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Student Guide to Earning a Master of Accounting

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Navigating through any degree program can be difficult, even for well-organized individuals who have all their ducks in a row. Every student should seek out help before applying to a degree program to ensure that they are prepared for all the challenges they will face during the course of their studies. Pursuing an undergraduate degree is one thing, but pursuing an advanced degree such as a Master of Accounting can be an even greater challenge.

Coursework Expectations

The field of accounting is all about numbers. Accountants of all kinds track income and expenses, help balance financial books, and advise management on the financial health of a company. As such, individuals pursuing a Master of Accounting should expect to through a number of mathematics, economics, and finance-based coursework.

Examples of courses that Master’s students can expect to see include, but are not limited to, the following courses: - Managerial Accounting - Payroll Processing - Applied Business Math - Computerized Accounting - Finance

Necessary Skills

Earning any degree and experiencing a successful career in the future depend not only upon the degree in an individual’s hand and the skills they learn in school, there are certain skills they must inherently possess that cannot necessarily be picked up in school. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) listed numerous skills that individuals should possess if they hope to succeed in both a Master’s program and a future career.

The AICPA listed the following skills as being necessary for a successful career in accounting: - Problem-solving, analytical, and research skills - Personal skills: working well with others, communicating effectively, and leading when the situation calls for it. - Understand emerging technology - High ethical standards: degree programs often cover business ethics, but they cannot be instilled in an individual who doesn’t believe in following those ethical standards.

Individuals hoping to be successful in accounting and navigate their way through a Master of accounting course are going to need these inherent skills in order to truly succeed long term. A Master of Accounting will help individuals polish and enhance these skills, but it cannot instill them into someone’s personality.

Pick the Right Master’s Degree

Much like other degree programs, there isn’t just one Master of Accounting degree program out there. The various degree programs that are available are tailored toward different students and designed to lead those individuals down different career paths. According to Monster.com, there are two Master’s programs that are particularly popular among accounting students.

The first of these degrees is the Master of Science in Accounting. The average MS in accounting program is geared toward students who completed an undergraduate degree in accounting and are preparing to sit for the CPA exam. The typical program offers the extra 30 credit hours students need to sit for the exam in a one-year, full-time experience.

The other common degree is a Master of Accounting/Accountancy (MAcc). Typical MAcc programs are geared toward students who are fresh out of their undergrad studies, though it is not out of the question for those who have work experience as accountants to enroll in these programs. Many MAcc programs look for students who did not complete an undergrad degree in accounting, but rather have liberal arts degrees or generalized business degrees.

Look for Programs with Internships and Placement Assistance

A program that provides internships, experimental learning programs, and placement assistance have a determination to see their students succeed. The goal of these programs is to provide students with an opportunity to showcase their skills from a Master’s program in real-world scenarios. A successful internship can lead some students to permanent employment, increasing the value of these programs to a Master’s program.

The above ideas are designed to help students have a better idea of what they’ll face heading into a Master’s degree program. The best way for any individual to be prepared for their journey through a Master’s course is to take the knowledge provided above and compare it to the data and information individual schools provide regarding their Master of Accounting program. This allows students to matchup their abilities and expectations with those of a Master’s program that can help them succeed in the field of accounting.

Sources:
http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/AccountingEducation/Pages/AEC.aspx
http://www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/gettingstarted/frequentlyaskedquestions/pages/default.aspx#Education
http://www.citytowninfo.com/education-articles/career-requirements/accounting-education-requirements
http://career-advice.monster.com/career-development/education-training/accounting-education-options/article.aspx

Don't forget:
Classes Start January 11, 2017


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