Earning 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.

Business professionals may seek to enhance their education in order to prepare for the next step in their career path. This holds true in the accounting field as well. While an associate degree or a Bachelor of Accounting may help students prepare to pursue entry-level accounting opportunities, various businesses prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in accounting or an MBA with a specialization in accounting.1

So, how can you start earning a master’s degree in accounting?

Prerequisites for a Master’s in Accounting

An important prerequisite that potential master’s program students need to have is a relevant undergraduate degree. It is not necessary that your degree be exactly the same as the master’s program you’re considering. However, those interested in a master’s degree in accounting should have a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as accounting, business, or finance.1

Choosing a Master’s Degree Program

There are a number of master’s degrees available that are both directly and indirectly related to the field of accounting. A common accounting degree at the master’s level is the Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Specialization in Accounting. MBA programs that specialize in accounting are designed to offer a multifaceted business education, with certain coursework focused on accounting principles.

Accounting is not the only MBA option available, however. Other master’s degrees that may be offered include a Master of Accounting, Master of Professional Accounting, Master of Science in Accountancy, and Master of Science in Taxation. The specific degrees offered will vary depending on what each individual institution offers.

What Subject Will I Need to Study to Earn My MBA in Accounting?

One factor to consider when pursuing a master’s degree in accounting is the coursework. Given the different types of accounting degrees that are offered at the master’s level, it is important to make sure that the coursework, and the degree program as a whole, is relevant to your career goals. Accounting program courses offered may include accounting information systems, public and not-for-profit accounting, strategic management, and global financial management.

How Long Will it Take to Earn My Master’s Degree in Accounting?

The length of time it takes to earn a master’s degree in accounting can vary. It all depends on the program you choose and the amount of time you can commit. Students who transition immediately from undergraduate studies to a master’s program may need six years to complete both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Those who return to school after a few years in the workforce may be able to complete a master’s degree in about two years or less, if they’re enrolled in a one-year program. Certain institutions even offer a five-year program that combines both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting into one program of study. When looking at schools, inquire about the time frame because program lengths may vary.

Preparing for Your Future

Regardless of the master’s degree in accounting that you pursue, it’s important to ensure that the degree you pursue is relevant to your career aspirations. Depending on the career opportunities you pursue and the nature of your job, you may also have to obtain certifications or licensure,1 so consider whether or not the program is designed to help you prepare for any such exams.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10% increase in accounting jobs through 2026, which is a faster rate of growth than most fields.1 Therefore, pursuing your degree in accounting may prove beneficial in helping you prepare to either join advance your accounting career in the future.

Learn more about accounting degree programs at AIU

1. “Accountants and Auditors.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Accountants-and-auditors.htm (Visited 08/30/18). Conditions in your area may vary.

American InterContinental University cannot guarantee employment or salary. For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures . Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
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