OCC Accounting Degree Nationally Ranked

Dec 16, 2021

The website Best Accredited Colleges has named Olney Central College’s Associate Accounting Degree among the top in the nation.

Best Accredited Colleges provides its guide and school rankings to assist students in making the best college decision. Selections are based on U.S. Department of Education data including accessibility, affordability, quality of education and return on investment. OCC’s Accounting Program was ranked No. 16 on the list.

“It is very exciting especially to be the only community college in Illinois in the Top 30,” said Accounting Professor Kristi Urfer. “It demonstrates the quality of our degree and the dedication of everyone who teaches classes in the program. It shows that we are meeting the college’s mission of providing excellence in education to our students.”

Fellow Accounting Professor John Kendall agrees, “I think it’s an honor and a validation of our program and the support we receive from the administration, the OCC Foundation and our advisory council. It’s a testament to the excellence at OCC and our commitment to the community.”

Urfer believes the accounting degree’s flexibility helps to set it apart. At OCC, accounting students can earn an associate’s degree and enter the workforce immediately after graduation, or with a few additional courses, transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree. The ability to finish the two-year degree fully online is another big advantage.

“We have many students who choose the online program, especially returning students,” Urfer said. “It allows them to work full-time and complete coursework in the evenings and weekends. Accounting was one of the very first online programs at Illinois Eastern Community Colleges and it has been very successful. It has been a great option for working mothers and those working in the banking industry and others who need the degree to advance in their careers. With the online program, students can also work at their own pace. We have a number of students who are taking one or two classes a semester.”

OCC’s Accounting Program also offers Bookkeeping and QuickBooks certificates, which can add another skillset to the degree.

“They really go hand in hand with the degree,” Kendall said. “Taking only a handful of classes, students can earn both. The certificates provide a great opportunity for people to get into mid-level positions. A degree or certificate in these areas opens doors to so many other occupations including banking, purchasing, marketing and insurance. An accounting degree can lead to almost any business position.”

Program graduates are currently employed as senior branch officers in the banking industry and many are working in finance and marketing. Some have gone on to earn law degrees while others have become entrepreneurs.

“There are a lot of avenues our students can take,” Urfer said. “After teaching 20-plus years at the college, it is amazing to see what our graduates have gone on to accomplish. Our students have done very well.”

For those looking to enter the field, now is the perfect time to begin the program as accountants are in high demand.

“A lot of accountants are retiring and there is no one to take their place,” Urfer said. “There is a growing need especially in tax preparations. I had a call from someone who recently hired one of our students and was wanting to hire five more. It is a very lucrative field to go into. Our students are highly sought after and have great job placement. If you want to stay in the area, you can always get good-paying jobs in accounting and finance.”

To learn more about the OCC Accounting Program or to meet with an advisor, call 618-395-7777.

For the complete list of Best Associate in Accounting Degrees, visit: