If you love crunching numbers and get satisfaction from making sure everything is in its right place, chances are you’d be interested in accounting. In accounting, students learn how to balance budgets, do taxes, and complete other key financial activities. This is an extremely useful field of study for anyone and careers in accountancy are varied and fruitful.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many entry-level accounting jobs actually don’t require higher-level degrees and those with some college experience or even no degree can land the position. While that may be an attractive option for some, by shooting a little higher you can earn an extremely comfortable living for yourself.
Plus, the bureau shows standard accountancy jobs are declining and will continue to do so for the next 10 years or so, a signifier that you should aim higher with your accounting knowledge. The best way to do this is by earning an online master’s degree in accounting. Since accounting is so widespread, there is no shortage of great programs offered by colleges and universities both large and small.
Many of these programs are fantastic for those who majored in accounting or a related field in their undergraduate career, like earning a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. They are also great for working professionals, too, as a master’s degree in accounting can open up valuable new doors for success as an accounting professional.
Online Master’s Degree in Accounting Career Prospects
Before we list the top 5 online master’s degree in accounting programs, let’s dig a little deeper into your possible career paths upon graduation.
While you can easily sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam and become a certified public accountant, why not explore some of the varied and exciting options available to you once you earn your degree?
An auditor is an accountant who makes sure a company is keeping their finances in order. An auditor inspects a company to ensure that its tax records are up to date, that it’s following all applicable laws, and to make sure everything is running smoothly. There are multiple subfields within the auditing profession, depending on where you work. The median salary for an auditor is $56,867.
Chief Financial Officer
A Chief Financial Officer is one of the highest financial positions at a company that you can hope to land. It doesn’t come overnight, so this is where earning an online master’s in accounting will be an absolute must. These professionals don’t just happen to luck into becoming CFOs.
CFOs need to have a firm grasp on numerous aspects of accounting and finances to advance this far as they’re responsible for much of the company’s finances. CFOs help companies and individuals make prudent and informed financial steps and decisions, as well as run numbers, risks, and a whole lot more. The average salary for a CFO is a staggering $382,401, with those at the higher end of the pay scale able to easily earn over half a million per year.
As a forensic accountant, you will be working closely with law enforcement to determine different aspects of white-collar crime like fraud and helping legal experts in court cases. This occupation isn’t for the lazy or sloppy accountant, as you need to be meticulous and detail-oriented to succeed.
The median salary for a forensic accountant is $83,464. Getting established in any major city is the logical move as a forensic accountant and finding a job at government epicentres like Washington, D.C., (with an average salary of $112,678) is the move to make. Organizations like the FBI and are the top employer.
Top 5 Online Master’s Degree in Accounting Programs
Now that we’ve listed some reliable job options for you after graduation, let’s see where you should study in the first place.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina’s accounting program is offered by its Chapel Hill campus and is a completely 100 percent online learning experience.
A week-long orientation will prepare students for the fantastic master’s program offered by the university. They will be introduced to the world of accounting by interacting with accounting professionals and business executives.
Program offerings at the Kenan-Flagler Business School include about 36 to 48 credits, depending on your previous experience and learning journey. Those with prior course experience in accounting, or holding an MBA in accounting, will enjoy the advantage of a shortened degree program.
Its master’s degree in accounting program contains core courses like Accounting Systems Essentials, Leadership Immersion, Auditing, and Assurance Services. Of course, there are more specific classes dealing with different accounting concentrations, like auditing, taxes, and financial analysis and reporting.
In terms of start dates, the program is extremely flexible, offering a total of four start dates: January, March, June, and September. Although not required, online students can join campus activities and meetings whenever they wish.
Along with start date flexibility, this program is accommodating for people of any educational or professional background. This means that even if you didn’t necessarily earn an undergraduate degree in accounting, you’re more than welcome to join the program. You can even have GMAT or GRE scores waived or exempted if you qualify for an exemption.
- University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a solid choice for many online degree programs, not just an online master’s degree in accounting. Students enrolled at the Gies College of Business will begin their accountancy journey by taking 20 credit hours of core courses like Accounting Analysis, Managerial Accounting, and Federal Taxation. The program can take up to three years to complete.
Out of the 32 credit hours it takes to complete the degree program, the remaining 12 credit hours are dedicated to choosing between eight different electives, including Machine Learning for Accounting, Data Preparation for Accounting, and Data-Driven Decisions for Accounting.
Admission requirements include having a prior bachelor’s degree, as well as a preferable background in business. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is the norm. The university has recently waived the requirement for GMAT or GRE scores, opening the door for even more students to experience the University of Illinois’s lauded graduate programs.
- University of Connecticut
UCONN offers a customizable master’s degree in accounting program. It holds a specialized AACSB Accreditation, showing that it’s a cut above the rest. There is a wide range of electives available to students, allowing them to diversify their learning experience. Students also have the freedom to choose between full-time and part-time schedules.
Naturally, these change the time in which you complete the degree, with a full-time option occurring over the course of three semesters, while the part-time option is ten courses over multiple semesters. There are three main start dates: November 1st, June 1st, and March 1st, with the university recommending that students opt for the full-time option of classes.
First-time students to the degree will be required to appear on campus for multiple days to complete orientation. Aside from that, students can learn everything else online and the majority of courses follow an asynchronous learning format.
- Auburn University
The famous Auburn University, located in Alabama, is home to the Auburn Tigers and a renowned football program. It’s also home to a noteworthy master’s degree in accounting program for online students.
Its MAcc program is the perfect online degree program for returning students as well as current accounting professionals and helps immensely if you want to sit for the CPA and pass with flying colors.
Its admission requirements are that online students have a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field, as well as an address in an NC-SARA state. This requirement is the only downside, as the only states not involved with NC-SARA are California, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Compared to many universities and online programs, Auburn’s admissions process is quite a bit more competitive. However, there is a good reason for that as Auburn offers a fantastic education, filled with 30 credit hours, 12 being core courses. This allows students to truly explore more than just a strict accounting curriculum.
The university offers full-time and part-time options, with part-time students completing the degree in about two years and full-time students knocking it out in 12 months. The huge benefit is that once you graduate from the MAcc program, you are automatically eligible to sit for the CPA in Alabama.
Prospective students enrolled at Auburn will be required to attend a three-day campus residency during their final spring semester. This residency is when students will participate in the MAcc Summit, which consists of social gatherings, networking opportunities, and leadership seminars.
- The University of Texas at Dallas
UT Dallas offers students the opportunity to participate in its customizable and flexible Master of Science in Accounting Flex program. The program offers over 30 different accounting electives along with core courses and has a fantastic internship program within the city of Dallas.
It encourages students in the Master of Science in Accounting Flex program to pair their master’s degrees in accounting with a STEM degree to better round out their chances of scoring a lucrative job after graduation. This program will take anywhere from 12 to 24 months to complete and helps prepare students for multiple exams like the CPA, CMA, and CIA.
Its admission requirements are laxer than places like Auburn and it accepts any undergraduate degree. Usually, a business-related degree is preferred, but UT Dallas takes the pressure off students by accepting majors in things like English or the humanities.
The only non-online portion of the major is the 15 credit hours mandated by Texas law to be eligible for the post-graduation Texas CPA exam. Other than that, all students enrolled in the Master of Science in Accounting Flex program will participate in 100 percent asynchronous distance learning via Blackboard.
Online Master’s Degree in Accounting Verdict
Joining one of these fantastic and celebrated online master’s degree programs can be your ticket to profit and overall job and life satisfaction. If you have a prior undergraduate degree, this is your chance to take it to the next level and possibly earn a fantastic salary, not to mention succeed in a career that will give you a great sense of purpose.
Even if you don’t have a background in business or a business-related degree, you have multiple options to enroll in programs tailored for financial success.