Accounting is practically a recession-proof field, considering every business needs accountants to record and analyze financial data, among other things. With so many people pursuing careers in accounting, online classes are easy to find. The flexibility of online classes is great for those with hectic schedules that are constantly changing, and a logical choice for anyone with no transportation. While taking courses online sounds appealing, one should consider many things before enrolling.
Pros and Cons of Online Accounting Classes
Virtual online classes are much different than traditional classes. Carefully consider the pros and cons:
You can set your own schedule.
You don’t have to commit to being in class at a certain hour on certain days. Accounting classes typically meet two or three days per week. The online course gives you the opportunity to work on your coursework whenever it’s convenient for you. If you’re an early riser, you may want to work every morning before the rest of the family wakes up. You may have a couple of evenings each week that everyone else is out of the house. That’s the beauty of an online accounting class; you choose your “class” time.
You save money.
Online courses are economical because you won’t waste the gasoline driving to and from class two or three days a week. With the price of gas lately, this is a big plus.
You never have to worry about being called on to speak in class.
For the shy person, it’s a feeling of relief knowing they won’t be called on to answer questions, read, or anything else. Interaction with fellow students and the instructor is done through e-mails and discussion forums.
Take classes wherever you like.
For classes that are 100% online classes, it doesn’t matter where the school is located. You can choose to take a class at a school a thousand miles from your home.
You can set your own schedule.
Sound familiar? Setting your own schedule is both a pro and con. Setting your own schedule makes it easy to put your homework off whenever you’re tired, busy with other things, or your favorite movie is on TV. Playing catch up is often a losing game and you end up missing assignment deadlines and not studying for tests. Online classes require a lot of self-discipline, and procrastinators often find that online classes are not for them.
You are on your own.
Accounting can be confusing, and with an online class, you don’t have the professor there when you need assistance. If you’re trying to complete an assignment or you are reading the text but don’t understand something, it’s difficult to get answers right away. You will probably have to e-mail the professor or post your question in a discussion forum and wait for their reply. The professor may have several students’ questions to address, so this can take time.
There may not be financial aid.
Many online colleges don’t offer financial aid. Before signing up for a class, check into this if it’s important to you.
Where to Take Accounting Classes Online
If you’ve decided to take accounting classes online, there are a few options of where to take them. An accredited four-year college is necessary if you plan to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting. If you just want to take a few accounting classes to do your own books or to prepare for an entry-level accounting job, a four-year college isn’t necessary. Even if you plan to get a bachelor’s degree, you could still take the first couple of courses elsewhere and probably save a lot of money. Just make sure the credits will transfer to the four-year college you plan to attend in the future.
Consider these options, in addition to four-year colleges, when deciding where to take online accounting classes:
1. Community Colleges
Community colleges are less expensive than four-year colleges and often have online courses available. Community colleges are a good place to take accounting classes if you think you may later want to pursue a four-year degree. In most cases, the credits are transferrable, meaning you will have already earned some required credits.
2. Accounting Certificate Program Schools
Accounting certificate programs are offered at several online schools, such as University of Phoenix and Strayer University. These are good options for students not planning to pursue a four-year degree. These certificate programs usually consist of six or seven required courses and generally can be completed in less than a year.
The accounting field offers a wide variety of jobs and is a secure career choice, as businesses will always have a need for accountants. Taking online accounting courses through a legitimate school is as acceptable as taking courses in a traditional classroom, but you must decide if it’s the right choice for you. Online classes are a convenient and practical option for those who are highly motivated and self-disciplined.