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Last Updated: July 30, 2022

Best Programs for Public Accounting

Public accounting is the most diverse type of accounting. A public accountant works for an accounting firm that provides auditing, bookkeeping, financial analysis, tax, consulting, and accounting services for other organizations, businesses, government agencies, non-government agencies, and individuals. Being a certified public accountant is a career option that takes up to 7 years to fulfill. Students who take up this field will have to complete their education in public accounting and then take a state license for practicing the profession.

Though this career option involves a lot of hurdles, it is worth the financial and academic investment one makes since the job opportunities in the field are highly rewarding. And while taking a public accounting program is often focused on becoming a certified public accountant, one will always have the option of taking up other career options within the accountancy branch.

Benefits of Studying Public Accounting

Taking up public accounting is one of the ways of ensuring steady growth in a career especially if one is keen on the business and management field. While there is high competition for programs like MBA within this field, candidates will be presented with better opportunities and systemic employment growth if they take up this career option. Though public accounting involves dealing with the public sector in general, candidates who take up this field will have the option of working with different sectors including the private and non-profit sectors. Other benefits include-

Fee for Programs in Public Accounting

The fee that one will have to pay while studying public accounting depends on the institution they are studying at and the level of education they are pursuing. This tuition amount will also vary according to whether the institution is privately or publicly funded. Private universities charge the same fee for all students which is relatively higher than the fee required at public institutions. Private universities charge around $33,500 per year for a program in public accounting.

Public universities on the other hand have different fees for out-of-state and in-state students. This fee paid by out-of-state students can be 3 or 4 times higher than the fee paid by in-state students. The average cost for studying public accounting as an in-state student is less than $10,000 per year whereas the cost one has to pay as an out-of-state student is around $25,000 per year.

Eligibility Requirement for Public Accounting Programs

The eligibility requirement for undergraduate programs in public accounting varies from institution to institution but at the same time, there are general requirements that one ought to meet before applying for the program. These general requirements include-

Educational Requirements for Being a Public Accountant

In the US, a candidate is required to have a bachelor's degree to qualify to be a CPA. While some states require 120 credits, many require completion of at least 150 credit hours at an accredited college or university before appearing for the exam.

Types of Degrees

Students will be able to take any degree in accounting after which they will be able to take the license examination for practicing as a public accountant. Most programs offer public accounting as a subject or specialization in the field of accounting. A few of the degrees one can take to practice this profession include-
  1. Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting (or comparably a Bachelor of Accountancy) which is a 4-year degree that can equip students for entry-level positions in accounting in the public, private, or government sectors.
  2. Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting is also a 4-year degree that is a combination of business studies, management, and economics along with analytical courses.
  3. Bachelor of Arts in Accounting is a lesser-known option in comparison to a BS in Accounting, a BA has more flexibility vis a vis a BS (which is more accounting oriented) in the form of optional and additional electives thereby making a minor or double major achievable.

Taking the CPA Certification

The CPA examination is conducted by the AICPA and is a uniform examination held for providing licenses to candidates for being public accountants. Most universities will have specializations offered in the name of public accounting which will include a curriculum that will help them clear the CPA examination. Candidates who wish to take up a certification in public accounting will have to complete their bachelor’s degree with 120 to 150 credits. After this, the student will have to take the CPA which includes a national exam with four parts. The four parts of the examination are- The requirements for this examination are not uniform throughout the country. Students will therefore have to keep this in mind while applying for the examination. To clear the examination candidates will have to secure a minimum of 75 in every section.

Recommended Universities for Public Accounting

The best universities from which one can study public accounting are-

High Paying Jobs for Public Accounting Graduates

According to a report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2028, almost a hundred thousand new jobs are to be added to the accounting domain, and the profession is set to see a 6% growth. Moreover, accountants hold the seventh highest rank in the list of Best Business Jobs. The career options one will be able to choose from after completing a public accounting program include-

Become an Accountant