmington University offers an accelerated program in accounting online. The program is available through the fully online program or students can opt to take the classes on campus. The options ensure that students are able to work around their personal obligations or schedules while finishing up a degree program.

The way the Wilmington University differs from other programs is the combination of finance and accounting courses. The school recognizes that the degree programs need similar skills and it provides an integrated education that prepares students for different aspects of finance and accounting. The integrated program gives students more opportunities for a career.

Highlight: Students can transfer up to 90 credits into the online degree program at Wilmington University.

Degree: B.S. in Accounting

Format: Online – transfer 90 credits

8. University of Maryland Global Campus

u maryland global

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers an accelerated online degree program in accounting. The degree program allows students to transfer up to 90 credits to accelerate the process of obtaining a degree. It also focuses on helping students keep up with courses by giving them a flexible strategy for their degree. That allows students to work at their own pace and complete the course material when it fits their schedule.

The University of Maryland Global Campus stands apart from other programs by combining the technical skills with the research and analytical skills required for accountants. It recognizes that technology plays a critical role in modern business and accounting services, so it provides a strong foundation in the technological skills students need to keep up with the demands of an employer.

Highlight: The University of Maryland Global Campus is ranked as the number one online forensic accounting degree.

Degree: Bachelor of Science in accounting

Format: Online – transfer 90 credits

9. West Virginia State University

west virginia wvu

The bachelor of business administration with a concentration in accounting from West Virginia State University is one of the best accelerated online programs for accounting. The degree program takes between two and four years to complete, so students should be aware that the exact amount of time depends on the number of classes they take as well as the number of credits transferred into the program. 

West Virginia State University stands apart by allowing students to transfer up to 72 credits into the program. Students can accelerate the process of completing the degree by transferring credits into the program and completing it through the fully online material. The online classes allow students to work at their own pace and complete course material when they have time. That ensures that students are able to complete the degree in a short amount of time when they are willing to work at a faster pace.

Highlight: West Virginia State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the ACBSP for its accounting degree.

Degree: B.S. in Business Administration: Accounting

Format: Online – transfer 72 credits

10. Sullivan University

sullivan u

Sullivan University offers a BS in accounting online that allows students to accelerate the process of completing their degree. The program uses a stair-step progression model that ensures that students are able to work at their own pace. It allows students to move forward with their course material as they complete classes. That allows students to finish a class and move forward rather than waiting until a new semester starts before pursuing the next class. 

Sullivan University differs from other programs by focusing on the real-world application of accounting skills. It teaches students the methods they will use to apply different skills in a real-world setting while they are still in the digital classroom. Students are also able to take classes on campus if they prefer to combine online and traditional classes, so it allows students to join discussions with peers and gain insights into different areas of accounting. The degree program offers a flexible approach to education that prepares students for the challenges they will face when working in an accounting firm or a corporate business.

Highlight: Students can complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Sullivan University in as little as 18 months.

Degree: BS Accounting

Format: Online – 18 months

What Can I Do with an Accounting Degree Other Than Be a CPA?

If a person is searching “career opportunities in accounting profession,” an individual may choose an accounting career path as a financial advisor, financial examiner, finance manager, financial consultant, business consultant, budget analyst, chief financial officer, bookkeeper, or possibly a tax professional. A search for “career opportunities in accounting profession” gives people the ability to work for the government, healthcare facilities, insurance companies, and financial institutions like banks.  

A financial examiner is one option for an accounting career path. A person who decides to search “career opportunities in accounting profession” will find that a financial examiner is responsible for making sure an establishment is compliant with the law and ensures that all transactions are legal as well.

When accounting career path planning, an individual may want to consider becoming a financial manager. This is the individual responsible for the financial well-being of a business or organization. Additionally, when a person learns about accounting career information, he or she will see that it’s possible to become a chief financial officer. This is the main person in charge of finances for a business or organization. This person has the responsibility of overseeing the budget and conducting cost-benefit analyses. 

A budget analyst helps businesses and organizations organize finances. This person may have the duty of preparing a budget and keeping track of spending. Business and financial consultants, on the other hand, provide an expert opinion about a business, person, or organization’s finances. Individuals who hold this title are behind part of the success of business owners and entrepreneurs. They complete financial plans and may conduct bookkeeping duties.  

Another option is a tax accountant career. These individuals are responsible for completing tax documentation for businesses, organizations, and individuals. They may guide the business, organization, or person in making sound financial decisions in terms of their taxes.  

Should I Get an Accounting Certification?

Those who want to go through school to become an accountant may wonder if they should look into accounting certifications rather than a degree. To answer this question, it’s important to understand the difference between an accounting certificate vs degree. Accounting certifications take less time than completing a degree. When comparing an accounting certificate vs degree, it’s vital to know that the certificate is only for entry-level positions. It’s ideal for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to either work as an accountant on the side or add that to the skills they have for their current job. An accounting degree is much more complex and better prepares students for a variety of positions.

A potential student can find accounting certifications online that take as little as four months. Accounting certifications online provide students with general accounting skills and may touch base on subjects like business law. 

Those looking to get a certificate may want to consider a CPA certification. A CPA certification isn’t a program. Instead, it’s how a person demonstrates their ability as an accountant. It’s a certificate through their state’s Board of Accountancy.

A person could also choose to become a certified management accountant. A search for “certified management accountant cma” brings up the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). Performing a search for the “certified management accountant” gives a person access to how to gain a certification that demonstrates his or her ability as an accountant or financial advisor. 

Neither certification is one of the government accounting certifications. However, someone can earn their Certified Government Financial Manager certification from the Association of Government Accountants, which classifies as one of the government accounting certifications because it qualifies a person to act as an accountant for local, state, and federal agencies. 

Will I Make More Money with a Certification?

If a person decides to obtain an accounting certification, he or she can make more money than someone who does not have a certificate. The certificate shows a person demonstrates a certain level of knowledge about accounting. A certification demonstrates to future employers that a person has the necessary knowledge to work adequately at his or her position. Companies will only hire an individual if he or she has a certificate.

Keep in mind, when a person searches “accounting certifications salary,” not only is the salary higher than someone with a certificate, all states require a person to sit for the national certification. Additionally, those with higher degrees like bachelor’s have more earning potential because it’s possible to take on lead roles as accountants. Those with a bachelor’s along with their certification will notice that results for “accounting certifications salary” shows an even higher amount.  

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