Accounting Master's Degree Programs
Rather than offering lots of new career opportunities to accountants, a Master's degree in Accounting most often allows an accountant to move up in the position that they are currently in. Many workplaces, including investment firms, accounting firms, and large businesses, prefer accounts that have Master's degrees to those that have Bachelor's degrees.
Students who hold Master's degrees in Accounting may be more prepared to run their own accounting firm or work as a partner in an accounting firm. This is because a Master's degree in Accounting includes business courses that prepare a student to run an accounting business.
There are 1,120 Master's programs in Accounting in the United States. The average annual tuition is approximately $18,000. The financial aid for Master's degrees can be very good; the average scholarship package is $8,000 and the average grant amount is just over $10,000.
Completing a Master's degree in Accounting requires the completion of approximately 30 credit hours. Students with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting can take 15 credits in graduate accounting courses and 15 credits in a complementary field like finance, taxation, or information technology. Master's degrees have a much stronger emphasis emphasis on ethics, professional obligations, and auditing than Bachelor's degrees do.
Students who do not have a Bachelor's degree in Accounting may still pursue a Master's degree in Accounting. However, they may need to take up to eight extra credits to take core classes in accounting. Finishing a Master's degree in Accounting can take between one and three years. If you go full-time, you can complete it in one year; taking the minimum amount of credits each semester will allow you to finish within three years. If you earn your Master's degree in Accounting from an online school, you can often take classes during the summer or other times of the year to finish faster.
Upon graduation, students often take the CPA exam. The CPA exam typically requires 150 hours of education in accounting, and a Bachelor's degree only provides 120 hours of that. Finishing a Master's degree in Accounting may give you enough credit hours to take the CPA exam. After passing the CPA exam, you will be certified to work as a Certified Public Accounting. CPAs may be required to keep up with continuing education or examination requirements; requirements vary from state to state.
Like most graduate degrees, tuition for a Master's degree in Accounting can be fairly steep. The average tuition in the United States is $18,354. Add housing costs and you are looking at close to $25,000. However, there are scholarships and financial aid opportunities available.
Consider that many employers will pay for their accountant employees to go to graduate school. This is because an accountant with a Master's degree will bring skills to the table that an accountant with a Bachelor's degree cannot.
The Mensa Education and Research Foundation offers scholarships to Master's accounting students, as do the Peace Corps, This Way to CPA, and the Government Finance Officers Association. Scholarships for minorities are available through the American Woman's Society of Certified Public Accountants, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and United Negro College Fund.
Earning your Master's degree in Accounting opens up many new career opportunities to you. You can work as a Certified Public Accountant, auditor, investigative accountant, personal financial planner, financial manager, or budget analyst. Accountants and auditors make an average of $61,690 per year, making a Master's degree well worth the time.
After earning a Master's degree, many accountants move up in their current jobs. They may become controller, Chief Financial Officer, or Lead Accountant at their place of employment, meaning that there is no real upper limit to how much you can earn with a Master's degree in Accounting.