Best Online Doctorate in Accounting Programs
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A doctorate in accounting is the terminal degree in the field. The training moves beyond financial record management and challenges students to use accounting principles to gain economic intuition and greater organizational insight. Graduates with these advanced degrees can start or advance careers in accounting, management, and academia.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 17% growth in financial management occupations between 2020-2030, nearly twice the projected growth rate for all occupations. The BLS also projects 12% growth for postsecondary teachers over that same period. The median annual salary for these teachers was $79,640 in May 2021.
While the degree leads to promising careers, it can be quite daunting academically and financially. To help prospective students with their graduate school choice, we examine what a doctorate in accounting looks like and what it has to offer. We also explore the best online accounting degrees at this level from the top online schools.
What Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Accounting Program?
An online doctorate in accounting is unique to each student. Programs typically include coursework, extensive research, and a dissertation requirement. Schools may suggest certain courses for students to take in the early parts of the program, but they generally allow learners to choose the courses they feel will best support their research.
Depending on the program, a doctorate in accounting may feature 60-120 credits and take 4-7 years to complete. Their dissertation research may take them in many directions, including courses in mathematics, economics, and management science. Doctoral students usually need to complete teaching requirements while in school as well.
Prospective students preparing for graduate school should consider their ideal degree type and structure. While the Ph.D. in accounting is the most straightforward path, students can also access accounting specializations within a research-based business Ph.D. or a more generalized doctor of business administration (DBA).
While traditional concentrations are not as common in these programs, doctoral degree-seekers can usually develop their specializations through their research. They may pursue the fields of finance, management, or one of the many accounting branches. Interdisciplinary approaches might also be available in behavioral and social sciences and information systems.
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Popular Online Doctorate in Accounting Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Doctorate in Accounting Program?
This course explores advanced topics in analyzing microeconomics and consumer behaviors. Students look at the relationship between consumer preference, choice, and demand. They may also examine game theory and theories of social choice.
In this course, students tackle the most advanced concepts in financial accounting. Some of the topics may include handling the reporting for mergers, nonprofit organizations, corporate investments, and foreign operations.
Students in this course learn to use data to test out financial and economic theories. Study topics may include advanced data analysis, financial and behavior forecasting, and regression analysis.
Financial Statement Analysis
This course provides students with an understanding of advanced financial statement analysis methods and tools. They explore the changing standards for financial statements while learning to analyze statements for corporations and investment purposes.
Empirical Design in Accounting Research
In this course, students learn various methods for designing and testing research questions. They also pick up skills and tools for modern empirical analysis of their research and design.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Doctorate in Accounting Program?
The admission requirements for an online doctorate in accounting vary by school and program. They typically require candidates to have a master's degree for entry. Doctoral programs may also require a minimum 3.0 GPA and professional experience.
Online programs do not usually feature different admission requirements compared to on-campus programs. Candidates do, however, need the right technology to access and complete their training.
Prospective doctoral students need to apply to their desired schools and programs directly, rather than using college application systems, which are better suited for undergraduate applicants. Most schools have their own online systems that make it easier for candidates to submit their documents and track their deadlines.
At the doctoral level, prospective students may need to submit results from the GRE or GMAT. These college entrance exams help schools distinguish between otherwise similar applicants. Even when schools offer test waivers, candidates can usually submit test results for consideration.
Letters of Recommendation
Many college applications require prospective students to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation. These letters usually come from the student's current or former teachers and employers. The references address how prepared they believe the candidate is for the program based on their personal experience.
Resume and Work Experience
College applications commonly include a resume requirement. In most cases, college application resumes simply give the school more information about the prospective student and their skills. Doctoral degree programs may put more emphasis on this component than other degree levels and may require a specific amount of relevant work experience for program admission.
The function and purpose of a grad school essay can vary by school and program. They may highlight writing skills, provide information about the applicant's history, or answer a specific subject-related prompt. Essays usually address the prospective student's research interests and goals at the graduate level.
College applicants need to include official transcripts in their applications to provide schools with information about their previous training. Transcripts include grade details and information needed for prerequisite courses and transfer credits. Some schools may provide credit for life and work experience, which may require additional information.
What Can I Do With Online Doctorate in Accounting Degree?
While doctorate-holders typically pursue careers in academia, they have many more professional options. With the most advanced training available in the accounting field, graduates with a doctorate in accounting have access to many accounting and management careers.
The BLS projects the addition of more than 150,000 postsecondary teacher roles between 2020-2030, including more than 6,000 business teachers. They also project the addition of over 115,000 financial managers and nearly 100,000 accounting professionals during that time.
Professionals in these fields earn relatively high wages. As per the BLS, postsecondary business teachers made median annual wages of $94,360 in May 2021, financial managers made $131,710, and accounting professionals made $77,250.
Check out what a doctorate in accounting can do for you. Learn more about accounting careers.
Postsecondary teachers educate college and university students in their specific discipline. They create curriculums, assess student progress, conduct their own research, and publish academic work. Postsecondary teachers may also run large research projects and attend conferences in their fields.
Median Annual Salary: $79,640
Financial managers oversee the financial activities, reports, and investments for organizations. They may handle the staffing, budgeting, and financial responsibilities for the organization or focus on a specific area of finance, such as insurance or credit. These professionals help make decisions based on the organization's financial needs and goals.
Median Annual Salary: $131,710
Accountants handle the financial records for organizations, including financial statements and taxes. Accountants provide organizations with financial insight into their operations, risks, opportunities, and best practices. These professionals may perform accounting for government, individual, or organizational management purposes.
Median Annual Salary: $77,250
In general, top executives establish policies and best practices for organizations and their departments. Financial executives handle the financial aspects of the business, laying out budgets, financial goals, and investment guidelines. These professionals typically communicate their department's activities with other managers and stakeholders.
Median Annual Salary: $98,980
Financial analysts review an organization's financial activities and make suggestions and improvements to help them operate more efficiently. They may assess the investment activities, budgets, and operations to find inefficiencies and look for new processes to introduce. They may specialize in investment programs, risk assessment, debt, or portfolio management.
Median Annual Salary: $81,410
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After completing a doctorate in accounting, graduates do not always pursue continuing education. However, they do have options, such as postgraduate certificates in specialized accounting fields, which could help them expand their expertise.
Graduates working as professional accountants may also pursue the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential. To qualify for this, candidates need to complete the examinations and experience requirements set out by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
How Do I Choose an Online Doctorate in Accounting Program?
When comparing program costs, prospective students can start by looking at the differences between online and on-campus, in-state and out-of-state, and public and private school programs. To get the most accurate information, they might consider evaluating the true program cost, which factors in how their studies impact their earning potential.
Program format should be one of the biggest considerations for prospective students. It can determine how much they study, when, and how. For example, candidates might want to look at the benefits and drawbacks of asynchronous and synchronous learning and full-time and part-time studies.
Location can play a role in online and on-campus programs. On-campus students need to choose a school location that works with their living and travel arrangements, but online learners should also consider program location. For example, online programs may feature residency requirements or local internship demands.
Accreditation plays a role in a student's access to financial aid, employment, transfer credits, and employment. Institutional accreditation is most important and mandatory. Programmatic accreditation is more flexible and optional, but reputable accounting programs may hold accreditation from business organizations, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
The level of student support provided by a school can improve the educational experience for degree-seekers. Doctoral student services might include academic and research support, financial resources, and mental health services. Schools may also offer mentorship programs and childcare services.
Best Accredited Online Doctorate in Accounting Program
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Frequently Asked Questions About Doctorate in Accounting Programs
Is a doctorate in accounting worth it?
Yes. A doctorate in accounting is worth it for many types of students. A doctorate is the only path to that career for those who wish to become postsecondary accounting teachers. An accounting doctorate also improves a professional's chances of landing the most desirable and in-demand accounting roles.
An online doctorate in accounting also provides the added value of an online degree. Online learning offers more flexible study schedules, which help working professionals continue their training without sacrificing their employment.
What can I do with a doctorate in accounting?
With a doctorate in accounting, graduates can access teaching roles in university and college business and accounting classrooms. These professionals can also advance their own research and scholarship, making a mark on finance and accounting theory, policy, and practice in various ways.
Doctorate-holders have access to most accounting positions and many finance roles as well. They can pursue management, consulting, and analyst careers in various organizations and industries, using their expertise to help organizations make more informed financial decisions.
How long does it take to get a doctorate in accounting online?
The length of a doctorate can vary quite considerably depending on the school, program, and student. Most doctoral programs take students 4-7 years to complete, but some learners may take even longer if they study part-time, take a hiatus, or face challenges with their dissertation.
Online doctorates in accounting may be more flexible, which can allow students to complete their training more quickly. This could allow them to graduate in less than four years, though this is rather rare.
How much money can I make with a doctorate in accounting?
The amount of money you can make with a doctorate in accounting depends on your industry, position, and location. Postsecondary teachers made median annual wages of $79,640 in May 2021, as per the BLS. Business teachers made median annual wages of $94,360.
In the accounting field, the median annual wage in May 2021 was $77,250, according to the BLS. However, the top 10% of earners in the field made a median annual wage of over $128,970. Graduates with doctorates in accounting have a better chance of accessing these higher-paying positions than those with bachelor's and master's degrees.
What are the highest paying jobs with a doctorate in accounting?
The highest-paying job for professionals with a doctorate in accounting is financial management. According to the BLS, these professionals earned median annual wages of $131,710 in May 2021, more than $85,000 higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.
The top 10% of the managers made more than $208,000. Financial services and enterprise management paid the highest in terms of industry, with median annual wages exceeding $158,000 in both fields.