Potential Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Accounting

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

The decision to pursue an advanced degree is personal and affects each individual differently. For instance, business professionals, including those in accounting and finance fields, may pursue a graduate degree program to enhance future career opportunities. Yet in addition to the opportunity to work to develop increased knowledge and skill set a graduate program, holding a master's degree can also act as an additional qualification to highlight on a résumé.

So what are some of the potential benefits of a master's degree in accounting, especially for those already working full-time in the field?

Demand Across Accounting and Business Fields

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects growth in the accounting field, due to the need for accountants, auditors, and other finance professionals in a thriving economy. Additionally, government agencies, non-profit groups, and individuals require services provided by accountants and auditors to help keep financial assets in order. As a result, accounting graduates may pursue career opportunities as job growth for accountants, auditors, and other financial specialists is projected at 10% through 2026.1

The National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) Job Outlook 2018 survey also found that employers project hiring more finance and accounting graduates in the coming year than those in any other degree focus. Of all employers who responded to the survey, 65.2% said they planned to hire graduates with a finance degree in the near future, while 60.6% responded that they planned to hire accounting graduates.2

Master's Degrees May Help Fulfill Requirements for Certification

While there are many career paths to pursue within the accounting field, accounting professionals may choose to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) after several years of work experience*. In addition to passing the four-part Uniform CPA Exam and meeting the other specific requirements set by state licensing boards, CPA candidates are required to have at least 150 semester hours of college credit, which is 30 more required hours than a traditional 4-year bachelor program. Therefore, one potential benefit of a master's degree in accounting is that may help graduates to fulfill education requirements for certification while simultaneously working to develop new skills and knowledge for use in the workplace.3

Other certifications, like the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) have continuing education requirements that must be met to maintain and renew certification.4,5 In these cases, especially for those holding one or more such certifications and are reaching their renewal periods, pursuing a master's in accounting may be an efficient way to fulfill some or all continuing education requirements while also adding an advanced degree to a résumé.

Different Types of Degree Options

Various institutions offer master’s degree programs in accounting that are tailored to different types of students with diverse career aspirations. Two examples include the Master of Science in Accounting and the Master of Accounting.

The Master of Science in Accounting program is designed for students who have previously completed an undergraduate degree in accounting and aspire to work in the public accounting sector. The Master of Accounting program, however, tends to be tailored to undergraduates who completed liberal arts or general business majors – not a Bachelor of Science degree – as well as professionals who have been employed in accounting for several years already.

Are you ready to earn your master’s degree in accounting to help gain the education needed to break into the field? Explore MBA degrees in accounting at AIU today.


1. “Accountants and Auditors: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm (Visited 10/17/18).
2. “Job Outlook 2018.” National Association of Colleges and Employers. Retrieved from: https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/trends-and-predictions/business-majors-dominate-list-of-top-majors-in-demand/ (Visited 10/17/18).
3. “Accountants and Auditors: How to Become an Accountant or Auditor.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-4 (Visited 10/17/18).
4. “Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Requirements for Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs).” The Institute of Internal Auditors. Retrieved from: https://na.theiia.org/certification/CIA-Certification/Pages/CPE-Requirements.aspx (Visited 10/17/18).
5. “Continuing Education Requirement.” The Institute of Management Accountants, CMA Handbook. Retrieved from: https://www.imanet.org/-/media/6f64b804887641d880afef2178a44b9c.ashx (Visited 10/17/18).

American InterContinental University cannot guarantee employment or salary. Find employment rates, financial obligations and other disclosures at www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. *This program is not designed to prepare students for the CPA or CMA examination or any other certification exam, but covers the knowledge areas of the uniform CPA and CMA certification. 1364188 10/18

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