Online Accounting Program Considerations
- Is it accredited?
- What do current students and alumni have to say?
- How long will it take to complete this degree?
- What do you want to be?
- How do employers feel about a degree from this institution?
It’s important to have a list of 5 things to consider when choosing an online degree program to avoid getting overwhelmed with the many online universities and colleges offering this degree. Making your search systematic will save you plenty of time finding the best program for your life right now. Eliminate the overwhelm and get out a piece of paper and pen because you have a few things to do before enrolling in an online program. Read and answer the following questions based on the information given.
1. Is it accredited?
Completing an online accounting degree in a licensed and approved institution means that your degree will be recognized by employers. Online education institutions, like traditional colleges and universities, have to go through a series of inspections and meet certain standards in order to be recognized as accredited. The accreditation and association memberships (highly recommended) should be noted somewhere on the school’s main website and should be verified.
2. What do current students and alumni have to say?
While checking an online university’s background, it is important to verify the information you find on the website through student reviews. The point of reading some reviews if the institution written by your peers isn’t necessarily to prove the information presented on the website, rather it is gauge how realistic the university’s promises are. For instance, a university might boast about helping graduates become employed. What do students have to say?
3. How long will it take to complete this degree?
The following list includes some degrees and the length of time expected to complete them.
–Associate Degree Lets you break into the accounting field and takes 1-2 years to complete.
–Bachelor’s Degree Offers a more extensive course of study for the major that may take 4 years to complete.
–Master’s Degree You need to hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting before applying for a one- to two-year master’s degree. The advanced degree allows you to specialize in business or general management or a combination of the two accounting specialties.
4. What do you want to be?
There are different certifications for different accounting specialists. Ask yourself: Do I want to prepare taxes, handle business accounts, work with families in debt, or help businessmen invest and manage their finances? Some positions require a CPP, CFA, CMA or another certification. What certification and/or license do you need to do the job you want? Make sure you know what else employers look for in the field today. Do they also favor knowledge of current accounting software?
5. How do employers feel about a degree from this institution?
When choosing an online accounting degree program find out how current professionals in the field see it. As reported by Forbes, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that 87 percent of employers hiring new college graduates in 2017 plan on hiring someone with a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting. The NACE also found that 23.6 percent of these employers were impressed by a master’s degree in accounting. This is why it’s vital to your career to make time to talk to professionals who have roles in human resources departments where you want to work eventually as well as current employees who have an accounting degree from an online program. The added bonus: you are networking with experts in the field. You never know who might become your mentor as your own career progresses. It’s a great idea to ask for their business card after face-to-face meetings if possible.
In the end, don’t be afraid to do a background check and ask around about online universities. Choosing the right online accounting degree program will be a major building block in your future career as a successful accountant.