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Bachelor of Science (BS): Accounting Degree Overview

A Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting program trains students to manage a company's financial information and tax documents. It can serve as a first step toward licensure as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

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Essential Information

BS in Accounting programs combine general education courses with core courses in accounting. Information systems and industry regulations are also studied, as are professionalism and ethics. In addition to classroom lectures, students get hands-on experience. In order to apply to one of these four-year programs, prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED.


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Bachelor of Science in Accounting

In a BS program in accounting, the general education courses help students develop basic skills in communications, writing and computers, which can be applied to their work as accounting professionals. Meanwhile, core courses provide students with the specific skills they need to work in the field of accounting. Some topics covered in this program may include:

  • Financial accounting
  • Managerial accounting
  • Cost accounting
  • Auditing procedures
  • Business law
  • Corporate finance

Popular Career Options

Individuals with a bachelor's degree in accounting can gain employment in large and small businesses, non-profit organizations, government bodies and educational institutions. Some popular career choices include:

  • Accountant
  • Loan officer
  • Budget analyst
  • Financial manager
  • Auditor
  • Insurance underwriter

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected employment growth of 11% for accountants and auditors over the 2014-2024 decade. Accountants and auditors in May 2015 earned a mean annual salary of $75,280.

Growth for budget analysts is expected to be 3% between 2014 and 2024, and they earned a mean yearly wage of $75,150 in May 2015.

Continuing Education Information

According to the BLS, some employers favor accountants and auditors with a master's degree in accounting. Some schools offer a combined bachelor's/master's accounting degree program.

Additionally, the BLS reports that qualifying for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential requires education beyond the bachelor's level in most states. CPA qualifications vary for each state, but typically require applicants to have 150 college-level semester hours and pass an examination. Continuing education is required to keep the CPA license valid.

Professional certifications are also available in the fields that allow individuals to prove their competency in accounting. Several organizations, such as the Institute of Management Accountants and the Institute of Internal Auditors, confer professional designations.

Aspiring accountants can begin their training with a BS in Accounting. When they finish, they can continue their education with the goal of becoming a CPA, or they can pursue related careers in the financial industry.

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