Online Accounting Degree Programs are growing in popularity. On the surface, accounting appears to be one of the subjects a person could easily learn outside a classroom. After all, accounting involves computers, paperwork, and very little human interaction, right? Wrong! Don’t believe advertisements that promise a quick, simple course of study in your leisure time.
Accounting is a dynamic career and requires business acumen, communication skills, and a high degree of analytical thought. Mastering accounting requires hard work, intelligence, and a desire to succeed no matter where you study. For some students an online program is the most practical way do that work.
Reasons to Consider Online Accounting Degree Programs
Do you already work full time? Very few adults have the luxury of suspending their career to return to school. While it is possible to take traditional classes after work, it makes for a long day. After a full day at the office or job site four hours of classroom time can seem like torture. Online learning allows you to focus on your coursework when it’s convenient for you.
Family responsibilities lead students to consider online learning. Parents with small children can learn at home without worrying about childcare. When the kids are asleep, playing, or otherwise occupied you can log in and listen to a lecture or post a message.
Perhaps there isn’t a University with a quality accounting program near you. It’s not necessary to uproot your life and move. Online programs bring a quality program right into your computer. All you need is an internet connection.
How Does Online Learning Differ From A Traditional Classroom?
The perception is that online programs are easier than traditional classroom learning. Nothing could be further from the truth. Learning anything online, including accounting, requires independence, organization, and a strong desire to ask for clarification and assistance when you need it. It’s not easier, but it is more convenient for some students. Let’s look at the differences:
Online Accounting Degree Programs – How Do You Choose?
Selecting accounting online degree programs or any program for that matter is a little more complex than choosing a traditional University. Not only do you need to make sure the program is academically challenging and has a great reputation, you need to explore factors like accreditation, learning style, and graduation requirements.
Carefully review the accreditation of any online program you consider. Online programs are not as closely regulated as typical schools. This means many programs have minimal or no accreditation. The last thing you need is a worthless degree! Make sure the program you choose is regionally accredited at minimum.
What is your learning style? Do you want an online program that is heavily weighted toward independent reading and study or are you looking for one with an active online community? Some online programs rely heavily on chat rooms and blog posts. Others function almost like a correspondence course.
Take time to read student reviews and see what graduates and current students like about the program. These candid reviews tell you more about the learning methodology of the program than nearly anything else.
Make sure you explore the graduation requirements for the program. Imagine your surprise if you had to travel hundreds of miles and attend a 2-8 week capstone course in order to graduate! There are online programs out there with interesting graduation requirements like this one. You want to know in advance if your program is one of them.
Online Accounting Schools
Many traditional universities are beginning to offer Online Accounting Degree Programs in response to student requests. These programs carry the weight of the traditional school’s academics and reputation but allow students the flexibility of an online degree.
If you are considering a traditional school, take the time to inquire about online degrees they might offer. Ask careful questions, though. Some traditional schools offer only online courses but require traditional courses as well to complete the degree.
In addition to the online offerings of traditional universities, there are many universities that exist only (or primarily) online. Here are some of the online universities offering such accounting degree programs. Be warned though, when it comes to real quality - it's a mixed bag.
You can also check out our other resources which give sixteen reasons as to why an online degree could make sense. And also our article which covers nine questions about the process.
Online Accounting Degree Programs are as varied as the institutions that offer them. Begin your search by clarifying your needs. Then, with your goals and learning style in mind check the academic quality and professional reputation as carefully as you would a traditional program.
After all, whether online or traditional, your accounting degree still needs to give you a strong return on your investment.