Earning a master of business administration (MBA) in accounting helps learners understand basic business concepts, including ethics, law, leadership, marketing, and theory. The accounting focus provides information on finance topics such as auditing, forensic accounting, and taxation. This combination of coursework prepares students to handle finances for their own companies. Graduates can also work for companies and organizations in various fields as auditors, budget analysts, tax examiners, and financial advisers.
The accounting focus provides information on finance topics such as auditing, forensic accounting, and taxation.
This guide provides tips on choosing an online MBA in accounting and information on individual programs.
Schools Offering an Online MBA in Accounting
Learn More About MBAs in Accounting
How to Choose an Online MBA in Accounting Program
When researching online MBA in accounting degrees, candidates should look for programs with coursework relevant to their career goals. Students should also ensure each prospective program meets their scheduling and financial needs. For example, aspiring financial analysts can search for programs with related concentrations, and busy students can explore fully online, asynchronous options. Below are a few factors that often impact program choice.
Ask Specific Questions About How Lessons Are Delivered
When pursuing an online MBA in accounting, students should consider the program's delivery method. Some programs include in-person elements, such as orientations and internships, and online courses may require synchronous participation. In-person and synchronous elements can reduce the flexibility of online learning.
Other programs allow accelerated or part-time study, which can impact graduation times. Students should also consider the capabilities of the department's online learning platform. For example, some platforms facilitate video conferencing, presentations, and group projects, while others only allow discussion posts and test submissions.
Compare Student Outcomes Data
The best accounting schools boast high student outcome data for factors such as graduation, retention, success, and employment. High retention and graduation rates verify student satisfaction with the program, and high success and employment rates indicate that the program's academics prepare learners for professional success. However, schools may consider different details when calculating these rates. For example, institutions may list employment rates based on the number of graduates in any career or only those in field-related professions. Many schools provide this data online.
Students should also research median salaries for individuals in specific industries and professions to select a program that can lead to high-paying careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents who work for the federal government earn the highest salaries. Therefore, students interested in those positions can benefit from pursuing an online accounting degree that includes coursework on federal concepts.
Find Out How the School Supports Students
Some MBA in accounting programs place students into cohorts, small groups of learners who progress through the curriculum together. Cohort-based programs require learners to study at a fixed pace but help students build strong relationships with peers.
Departments may provide a mentor or adviser to guide students through the program, and many schools offer online resources such as tutoring, counseling, resume assistance, and library access. Institutions may help students obtain internships to develop practical experience and leadership skills. Programs may also connect learners with opportunities to study abroad. Prospective students should browse school websites to identify available resources.
CONSIDER SEARCHING FOR SCHOOLS IN YOUR AREA
While one of the advantages of earning an online MBA in accounting degree is the ability to attend a school anywhere in the world, some students prefer to select a school near their home. Choosing a school within 100 miles from home can make it easier to visit campus to access resources, participate in networking events, and speak with faculty. Also, employers in the area are more likely to recognize the caliber of a local school's academics and seek out graduates for career opportunities.
ENSURE THE SCHOOL'S ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS MATCH YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Admission requirements for MBA in accounting programs can vary widely. Applicants should ensure their academic and professional background matches the prospective school's admission standards. Some programs require applicants to submit scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test or Graduate Record Examinations. However, universities may waive standardized test score requirements for applicants with sufficient professional experience. Some schools offer bridge programs or summer boot camps to help students with an undergraduate degree in another field satisfy prerequisites.
COMPARE STUDENT OUTCOMES DATA
Prospective learners should research the student outcomes for each MBA program they consider. Schools track students' degree completion time and follow up with alumni to monitor employment rates and average salaries. This data can help learners determine whether the program curriculum helps students develop the skills employers seek, such as strong analytical skills and leadership abilities. This data also reveals the fields where graduates succeed.
ESTIMATE THE EXPECTED COSTS OF YOUR PROGRAMS
Every MBA program publishes a per-credit tuition rate and a price for mandatory fees. This sticker price provides a starting point for students determining the program's affordability, but learners should also factor in related costs, such as books, computer equipment, and software subscriptions. If the school requires students to attend an orientation or weekend sessions, prospective learners should also consider the cost of travel and lodging. Students who need to complete additional prerequisites should include the cost of those courses in their figures.
CHECK THAT CLASSES WILL FIT IN WITH YOUR SCHEDULE
Many online programs offer high levels of scheduling flexibility. Faculty members often design courses for asynchronous attendance, allowing distance learners to engage in discussions and participate in collaborative assignments at their convenience. Asynchronous courses are ideal for professionals balancing work and academics; however, students should consider how many hours per week they must devote to coursework. Additionally, some programs require on-campus weekend or summer sessions; learners should ensure they can fulfill in-person requirements before enrolling.
LOOK FOR PARTNERSHIPS WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES
Many online MBA programs partner with local employers to provide practical accounting experience through internships and cooperative learning courses. These experiences allow learners to showcase their abilities to potential employers and professional references. Many of these local businesses also participate in school networking events and often employ program graduates.
MAKE SURE THE PROGRAM MAINTAINS ACCREDITATION
Students should ensure each prospective school holds regional or national accreditation. Additionally, some business programs hold specialized accreditation from organizations such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Many graduates of MBA accounting programs pursue the certified public accountant credential. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of CPAs recognize the educational rigor provided by AACSB-accredited schools. Also, many employers prefer job candidates with a degree from an accredited program.
TALK TO CURRENT STUDENTS AND RECENT ALUMNI
While researching student outcomes, degree costs, and academic quality and reputation, learners can receive valuable information from current students and recent alumni. These individuals can share details about their student experience and discuss whether faculty members provided support and assistance. Prospective learners can find current students through campus visits, online discussion boards, and the school's social media channels.