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Your Guide to a Master's in Accounting
A master's degree in accounting gives you in-depth knowledge of accounting practices, often within a specialty. It lays the groundwork to advance your career and is frequently used as preparation to become a certified public accountant (CPA).
Master's in Accounting
Many options are available for master's degrees, including numerous programs that are offered part time and online. This allows working professionals to earn a graduate degree at a pace that's realistic for them. You'll also find options for different degree concentrations, enabling you to focus your studies in an area of particular interest.
Most graduate programs expect applicants to have an overall GPA of 3.0, but some accept a 3.0 in relevant coursework.
There are numerous options for part-time studies, some of which allow you to complete your degree at your own pace.
Why Pursue a Master's in Accounting?
Master's degrees are a popular choice for accountants who want deeper expertise in their field or to specialize as forensic accountants or certified management accountants (CMAs).
Someone with a master's degree may earn a higher salary and also have an easier time advancing to a more senior role, such as:
Many students pursue a master's degree as part of their studies to become a CPA. Requirements to become a CPA typically include 150 college credits, which is 30 more than most bachelor's degrees. A master's degree generally requires 30 to 45 credits, which are often used to fulfill CPA requirements.
A master's is truly a deep study of accounting and has a narrower curriculum compared to a master's in business administration with a focus on accounting, says Angel Chatterton, senior instructor of accountancy at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. "If you want to do a more strategic leadership type of position, you go with an MBA," Chatterton says.
Advancing Your Education
A doctorate, or PhD, in accounting is the highest degree you can earn. If you're interested in teaching or conducting research at the university level, you will likely need a PhD.
Few outside academia will pursue a doctorate, however, so if that's not your aspiration, you may be interested in earning a specialty certification after your master's.
Certifications deepen your knowledge and can lead to more opportunities for senior accounting positions. Examples of in-demand certifications are: