The field of accounting is one of the most critical areas of study available to the business industry. Every business relies on money to operate. Businesses have expenses and income, both of which provide a need for someone to track the profits and losses incurred by the company. Accountants are the employees primarily responsible for this task, but not all accountants perform the same tasks. [bls.gov]
Entry level accountants are left strictly, in many companies, to tend to the books. Those individuals wishing to take on increased responsibilities and advance to management positions will need to earn a Master in Accounting. What exactly a Master in Accounting entails may be a mystery to some, but those looking to advance as accountants need to know what to expect heading into this graduate program.
As a Master’s degree is a graduate level degree, it is a requirement for the vast majority of students to complete an undergraduate degree before being accepted into a Master in accounting program. The easiest way to ensure that all academic prerequisites have been met is to complete a Bachelor’s degree. [bls.gov]
There is no one single degree that is better than others for those entering a Master in accounting course. A Bachelor’s degree in accounting is preferred because at many schools it can shorten the time it takes for students to complete a Master’s program. Other business-related undergraduate degrees such as finance, management, or business administration may suffice for admissions.
What to Expect
The coursework and amount of time in school will differ from program to program for Master’s students. Some programs can be completed in as little as 10 months to one year, though that is usually for students who have completed a Bachelor in Accountancy during undergraduate studies. Students who have not may need two years of school in order to complete other necessary coursework.
Online vs. On-campus
The debate between online degree programs and on-campus degree programs is intensifying as modern technology makes it easier and easier for degrees to be offered via the internet. Master’s degrees in accounting are available both online and on-campus, each with different benefits and drawbacks for individual students.
Those who have time to attend school full-time often choose on-campus programs for their established credibility and the college atmosphere. Individuals who have been working in the accounting field and are returning to school to boost their education tend to opt for online programs. These programs can allow them to set their own schedules, attend classes at night, and keep their job in order to continue providing financially for themselves and their families.
Regardless of the program an individual chooses they can expect courses to cover advanced mathematics, auditing practices, and tax laws among a number of other areas of study. No two programs are alike, making it important for students to carefully analyze any program before applying to ensure it meets their needs and goals.