*** 2021 Update: Virginia College has now closed permanently ***
The online accounting degrees from Virginia College offer flexible programs centered on practical, career focused learning. If you’re considering an Associate or Bachelor Degree in Accounting, Virginia College is an option worthy of review.
Will the accounting education offered at Virginia College help you meet your career goals? Our review will help you decide.
Accounting at Virginia College
Are you a working adult with dreams of an accounting career? Virginia College Online is looking for students just like you.
The Accounting Specialist program is an Associate Degree program designed to prepare students for entry level accounting positions. Graduates of the program are employed as bookkeepers, accounting clerks, payroll clerks, and tax preparation specialists.
Over 88 weeks, students learn the basic, transactional information they need for success in these roles. Courses emphasize practical information you can put to work on the job. By working closely with the needs of employers in various industries, the faculty stays in tune with the latest challenges faced by accounting staff on the job.
In fact, many of the faculty members in this program are employed in accounting careers of their own.
The Bachelor of Accounting program is designed for private sector accounting only. It prepares students for roles as accountants, auditors, and analysts within business rather than in public accounting or CPA roles.
Why this distinction? Since learning is practical and focused on real-world challenges, students don’t spend time learning theory in the depth needed for success on the CPA Exam. Over 165 weeks, students participate in practical exercises, externships, and other industry focused experiences.
Are Graduates of Virginia College Online Accounting Degrees Successful?
The answer depends on the definition of success. If your goal is to find a position in accounting or advance with your present employer, you will be pleased with your outcome. Virginia College reports a placement rate of 71% for Associate Degree graduates and a placement rate of 82% for Bachelor Degree graduates.
This institution believes in helping graduates land positions in the workforce. Unlike some other online schools, Virginia College offers extensive career services to its alumni. You can expect help with creating a resume, searching for a position, and improving your job search skills. Career Service staff work actively with interested alumni, offering guidance every step of the way.
If your goals include a career in public accounting, you will be poorly prepared for success. The College doesn't recruit students who are looking for public accounting careers, and clearly points those students elsewhere in marketing materials.
Master in Accounting Elsewhere? Not So Fast.
Virginia College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools (ACICS). This is a national organization, not a regional one. Since regional accreditation is the gold standard in education, your credits may not transfer as easily as you would like.
It’s important that you check on transfer before enrolling if this is part of your long term plan.
Virginia College does offer a Master in Business Administration and regularly accepts graduates of its Bachelor in Accounting program. Currently, however, they do not offer a Master in Accounting program as part of their online accounting degrees.
The Student Experience – What Can You Expect?
Students have mixed reviews about their time at Virginia College. Most are positive about the academic experience. They mention the care and concern they noticed in the faculty, and the ease and flexibility of completing coursework online.
Graduates mention feeling prepared in the workplace, and were pleased when they put their new knowledge into practice. While some noticed potential employers did not regard their degree as highly as one earned at a public institution, most found the degree was an asset to their job search.
Virginia College, like many other for profit schools, does seem to cause confusion and frustration in the area of financial aid. Students felt the financial aid process was difficult to understand. They thought the financial aid staff was more interested in receiving funding from the Federal Government than in creating a smooth experience for students.
More than one student felt their financial aid funds were held much longer than necessary before being disbursed. Some even report having to fight to get refunds or to have funds applied to their student accounts.
If you enrol at Virginia College, make sure you understand the financial aid process and are prepared to serve as your own advocate. You may need to be persistent to get the service you need.
Private Accounting and Virginia College – A Good Fit, Depending on Your Goals
If you’re looking to establish or advance your career in private accounting, an education from Virginia College through their online accounting degrees will benefit you.
If you dream of a public accounting career and a CPA License, you should look elsewhere. Not only will Virginia College not prepare you, you will have difficulty transferring to a Master in Accounting program that will.