Online Accounting Degree Programs Directory

Thank you for visiting AccountingDegreeOnline.net, an exhaustive online resource for students pursuing a degree in accounting. From selecting a degree program and previewing common accounting specialties, to jump starting your career, we have all the information you need to make smart decisions about your education and career in accounting.

Using the Directory

Use our interactive database to search over 6,500 programs at more than 2,100 schools to find a degree program that best suits your career goals. Then read our comprehensive guide to accounting degrees to find out everything you need to know as you dive into your career.

Studying Accounting

I’m interested in studying accounting. What can you tell me?

Accounting is the language of financial transactions, as well as the proper recording and analysis of financial transactions. If you enter this field, be prepared to study mathematics, statistics, tax codes and business law in order to track the financial information of corporations and individuals.

In the past, accountants were associated with terms like “number crunchers” or “bean counters,” but that perception is changing as modern accountants are recognized as integral parts of business management. Accountants provide business owners and executives with important financial data and interpretations and explanations of that data. If you choose to study accounting, you should be ethical, detail-oriented and comfortable working with numbers.

Accounting appeals to many students because it often leads to high-paying careers with job security. And, unlike many areas of business, entry-level positions in this field do not require graduate-level education. Although you will need to study accounting at the graduate level if you want to become a Certified Public Accountant, a bachelors degree will qualify you for employment.

Let’s hear some other perspectives

An Interview with Tiffany Turner

Tiffany Turner

Student, Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Ashford University

“Quite simply, accounting is all about numbers. Accounting is concerned with tracking financial records and calculating where money goes within a business.”

Read the Full Interview >>

An Interview with James Garrity

James Garrity

Student, Master of Arts in Accounting, Northern Illinois University

“General problem-solving skills were much more important than advanced math skills in my masters program in accounting.”

Read the Full Interview >>

An Interview with Dwight Sneathen

Dwight Sneathen

Assistant Professor of Accounting, Georgia Souther University

“You might think of an accountant as a guy with a green visor and a pocket protector who has a windowless office in the basement, but in reality you will have to interact with clients and other businesspeople all the time as an accountant.”

Read the Full Interview >>

Accountant Overview

What exactly is an accountant?

Accountants are business professionals who track the profits and expenses of government agencies, companies and individuals. They compile financial data into reports that people can use to assess corporate or personal budgets. These reports allow clients to decide where their money will best be used. Accountants and auditors are often grouped together because they perform similar jobs. The information that accountants and auditors provide is valuable for many reasons. First, the government uses the information to determine how much tax is owed. These reports are also used to ensure that Securities and Exchange Commission reports filed by publicly traded companies are free from material errors and omissions so that potential investors can have an accurate picture of companies they are interested in. In addition, businesses use financial reports to decide if they want to work with other businesses or contractors. Finally, individuals and businesses use the reports to see how their money is allocated and how to spend their money more wisely. However, despite the similarities between accountants and auditors, they do have distinct professions.

Accountants

Accountants are generally classified as public, management or government accountants. Public accountants work for accounting firms or have their own business. They prepare tax returns, provide financial consulting and sometimes perform audits. Management accountants track the costs and expenses of their company and look for ways to help it spend more efficiently. And government accountants examine financial records of government agencies and the individuals and businesses that are taxed and regulated by the government.

Auditors

Auditors perform official, independent inspections of corporate and personal financial records. They are usually defined as internal or external auditors. Internal auditors work for an organization to verify its accounting and to make sure that money is not being misspent or stolen. They also audit an organization’s policies and procedures to make sure they guard the company against fraud and mismanagement, working with management to make improvements. In some instances, internal auditors also work in information technology, or IT, to assess the technology side of the organization. On the other hand, external auditors independently review the accounting records of their clients and inform the government and potential investors that the records have been prepared correctly.

Let’s hear some other perspectives

An Interview with Andrew Moceri

Andrew Moceri

Tax Associate, BDO USA

“Accounting is exciting because there is always something new to learn. As a CPA, I constantly deal with new clients, new industries and changing tax regulations.”

Read the Full Interview >>

An Interview with Randy Sugarman

Randy Sugarman

Managing Partner, Sugarman & Company LLP

“Real accounting problems are much more complicated than textbook examples.”

Read the Full Interview >>

Personality Quiz

How do I know if accounting would be a good fit for me?

Here is a quick quiz to help you decide if you have the personality it takes to succeed as an accountant. Rate, on a scale from 1 to 5, how well each of the following statements describes you.

I have a strong sense of right and wrong.

Accountants must have integrity to work within the law and deliver ethical service to their clients. If you take your principles seriously, you will make a trustworthy accountant.

I am comfortable working with numbers.

Accountants spend the bulk of their time analyzing numerical data and performing calculations. If you want to be an accountant, you should be confident in your mathematical skills.

I manage my own money wisely.

Accountants are trusted with tracking massive amounts of revenue. If you want to be an accountant, you should practice your budgeting skills by limiting your spending and saving money for realistic goals.

I pay close attention to detail.

Accountants are responsible for tracking the financial details of a company, which involves recording and organizing a lot of data. You will not be a good fit for accounting if you find details trivial.

I communicate effectively through words and in writing.

Accountants must be able to translate financial data into layman’s terms when writing reports and giving presentations. You will need to develop oral and writing skills so that you can communicate complex topics to non-experts like your clients and coworkers.

I am able to see how details fit into the big picture.

Accountants must keep the overall budget of a business or individual in mind when making financial recommendations. You should be able to consider details while keeping future goals in mind.

I take a scientific approach to solving problems by breaking them down piece by piece.

Accountants analyze sets of numbers to identify trends and inconsistencies within the data. If you are a logical thinker, you will be likely to succeed in data analysis.

I am productive when I work independently.

While accountants do not work in complete solitude, they need to be able to stay focused and on task when working on their own. This is especially true if you want to be self-employed as a consultant.

I am comfortable working long hours when I have to.

Accountants get swamped with work at certain times of the year, such as during tax season and when budgets are due. To meet these deadlines, accountants must be willing to work overtime to get the job done.

I enjoy using technology.

Modern accountants use tax and accounting software packages to increase the speed and accuracy of their work. Therefore, you must be comfortable using computers and software to analyze and interpret data.

Get My Score

*Note that this is not a scientific quiz. The result is simply my rough estimate of how well I believe your personality matches that of a successful accountant.

By my assessment, a career in accounting is probably not a good fit for your personality. Please go to the Admissions Advisor homepage for a listing of other careers you may want to consider.

By my assessment, although a career in accounting may not be an ideal fit for your personality, if you are willing to adapt in a few areas, you can still find success in the field. Please see the list to the right for information on the areas that you may need to work on.

By my assessment, your personality is a good fit for a career in accounting. Scroll through our site to gain valuable insight into what it will take you to earn the necessary credentials.

Making the Right Choice

Is there anything else I should consider in deciding if accounting is the right choice for me?

Many students choose to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) after earning their bachelors degree. If you decide to become a CPA, you should be aware that you will need to earn graduate credits in order to fulfill the licensing requirements. Each state has different requirements that CPA candidates must fulfill before they can sit for the CPA exam. Typically, these requirements center on education and experience, but your state’s accountancy board will list their particular requirements.

CPA Licensing

Accountants must pass a rigorous exam to become CPAs. Almost all states require CPA candidates to complete 150 hours of coursework before they are qualified to take the CPA exam. Normally, a bachelors degree requires about 120 credit hours, so CPA candidates must complete approximately 30 hours of graduate coursework through a graduate certificate or masters degree program before they can take the exam. Keep in mind that some states have additional requirements, so you should research the CPA exam prerequisites of your state through your State Board of Accountancy.

Accounting Professions

What accounting professions can I choose from?

Education Required:

Associates (2 years) recommended

Average Salary:

$29,000

Work Environment:

Corporate businesses, small businesses

Job Description:

Accounting clerks include accounts payable clerks and accounts receivable clerks, who are responsible for recording transaction deals, totaling business accounts and ensuring that all payments to other businesses are up to date. Advanced accounting clerks may reconcile billing vouchers, verify account data and write financial documents for their company.

Education Required:

Associates (2 years) recommended

Average Salary:

$33,000

Work Environment:

Government agencies, corporate businesses, small businesses

Job Description:

Bookkeepers record the profits and expenses of businesses in general ledgers. They also write financial reports for their supervisors. Depending on the size of the business they work for, bookkeepers may also prepare bank deposits, handle employee payroll and oversee billing.

Education Required:

Associates (2 years)

Average Salary:

$31,000 (Lowest 10% earned less than $18,000; highest 10% earned more than $64,400)

Work Environment:

Government agencies, corporate businesses, private consulting

Job Description:

Certified tax preparers are in charge of preparing and filing income tax returns for businesses and individuals. Tax preparers usually work seasonal or part-time jobs during the tax season from January through April. They work under the supervision of CPAs and experienced accountants.

Education Required:

Bachelors (4 years) and CPA license

Average Salary:

$80,000

Work Environment:

Government agencies, corporate businesses, private consulting

Job Description:

Certified Public Accountants, or CPAs, prepare, examine and analyze the financial records, operational policies and procedures of businesses and individuals. They provide financial information through balance reports, which include balance sheets, statements of cash flow and statements of income that companies can use to maintain their budgets. In addition, CPAs explain what these statements and reports mean to the interested parties, suggesting how revenue can be used. CPAs also communicate with clients to ensure that public records and financial documents are accurate and legal. CPAs can also prepare tax returns and advise clients about data processing systems.

Education Required:

Bachelors (4 years)

Average Salary:

$67,000

Work Environment:

Government agencies, corporate businesses, law firms

Job Description:

Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of law and accounting to detect white collar crimes like embezzlement, securities fraud and money laundering. Forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement officials to investigate and interpret criminal financial activity. Frequently, forensic accountants appear in court as expert witnesses.

Education Required:

Bachelors (4 years)

Average Salary:

$71,000

Work Environment:

Government agencies, corporate businesses

Job Description:

An auditor is responsible for making sure that corporate or personal financial information is reliable and legal. There are 2 main types of auditors. Internal auditors are employed directly by their clients to assess the effectiveness of their organization’s financial system. They ensure this by performing audits on the strengths and weaknesses or an organization’s policies and procedures to help prevent and protect against fraud and mismanagement. On the other hand, external auditors work for a third party, like the Internal Revenue Service, to ensure that financial records are materially true and lawful.

Education Required:

Bachelors (4 years)

Average Salary:

$65,300 (Lowest 10% earned less than $42,470; highest 10% earned more than $100,400)

Work Environment:

Government agencies, corporate businesses

Job Description:

Budget analysts oversee the development of an organization’s budget and they make sure that companies adhere to their financial plan. They find ways to eliminate wasteful expenses and to efficiently distribute funds among different departments. Additionally, budget analysts often provide financial advice during corporate policy meetings.

Education Required:

Masters (2 – 3 years of graduate school)

Average Salary:

$80,000

Work Environment:

Government agencies, corporate businesses

Job Description:

Accounting managers train and supervise the accounting staff within a large business. Their duties also might include overseeing payroll functions, reconciling billing issues and verifying debit and credit entries that have been posted to the company’s general ledger. They generate financial statements and long-term forecasts for the company and are the liaison between internal and external auditors.

Education Required:

Masters (2 – 3 years of graduate school)

Average Salary:

$123,000

Work Environment:

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are the top financial executives. CFOs manage every aspect of their corporation’s monetary concerns. They supervise the accounting and sometimes the auditing staff, develop and approve departmental budgets and manage employee payroll and benefits.[/description]

Job Outlook

What is the job outlook for accountants?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 there were approximately 1.3 million accountants and auditors employed in the United States. About 8% of these were self-employed, with the rest working for the government, corporate businesses and accounting firms. Employment of accountants and auditors overall is predicted to grow by 16% over the next 10 years, which is about as fast as the average job growth that has been predicted for all occupations. Job prospects will be best for CPAs and forensic accountants.
Profession Employment 2010 Projected 2020 Average Growth
Accountant 1216900 1407600 16%
Bookkeeping, Accounting, Or Auditing Clerk 1898300 2157400 14%
Budget Analyst 62100 68500 10%
Cost Estimator 185400 252900 36%
Financial Analyst 236000 290200 23%
Financial Examiner 29300 37200 27%
Financial Manager 527100 573400 9%
Management Analyst 718800 876000 22%
Personal Financial Advisor 206800 273200 32%

Average Salary Growth 2006 - 2011

Profession 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Accountant 60670 63180 65840 67430 68960 70130
Bookkeeping, Accounting, Or Auditing Clerk 31780 32780 33800 34750 35340 36120
Budget Analyst 63920 66310 68140 69240 70660 71450
Cost Estimator 56820 58640 60320 61190 62060 62670
Financial Analyst 77280 81700 84780 85240 86040 87740
Financial Examiner 71240 73550 78180 79070 82320 83620
Financial Manager 101450 106200 110640 113730 116970 120450
Management Analyst 77270 80460 82920 84650 87260 87980
Personal Financial Advisor 86730 89220 92970 94180 91220 90900

Salary By Percentile

Profession 10th 25th 50th 75th 90th
Accountant $39640 $48920 $62850 $83210 $109870
Bookkeeping, Accounting, Or Auditing Clerk $21450 $27400 $34740 $43440 $53250
Budget Analyst $45360 $55260 $69090 $86540 $102280
Cost Estimator $34510 $44370 $58460 $76360 $95950
Financial Analyst $46300 $57900 $75650 $101120 $145580
Financial Examiner $43520 $55990 $75250 $105490 $138700
Financial Manager $58120 $78300 $107160 $146150 $187200
Management Analyst $43920 $58530 $78490 $105210 $141780
Personal Financial Advisor $32810 $43160 $66580 $111880 $187200

Education Requirements

How long would it take me to become an accountant?

To become an accountant, you need to earn your bachelors degree in accounting or a related business field that includes many accounting classes. A bachelors degree usually takes about 4 years to complete.

Areas of Study

What can I expect to learn while pursuing accounting?

As an accounting student, you can expect to gain knowledge and skills.

KNOWLEDGE

Accounting Mathematics

Accounting mathematics teaches students how to apply advanced mathematical principles like algebra, statistics, finite mathematics and calculus. It discusses how to measure, analyze and understand financial information and relationships between numbers. It also explores ways to communicate financial information to others.

Financial Law

Financial law describes the legal side of accounting. It covers laws and regulations set by government agencies like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. Some topics that are discussed include tax code laws, bank regulations, investment advising and stocks and bonds.

Economics Theory

Economics is a social theory that examines the transfer of wealth through producing, distributing and consuming goods. Economics is usually divided into microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics is the study of the basic elements that make up the economy, such as markets, supply and demand and the role of the public sector. Macroeconomics addresses broad issues that affect the entire economy, like growth and inflation.

Information Systems

The subject of information systems shows students how to use technology to be more efficient accountants. It teaches various accounting and tax software packages as well as computer skills like the use of advanced spreadsheets skills to organize data. Additionally, students learn how to develop technology plans for businesses. This area is becoming more important in business as companies and organizations store and manage information online.

Data Analysis

Data analysis is the way that accountants interpret sets of numbers to gain useful financial information. It trains students to organize data and look at it objectively so that they can discover meaning and inconsistency in a data set. This subject also instructs students to present numerical data clearly in ways that clients and colleagues can understand.

SKILLS

Clerical

In your accounting classes, you will gain useful clerical skills. You will learn administrative procedures like keeping records, managing files and designing forms. If you want to run your own business and become a self-employed accountant, you will especially benefit from organizational skills and clerical techniques.

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative reasoning is the ability to choose the correct mathematical methods that are necessary to solve a given problem. As an accounting student, you will learn when to apply which formulas in order to produce accurate numerical results. You will also learn the best way to graphically represent those results in order to make them easily understood.

Critical Thinking

As you progress through your accounting courses, you will gain critical thinking skills. You will learn not to take all information at face value. Instead, you will be taught to question the data in front of you and to take a skeptical view when you evaluate financial evidence. Using these skills, you will be able to draw objective and meaningful conclusions.

Communication

A degree in accounting will teach you the skills to communicate clearly through written reports and oral presentations. You will learn public speaking techniques and business writing skills so that you can communicate in the workplace. You will also learn how to translate financial jargon into clear everyday language.

Decision Making

Your accounting curriculum will teach you how to assess the probable effects of different courses of action so that you can choose the best professional response. As an accountant, you will need to rely on your own judgment to weigh the potential costs and benefits of actions like cutting budgets.

Academic Degrees

What academic levels are available in the field of accounting?

You can study accounting at every level of education. Accounting credentials are available at the associates, bachelors, masters and doctoral degree levels. In addition, both undergraduate and graduate certificates are available in the field.

Select the degree level you are interested in:

  • Certificate
  • Associate’s
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s
  • Doctorate

Certificate

Many schools offer certificate programs in accounting at the undergraduate and graduate levels. An undergraduate certificate is ideal for individuals who do their own accounting and want a formal introduction to the field, like small business owners. On the other hand, you can use a graduate certificate to fulfill the 150 credit hours that you need to take the CPA exam.

What are the different types of certificates that I can earn?

Undergraduate Certificate

An undergraduate certificate in accounting introduces the field but does not qualify you to be a professional accountant. This is a good choice if you want to improve your personal accounting skills.

General Graduate Certificate

A graduate certificate in accounting offers advanced accounting classes. This option is best if you need to complete additional credit hours so that you are eligible to take the CPA exam.

How long will I have to study?

Undergraduate Certificates

Undergraduate certificate programs usually consist of 18 to 24 credits. Most students complete their undergraduate accounting certificates in about 1 year.

Graduate Certificates

Graduate certificate programs usually consist of 15 to 30 credits. Most students are able to complete graduate certificates in 6 months to a year, depending on the depth of their program.

What types of courses will I take while studying?

Undergraduate Certificates

To earn an undergraduate certificate in accounting, you will take introductory classes in financial accounting, managerial accounting and auditing. You may also take courses like business law and federal income tax concepts.

Graduate Certificates

To earn a graduate certificate in accounting, you will take advanced classes like financial accounting, managerial accounting, business law and federal income tax concepts. You will also increase your professional skills through courses in internal and external auditing and accounting information systems.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure?

Undergraduate Certificates

An undergraduate certificate in accounting limits you to entry-level bookkeeping or accounting clerk positions in small businesses. It will not qualify you to be an accountant.

Graduate Certificates

Typically, people who earn a graduate certificate in accounting already hold a bachelors degree in a similar field. Therefore, a graduate certificate will enhance your business qualifications to become an accountant, auditor, certified tax preparer or budget analyst. And if you pass the CPA exam, you can become a Certified Public Accountant.

What are the requirements for admission to a graduate certificate program?

You need a bachelors degree to enroll in a graduate certificate program. In many schools, the bachelors degree must be in accounting or a similar business field.

What about getting an online certificate?

If you want to earn your accounting certificate online, you have many options. But before you decide to pursue an online accounting certificate, you should evaluate your accounting experience. If you have never worked in accounting, you might prefer to learn accounting skills in person, where you can have individual instruction, rather than through an online accounting program. But since it requires little personal interaction to learn the basic techniques of accounting, there are few drawbacks to pursuing either an undergraduate or graduate accounting certificate online if you have a background in business.

Associates Degree

Many schools offer associates degrees in accounting. An associates degree alone has little value in the field of accounting, so your career options will be limited without further education. However, you can pursue an associates degree and then transfer into a bachelors program.

What are the different types of associates degrees that I can earn?

Associate of Arts AA

An AA degree in accounting has more liberal arts classes, so you will have a broad education. The AA is the best option if you plan to transfer to another school to obtain a bachelors degree.

Associate of Science AS

An AS degree in accounting has more mathematics courses, but it is very similar to the AA degree. The AS is also a good choice if you continue on to a bachelors degree program.

Associate of Applied Science AAS

An AAS degree in accounting teaches the most practical aspects of the career. The AAS is designed for people who plan to enter the workforce directly after they graduate.

How long will I have to study?

Associates degrees in accounting typically requires students to complete 60 to 65 credit hours. Students usually complete associates degrees in about 2 years.

What types of courses will I take while studying?

To earn an associates degree in accounting, you will take introductory classes in financial accounting, managerial accounting, accounting theory and auditing. You may also take courses about business law, cost management, fraud examination and federal income tax concepts.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure?

An associates degree in accounting will not substantially increase your career opportunities, although you may be able to secure entry-level positions as an accounting clerk or bookkeeper. However, if you are willing to take additional courses, you could become a certified tax preparer.

What about getting an online degree?

Pursuing an accounting associates degree online has few disadvantages. Online accounting associates degrees are mainly introductory degrees, which are not very valuable in the field of accounting. You may wish to earn an accounting degree online at the associates level to enhance your personal bookkeeping abilities or if you intend to transfer your credits into a bachelors program. In either case, there is no reason not to pursue an associates accounting degree online.

Bachelors Degree

The majority of accounting students choose to earn a bachelors degree, which you need for most jobs in the field. If you plan to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a bachelors degree will provide you with most of the 150 credit hours that are required to take the CPA exam.

What are the different types of bachelors degrees that I can earn?

Bachelor of Arts BA

A BA degree in accounting has more humanities classes, so you will study other disciplines in addition to accounting. The BA is a good choice if you want to go to graduate school or find an accounting job.

Bachelor of Science BS

A BS degree in accounting has more technical classes, so you will study the sciences along with accounting. The BS is a good option if you want to start working as an accountant as soon as you graduate.

Bachelor of Business Administration BBA

A BBA degree in accounting offers classes that focus on business theories and leadership skills. The BBA is preferable if you want to pursue accounting or financial management.

Combined Bachelors and Masters

The combined degree in accounting is an accelerated program that lets you earn a bachelors and masters degree at once. This option is best if you want to quickly fulfill all of the 150 credit hours that are required to take the CPA exam.

How long will I have to study?

A bachelors degree in accounting typically requires 120 to 130 credit hours and takes 4 years to complete. But if you decide to earn a combined bachelors and masters degree, you will earn approximately 150 credit hours in 5 years.

What types of courses will I take while studying?

To earn a bachelors degree in accounting, you will take general business classes and specific accounting courses. Your business classes will include business law, marketing, economics and operations management. In addition, you will take financial, managerial and government accounting as well as auditing and fraud examination.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure?

A bachelors degree in accounting qualifies you to be an accountant, business analyst, auditor, budget analyst, billing specialist or payroll coordinator. Keep in mind that you will most likely begin working under the supervision of an experienced accountant before you are given more responsibility.

What should I consider when deciding on a school?

When you are looking for an accounting school, you should ask to see the program’s recent pass rates on the CPA exam. High quality programs will provide students with an in depth knowledge of the functions of accounting. No matter how good a program is you will most likely need to take a review course before sitting for the CPA exam. These reviews courses prepare students to pass the exam. In addition, you may want to consider accreditation. Accounting accreditation is an extension of the business accreditation that is conferred by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Accreditation is not mandatory, but it indicates that an accounting program has quality instructors and a strong curriculum.

What about getting an online degree?

Most accounting skills are computer-based, so pursuing an online accounting bachelors degree is a good option for some students. If you plan to sit for the CPA exam, make sure to check with your state’s accountancy board, as some states do not accept online credit. Many schools offer accounting bachelors degrees online, although the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has accredited none of these programs as of 2012. However, because accreditation is not mandatory, there are few downsides to pursuing an accounting bachelors degree online. But you should make sure that the online accounting program that you are considering has an internship component so that you can gain practical experience in the accounting field.

Masters Degree

A masters degree in accounting is a graduate-level degree that teaches students about advanced accounting theory and practices. A masters degree in accounting will increase your job prospects and qualify you to take the CPA exam.

What are the different types of masters degrees that I can earn?

Master of Accountancy MAcc

An MAcc degree in accounting will teach you advanced accounting skills and theory. The MAcc is a good choice if you need to gain additional credit hours in order to take the CPA exam. Some schools call this degree a Master of Science (MS) in accounting.

Master of Business Administration

An MBA in accounting offers a standard business curriculum with an emphasis on accounting. This option is best for people who want to take up executive or managerial positions in business.

How long will I have to study?

A masters degree in accounting typically requires students to finish 30 to 45 credit hours. Accounting students usually complete masters degrees in 2 to 3 years of study.

What types of courses will I take while studying?

Your classes will vary slightly depending on which type of masters degree you choose to pursue. If you earn a master of accountancy, you will study advanced accounting theory and principles as you learn about contemporary accounting issues. You will likely take classes about financial, managerial and international accounting, modeling information systems, budget control, advanced auditing and fraud detection. And if you pursue an MBA in accounting, you will take core business classes in addition to your advanced accounting curriculum. You will likely study business law and ethics, managerial accounting and leadership skills.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure?

With your masters degree, you will be qualified to manage an accounting or auditing staff. You may work as a budget analyst or as the Chief Financial Officer for a corporation. In addition, many employers prefer applicants to be Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), and a masters degree will qualify you to take the CPA exam and increase your career opportunities.

What should I consider when deciding on a school?

If you are thinking about pursuing a masters degree in accounting, you should consider accreditation. In fact, if you are planning to pursue a career in academia, you should only attend a masters degree program that is accredited in accounting by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). AACSB accreditation is considered the gold standard for accounting programs and it ensure that your program meets high standards set for education in the accounting field.

What are the requirements for admission?

Admission to accounting masters degree programs requires a bachelors degree. Some programs are designed for students who have little accounting experience, but others require a fundamental knowledge of accounting principles.

What about getting an online degree?

Many accounting skills can be learned independently and do not require classroom interaction. Therefore, earning an online accounting masters degree may not be a bad idea. But if you are thinking about attending an online accounting program, you should consider whether it is accredited and whether your state’s accounting board will accept it. At the masters level, accreditation by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is important because it ensures a quality education. If you plan to pursue a career teaching at a university, you should make sure that your online accounting degree is accredited. If you do not plan to enter academia, accreditation is less important and an online accounting masters degree is a viable option.

Doctorate

A doctorate is the highest degree that you can earn in the field of accounting. Doctoral degrees in accounting mainly prepare you to teach and research at colleges and universities.

What are the different types of doctorates that I can earn?

Doctor of Philosophy PhD

A PhD in accounting has advanced courses in accounting methods and theory along with a significant research component. The PhD option is best for people who want to become university-level professors.

Doctor of Business Administration DBA

The DBA in accounting offers an advanced business curriculum where you can choose to focus on accounting. The DBA is a good choice if you want to conduct applied research or teach accounting at a university.

How long will I have to study?

A doctoral degree in accounting typically requires students to complete 72 to 90 credit hours. It usually takes students 4 to 7 years of study to earn a doctorate in accounting.

What types of courses will I take while studying?

Although exact requirements vary by program, typical doctorate of accounting programs require students to take advanced courses in accounting theory, financial theory, economics and statistics. You may also take mathematics classes that discuss topics like regression and correlation.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure?

A PhD or DBA in accounting will qualify you to be a university professor or researcher.

What should I consider when deciding on a school?

If you choose to pursue a doctorate in accounting, you should consider the academic area of accounting that interests you, like auditing, taxation or forensic accounting. Most accounting schools will allow you to study any of these topics, but they may not have professors who specialize in those particular areas. Therefore, you should carefully research the curriculum and the faculty of the accounting programs that you are considering before you choose a school.

What are the requirements for admission?

Admission to doctorate programs in accounting requires at least a bachelors degree, although it does not have to be in accounting. However, you should be aware that many schools also require students to have a masters degree and at least 1 year of professional accounting experience before they can apply to doctoral programs in accounting.

What about getting an online doctorate?

Some schools offer online accounting PhD degrees, but you should not pursue an online doctorate degree in accounting if you want to be taken seriously as an academic professional. Doctorate programs require a great deal of intense academic research, which requires you to develop a strong working relationship with your professors. You will not be able to form that relationship through an online accounting doctorate degree program. In addition, PhD programs are designed to prepare you to teach accounting at the university level. However, an online accounting PhD program will not give you experience teaching or interacting with others in the academic world, so you will have a very difficult time finding a job if you choose this educational path.

Licensing Information

What else should I keep in mind when considering studying accounting?

Professional Certification

Accountants and auditors can seek certification in dozens of specialized areas through a variety of professional associations. It is not necessary to do so, but many accountants and auditors choose to become certified because it enhances their job qualifications. These certificates can give you an advantage in the job market because they demonstrate specific skills. Some accounting and auditing certifications include:

  • Certified Bank Auditor
  • Certified Financial Planner
  • Certified Forensic Accountant
  • Certified Fraud Examiner
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor
  • Certified Internal Auditor
  • Certified Managerial Accountant
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Certified Tax Preparer

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