Accounting Degrees, Graduate Programs and Certificates
Completing your on-campus or online accounting degree prepares you for a variety of growing, stable careers, all of which involve examining and analyzing accounting records to prepare financial statements. Giving accounting advice, as well as auditing and evaluating statements prepared by others, is often part of working in this field. Popular accounting degrees include a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting, a Master of Science (MS) in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) – Accounting. In addition to earning an on-campus or online accounting degree, most accountants try to earn Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification.
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Jobs Outlook for Accounting Degree Holders
Since the financial crisis a decade ago, the trend in business has been toward stricter financial controls and more transparent bookkeeping. That trend has increased the demand for honest accountants with a comprehensive understanding of their field. Earning your Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting qualifies you for entry-level accounting positions, and attaining CPA certification allows you to compete for higher-level jobs that pay more.
If you want to advance into management or executive roles, a Master’s Degree in Accounting can help you reach that role. A graduate degree can open the door to the highest positions in the field that involve not only accounting itself but also designing and overseeing the overall policies and procedures for an accounting department.
Completing an accredited accounting program and earning CPA certification can lead to a lifetime of secure employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that accountants had a median annual salary of $65,940 in May 2014, and the field’s top earners made more than $115,950 per year. Accounting is expected to see 13% growth through 2022.
Popular Accounting Degrees and Specializations
Whether you earn an online degree in accounting or one on campus, you will be prepared to take an accounting position in a number of specialty fields. Some of these fields include the following.
Forensic accounting. In this area, accountants use their skills to examine records for fraud or embezzlement. People in this role typically work for law enforcement or government agencies.
International Finance. Those who seek this degree will learn how to master global finance and learn best management practices for international companies. People in this area often work for businesses which compete in the global market.
Internal auditing. In this roll, accountants analyze a company's finances, finding errors and also developing better financial reporting practices.
Business Administration Accounting. Students in the area learn best practices for managerial accounting, preparing them for roles overseeing financial analysis for both smaller businesses and large corporations.
Master of Laws in Taxation. This field is open to those who also pursue a law degree. It prepares students to understand the details of tax law and how it applies to a company's finances.
Graduate Degrees in Accounting (Online, Traditional & Blended)
Master's degrees are offered in the disciplines mentioned above and in other specialty areas as well, such as small business or finance. Because of the continued popularity of online classes, many such degrees are now offered either completely or partially online. There are also doctorate-level degrees offered in many accounting disciplines.
Why seek a Master's Degree in Accounting or a PhD in Accounting? Attaining such a degree shows you have mastered accounting practices in your area and clears the way for you to be considered for the top jobs in the accounting department of a government agency or private business.
Before choosing a school, make sure the degree program has received accreditation on the national or regional level (regional is considered as better in academics). By becoming accredited, a school proves that it's program has been examined thoroughly and meets high standards in a number of areas, including faculty training, teacher-to-student ratio and student services. Online programs also must meet high standards on curriculum and students ability to have access to professors, among other issues.
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