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Guide to a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
A bachelor's degree in accounting prepares you for a variety of positions that collect, record, and analyze financial transactions and data for businesses, government and individuals. Generally a four-year degree, it offers a variety of career paths and is a good entry point for further specialization and certifications, including certified public accountant (CPA).
It takes more than strong math skills to succeed as an accountant. You'll also have to know how to apply your abilities to organize financial records, prepare tax returns, and assess operations.
With a bachelor's degree in accounting, you'll be prepared to advise businesses, organizations, and individuals and help them achieve their goals. There are a variety of accounting degrees, including three common bachelor's degrees:
Bachelor of Science in Accounting
A Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting prepares students for entry-level professional positions in public, private, and government accounting. Some schools call this degree a Bachelor of Accountancy. Upon graduation, students can qualify for placement in graduate or professional schools to prepare for CPA licensure.
Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting
The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting combines the study of business administration, management, and economics with courses that provide analytical and quantitative skills. This degree can also prepare you to pursue a graduate degree in accounting or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on accounting.
Bachelor of Arts in Accounting
Though not as common, you may come across the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Accounting. While a BS emphasizes courses related specifically to accounting, a BA has more flexibility in choosing electives, allowing additional options for a minor or double major.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Bachelor's in Accounting?
A bachelor's degree typically takes four years to complete. However, depending on your program, you may be able to reduce that time by taking summer classes.
Subject to your school's approval, you might also be eligible to earn college credit by taking exams that test your knowledge of the material in college-level courses. The number of credits awarded varies, but typically no more than 30 credits can be applied to your degree.
Find out if you're eligible for college credit from one or more of these sources:
How to Pick a Program
In choosing a bachelor's in accounting program, here are some factors worth considering:
With your accounting degree in hand, you'll be prepared to pursue the CPA designation. This will require additional school credits, but it will give you a credential sought by many employers, and it could boost your salary.
Written and reported by:
With professional insight from:
Senior Instructor of Accountancy, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign