Accounting Degrees

Let us help you research undergrad and graduate accounting certificate and degree programs to help you find your ideal program. Discover how online accounting education works and what you can do with your accounting degree after graduation.

Types of Accounting Degrees

If you're good with numbers, have a knack for details, and want to break into a growing career field, an accounting degree could be a great option for you. The following types of programs are available in accounting:

  • Certificates
  • Associate's degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Master's degree
  • MBA
  • PhD

Accounting Certificate

An undergraduate accounting certificate program typically lasts 1-1.5 years and gives you a thorough introduction to the role of accounting in business. Programs are offered both in-person and online, so you have the flexibility to choose the program that's right for you.

With a certificate, you'll be eligible for a few entry-level positions, such as a bookkeeper, accounting clerk, or a payroll clerk. Certificates generally don't fulfill requirements to enter a bachelor's degree program, so if you're considering that degree, you should consider getting an associate's degree instead of a certificate.

Associate's Degree in Accounting

If you're seeking an associate's degree in accounting, you can explore programs offering an Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, or Applied Associate of Science in accounting. The differences between these programs usually have to do with electives and general education requirements. These programs typically last two years and are available in online and in-person formats. Coursework focuses on fundamental business topics and include instruction on finance, cost accounting, and accounting practices.

Graduating from one of these programs prepares you for entry-level jobs in the field or can make you eligible to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor's degree. Career options for associate's degree holders include:

• Financial planner

• Bank teller

• Accounting clerk

• Collections worker

Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

Four-year bachelor's degree programs in accounting give you a more comprehensive, in-depth look at essential elements of accounting and allow you to choose a specialization, such as forensic accounting, public accounting, or internal auditing. If you're looking to become a certified public accountant (CPA), you should pursue a bachelor's degree, although you'll likely need extra credits to meet the 150-credit minimum required to take the CPA exam.

While pursuing a bachelor's degree, you can expect courses focused on accounting theory and practice where you'll learn how to analyze, audit, and process financial records and information. Bachelor's degree holders have many careers available to them in corporations, non-profit organizations, and government entities, with job titles like:

• Public accountant

• Internal auditor

• Financial analyst

• Tax examiner

Master's Degree in Accounting

If you're seeking a more intensive program on a specific area of accounting, you may find a master's degree in accounting (MAcc) is right for you. Not only does this degree allow you to focus on a specialized area of accounting, but it also makes you more competitive in the job market. These programs typically last 1-3 years.

In these programs, you'll gain further comprehension of accounting concepts with advanced coursework in auditing, taxes investments, and business ethics. Graduates often seek positions in mid- to upper-management positions within accounting. You can expect to qualify for positions like:

Senior audit accountant

• Controller

• Risk assessor

MBA in Accounting

MBA in Accounting degrees are a good choice if you want core business management instruction alongside learning about theories and practices in accounting. These programs typically last 1-2 years depending on the MBA track chosen and are available both in-person and online. You can expect similar coursework to that in a MAcc program, likely with additional courses in management.

Graduating from an MBA accounting program sets you up for a management career, as you're prepared for more leadership-focused positions. Careers include:

• Account executive

Accounting manager

• Budgeting director

Ph.D. Degree in Accounting

Ph.D. in accounting programs are quite lengthy, typically lasting at least four years, but they allow you to focus on specific areas of interest, such as mergers and acquisitions, forensic accounting or taxation. Coursework is dependent on your area of concentration, but you can typically expect to learn advanced principles of economics and statistics as well as theoretical financial research.

Accounting Ph.D. degree holders can choose careers across many areas of accounting and financial management. You can choose to become a professor at a university to instruct future accounting professionals, but with your competitive edge, you might also choose to conduct research or continue to work individually or for a business.

Online Accounting Degree

Online accounting degrees are available across all degree levels. These convenient programs allow you to complete your coursework at a pace and place that work for you. Online programs are excellent options for working adults or students who need flexibility due to other life commitments. If an online degree accounting degree appeals to you, there are a few things to look for when considering an online school, such as accreditation, student support, cost, and course availability.

What Can You Do with an Accounting Degree?

There are several accounting careers available to professionals holding an accounting degree. As an in-demand field, accounting offers careers across all types of industries, including manufacturing, education, and technology, at corporations, government entities, non-profit organizations, or be self-employment. A small sample of potential careers with median salaries as of 2017 (from the BLS) includes:

• Bookkeepers - $39,240

• Tax Examiner and Collector - $53,130

• Accountant and Auditor - $69,350

• Budget Analyst - $75,240

• Financial Analyst - $84,300

When deciding whether or not to pursue a degree in accounting, there are several questions you may want to ask about degree and career topics. Some things you might want to be aware of before starting on a degree path can include: