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Online Accounting Degree: Pros and Cons

By Brendan Conway updated on Monday, January 28, 2013

Earning an online accounting degree may be the right choice for you if you're interested in entering into accounting as a field, but aren't able to attend an accounting program in person. A distance learning accounting degree may or may not be as helpful to your overall career as would be an accounting degree from a brick and mortar institution, as this mostly depends upon the exact program you choose.

But for the most part, an online accounting degree would allow you to get your foot in the door into the world of accounting, and would allow you to then rise through the ranks of the accountancy profession through your work, instead of through additional education, all while allowing you to do so in a fashion conducive to maintaining your own life and schedule.

What's involved in earning an online accounting degree?

Earning a distance learning accounting degree will require students to take similar courses and study the same information as they might in traditional brick and mortar institutions. The primary disadvantages are likely to be less immediate access to and contact with professors, thus somewhat hindering the educational process simply by virtue of having reduced communication.

But this won't always be the case; some online accounting degree programs are actually likely as not to feature systems that allow for easy contact with professors, whether through forums, email, or even simultaneous streaming classroom sessions. As such, you shouldn't count out distance learning accounting degree programs simply for reduced access to professors.

The facets of a distance learning accounting degree

Online accounting degree programs will give students increased flexibility in how and when they can study and attend courses, as they will actually likely be able to schedule their studies for times when they are not working.

That said, some of the potential advantages that some online accounting degree programs might use in order to allow greater communication between classmates and professors would actually greater restrict the times of the courses; in other words, interested individuals would pretty much have to tune in to courses at specific times during the day. This scheduling issue is one of the items to be aware of when picking out your distance learning programs.

One of the primary advantages of pursuing an online accounting degree, specifically, is that accounting is a discipline which does lend itself to online education. Due to its preponderance of and focus on numbers, mathematics, and factual information, accountancy is actually easily translated into lessons which can be learned by the student him or herself.

Clarification from a professor or even from peers is often helpful, but a good distance learning accounting degree program will help to circumvent those issues by actually providing additional resources to students, or by providing them with additional ways to remain in contact with one another so as to facilitate such discussion and support.

After graduation from an online accounting degree program

Someone who graduates from an online accounting degree program might be worried that he or she would not be as easily hired as someone who graduates from a brick and mortar institution, due to stigmas surrounding online education or distance learning.

This is not something to worry about, however, as accounting is a profession with a long history of having individuals pursue some kind of junior level or distance learning degree, and enter into the field at lower levels to work their way to the top. If you work hard within the profession, then you will still be able to achieve great success within accounting.

See All Schools that Offer Online Accounting Degrees
About the Author

Brendan Conway is the Web Content Editor for Peterson's Interactive and is well-versed in the world of higher education and admissions. He is a graduate of Hamilton College, and has been working in admissions advice, test-prep advice, career planning advice, and similar fields for the majority of his career since graduation. Brendan endeavors to provide the most relevant, useful, and interesting information via Peterson's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds. Brendan enjoys lexicological oddities and voraciously reading in his free time.

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