For students who are looking to become tax preparers, an associate's degree in accounting is an ideal choice. Individuals who have studied business law, financial analysis and accounting theories in these programs might go on to find careers with tax preparation businesses or they might work independently as self-employed tax preparers. Prerequisites usually include a high school diploma or GED; passing scores on a placement test could also be required. Associate's degree programs typically take two years to complete.
Students in bachelor's degree programs in accounting are exposed to business operations coursework, corporate financial processes and organizational behavior concepts. With an accounting bachelor's degree, students can find jobs as tax preparers, accountants and financial managers. Bachelor's degree programs take four years to complete and an internship is often required. Applicants will typically need a high school diploma or GED and acceptable ACT or SAT scores.
Associate of Science in Accounting
An associate's degree in accounting allows students to take business, financial and communication courses. Students learn to prepare taxes, follow strict financial regulations and provide businesses and private parties with financial services. Common courses include:
- Accounting management
- Bookkeeping processes
- Corporate finance
- Business and finance law
- Tax preparation
Bachelor of Science in Accounting
A bachelor's degree program provides in-depth courses on financial formulas, business management and tax and legal procedures. Students are taught different types of bookkeeping and accounting, including managerial, cost and basic financial accounting. Many programs provide internship opportunities with local businesses. Typical courses include:
- Cost accounting
- Principles of financial analysis
- Social and business economics
- Financial forecasting and budget evaluation
- Financial investments
Continuing Education Information
To increase job prospects and advancement opportunities, students can pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting or business. Students can also seek voluntary certification as a CPA or certified auditor. Tax preparers can find additional opportunities with organizations like the National Society of Accountants and the National Association of Tax Professionals.
Although a bachelor's degree in accounting is suitable for most tax preparation positions, students can pursue a master's degree in accounting or business administration. A master's degree allows students to seek supervisory or management positions, as well as teaching positions with schools and business centers.
Job Outlook and Career Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 66,670 tax preparers in 2019. These workers made an average annual salary of $49,550 in the same year. Tax preparers do not need certification as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or auditors, so the most common type of training and education takes place on the job. An associate's degree in accounting allows students to seek entry-level tax preparing positions with tax and payroll companies, financial organizations and government agencies.
Prospective tax preparers can opt to enroll in accounting associate's or bachelor's degree programs. Following graduation, students may elect to join the National Association of Tax Professionals or other related organizations.