Choosing an Online Accounting Degree Program

In response to recent accounting scandals, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which requires stricter accounting and reporting procedures. This, of course, increased the need for accountants. Increased job availability, excellent working conditions and attractive salaries make accounting an increasingly attractive option.

Traditional college education is not possible for many people, especially working adults. Work and family schedules make it difficult to attend classes at scheduled times. Some people also do not have access to college classes where they live. Online education is a wonderful option for these folk.

Online accounting degree programs are available at more institutions all the time. Online education works very well for accounting because so much of the work is done individually. Virtual workgroups, teleconferencing and on-campus requirements provide opportunities to work on teams and in groups, as well.

Online accounting degree programs award associates, bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Online accounting degree programs can prepare you for CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CMA (Certified management accountant) or CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) certification.

Once you’ve decided to pursue your degree, and decided that online learning is a good option for you, you need to find an online accounting degree program. Here are a few questions to consider as you look for the best program for you.

What does it cost?

It’s not really the most important question, but it’s one of the important questions. Of course, you need to compare costs. Just make sure you are comparing apples to apples. A private school will cost more than a public one; an Ivy League school costs more than a state one. Look at financing options, too. What kind of scholarship programs does the online accounting degree program offer? Do they offer educational loans? Can you make tuition payments, or do they require a lump sum payment at the beginning of the course?

What is the program’s focus?

Does this program prepare students for certification exams or not? Does it prepare you to work with taxes, or in a particular industry? What kind of courses does it offer that fit with your goals. With online learning, you aren’t stuck with whatever the school you can get to offers. You have more control, and can make sure the online accounting degree program you choose will help you meet your goals.

Is the school accredited?

And, who accredits it? There are online schools that claim to be fully accredited and even list their accreditation, but are purely degree mills. Any school that offers an advanced degree in a short time based on life experience or something is a degree mill. You can get your degree that way, but it is worthless. Employers don’t accept such degrees, and the school doesn’t prepare you for the work you want to do. An online school should be accredited by the same agency or agencies that accredit traditional schools. Check with the State Department of Education to see if the school is fully and appropriately accredited.

There are hundreds of online accounting degree programs available. Check them out thoroughly before you choose the one you want to get your degree from. Studies are beginning to show that a good online program is equivalent to a good traditional program. Use these tips to make sure you enroll in a good program.

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