Online Accounting Degrees in California

    • Expert Reviewer: Deborah Wadsworth (M.S. Accounting)
    • Last Updated: Nov 6th, 2023

    In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, financial acumen isn’t just an asset; it’s a necessity. An online accounting degree opens doors to a career steeped in practicality, offering a skill set that companies across sectors desperately seek. However, the escalating costs of higher education often act as a deterrent for many. That’s precisely why we’ve zeroed in on affordable online accounting degrees in California for 2024. The aim is to serve as a definitive guide for prospective students, especially those looking for a career-focused education that won’t saddle them with debt.

    So, who should consider this resource indispensable? If you’re at a pivotal point in your educational and career path and you’re looking for a high-quality yet affordable degree, this article targets you. The online delivery format adds another layer of convenience, offering the flexibility to balance studies with other commitments, whether work or family.

    online Accounting Degrees in California award badgeBut let’s not be hasty in making affordability the sole criterion for selection. While tuition fees remain significant, they shouldn’t overshadow other pivotal factors contributing to a wholesome educational experience. Accreditation, for instance, assures the program’s quality and the institution’s commitment to high academic standards. Faculty qualifications are equally critical, as the instructors’ expertise directly impacts the quality of education you receive. Moreover, a program’s flexibility can be a lifesaver for those juggling multiple responsibilities. And let’s remember the role of career support services, which can bridge the gap between education and employment by offering crucial guidance on internships, job placements, and networking opportunities.

    Our analysis navigates the complex decision-making terrain of choosing an online accounting program. By focusing not just on affordability but also on academic quality, flexibility, and career readiness, we’ve created a comprehensive guide intended to help you make an informed choice for your educational journey in 2024.

    Affordable online Bachelor of Accounting degrees in California

    Initial Screening: Our journey started with a broad list of 85 online accounting programs offered in California, which we whittled down through rigorous evaluation.

    Accreditation Analysis: The program’s accreditation heavily anchors its credibility. We discarded any institutions not fully accredited by reputable accrediting bodies. This quality-control measure ensures you receive an education that meets rigorous academic and ethical standards.

    For-Profit vs. Non-Profit: We strongly believe that education should prioritize knowledge over profitability. Consequently, we eliminated For-Profit institutions from our list, narrowing our focus to Public and Non-Profit schools. This move led to the exclusion of 7 programs from our initial list.

    Cost Consideration: Our next step involved ranking the schools based on their reported tuition per credit hour.

    Out of the vetted list of 8 schools, we are showcasing the top 3 programs that offer the most balanced combination of affordability, quality, and convenience for future accountants.

    1. The Master’s University and Seminary

    online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with emphases in Accounting

    School Info

    Business Accred:
    Regional Accred:WASC (WSCUC)
    School Type:Private
    Phone:(661) 259-3540
    Location:Santa Clarita, CA

    For those seeking an affordable and rigorous online accounting degree in California, The Master’s University and Seminary stands out. This California-based institution integrates accounting theories with biblical values, preparing graduates for ethically grounded public and management accounting careers.

    Gaining admission to The Master’s University and Seminary is more competitive than the average California school, with a stringent 56% acceptance rate. Applicants must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.7 and can expect a rolling application deadline, which means you can apply anytime during the year. Most new entrants are employed, and the average student age is 23. These attributes set the program apart, particularly for those looking for a more adult-oriented learning environment.

    Once enrolled, students will find a rigorous academic setting. Despite trailing state and national averages for faculty with terminal qualifications, the program prides itself on delivering quality education. The curriculum, accessible entirely online, requires 122 credits for graduation. Courses focus on theoretical and practical aspects of accounting without allowing online and campus-based students to collaborate. The school stresses the importance of ethical accounting practices, framing the coursework within a biblical worldview.

    Affordability is one of the program’s most compelling attributes. At $450 per credit, tuition matches the national average but is significantly lower than the California average of $556.25. Regarding student loans, graduates carry an average debt of $24,408, close to the national average but still a financial factor to consider. The school is GI Bill certified and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, providing additional aid opportunities for veterans. Notably, the institution does track its alums, suggesting a vested interest in the long-term success of its students.

    This program offers an affordable and focused avenue for aspiring accountants, emphasizing ethical considerations. Prospective students should weigh these factors carefully when making their educational choices.

    2. The University of Massachusetts Global

    Online Bachelor of Business with emphasis in Accounting

    School Info

    Business Accred:—-
    Regional Accred:WASC (WSCUC)
    School Type:Private
    Phone:(800) 746-0082
    Location:Irvine, CA

    UMass Global’s Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting prepares students for the global market and offers flexible, asynchronous classes, making it ideal for working adults.

    UMass Global stands out with an impressive 100% acceptance rate, surpassing state and national averages. The program accepts applications on a rolling basis for both U.S. and international students. As for prerequisites, all required is a high school diploma or GED. Unlike other programs, UMass Global doesn’t set a minimum high school GPA, offering broader access to education. The student body primarily comprises working adults with an average age of 35, aligning well with the program’s focus on flexibility.

    This institution doesn’t just offer accounting classes; it provides a holistic business education. Instructors with an average of eight years of online teaching experience teach the courses. Although UMass Global falls slightly below the national average concerning full-time faculty with terminal degrees, they surpass the state average, promising a qualified teaching staff. All courses are designed in-house and encourage collaborative learning through group projects and simulations, with class participation forming a part of the grading system.

    Regarding affordability, UMass Global charges $500 per credit, boasting an 11% cost advantage over the state’s average tuition rate. While the average debt of graduates who borrowed sits slightly higher than the national average, 70% of the 2021-2022 graduates had some form of debt. However, the institution offers robust financial aid options. Veterans can benefit from in-state tuition and the institution’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides additional funding. Both institutional and federal financial aid are also available, making the program more accessible.

    UMass Global offers a distinctive combination of high acceptance rates, experienced faculty, and robust financial aid options. This program mainly benefits working adults seeking a balance between their professional and academic lives.

    3. California Baptist University

    Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

    School Info

    Business Accred:ACBSP
    Regional Accred:WASC (WSCUC)
    School Type:Private
    Phone:(877) 236-1617
    Location:Riverside, CA

    At California Baptist University, the online Bachelor of Science in Accounting prepares students for diverse career paths in the accounting sector, from public and corporate accounting to managerial roles in government and not-for-profits.

    The application process at California Baptist University sets a bar for quality, as evidenced by its competitive 53% acceptance rate—significantly lower than the state and national averages. Prospective students must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.5, and the application operates on a rolling deadline for both U.S. and international residents. A noteworthy point is that the average age of students is 29 years, indicating a mature and possibly employed student body—factors essential for those balancing work and study.

    When it comes to academics, the university runs on a trimester system and requires 124 credits for graduation. CBU employs a significant number of full-time instructional faculty with an average of 10 years of online teaching experience, which is higher than the state average. Furthermore, 46% of the full-time faculty have terminal degrees—surpassing the state average by 13%. The program maintains an average class size of 30 students, fostering a setting for focused learning. Additionally, courses are developed in-house and designed by certified instructional designers, ensuring high-quality education tailored for online learning.

    CBU’s tuition per credit is $613, 26% higher than the national average and above the state average of $556.25. Financially, students seem to take on a fair amount of debt, with 84% of 2021-2022 graduates borrowing. The average debt stands at $26,201, which is above the national average of $24,000. On the positive side, the institution is GI Bill certified and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, offering institutional and federal financial aid options to assist students.

    California Baptist University’s online Bachelor of Accounting program stands out for its rigorous academics and experienced faculty, although it comes with a higher price tag and associated debt.


    In summary, selecting the right online accounting degree in California involves a comprehensive evaluation of several key factors: accreditation, faculty experience, student demographics, and application processes. Our in-depth look into various programs reveals the nuanced differences that set each apart, from the prestige of accreditation to the diverse backgrounds of faculty members. Tuition costs and financial aid opportunities further differentiate these programs, providing options for students of various financial standings. With rolling application deadlines and a range of student ages, prospective students can choose an accounting program that aligns with their life stage and career aspirations. Make an informed decision by weighing these elements carefully, as the right program can significantly influence both your educational journey and your future career.

    1. National Center for Education Statistics:
    2. US New National Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Rankings:
    3. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs:
    4. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business:
    5. The International Accreditation Council for Business Education: