Graduate certificate programs in forensic accounting attract not only accountants but also lawyers, fraud examiners, business owners and law enforcement officials. Many colleges and universities offer forensic accounting graduate certificate programs on campus or entirely online. Classes teach students to hone their analytical abilities in order to detect financial missteps. As part of a graduate certificate program, forensic accounting students might have to complete a project that requires them to perform real-life fraud investigations. A bachelor's degree is required for program admission.
Program graduates who have the knowledge and experience necessary to pass a multiple-part examination could earn a professional credential from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
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Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting
Generally, graduate certificate programs in forensic accounting require the completion of 3-4 classes. Topics of study often include:
- Foundations in financial fraud examination
- Understanding corporate policies and processes
- Financial statement analysis
- Computer files examination
- Legal support strategies for forensic accountants
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
From 2014-2024, employment of auditors and accountants, including forensic accountants, was predicted to rise 11%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported in May 2015 that these workers made a median annual salary of $67,190. The highest-paid ten percent of workers earned an annual wage of $118,930 or more in the same year.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Forensic accountants can continue their education and demonstrate proficiency in the field by earning one or more industry certifications. For instance, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (www.acfe.com) offers a Certified Fraud Examiner title to individuals who meet minimum education requirements, become association members and pass a 4-part exam. Similarly, the Forensic CPA Society (www.fcpas.org) offers a Forensic Certified Public Accountant designation. Continuing education requirements must be met to maintain certification.
Graduate certificates in forensic accounting are useful in many different fields; programs generally require completion of a few fundamental courses. Continuing education coursework and certification may bring career benefits.