What You Should Know About This Degree
If you want to pursue an accounting career, but don’t already have an undergraduate degree, a bachelor’s is the logical place to start. Some programs even offer a five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s program, if you’re planning to pursue an advanced degree.
However, if you have a bachelor’s, even if it’s not in accounting, you should consider a master’s degree. They take less time to complete, and will make you eligible for higher-paying jobs faster, but will cover the accounting skills you need to know. Be sure to check with your program of interest if they have any prerequisites, especially for students who don’t have a bachelor’s in accounting.
You should also consider whether a degree in accounting, or a related field like finance, is more suited to your ultimate career goals, as there are key differences between the fields.
Professional certifications and/or licenses, like the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), are typically required to work in accounting. To become certified or licensed, you must complete a certain number of accounting coursework credit hours, have professional experience, and pass an exam. Factor the additional time and cost of certification/licensure when deciding if accounting is the right career for you.
When selecting an online accounting degree, consider the following:
- What type of degree do I want? Consider if you want a more specialized degree, like a BSBA in Accounting or MAcc, or a general degree with an accounting focus, like a BBA or MBA. Deciding which degree is best for you will help you narrow down your program choices.
- Does this program have any prerequisites? If you are pursuing your master’s degree, make sure that you have the prerequisite coursework completed. Prerequisites vary by program, but many require students to have some prior coursework in accounting or general business.
- Does this program give credit for professional experience? Conversely, some master’s programs will waive coursework for students already working in the field, who have their CPA.
Once you’ve found the programs that interest you, research their application processes and requirements. This information is typically available on the program’s webpage; you can also contact the program directly if you have questions.
Financing your education is another important consideration. Research scholarship opportunities and financial aid deadlines. If you are currently employed, check with your employer to see if tuition remission/reimbursement benefits are available.