Last Updated: August 24, 2022
Study Accounting in the US
Candidates who wish to work in the finance and business field often take up a degree in accounting. This degree will allow them to use their critical and analytical skills in the field of finance management. Students who have completed a degree in this subject will have plenty of career opportunities due to the estimated 6% of projected growth in the field. This implies that over 90,000 new jobs will be available to students between the years 2018 to 2028.
Students who take up this field of study will be able to take up different career options all linked to numbers but varying in core beliefs and work approaches. They will also be able to work for themselves or for a company based on the specialization they take during their undergraduate degree. Though a master’s degree in the subject is not commonly opted for, students who complete this program will be able to receive higher financial benefits and better opportunities. They will also be able to research in this field.
Benefits of Studying Accounting
Accounting is one of those fields that tackle the financial planning, regulation, and profit-making decisions of any organization. Candidates who take up this field of study will be involved in work for different kinds of industries and hence they will also have the option of specializing in the different types of accounting that have been made available. Students of accounting will be dealing with subjects like mathematics, economics, finance, accounting information systems, etc. A few of the benefits of studying this field are-
- Students will have the option of creating different networking options once they enter this field. Each of the networks they create will be important in their career advancement even if they prefer to work independently.
- Candidates will be involved in the work in the fields of auditing, tax counting, and even cost accounting but at the same time, they will be able to work for the government by taking up subjects like public accounting.
- This field offers career flexibility and candidates can use their experience if they move from one field to another. Every career experience they create will be beneficial as long as they are within the field of accounting.
- The growth in the industry is estimated to be around 6% until 2028 which will ensure students will plenty of career options even if the field is competent. The careers in the field have a salary potential ranging between $77,000 to $129,000 per year.
Eligibility Requirements for Accounting Programs
The eligibility requirements for enrolling in an accounting program are dependent on the institution one is applying to and the level of degree one is applying for. But at the same time, there are general eligibility requirements that one will have to meet irrespective of where they apply to. A few of the eligibility requirements include-
- Educational Transcripts
- Letters of Recommendation
- Statement of Purpose
- GPA of 2.5 or above
- SAT/ACT Scores
Fee for Programs in Accounting
The fee for accounting programs will be dependent on the kind of institution one is attending and the type of degree they are taking. Students who are in public institutions will be paying a much lower fee than those in private institutions. The average fee charged in private universities for a degree in accounting is estimated to be around $30,000 per year.
Students who have enrolled in public institutions will be paying a fee amount depending on whether they are residents or non-residents with the latter having to pay an amount that is twice or thrice the amount paid by residents. The average fee that one has to pay per year as a resident is around $9,000 whereas that a non-resident has to pay is around $20,000 per year.
Duration for Programs in Accounting
The duration of accounting programs is typically dependent on the level of degree one is taking. Candidates who are taking a BS, BA, or BBA in the subject will be studying for 4 years in general. On the other hand, those who are taking a master’s degree in the subject will be studying for 1 to 2 years depending on the institution they are attending.
Types of Accounting Degrees
There are different types of accounting degrees that one can take while pursuing this field of study. While most of the degrees at the same level will deal with similar subjects and concepts, there are differences between the degrees that can matter when one starts working. The different types of accounting degrees are-
- Associate of Arts in Accounting- This program is opted for by people who wish to invest a limited time in education before entering the work field. It allows students to take up electives in the field. This arts degree will have a generalized syllabus.
- Associate of Science in Accounting- This is a program similar to the AAA but will be more professional. Candidates will be dealing with subjects like business accounting, tax calculation, etc.
- Associate of Applied Business- This program is professional and is opted for by students who wish to switch their careers in a limited time. It will deal with subjects like ethics, finance, business, etc.
- BA in Accounting- This is a program that essentially comes under the liberal arts field of study. It is inclusive of different electives and specializations that one can choose from and candidates who have taken up this degree will also have the potential of moving on with research in the field. Candidates will be able to take a major or minor in different subjects if they take this degree.
- BS in Accounting- This program is professional and hence will deal with topics of nuance that one will find beneficial in the work field. The syllabus for the program will be similar to that of an accounting degree but it will have a practical focus. Students will be able to enter the work field successfully immediately after completing this program.
- Bachelor of Business Administration- This program focuses not only on accounting but will be based on both business management and accounting. It is a professional degree that provides students with skills in both these fields allowing them to work in a multitude of career opportunities.
- Master of Accountancy- This is a generalized degree that is mostly taken by candidates who wish to be Certified Public Accountants. Students will be able to choose and study from the different electives and foundational courses provided for this program.
- Master of Science in Accounting- This program is more professional and students will be dealing with subjects similar to MAA. But each subject will be taught from a professional perspective rather than a research perspective.
- Master of Professional Accountancy- This is a professional degree that has little to no emphasis on theory. Students will be training professionally for careers like fraud examination, taxation, forensic auditing, etc. through this program.
Specializations in Accounting
Programs in accounting offer specializations at every level of education. The career field in this industry is always looking for people who are specialized in different aspects and hence students who have specialized in any subject will have better opportunities in the field. The concentrations offered are dependent on the types and branches available in the accounting field. A few of the concentrations offered include-
A concentration in financial accounting allows students to learn about collecting and reporting the financial information of different organizations. They will be able to work both in the public and private sectors depending on their qualifications in the field. They will learn to create financial statements and reports and analyze the same for targeting higher profits. Students will be learning about subjects like financial reporting, auditing, financial statement analysis, etc. as part of the course.
Having a major or a master’s in this concentration will allow students to work as financial accountants, financial analysts, auditors, financial planners, financial advisors, etc. They will be able to attempt the CPA examination after this program.
This specialization is provided at all levels of higher education and students will be dealing with subjects like taxation, tax consultation, mergers & acquisitions, internal auditing, etc. At an undergraduate level, students will be dealing with the fundamentals of these subjects along with the professional aspects of the field. Graduates who have completed 150 credit hours in all will be able to take a Certified Internal Auditor Certification, allowing them to take up good job options in both the private and public sectors.
The career options in this field include tax auditor, external and internal auditor, government auditor, etc. Candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in the field will be able to enter the job market even if they do not pursue higher studies.
This concentration in accounting deals with the financial planning and analysis of environmental projects and is focused on creating projects with less negative environmental impacts. Students who have taken up this field will mainly be working for the government sector and they will be dealing with accounting and auditing positions. The core courses that one will have to learn in this field include financial accounting, business law, ethical leadership, etc. The program is offered generally as an elective for both undergraduate and graduate-level programs.
Candidates who have taken up this field will be able to work as public accountants if they complete their CPA examination. They will also be able to work as a budget analyst, financial analyst, and a compliance officer.
Taking international tax as a concentration allows candidates to deal with international financial transactions made by different organizations. They will be dealing with global business and most often will be paid higher salaries by private organizations and companies. An international tax concentration is generally offered only at a master’s level. Students will also be able to take up doctoral programs in the subject if they wish to enter the research field. The core subjects that one will have to learn to include international transactions in Europe and South America, inbound and outbound international taxation, tax and international business, etc.
Studying this field will allow candidates to take up different career options including being a tax manager, compliance officer, accounting manager, tax consultant, etc. Being qualified in this field will provide candidates with an estimated average salary of $114,000 per year.
This is one of the most popularly opted concentrations in accounting and deals with the budgeting, planning, and marketing of financial aspects. This field is often confused with general accounting and though most of the courses are similar for both programs, cost accounting deals mostly with only the internal operations of organizations. The core subjects that one will have to learn as part of this program include statistical decisions in management, financial management, corporation finance, strategic management, etc.
The main career options that one will have after completing this specialization include being an auditor, accountant, financial analyst, financial manager, etc. The average salary estimate that one will receive in these professions is around $124,000 per year.
This is one of the most popular options under accountancy which allows candidates to be certified public accountants upon completing a CPA certification examination. The careers in this field will require candidates to be careful analysts of financial aspects both inside and outside organizations. Candidates will be able to take this concentration at an undergraduate and graduate level. They will focus mainly on aspects like financial statement investigations, and accounting and auditing principles. The main subjects that one will have to learn to include accounting ethics, tax law, financial accounting, etc. The program will also provide training for the CPA examination.
The career options that one can pursue after taking this concentration include accounting clerk, auditor, personal financial advisor, public accountant, etc.
Candidates who have taken this concentration will be able to exclusively deal with the financial aspects of sport-related organizations and athletic teams. The career options in this field deal with the financial management of similar organizations. Candidates will be able to take this concentration at an undergraduate and graduate level. The core subjects that one will learn under this concentration include managerial accounting, sports marketing, risk management in sports, supply chain management, etc.
The career options in this field include being a tax accountant, auditor, financial controller, cost accountant, etc. with all these professions exclusively within the sports industry.
This concentration in accounting deals with financial aspects that can be used as evidence in criminal investigations. Candidates will be learning about financial crimes and investigative techniques as part of this program. The concentration is offered both at an undergraduate and graduate level under different titles like forensic accounting and fraud examination. The core subjects they will have to learn to include business law, financial statement fraud, fraud examination, etc.
The career options under this concentration include options like compliance officer, internal auditor, forensic accountant, government accountant, etc. Most career options will require candidates to have a master’s degree.
Certifications for Accounting
To get further qualified within this field, candidates who have completed their bachelor’s or master’s degree in the subject will be able to take certification exams. These certificate examinations pave the way for getting licensure in any one kind of accounting. Such licenses will also help candidates get specialized jobs that pay better than most jobs in the field. A few of the certifications that are most popular include-
- CPA/Certified Public Accountant
- CMA/Certified Management Accountant
- CFA/Chartered Financial Analyst
- CIA/Certified Internal Auditor
- EA/Enrolled Agent
Top Universities for Accounting
A few of the top universities for studying accounting are-
Career Options for Accounting Graduates
The pay that one will receive after completing an accounting degree will be based on the level of education they have and their experience within the field of study they wish to work. Candidates who have completed their master’s degree in the subject will be able to focus on the specialization of their choice and get paid accordingly until they build their professional experience. A few of the best careers in the field include-
- Government Accountants- Their job description includes verifying financial records of government agencies and auditing private businesses thereby keeping them maintained within governmental taxation and regulations.
Average Salary: $57,000 per year
- Management Accountants- Their job deals with the management of financial transactions and records of private institutions by being involved in finance-related business decisions.
Average Salary: $62,500 per year
- Public Accountants- Their job description includes different tasks like auditing, taxation, and even consultation. This can either be for the government, individuals or even corporations.
Average Salary: $119,000 per year
- External Auditor- They deal with managing funds, revenue sources, financial data, etc. while at the same time tackling risks focused on cybersecurity. They will be working for external organizations and will have to review financial statements for the assigned organization, ensuring that all documents are in order.
Median Salary: $92,000 per year
- IT Auditor- Their job description mainly involves the verification of the credibility of financial and non-financial data by using the IT systems of the organization they are working for.
Average Salary: $101,500 per year