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Accounting can provide a clear and stable career path in a growing field. But is an accounting degree worth it? If you are considering pursuing a degree in accounting, there are a few things you should consider first because you could be investing a lot of time and money in your education.

This article reviews various accounting degree options and the potential benefits of earning an accounting degree.

Accounting degrees available

Students can pursue studies in accounting at three levels: associate, bachelor’s and master’s. Each degree can serve as a stepping stone to furthering your education and career, preparing you for employment, and expanding your job opportunities.

Associate in Accounting

An online associate’s degree in accounting provides students with foundational knowledge in finance, economics, and business concepts. This degree also builds professional skills to qualify learners for various positions in the accounting field.

Depending on your school, you may be able to choose between an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, and Associate of Applied Business. Programs may vary by degree type.

In general, associate degrees of all types include general education and major-specific courses and last about two years. Some programs offer accelerated degrees, which may require only one year of study.

Bachelor in Accounting

A bachelor’s degree in accounting includes general education, major-specific and elective courses. There are three common Bachelor of Accounting options: a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science, and a Bachelor of Business Administration. Your interests and long-term professional career goals can help you determine which study program is right for you.

Bachelor’s programs include a variety of course topics that prepare students to analyze financial issues and advise clients at all levels of business. Typical course topics include:

  • Audit
  • business ethics
  • Business Law
  • Business statistics
  • Cost accounting
  • Economy
  • Financial Accounting
  • Management accounting
  • Marketing
  • Micro and macroeconomics

Generally, bachelor’s degrees require four years of full-time study.

Master in Accounting

A Masters in Accounting is a focused graduate degree that provides an in-depth study of accounting. This higher degree ultimately prepares students to take the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and for more advanced and specialized management positions.

Programs typically include courses on the following topics:

  • Theory and research in accounting
  • Accounting ethics
  • Management accounting
  • International Accounting
  • Forensic accounting
  • Taxation
  • Fraud detection and prevention
  • Advanced auditing

Master of Accounting programs help students develop advanced analytical and technical accounting skills and gain in-depth knowledge of advanced practice areas in the field. Learners take one to two years to graduate. Some schools offer intensive programs, which you can complete in less than a year.

MBA in Accounting

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Accounting is an advanced degree that focuses on business fundamentals, management skills, and general business applications across multiple industries. While many programs offer specialized tracks, including accounting, the core curriculum involves a broader field of study.

Accounting MBA programs typically include courses in the following topics.

  • Business analysis
  • Financial report
  • Organizational leadership
  • Information system
  • Supply chain logistics
  • Risk management
  • Strategic communication
  • Business management

An MBA program typically lasts two to three years.

Benefits of working in accounting

Working in accounting has several advantages. Below we list some benefits of working in this field.

Increase your understanding of finance

Accounting work provides opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills in various areas of finance, including microeconomics, macroeconomics, management, banking and finance, tax and business law, and general business practices . These desirable skills can be transferred to many professions in almost any industry.

Choose a specialization

Working in accounting allows you to specialize in a particular area of ​​the field, allowing you to pursue positions that match your interests. Some specializations include tax, accounting, consulting, payroll services, forensic accounting, and auditing.

These professionals may also specialize in a specific field or industry, such as finance, management, government, insurance, and manufacturing.

Increase your job opportunities

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the employment of accountants and auditors will increase by 6% from 2021 to 2031. Most accountants are required to have a bachelor’s degree, and CPAs generally have at least a master’s degree. For more details, see our guide on how to become a CPA.

Get a chance to work in different industries

Although accounting is a specialized business degree, it gives students skills that can be applied in a variety of business fields and across multiple industries. Accounting graduates can transfer their skills to a variety of career paths.

After earning an accounting degree, you can explore roles and careers in other fields, such as academia and industry.

Advance your career

There are many opportunities for advancement in the field of accounting. A combination of strong accounting skills, hands-on work experience, professional training, and certifications can help broaden your job prospects and increase your earning potential. As you gain experience, you may eventually qualify for specialized roles such as budget analyst, financial analyst, and chief financial officer.

Pursue entrepreneurship

An accounting degree lays the foundation for many business careers, including entrepreneurial ones. Once you have gained experience and established business contacts, you can consider starting your own business. Whether in tax accounting or consulting, there are many avenues you can pursue with an accounting education.

How to decide if an accounting degree is right for you

If you are considering pursuing a degree in accounting, you may ask yourself the questions below. These are just a few factors to keep in mind before choosing an accounting program. If you’re not sure if an accounting degree is right for you, you can enroll in a few courses to see if its topics match your interests and career goals.

Did you take accounting and finance courses and did you enjoy them?

An accounting degree may be right for you if you have taken accounting and finance courses and enjoyed the subjects and courses. These courses give you insight into the concepts, practices, and professional responsibilities you can expect to engage in throughout your career.

Do you like working with data and numbers?

The job responsibilities of accountants largely revolve around numbers, analysis, and other data-heavy tasks. Sharp analytical skills provide a solid foundation for a career in accounting, enabling professionals to accurately analyze and interpret data and extract valuable insights into strategic business decisions and actions.

Are you detail oriented?

Accounting duties require meticulous attention to detail, which allows these professionals to manage critical financial documents. Collecting and entering data into balance sheets, income statements, and cash reports are just a few of the job responsibilities in accounting that require close attention to detail.

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