One way to obtain an accounting degree is to attend an online accounting program. Online accounting programs are available for associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees. As with attending a traditional college, you can expect to get out of an online program what you are willing to put into it. Although online accounting programs offer more flexibility than traditional accounting programs, they also require more discipline because you are responsible for learning the material on your own.
A concern some students have is whether they will have adequate access to their professors’ time if they participate in an online accounting program. Although you will not have face-to-face office hours with professors, you will be able to reach your professors through instant messaging, email, and forums. Your professors will still be dedicated to helping you learn the material, and will be available to answer your questions and explain any unclear concepts.
Some accounting students place a high value on interacting with their peers and future colleagues. Although networking with your fellow students is easier in a traditional classroom setting, you will still be able to meet others virtually through an online accounting program. You will be able to participate in online discussions and should have a medium to contact your fellow students through the accounting program’s interface.
Online accounting programs often appeal to students whose schedules are too complex to accommodate a traditional accounting program. Many students who participate in online accounting programs are also working full-time jobs, raising children, or both. Although completing an online accounting program still takes a lot of time and effort, it can be done during whatever time of the day or week is most convenient for you. Sometimes classes in traditional accounting programs are only offered during certain daytime slots that are not feasible for those with extensive commitments outside of school. However, completing course work through an online accounting program also requires that you take a greater initiative in your studies than if you attend a traditional program. Through an online accounting program, you will have a greater responsibility for pacing yourself to ensure that your assignments are completed on time. Working from home can be convenient in some ways, but you will also need to minimize distractions so that you can concentrate on your course work. If you are looking to finish your accounting program quickly, you may be able to accelerate the pace of your studies in an online accounting program by taking a greater course load at once. Some traditional accounting programs have limits on how quickly you can complete them.
Having twenty-four-hour access to the Internet is both an advantage and disadvantage to online accounting programs. You can access any information you need from your program at any time and submit assignments or discussion posts with the click of a button. However, some professors occasionally take advantage of this system and set deadlines at times some people would consider inappropriate. Through an online accounting program, you may be required to submit papers by midnight or on the weekend, scenarios that are less likely in a traditional program. Keep in mind, though, that if you plan ahead, you can be sure to complete assignments ahead of time to maintain a schedule that works for you. So, if a paper is due on Saturday afternoon, you can still plan to finish it and turn it in before Friday night.
As online accounting programs gain popularity, they are also gaining credibility. Some people view degrees from traditional accounting programs as more valuable to potential employers and clients. One way to alleviate this perception is to pursue accounting certification shortly after you obtain your online degree. Passing the CPA exam or another certification exam will prove that you have more than an adequate knowledge of accounting and are perfectly capable of performing your job well. Just like traditional accounting programs, many online accounting programs offer resources to help you prepare for your certification exams.
The cost of tuition for an online college is comparable to the cost of tuition for traditional programs. Keep in mind, though, that online accounting programs offer other opportunities for saving. Online accounting programs offer the flexibility that allows you to work full-time, which would be difficult if you were attending a traditional program, so your income while you are a student might be much higher. You will also save on commuting costs, activity fees, and other charges associated with traditional accounting programs.
Although online accounting programs can rival traditional accounting programs academically, some students appreciate the other aspects of traditional programs, such as being involved in campus life and extracurricular activities.