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Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

The award of a bachelor’s degree in accounting shows the mastery of basic and intermediate skills and knowledge in the principles of accounting. A bachelor’s degree in accounting can also include specialization in specific accounting areas, such as taxation or forensic accounting. Most bachelor’s degree programs can be completed in four years, with options to complete the degree more quickly by taking additional courses either during the traditional school year or over summer semesters. The most common types of bachelor’s degrees in the field are a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting. Earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting can lead to more career opportunities, in addition to commanding a higher salary.

Reasons for Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

Those with bachelor’s degrees in accounting earn higher salaries than those with lower level accounting degrees; the median salary for accountants is $63,550 per year according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 The completion of a bachelor’s degree in accounting often leads to additional certifications and education; a bachelor’s degree is the starting point for earning a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation, the gold standard in accounting certification. However, demand for accounting professionals without a CPA designation is also on the rise. Statistics indicate that the number of recent graduates from bachelor’s in accounting programs is far short of meeting total demand, leading to many career opportunities for those holding this degree.2

Admissions Requirements for Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Admission to a bachelor’s degree program requires the completion of a high school diploma or GED. Students must typically take the ACT or SAT to demonstrate core knowledge in communication, math, and problem solving. The most competitive programs require high scores on one or both of these exams for admission, along with at least a 3.0 high school GPA.

Coursework for Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs

Since a bachelor’s in accounting is meant to demonstrate that graduates have learned the skills and knowledge necessary to perform a variety of accounting related tasks with minimal supervision, the coursework required in a bachelor’s in accounting program is broad. Students can expect to take core courses in:

  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Accounting Theory
  • Advanced Economics
  • Business Law
  • Financial and Operations Management
  • Intermediate Financial Accounting
  • Principles of Auditing
  • Taxation

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

An online bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited school is as competitive as a traditional bachelor’s degree. Online bachelor’s degrees can have a lower cost if you factor in housing and travel expenses. Students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting while holding down regular employment appreciate the additional flexibility offered by an online degree.

Career Opportunities for Individuals with a Bachelor’s in Accounting

A bachelor’s degree in accounting opens up opportunities for career advancement in multiple fields. Those who hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting can find employment as accountants and auditors, who earn median salaries of $63,550 per year;1 budget analysts, who make a median of $69,280 per year;2 and financial analysts, who earn a median of $76,950 per year.3 Holders of bachelor’s degrees in accounting can also pursue six-figure salaries in managerial positions such as financial managers, who earn a median of $109,740 per year.4 A bachelor’s degree in accounting can also prepare individuals for roles outside of traditional accounting and taxation, such as consulting. The American Institute of CPAs indicates that hiring for these types of non-traditional roles for those holding accounting degrees is following a sharp upward trend.5

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Accountants-and-auditors.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Budget Analysts: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/budget-analysts.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Analysts: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Managers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm
5. American Institute of CPAs: http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/AccountingEducation/NewsAndPublications/DownloadableDocuments/2011TrendsReport.pdf