How to Get Your Accounting Degree Online
Increase Your Earning Potential
Getting an accounting degree online can really enhance one’s earning potential. Getting a college degree isn’t easy, but if a person is highly motivated to move ahead economically, online education makes sense. A person can keep working full or part time and get an accounting degree online at the same time because of the flexibility of distance learning. The accounting field is growing, pays well and enables a person with accounting expertise to evaluate business opportunities, too.
Make Sure That Accounting Is for You
Although accounting is not rocket science, it can be mentally challenging as well as fatiguing. Assess your aptitude for accounting through tests and books that are readily available. You should be capable in high school math. Try studying a book on accounting principles on your own and answering questions and doing accounting problems.
Most accounting and auditing jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, so plan on four years or more of study to get your accounting degree online. See the resources section for the latest “Occupational Outlook” for accountants and auditors, including salary ranges.
Choose Two or Three Online Colleges for Thorough Evaluation
Select two or three schools that look good and proceed to gather detailed information about them. Contact these online colleges by phone and email and thoroughly explore their websites for data on costs, faculty credentials, course content, credits needed to graduate, and prerequisites. Also acquire information about financial aid and any special scholarships that might be available.
Ask lots of questions of the colleges you consider to help you make the best choice.
Investigate Online College Accreditation
It’s important that any accounting degree you obtain is granted by a properly accredited institution. Otherwise employers may not recognize your degree. So make sure that the school you choose is accredited. See the resources section for sources of information on accredited schools and programs.
Research Financial Aid Programs Available to You
Financial aid may be available in the form of grants, scholarships, and low-interest student loans. Contact a prospective school’s financial aid department to learn what forms and amounts of aid might be available to you. Also, fill out the free application for federal student aid (see the resources section for a link). Once submitted, that will tell you your personal or family expected financial contribution toward your education expenses.
College costs can be substantial, even online programs, so make sure you have a feasible financial plan before committing to a degree program.
Decide When You Will Start
Carefully decide on when the best time would be for you to start earning your accounting degree online. You will have several possible starting points each year with most online education programs. If you have been out of school for a while you might want to start out with a smaller than average number of courses or credits until you establish efficient patterns of learning, studying, etc.
Develop a Support Group
Take advantage of opportunities to connect with other students in your virtual classes in order to build a support group. The best support will probably come from other students who are in similar circumstances. Also use both access to professors and guidance counselors should you need serious help with some problem or issue. Family should also help support you by recognizing the time needed for classes, studying, homework, papers, and test preparations. Colleagues at work who are practicing accounting or bookkeeping could also be sources of support.
Go for It!
Once you have decided to commit to getting an accounting degree online go for it at full throttle. Remember the goal is to get the degree and perhaps the further professional qualification of CPA (Certified Public Accountant). I don’t believe there are any poor CPAs. The return on your educational investment will be substantial. Good luck!
Here are links to a number of resources that should be helpful:
Occupational Outlook 2010-2011, Accountants and Auditors
Council for Higher Education Accreditation
Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs
The College Navigator
Free Application for Federal Student Aid