Earn a Forensic Accounting Degree
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Focus your accounting education on the investigation of financial records to detect fraud with the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting with a concentration in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination degree.
With a forensic accounting degree online, you can build a strong foundation of traditional accounting knowledge. You’ll explore the auditing process in depth. And you'll gain key investigative skills to identify, document and prevent fraud and cyber crime.
You can finish your degree armed with the critical thinking skills and essential business knowledge you need to begin a rewarding career in the forensic accounting field.
Learn how to:
With a forensic accounting degree online, you can work at the intersection of law and finance.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), fraud and financial crimes cause billions of dollars in losses for companies worldwide every year. In 2020, 47% of companies surveyed by PwC had experienced consumer fraud, cyber crime, asset misappropriation and other corruption within the last 2 years.1
As financial crime has grown, much of the responsibility for detecting fraud has been assumed by the accounting profession.
Forensic accountants investigate fraud in complicated financial transactions. These include mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies and contract disputes. Forensic accountants are also key players in catching white collar criminals and bringing them to justice.
With an online forensic accounting degree, you can work in a variety of settings, including:
Earning an online accounting degree with a forensic accounting concentration can give you the specialized skills you need to stand out in this growing field.
“The accountant role is changing. Accountants need to be more than just technically proficient in accounting,” said Mona Stephens, accounting faculty lead at SNHU. “The accountant of the future needs to be intellectually curious, always learning, able to figure out how to solve problems, analyze and visualize data, and effectively communicate with non-accountants.”
With a forensic accounting and fraud examination degree, you could work in a variety of accounting careers, including:
Job growth and earning potential vary depending on the career you pursue with your online forensic accounting degree.
For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for accountants will grow 6% through 2028.2 In 2019, accountants earned a median salary of $71,500.2 Jobs for financial examiners are projected to grow 7% through 2028, and earned a median salary of $81,090 in 2019.2
Your career and earning potential will also be impacted by your training. Most accounting jobs require a bachelor’s degree. But some will require a master's degree or professional credentials.
An undergraduate forensic accounting degree is the first step toward earning key accounting certifications.
Want to put your forensic accounting degree to work as a fraud examiner? Becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) can help you stand out to employers. The CFE credential denotes proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection and deterrence. CFEs are credentialed by the national Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and must pass a certification exam.3
Some forensic accounting positions may also require you to be a Certified Public Accountant. CPAs are licensed by their state accounting board. While state requirements vary, CPAs must have completed 150 hours of college coursework and pass a certification exam.3
The content of our programs aligns with the Content and Skill Specification Outlines (CSOs/SSOs) set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Learners who are interested in licensure may also pursue an MS in Accounting degree to help them meet educational requirements. Completion of the BS in Accounting degree alone does not adequately prepare learners to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam or to become licensed certified public accountants.
Licensing requirements to sit for the CPA exam vary from state to state. Students are encouraged to review their state specific requirements. State-by-state educational requirements can be found on the website of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), while state-by-state CPA licensing requirements can be found through the Accounting Licensing Library, powered by the NASBA.
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
Online business clubs and professional organizations for students offer valuable hands-on learning opportunities - virtually. These organizations can also help you expand your personal network.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.4 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
Simply work with an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
SNHU’s forensic accounting degree online can give you a strong foundation in accounting and financial analysis. Forensic accounting courses focused on fraud detection and investigation can supplement your core accounting classes.
The online forensic accounting degree also includes a strong foundation in general business courses. Business core courses include:
These courses ensure you understand and can incorporate key business concepts into accounting and auditing roles.
You can also build valuable career skills with general education courses, including writing, analysis and quantitative reasoning skills.
In your primary accounting courses, you’ll explore a variety of topics, including:
Your forensic accounting courses dive deeper into the investigation, detection and prevention of fraud.
You’ll focus on the prevention of accounting frauds, stock frauds and employee theft and embezzlement. You’ll learn how to investigate and recognize fraud within an organization and how to implement the latest techniques for controlling it.
You can also learn how to review, detect and investigate possible financial statement fraud and assess the risks of this type of fraud.
One of your online forensic accounting courses will also cover interview principles and techniques that are key to fraud investigations. In this course, you’ll be exposed to some of the legal aspects related to the identification and prosecution of fraud.
You can also learn about the importance of technology in the detection and prevention of modern financial crime. You’ll learn more about computer crime and how to work with digital evidence. You can explore identity theft, locating digital evidence, working with data and presenting investigative findings. Case studies of cyber crime examples can help you apply your learning to real-world situations.
Want even more hands-on learning opportunities? SNHU’s career advising team can also help you set up an accounting internship to supplement your learning. An internship is not required to earn a forensic accounting degree online. But real-world experience can help you develop key soft skills and ultimately find success in your field.
These skills include:
As an online student, you can also benefit from a variety of learning opportunities. You’ll have access to virtual tutoring and writing services. You can even join online clubs and student organizations to supplement your learning and grow your personal network.
You'll also have access to a full range of career services. Career services include networking opportunities, resume and cover letter review, mock interviews and more. These services are even available after you graduate.
SNHU’s generous transfer policy can also help you save time and money when earning your degree. You can transfer up to 90 credits toward a bachelor’s degree program. With the maximum transfer credit load, you could earn your degree in as few as 5 terms, or 10 courses.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
Total Credits: 120
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
If you want to become a forensic accountant, a strong foundation of accounting education is key. Accounting jobs typically require at least a bachelor’s degree. Some jobs may require a master’s degree or certification.2
Forensic accountants often investigate fraud in complicated financial transactions. These include mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies and contract disputes. Forensic accountants also help catch white-collar criminals and bring them to justice.
Earning a forensic accounting degree online can give you the skills you need to get started in this exciting field.
In SNHU’s online forensic accounting degree concentration, you’ll explore the auditing process and learn how to detect, document and prevent fraud. You’ll also learn key investigative techniques. These include interviewing skills, data analysis and cyber crime prevention.
You can apply your coursework to real-world learning opportunities, such as an internship, to gain key career skills and help prepare you for future success.
You may need additional credentials beyond a bachelor's degree, depending on the forensic accounting job you want.
If you’re in a position in which you’ll need to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, you’ll need to become a Certified Public Accountant. CPAs are licensed by their state accounting board and typically must have completed 150 hours of college coursework and pass a CPA exam.3 Licensing requirements to sit for the CPA exam vary from state to state, so it’s important to review your state specific requirements.
If you want to enhance your knowledge and advance your forensic accounting career, a forensic accounting master’s degree can help. At SNHU, you can pursue a MS in Accounting online with a concentration in forensic accounting.
A master’s degree program online, or on campus, can give you the advanced accounting knowledge and professional business skills you need to advance a forensic accounting career.
It depends. At some colleges and universities, forensic accounting may be a major. At others, it may be the topic of a course within a traditional accounting degree program.
At SNHU, forensic accounting is offered as a degree concentration. With a concentration, you get the foundation of a traditional accounting degree with a focus on forensic accounting and fraud examination.
In the forensic accounting degree concentration, you’ll complete 12 credits of forensic accounting courses. These courses will dive deep into the detection and investigation of financial crime.
You’ll explore the detection, documentation and prevention of accounting frauds, stock frauds and employee theft and embezzlement. You’ll also examine types of fraud and how to assess the risks of financial fraud.
You can also gain key investigative skills you can apply to a forensic accounting or auditing career. You'll explore interviewing skills to aid the investigation of fraud. And you’ll explore how to use data analysis and technology to investigate cyber crime. You can also learn how to present digital evidence during a fraud investigation.
After graduating, you’ll be prepared to take on forensic accounting roles in accounting firms, insurance companies, law offices and government agencies.
Want to take your career even further? You could also continue your education in SNHU’s accounting master’s degree program with a forensic accounting concentration. A master's degree could help open up opportunities to the career you want.
To become a forensic accountant, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Earning an online forensic accounting degree could be a strong place to start.
In SNHU’s forensic accounting degree concentration, you’ll be taught the basics of how to become a forensic accountant. You’ll learn key accounting practices and gain a deeper understanding of the standards used to evaluate them. You’ll also explore how to review and analyze financial statements for evidence of wrongdoing. With this training, you can be ready to spot the symptoms of fraud.
You can also gain a strong foundation of traditional accounting education. Courses will focus on cost accounting, advanced accounting techniques, federal taxation and business law.
An online forensic accounting degree can prepare you for a career in fraud investigation. But if you'll need an accounting certification, such as the CPA, state requirements do vary. Make sure to check your state requirements to determine if you’re on track.
It depends on where you work, your job and your level of education. Jobs for forensic accountants can be found in a variety of industries, including accounting firms, government agencies and law offices. And starting salaries can vary.
BLS does not have salary data specific to forensic accountants. But in 2019, accountants earned a median salary of $71,550.2 The lowest paid 10% earned less than $44,480 and the highest paid 10% earned more than $124,450.2
Accountants working in finance and insurance earned the highest median income in 2019, at $76,440.2 Accountants working in government agencies had the lowest median income at $70,180.2
Your earning potential can also be impacted by your education. Workers with a master’s degree, for example, typically earn about 20% more each week than bachelor’s degree holders.2
Looking for a rewarding career that brings together the world of accounting with criminal justice? A job in forensic accounting could be right for you.
Employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 6% from 2018 to 2028.2 Jobs for financial examiners are projected to grow 7% in the same time period.2
Technological advances are also expected to impact the field, as cyber crimes evolve and become more common.1 With a degree in forensic accounting, you’ll gain a strong understanding of how technology affects the role of accounting. You’ll be prepared to use technology to monitor and detect fraud and financial crimes.
SNHU’s forensic accounting degree can give you specialized knowledge you can apply to an accounting job right away. Or, you could use your bachelor's degree learning to advance your education – and your career – with an accounting master’s degree.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
1 PWC, Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, on the internet, at: https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/services/advisory/forensics/economic-crime-survey.html (viewed May 17, 2020)
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
3 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, The CFE Credential, on the internet, at: https://www.acfe.com/cfe-credential.aspx (viewed May 17, 2020)
4 According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.