Often referred to as the “language of business,” accounting is a fundamental discipline that involves preparing and examining financial records. Accountants are responsible for ensuring that financial records are accurate and taxes are paid on time. High-quality accounting services are crucial to the success of any business or organization in today’s complex economy. In accounting classes, you also learn how to assess financial operations and work to ensure that organizations are run efficiently. If you have an interest in business, are good with numbers, and seek an exciting job that goes far beyond calculating tax returns, then the accounting profession might be right for you. Get started on the track to an in-demand career by earning an accounting degree.
Degrees Offered at Accounting Colleges
Accounting schools offer degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level, as well as both undergraduate and graduate certificates. Associate’s degrees in accounting take approximately two years to complete, bachelor’s degrees take four years, master’s degrees take one to two years, and doctoral degrees take four to five years. A number of accounting colleges enable students to earn their degrees entirely online to accommodate their busy schedules.
Undergraduate certificates and two-year associate’s degrees in accounting are offered at community colleges and technical schools. The prerequisites for an associate’s degree in accounting are typically a high school diploma or GED. With an associate’s degree, you may qualify for jobs as a bookkeeping, accounting or auditing clerk.
However, the minimum requirement for many accounting positions is often a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree program applicants generally must have a high school diploma or GED, minimum required GPA, and minimum ACT/SAT scores. Lasting four years, bachelor’s degree programs typically consist of 120 semester credits and qualify graduates for jobs as an accountant or auditor.
In order to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, you must complete a 150-credit degree program. Some students meet this requirement by pursuing a bachelor’s degree and then a graduate accounting certificate, while others go on to earn a master’s degree in accounting or pursue a dual bachelor’s/master’s degree in accounting. The admissions requirements for master’s degree programs are usually a bachelor’s degree, minimum required GPA, and minimum GRE/GMAT scores.
A doctoral degree in accounting is appropriate for someone who wants to become an accounting professor, chief financial officer, researcher or dean of business. Applicants for doctoral programs in accounting are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, outstanding academic performance, minimum GRE/GMAT scores, and strong letters of reference.
What You’ll Learn in Accounting Classes
In accounting courses, students learn how to analyze, interpret, and record accounting information. They also learn to prepare payroll, tax documents, and financial statements while adhering to state and federal regulations. Other important skills that accounting students acquire include the ability to communicate vital financial information effectively and network with people in various areas of business. The curriculum could include study in:
- Information systems
- Business ethics
- Business finance
- Business statistics
- Principles of management
Having work experience is important when it comes to getting an accounting job, and many colleges help students gain practical experience through part-time internships with accounting and business firms. It is also required to have some work experience under your belt if you want to sit for the CPA exam. Every accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required by law to be a CPA. Other certifications that accountants and auditors may obtain to gain an advantage in the job market include certified management accountant (CMA) and certified internal auditor (CIA).
Career Opportunities in Accounting
The field of accounting offers a variety of job opportunities. Examples of careers for which accounting graduates may qualify include forensic accountant, comptroller, international accountant, auditor, and management consultant. There is a growing demand for accounting expertise as organizations seek to comply with stricter financial standards. The employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 16% from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2012, the median annual wage of accountants and auditors was $63,550.
If you have an aptitude for math and business, a career in accounting can offer you an array of job prospects. Getting an accounting degree is a smart investment in your future. Boost your career prospects and earning potential by researching accounting schools on our website today.
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