Take the first step toward a career of crime-busting and number-crunching with an affordable online bachelor’s in forensic accounting.
Forensic accounting is working its way to the forefront of law enforcement. Along with cybercrime, white collar crime is more and more prevalent. Money laundering. Tax evasion. Insider trading. Financial fraud. These are all examples of the kinds of crime you’ll uncover as a forensic accountant.
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What kind of online bachelor’s in forensic accounting should you get?
We’ve done most of the hard work for you already: all ten of these programs are affordable and flexible. We know that money is on the forefront of most people’s minds when it comes to getting an education. We don’t blame you! Education is expensive. You can breathe easy knowing that none of these programs will break the bank.
Another thing all of these programs have in common is that they are 100 percent online. These days, online learning is increasingly popular and effective for working adults. Distance-learning programs are flexible, affordable, and equally as academically rigorous as any traditional program.
As you sort through these schools, you’ll notice that they vary in their focus on forensic accounting. Some programs feature forensic accounting as a concentration, others as a minor, and even others as just a select number of classes.
With forensic accounting, you’ll most likely need to pursue a master’s degree in order to land a job in the field. But why not get a headstart?
If you want to explore flexible continuing education options, check out College Choice’s guide to the Most Affordable Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with an online bachelor’s in forensic accounting?
You’ll be happy to learn that your education will pay off in a big way, especially since you’re looking at some of the most affordable programs for forensic accounting.
The numbers are on your side in the field of accounting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants make on average $68,150 per year, but that number increases to an average of $72,950 for accountants working in finance and insurance.
Once you’ve earned a master’s degree in forensic accounting and have nailed down the needed certification, you can make upwards of $104,500 per year as a Certified Fraud Examiner. Another optimistic statistic shows that there will be jobs waiting for you after graduation. As a whole, forensic science positions are expected to rise in demand by 17 percent in the next ten years. Getting started on that track will set you up for a ton of options once you’re ready to enter the job market.
What can you do with an online bachelor’s in forensic accounting?
An online bachelor’s in forensic accounting is a fantastic first step to a rewarding career. It’s unlikely, however, that you would stop at a bachelor’s degree if being a forensic accountant is your ultimate goal.
All of these programs will prepare you to become an entry-level accountant. And if you need to find a job right out of the gate, becoming an accountant is a perfect way to start. Getting experience in your field of choice is always a smart move. It looks great on a resume and it gives you time to clarify your next step.
Once you work your way up to becoming a forensic accountant, though, your job description will get a little more interesting. You’ll likely be hired at a company or consulting agency to perform audits on financial transactions and business funds. That means you’ll be looking through receipts, tax returns, financial agreements, and other documents to see if anything seems fishy. If you find incriminating data or evidence, it’s up to you to prepare and present that data in court. You could do this at practically any level—government, insurance, health care, big business. The list could go on!
What are the requirements for an online bachelor’s in forensic accounting?
The great thing about these programs is the ease in which you can apply. You’re not expected to have everything mastered when you start off—that’s why you go to college!
Basically, most schools want to see your high school transcripts and proof that you graduated with a GPA over 2.0. Most of the programs last between one and four years. Some schools have accelerated programs in which you can complete the online courses at your own pace. For other programs, you’ll be moving through the curriculum with a cohort. Most degree programs will require anywhere from 120 to 180 credit hours to complete.
Here’s something to keep in mind as you select a program: what do you want to get out of your undergraduate experience? Do you want to add a minor? Do you want to become a Certified Public Accountant? Do you want to be at the top of your class? Keep these goals in mind and use them as a way to select the program that meets your needs the best.
What are the most affordable online bachelor’s in forensic accounting degrees?
Below you’ll find the 10 most affordable online bachelor’s in forensic accounting. The first step in figuring out this batch of schools was selecting the most affordable online schools out there that incorporated Forensic Accounting. Then we gathered the academic quality of each program. Last but not least, we factored in student happiness using retention rates and graduation rates.
Our methodology draws from our own data experts at College Choice, the resources at U.S. News & World Report, and the top-notch statistics at Payscale.com. Let the numbers be your guide in finding an affordable bachelor’s program in Forensic Accounting.
See our rankings methodology page.
Indiana State University has it all – an affordable tuition, a strong online program, and a great curriculum in forensic accounting. This public university is located in Terre Haute, Indiana. It is often named as one of the “Best in the Midwest” by the Princeton Review. The online BS in Accounting is one of twenty online bachelor’s programs you can earn online at ISU.
You’ll get the best of both worlds with Indiana State University. Start by earning an online BS in Accounting at the most affordable tuition rate in the nation. Then add on a minor in Forensic Accounting, which you can earn online as well. The minor involves 18 credits in classes like:
- Fraud Examination
- Occupational Fraud
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Principles of Accounting
If you’re already completing the 120-credit-hour BS in Accounting and the 18-credit-hour Forensic Accounting minor, you’ll be well on your way to earning your Certified Public Accountant license. You need a bachelor’s in accounting plus 30 additional credit hours before taking the CPA exam. The minor in Forensic Accounting gets you halfway there!
University of Northwestern Ohio
The University of Northwestern Ohio is a private university in Lima, Ohio that has risen to the top as a leading institution for Automotive, Diesel, and High Performance industries. However, the “Racers” also excel in delivering over 60 different majors, as well as a number of online programs.
The curriculum for University of Northwest Ohio’s online BS in Forensic Accounting is not for the faint of heart. In total, you’ll take 180 credit hours (a full 60 credits more than most programs). The entire curriculum is designed to prepare you to become a Certified Fraud Examiner. Some of the highlight classes include:
- Financial Statement Investigation
- Legal Implications of Fraud Examination
- Digital Forensics
- Interviewing for Fraud
In addition to this BS in Forensic Accounting, the University of Northwestern Ohio also offers a 5-year Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a CPA track. This degree is completely online. This 225-credit-hour program gets you ready to sit for the CPA exam right after graduating.
University of Alabama Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham makes a big splash not only in the world of higher education, but also in its home state. UAB is the largest employer in the state and houses one of the largest academic medical centers in the nation – UAB Health System. The school enrolls around 20,900 students.
The University of Alabama in Birmingham delivers a 100 percent online BS in Accounting. This curriculum is more generalized than some of the other programs, but it gives you a fantastic base knowledge in forensic accounting that you can bring to a master’s program down the road. Classes include:
- Internal Auditing
- Financial Accounting
- External Auditing
- Management Processes and Behavior
The University of Alabama at Birmingham performs well across the board. Graduates of the UAB accounting program on average score 30 percent higher than the national rate for the CPA exam. The online bachelor’s program in accounting is also endorsed by the Institute of Management Accounts, which oversees academic preparation in the field.
Purdue University Global
West Lafayette, IN
Purdue University Global is the online branch of the West Lafayette, Indiana public research institution, Purdue University. The school acquired Kaplan University in April of 2017, and is now up and running with extensive online services. Aimed toward working adults, it offers over 180 online degree programs.
At Purdue University Global, you’ll earn an online Bachelor’s in Accounting with the option of specializing in Auditing-Forensic Accounting. Within the overall requirements of 180 credits, you’ll block out 24 credits specifically for this concentration. The four core classes in this track are:
- Intermediate Accounting III
- Advanced Accounting
- Advanced Forensic Accounting
Purdue University Global pulls out all the stops when it comes to online education. For starters, you can opt into the ExcelTrack program, which lets you accelerates your degree to your preferred pace. Even more, the Career Services team is hands-on and available to help you with job searching, networking, and resume building.
Based in the heart of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Point Park University is a liberal arts school with over 3,800 students. It delivers most of its degrees in person; however, Point Park University also features over 24 online bachelor’s and master’s degrees, including the BS in Accounting.
The Point Park University curriculum gives you an amazing variety of accounting and business classes. Offered through the Rowland School of Business, this BS in Accounting prepares you for the CPA exam and sets you up to pursue forensic accounting in graduate studies. You’ll take 126 credit hours through classes like:
- Advanced Accounting Theory
- Computer Applications in Accounting
- Business Law
One great feature at Point Park University is the option to earn six credit hours toward a future Masters in Business Administration while you’re still in the bachelor’s program. Keep your options open! You can always find an MBA program that includes a certificate in Forensic Accounting.
A Catholic university that began in 1924, Misericordia University is based in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Its student body of around 2,800 choose from 37 majors within its three academic schools. This campus is intimate and tight-knit with a student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1. The Guaranteed Placement Program promises to find students a job immediately after graduation.
At Misericordia University, you’ll earn an online BS in Accounting. This program offers a unique specialization in Forensic Accounting. You’ll take three courses in this area to add to your total credit requirement of 121 hours. Some of your options include:
- Introduction to Forensic Accounting
- Forensic Accounting-Civil Application
- Introduction to Fraud Examination
- Fraud Examination Techniques and Procedures
This degree program encourages all of its accounting students – both online and in-person – to take advantage of internship opportunities. The school organizes in-person interviews with area accounting firms and insurance companies to secure you a spot that fits your interests.
California College San Diego
A member of the four-school Center for Excellence in Higher Education, California College San Diego delivers a variety of degrees at all academic levels. The main campus is in San Diego, but the school also has branches in San Marcos and National City. In 2016, it was awarded the “Best Career College of San Diego” by San Diego City Beat.
If time is on your mind, California College San Diego will be on your side. Their online Bachelor of Science in Accounting has a Forensic Accounting emphasis that you can complete in just 36 months. You’ll move through this program independently and work at your own pace. Four core classes in the Forensic Accounting track include:
- Fraud Examination
- Interviewing Techniques for Fraud Investigation
- Legal Elements of Fraud
- Corporate Governance and Internal Control Assessment
California College San Diego does everything in its power to get you career-ready as soon as possible. One huge perk of this program is that all online students receive a laptop upon admission. The accelerated online programs also give you a chance to get ahead of the pack in the working world.
Salt Lake City, UT
Although its official headquarters are in Salt Lake City, Utah, Independence University is a completely online institution. It is the online branch of Stevens-Henager College. Independence University enrolls students through four academic schools: School of Healthcare, School of Business, School of Technology, and School of Graphic Arts.
Forensic Accounting is included as a specialty track in Independence University’s BS in Accounting. Throughout this 181-credit-hour program, you’ll be trained in everything from fraud interviewing to accounting 101. Even more, the speed at which you go through the program is flexible. Here are some curriculum highlights:
- Federal Tax Accounting
- Accounting Research and Analysis
- Fraud Examination
- Legal Elements of Fraud
Independence University tries its best to make sure that money is not an obstacle to learning. As such, it offers a number of scholarships to its students. Between 15 full-tuition scholarships, 30 half-tuition scholarships, and 45 scholarships that offer $5,000 to undergraduates, you’ll have lots of chances to save on your education.
Franklin University has over one hundred years of history in educating adult learners. It is a private university based in Columbus, Ohio, though it also maintains branch campuses throughout the Midwest. Franklin University’s average age of students is 34 years old. It excels in online offerings as well as flexibility in transferring credits.
Although Franklin University is #10 on our list, it is by no means a school to pass over. The online BS in Forensic Accounting is one of the only programs to focus specifically on this narrow of a field. You’ll cover 124 credit hours of industry-related issues in forensic accounting. Some class highlights include:
- Interviewing Techniques for Fraud
- Legal Elements of Fraud
- Fraud Examination
- Accounting Information Systems
Franklin University’s BS in Forensic Accounting intentionally designed a curriculum that would prepare you for a future in the field. You’ll be ready to take the exams to become a Certified Fraud Examiner, a Certified Internal Auditor, or a Certified Public Accountant.