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Is a Master's Degree in Accounting Worth It?

Jul 02, 2018

Having a master's in accounting could give you the edge that you need to remain competitive in the financial career field. We will explore potential career choices as well as their respective salaries and why a master's may be beneficial.

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Those who attain a master's in accounting will give themselves a better chance of promotion in this field. To give you a clearer idea of what you can expect from a master's in accounting, five career choices graduates of master's in accounting programs typically pursue are highlighted below.

Earning A Master's In Accounting

In most cases, those who are looking to obtain a master's in accounting will have to partake in between 30 to 40 credit hours from courses like Financial Accounting, Business Law and Corporate Financial Reporting. While there are often prerequisite courses required for admission, most graduate programs will allow students with any undergraduate degree to apply, provided that they have maintained a 3.0 GPA. There are some master's in accounting programs which require that students have their undergraduate in accounting or a related field along with a GMAT test score of 500 or above. The process of obtaining a master's in accounting can take around two years or longer, depending on course load, and cost as little as $8,978 to as much as $36,602 at top universities. Students can lessen both their course load and tuition cost by attending online classes that can cost as little as $270 per credit.

Master's In Accounting Jobs/Salary

In the process of securing a master's in accounting, students will attend classes that cover many areas of finance, taxation, and marketing, and be able to secure positions in corporate accounting and auditing much easier than those with just a CPA. Those will a master's will be able to expand their job prospects and put themselves on the fast track for promotion within any organization. Below are five careers typically chosen by those with such degrees along with their potential salary and job growth information.

Job Title Median Salary(2017)* Job Growth(2016-2026)* Degree Required
Financial Managers $125,080 19% Master's Preferred
Investment Managers $92,077** 19% (financial managers) Master's Preferred
Compensation and Benefits Managers $119,120 5% Bachelor's
Accountants and Auditors $69,350 10% Bachelor's
Personal Financial Advisors $90,640 15% Bachelor's

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

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Master's In Accounting Careers

Financial Managers

Financial managers are usually preferred to hold a master's in accounting due to the strong analytical background that the degree provides. They use their education and training to create a financial forecast for their company and work directly with managers to ensure the budget stays on target and all projects are completed on time. In addition, they evaluate employees and study market trends to aid in the maximization of company expansion and profits.

Investment Managers

Investment managers work directly with their clients to ensure their funds are invested in a way that allows them to increase in value overtime while also being protected from market fluctuation. Individuals in this line of work determine what the financial goals of their clients are and create an investment plan that is tailored to them. They constantly evaluate the effectiveness of their various investment strategies to ensure that they are maximizing their potential profit. While those with a bachelor's can secure such a job, those with a master's have a greater opportunity to obtain one and in many cases such a degree is preferred by employers.

Compensation and Benefits Managers

Compensation and benefits managers assist companies in determining a competitive wage rate and benefits plan for their employees that keeps in line with state and federal laws. They help to create a program budget and make changes when necessary to ensure there is no overspending, payments are on time, and plans are communicated thoroughly. Since individuals within this field need to have the ability to break down complex terms into easy to understand language, those with a master's degree would be ideal for such a position.

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors spend most of their time combing over financial statements to determine their accuracy and compliance with laws and regulations along with organizing and keeping track of all financial records. Through this same process they work directly with clients and managers to assist them in reducing cost and improving their profit margins. They actively make changes to payment and record keeping systems to improve both their accuracy and efficiency. Those with a master's in accounting will have an easier time of advancement within a given company and have the tools necessary to complete tasks that those with a CPA can not.

Personal Financial Advisors

Personal financial advisors help their clients achieve financial goals in areas such as education, estate planning and investment. They educate clients on various investment opportunities and help alter their investment portfolio to adjust for future and sudden expenses. These individuals also oversee their clients' accounts and actively make changes as needed to ensure that they remain on track. Furthermore, individuals within this field analyze financial reports of companies and interpret various forms of financial data to get a better understanding of future financial projections. While a master's isn't required for lower-level positions, it is preferred within larger firms and puts applicants in great position for promotion.

Having a master's in accounting gives you a leg up on the competition and ensures you have all the tools and skills necessary to be successful in your career. A master's in accounting puts you on the fast track for a greater salary and keeps you competitive in the current job market.

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