If you're thinking about getting your degree accounting degree online, you're probably wondering what your career outlook might be on the other side of your diploma.
The good news is that job prospects are solid for people who graduate with accredited online accounting degrees. With the recent explosion of online school options, including some from highly respected brick-and-mortar schools, online degrees have lost much of the stigma they had several years ago. Key: Make sure your degree is from a properly accredited school in order to make the most of your career opportunities.
What you need to know about accreditation
If you want to earn a degree that will be recognized by people in your industry, as well as other colleges (in case you want to transfer or go on to earn an advanced degree), it's important to ensure that your school is accredited by a regional accrediting institution.
It's important to note that online-only schools may say they are accredited, but it may not be a regional accreditation. A national accreditation often does not hold the same credibility. That means some employers may not view your degree as legitimate.
Once you have your degree in-hand, the career marketplace awaits. So what can you expect?
Here are some fast facts:
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a job in accounting is $68,150.
- Accountants who get into management, or specialize in a niche area, may make far above the average.
- Jobs in the accounting sector are expected to grow by 11% by 2024. The BLS ranks that as much faster than the average growth for all job fields.
Are you cut out for a job in accounting? Let's take a closer look at what's involved in this field.
What you'll study
Accountants are people who prepare financial records for businesses and individuals. They also examine financial records for accuracy and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time.
When majoring in accounting, you can expect to study basic accounting concepts, auditing, math, taxation, and economics. A good understanding of basic business concepts is also necessary. Accounting students also need to learn transferable skills that can be helpful in a number of industries, including applying creative solutions to complex problems, working in teams, and being extremely detail oriented.
Jobs for accountants
In addition to becoming an accountant (of which there are various types), people with accounting degrees may become:
- financial analysts
- accounting managers
- tax managers, or
- business analysts
If you're really interested in taking your degree as far as possible, consider shooting for one of several high-paying accounting positions.
10 highest-paying jobs for accountants
1. Corporate controllers
Average salary of $92,000
What they do: Track and maintain a company’s finances, prepare taxes, control budgets, and manage other employees who work in finance.
Degree needed: A bachelor’s degree and relevant experience, but a master’s degree may be required.
2. Information technology accountants
Average salary of $103,910
What they do: Help the company decide on and maintain the technology software used for accounting operations.
3. Financial managers
Average salary of $121,750
What they do: Report directly to top management. Develop and oversee the financial policies of the company, including accounting, credit, taxes, insurance, and budgeting.
Degree needed: Advanced degree may be required.
4. Risk and compliance managers
Average salary of $85,309
What they do: Ensure that company is in compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations and laws.
5. Financial analysts
Average salary of $81,760
What they do: Review company finances to find ways to improve the business’s bottom line.
6. Personal financial adviser
Average salary of $90,530
What they do: Help clients with investments, insurance, savings, estate planning, and retirement.
7. Chief financial officers (CFO)
Average salary of $173,000
What they do: In charge of and held accountable for a company’s long-term finances.
8. Cost accountant managers
Average salary of $96,000
What they do: Work with cost control systems; manage and interpret cost audits and report results to upper management.
9. Forensic accountant
Average salary of $103,000.
What they do: Parse out money trails, establish timelines related to finances, and find evidence of wrongdoing. Forensic accountants may be called upon to testify in court in cases of fraud, embezzlement, or other illegal activity.
10. Anti-Money Laundering Specialists
Average salary of $75,500
What they do: Ensure that banks remain compliant with the Bank Secrecy Act, anti-money laundering regulations, and other statutes pertaining to financial operations.
If you're ready to start your online accounting degree, start with our recent roundup of the 20 Most-Affordable Online Bachelor Degree Programs.