What Can I Expect from an Online MSA Program?

Online master’s in accounting programs offer convenience and flexibility to students without sacrificing the quality of education provided at traditional brick-and-mortar college and university campuses. With most online programs offering 24/7 access to course materials, postgraduate accountants have the freedom to continue working within their industry while they further their education. With so many different online offerings available, make sure to sift through them all to find the program that works best for your situation.

Concentrations Offered for an Online MSA

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Accounting

The curriculum offered in online MSA programs will differ between schools, as there are many factors that can affect coursework. Some programs may require on-campus classes that won’t be offered in others, accelerated programs may offer less variety, and any specialty you choose will affect your curriculum as well.

Although curriculum varies, there are some courses that are found in most programs, including:

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Accounting?

The length of time required to complete your online MSA degree depends greatly on the type of program you choose. Generally, MSA degrees are designed to be completed in two to four years. Typical credit requirements range from 30 to 45 credit hours, with completion times that vary depending on the course load pursued. More aggressive schedules make it possible to complete these programs in as little as one year.

Accelerated programs are also available and are designed to help students obtain their MSA degrees faster. Most accelerated programs are set up to be completed within 12 to 15 months, but some schools offer programs that can be finished in just eight months. How quickly you’ll be able to obtain your degree will depend on the amount of time you can dedicate to your online courses.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Accounting Prepares For

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Accounting Degrees

When making your list of potential online programs to pursue your masters in accounting degree, take the time to verify that each of your options is accredited. Accreditation ensures the quality of education offered meets the minimum standards required to supply you with the tools you need for your chosen career. Completing an unaccredited program may lower potential employers’ confidence levels in your abilities and can often disqualify you from professional certifications and licensing.

You should expect any program you choose to be accredited by at least one major agency. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) offers international accreditation for business-related programs, including those that focus on accounting. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission focuses on online and distance programs that have been in existence at least two years. Finally, schools can be accredited through region-based agencies such as the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools or the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Employment Outlook for MSA Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Accounting positions of all types are expected to grow 10 percent between 2016 and 2026 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3 percent higher than the overall job growth average. While earning recognition as a CPA offers the most advantage in job prospects, obtaining an MSA will not only increase your chances of passing the test to receive certification, it will also give you an edge over CPAs who hold a bachelor’s degree or below. An MSA degree qualifies you for more prestigious, executive positions with strong competition.

Expected Salary

Along with a stronger advantage for preferred job openings, holding an MSA degree allows you to command a higher salary. Earnings are generous for the specialized positions available when you obtain a master’s in accounting.

Within any accounting specialty, having your MSA degree increases your odds of landing a higher position, which leads to a significant boost in pay. Online MSA programs also give you the necessary training to earn additional professional certifications that also contribute to a wage increase. See the difference between entry-level positions and their senior counterparts.

Career Opportunities

An online master’s degree in accounting opens doors to a variety of career opportunities, depending on the concentration chosen. A graduate degree allows you to move up in your current organization, lets you pursue more lucrative professional opportunities and increases your earning potential.

Professional Organizations

Accountants will often generate professional leads through the daily connections they make, so professional organizations are a great way to increase their client pool and connect with other professionals in the industry. These organizations can also offer opportunities for continuing education credits and staying up to date on the latest industry news. A few popular organizations for accountants include:

American Association of Finance and Accounting: This organization is especially helpful for those who want to keep their professional options open. It was created to help match qualified accountants with prestigious firms in need of professionals.

The Institute of Internal Auditors: An organization dedicated to promoting honesty and ethics in auditing procedures. It offers training and certification opportunities for members to improve their career options.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Accounting

Even with the savings that online programs can provide, pursuing a master’s degree in accounting may require financial assistance. The first step to applying for financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This opens the door to possible grants and loans funded by the federal government. Private scholarships are also an option for accountants, and you can check out a few listed below.



Interested in a degree instead?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.