What to keep in mind before pursuing an Accounting Degree:
Good accountants are in such great demand, that they hardly ever have to worry about finding a job. Moreover, a degree program opens up many career avenues and is flexible enough for students to find employment in any sector. Experienced accountants can command hefty pay packages, the higher the degree, the greater the earning potential.
Career Options in Accounting
Since accounting is a part of all fields, aspiring accountants can choose from a variety of professional roles in almost any sector they choose. Have a look at the want ads in any newspaper and you will see how greatly in demand accountants are. A degree in accounting can pave the way to a job in sectors as varied as non-profit organizations, private companies, government agencies, etc, in departments like tax, finance, payroll, etc. This degree can lead to a financially and personally rewarding career and quick growth prospects.
Types of Accounting Degrees Available
The first level in the accounting educational hierarchy is the degree leading to an associateship. This provides the basic groundwork necessary for gaining higher degrees in the field of business and finance. This degree program takes about a couple of years to complete and leads directly to a bookkeeping job or one in the payroll or accounts receivable/payable section or any entry-level position of an organization.
The second level in this educational hierarchy is that of a bachelors’ degree in accounting. This program lasts for around four years and consolidates the grounding accounting. It also prepares them to take up various kinds of jobs in this field. Prospective graduate students usually opt for Master of Science in Professional Accounting.
After attaining masters’ degrees, people generally go on to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA), or a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). If you are already working as a professional accountant and are interested in continuing your education, you can always become an Accounting Specialist (AS). Here, you get training regarding personal income taxes, collections, accounts receivable/payable, accounting, bookkeeping, and other specializations in this field.
The course work includes both accounting theory as well as practical work involving accounting software. Once you complete this program, you can go for the national certification examination of a Certified Bookkeeper (CB).
What kind of pay packages do accountants get?
Accountants do get hefty pay packages along with a variety of career avenues. However, the level of education and professional experience does make a difference. If you are working as a bookkeeper and have an associate degree, you can probably earn anything between $30,000 to $40,000. As a public auditor with a degree in accounting as well as the relevant certification, you can get a pay package of up to $60,000 per year.
A CIA or CPA can make around $80,000 a year, while a payroll clerk having a bachelors’ degree and a few years of experience can get about $65,000 a year. A CPA with a bachelors’ degree and some professional experience can make over $1,00,000 every year, whereas a CPA with a masters’ degree makes anything between $90,000 and $1,00,000.
What kinds of online degree programs are available for accounting?
There are a number of accredited and recognized online universities that offer various kinds of degrees in accounting. These degrees are considered to be legitimate by most employers. The best thing about getting an online education is that it is flexible, convenient and offers easy access to education to those students who are unable to attend college fulltime due to a variety of reasons.