Accounting Program Information
Aspiring accounting professionals and individuals interested in becoming Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) can complete a professional accounting program or get an accounting degree from an accredited college or university. Accounting degrees and training programs train students in areas of general accounting, financial reporting, taxation, auditing and accounting information systems. Accountants continue to be in high demand by small businesses, large corporations and firms, and they continue to have a high earning potential among other business degree programs.
Getting an Accounting Degree
Accounting degree programs and training programs are available at several degree levels, including:
- Associate's Degree in Accounting
- Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
- Masters Degree in Accounting or MBA with a concentration in Accounting
- Certified Public Accountant Training Program
- Chartered Financial Analyst Accounting Training Program
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Students must have strong math and business skills, and be prepared to learn how to use various types of accounting software and accounting programs. A degree in accounting is required to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and for anyone who wants to open a private accounting practice or firm. Qualifications for a degree vary by school, but most require students to excel in high school math, English, business studies and basic accounting.
The first two years of these programs typically include training in areas of finance, communication, general business and commerce. The last two years and additional training focus on more specialized courses.
Types of Accounting Courses
Accounting courses vary by school but most colleges and universities that offer accounting degree and certificate programs require students to take the following types of courses:
- Financial Accounting
- Managerial Accounting
- Business Statistics
- Introduction to Microeconomics
- Introduction to Macroeconomics
- Calculus with Applications to Business and Economics
- Business Law
- Managerial Economics
- Principles of Finance
- Principles of Marketing
- Strategic Management
- Cost Management
- Accounting Information Systems
- Auditing Theory and Practice
Students interested in taking the CPA exam may choose to take specialized and preparatory courses to help them pass the exam the first time. In order to take the CPA exam, students must complete at least a bachelor's degree in business or accounting, and complete coursework specifically for the CPA exam. CPA training courses are available in both self-study and online formats, and may also be offered at some accounting schools.
Accounting classes may also be available in an online format and are a good match for students who want to complete their degree at their own pace, or for students who cannot attend a college campus. Online classes offer the same type of educational experience as offline courses, except students may be required to submit their coursework over the web, participate in online discussion groups and collaborate with students around the country for different projects.
Attending Accounting Schools
Accounting schools offer basic and advanced training programs for students interested in improving their skills or completing an accounting degree program. Some schools offer CPA exam preparation courses and accounting classes in a specialized field. Accountancy courses vary by program and school, and some can be used towards a certificate or degree. Some schools offer only an associate's or a bachelor's degree program, while others offer masters degrees and research opportunities in the field.
Getting a Masters in Accounting
Individuals interested in teaching or advancing in their professional careers can complete a masters in accounting. A Master of Accounting (MACC) program is typically ten to twelve months in length and includes advanced, research-intensive courses in areas such as:
- Financial Report Evaluation
- Business Analysis
- Value-Added Tax Strategies for Business Decisions
- Global Accounting
- Global Auditing
- Environment of Accounting and Auditing
- Accounting Theory
- Information Technology Auditing
- Accounting Theory
- Accounting Litigation Support
Students enrolled in a masters in accounting degree program learn how to apply advanced theories and principles in a business environment.
Career Options with an Accounting Education or Degree
Having an accounting degree and completing professional training can open the doors to several attractive career paths. Some career options include:
- Auditing Clerk
- Budget Analyst
- Cost Estimator
- Financial Analyst
- Loan Officer
- Personal Financial Advisor
- Tax Examiner or Tax Collector
- Revenue Agent
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most jobs in the field require at least a bachelors degree. Median annual wages of wage and salary accountants and auditors were $59,430 in May 2008. Accountants are in high demand by accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll service firms, as well as companies and enterprises, insurance carriers, and local and state governments.