Complete Guide to an Online Forensic Accounting Degree

Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $26,226
Avg Salary: $69,472

Online financial accounting degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. Forensic accountants may find jobs in many different settings, such as insurance companies, law offices, corporations, and the FBI , as well as various other government agencies. Their job duties usually center around looking over transactions and monitoring for illegal activity. They may also be involved in contract disputes and bankruptcies.

When choosing a degree program in forensic accounting, one aspect to consider is the program's accreditation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the main agency accrediting accounting degrees—their stamp of approval ensures that students are choosing a good program.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Forensic Accounting Degrees ( 25)

Partner School
Partner School
Full List Accreditation Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
Full List (25)
Central Christian College of Kansas HLC $17,240 Add Review
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Associate of Arts in Accounting
Champlain College NECHE $39,818 100% (3 reviews)
2 Programs, 2 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Economic Crime Investigation Bachelor's degree
  • Forensic Accounting Certificate
Colorado State University Global HLC $9,000 55% (60 reviews)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Master - Professional Accounting - Fraud Investigations & Forensic Accounting
Culver-Stockton College HLC $26,040 Add Review
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Forensic Accounting
Davenport University HLC $17,558 100% (5 reviews)
4 Programs, 4 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Accounting Fraud Investigation, BBA
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Fraud Examiner and Internal Auditor, MAcc
  • Internal Auditing
DeSales University MSCHE $35,900 0% (1 review)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting - Forensic Accounting - Accelerated
Florida Atlantic University SACS COC $17,276 100% (4 reviews)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Executive Master of Accounting in Forensic Accounting
Gardner Webb University SACS COC $30,700 100% (1 review)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Master of Business Administration - Forensic Accounting
Independence University ACCSC $16,968 53% (102 reviews)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Accounting - Forensic Accounting Emphasis (BS)
Kent State University at Kent HLC $18,544 100% (1 review)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies - Fraud Examination
La Salle University MSCHE $29,500 Add Review
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Fraud and Forensic Accounting
Liberty University SACS COC $11,700 59% (247 reviews)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • MS: Accounting: Forensic Accounting
New England College NECHE $36,954 38% (8 reviews)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Master of Science in Management - Forensic Accounting
Northeastern University NECHE $49,497 100% (10 reviews)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting
Pfeiffer University SACS COC $29,574 Add Review
4 Programs, 4 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • MBA - Financial Fraud Investigations
  • MSFFI - Civil Litigation
  • MSFFI - Law Enforcement
Post University Online NECHE Not Provided 36% (89 reviews)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • M.S. in Accounting
Rider University MSCHE $41,310 Add Review
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Masters in Accountancy - Forensic Accounting
Roosevelt University HLC $28,963 100% (2 reviews)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Master of Science in Accounting Forensics
Saint Xavier University HLC $33,380 Add Review
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • MBA - Forensic and Investigative Accounting
Southern New Hampshire University Online NECHE $11,520 61% (324 reviews)
3 Programs, 3 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting & Fraud Examination
  • MBA in Forensic Accounting
  • MS in Accounting - Forensic Accounting
Stevenson University MSCHE $35,490 Add Review
6 Programs, 6 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • BS in Accounting/MS in Forensic Accounting (Bachelor's to Master's Option)
  • BS in Applied Mathematics/MS in Forensic Accounting (Bachelor's to Master's Option)
  • MS in Forensic Accounting
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Forensic Accounting
University of Northwestern Ohio HLC $11,050 Add Review
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting - Forensic Accounting
The University of Scranton MSCHE $43,310 50% (2 reviews)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Master of Accountancy - Forensic Accounting
Utica College MSCHE $20,676 20% (15 reviews)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • MS in Data Science - Financial Crime
West Virginia University HLC $23,616 100% (1 review)
1 Program, 1 in Forensic Accounting (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination

Online Forensic Accounting Degree Overview & Career Information

Online forensic accounting degrees can be found at both the bachelor's and master's level; there are online certificate programs available as well. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to becoming an entry-level forensic accountant, though some employers do require a master's. A forensic accounting degree will prepare graduates to study financial transactions, looking for cases of fraud or other illegal financial activities.

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Online Associate Degrees in Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting is a specialty practice area within the field of accounting concerned with existing and/or anticipated legal disputes. On a daily basis, forensic accountants generally monitor financial records for illegal activity, including securities fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering. They also produce and prepare materials intended for use as evidence in a court of law, including documents used to resolve contractual disputes and bankruptcy claims. Forensic accountants may work for private organizations or for the government.

An associate degree in accounting is a good way to enter the field of forensic accounting, although a bachelor’s degree is required in order to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Associate degree holders, however, will still find many opportunities available to them as tax and audit associates, bookkeepers, accounting clerks, payroll associates, and other positions under the supervision of certified accountants. They can also choose to go on to earn a bachelor’s in accounting with a forensic accounting specialization, having already completed some relevant coursework. Online associate degree programs in accounting are available at many two- and four-year institutions.

Admission to an online associate program typically requires documentation of high school graduation with a transcript or proof of having passed a General Education Development (GED) test, along with the application. Admitted students can then expect to spend two years earning their associate degree, if they proceed at a standard pace. An online associate degree in forensic accounting is often flexible, so working students can complete their degree at a pace that works best for them. Online accounting programs typically include courses in managerial accounting, financial accounting, professional ethics, taxation, tax theory, and budgeting.

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Online Bachelor's Degrees in Forensic Accounting

At the undergraduate level, students may pursue an online degree in accounting with a specialization in forensic accounting, or they may earn a bachelor's degree that focuses entirely on forensic accounting. Bachelor's degrees will prepare students for entry-level work, but if they wish to advance or to become a CPA, additional education will be necessary. A bachelor's degree in forensic accounting will take about four years to complete with a requirement of 120 credits. Typical coursework includes fraud examination, auditing and internal controls, interview techniques and legal aspects of fraud, and detection and prevention of fraudulent financial statements. In order to gain admittance to one of these bachelor's programs, a prospective student will have to have a high school diploma or GED. They will also have to fill out an application which often includes an essay, though requirements vary by school. Online forensic accounting degrees are offered at colleges and universities across the country.

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Online Master's in Forensic Accounting

A master's degree in accounting is usually required in order to become professionally certified as a Certified Public Account (CPA), Certified Fraud Examiner, or Certified Management Accountant. These online programs offer coursework in topics like fraud investigation, giving expert testimony in court, dispute resolution, accounting ethics, business law, and corporate finance. A master's program usually takes between 15 months and two years to complete. In order to gain admission, applicants must already have a bachelor's degree—preferably in business, accounting, or another related field. Students must usually submit a resume as well. After completing an online master's program, students may be qualified for advanced opportunities in a variety of settings. Those who graduate with a master's in financial accounting tend to become certified public accountants, chief financial officers, internal auditors, and management accountants. Online master's programs are available at domestic colleges and universities.

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Online Certificates in Forensic Accounting

Certificate programs in forensic accounting are also available online. These certificates are most commonly found at the graduate level and are designed for current accounting professionals who want to add to their skill set by learning the fundamentals of forensic accounting, or current forensic accountants who want to learn more advanced topics in their field. Admission requirements vary by program but typically include undergraduate transcripts, a written essay, and a resume. Length of time for completion and number of credits differ from program to program, but certificates can usually be finished in a year or less. Coursework includes classes in fraudulent financial reporting, forensic accounting principles, litigation support, and fraud prevention and detection.

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The Importance of an Accredited Online Forensic Accounting Degree

Accreditation is the process through which an outside independent agency evaluates a school's or program's quality. Regional accreditation means that the school as a whole has been accredited. Students may want to check to make sure the school they plan to attend is regionally accredited for a few reasons. First, accreditation ensures that the school is offering an educational program that meets high standards overall. Additionally, federal financial aid can only be used at accredited institutions. Employers often prefer to hire candidates from accredited programs as well, and some professional certifications may require that the applicant have a degree from an accredited program or school.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is an internationally recognized organization that accredits specific accounting degree programs. AACSB's standards are rigorous and students that attend a program that holds this accreditation can be assured they are receiving a quality education that will teach them exactly what they need to know to enter the workforce and start their career as a forensic accountant.

Forensic Accounting Jobs

Professionals who specialize in forensic accounting can work in a variety of settings, the most common of which are law offices, government agencies, and insurance companies. Their days will consist of seeking out instances of financial fraud and other types of corruption involving money. Forensic accountants may also find work with the FBI, investigating crimes such as political corruption and terrorism. They may spend their time analyzing the financial records of suspected terrorist groups or looking at possible cases of fraud committed by government employees. They will also be required to testify in court hearings and stay current with everchanging financial laws.

Another common career path for forensic accountants to become a fraud examiner. These professionals know how to pick out signs of fraud or identify places where the risk of fraud may be higher. They must understand financial law, how financial transactions work, and how to resolve issues regarding fraud allegations. Fraud examiners can earn the Certified Fraud Examiner credential, which demonstrates a high level of expertise and dedication to the subfield.


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