What Degree Levels Are Offered in Accounting?

Colleges offer accounting degrees at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. The Uniform CPA Examination requires students to have about one year of classes beyond a bachelor's degree, or roughly 150 semester credits. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Accounting Degree Overview

Accounting degrees begin at the associate's level and are available through the doctoral level. Career options open up with each degree level. To take the Uniform CPA Examination to become a Certified Public Accountant, a student must have 150 college credits in most states, which is about 30 more than a typical bachelor's degree program. Because of this, many professional accountants continue to a master's degree.

Important Facts About Accounting Education

Prerequisites High school diploma or GED is needed for undergraduate programs, bachelor's degree is required for graduate programs
Common Courses Associate degree: mathematics for business and finance, management principles and business statistics
Bachelor's degree: introductory and intermediate accounting, cost management and tax accounting
Master's degree: federal tax research, fraud examination and advanced business law
Doctoral degree: advanced studies in financial management and statistical methods
Online Availability Some programs are offered partially or fully online
Continuing Education Needed to maintain CPA licensure, requirements vary by state
Median Salary (2018) $70,500 (for accountants and auditors)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 10% (for accountants and auditors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Associate's Degree in Accounting

An Associate of Applied Science in Accounting degree program teaches the basics of accountancy. Graduates with an associate's degree in accounting can become bookkeepers or clerks.

Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

A Bachelor of Science degree in accounting prepares the student for a career in auditing, corporate accounting and management services. Most professional accountants hold at least a bachelor's degree.

Master's Degrees in Accounting

At the master's degree level, students can choose a Master of Science in Accounting or a Master of Accountancy degree program. Those holding a Master of Science degree are qualified for senior positions in accounting and can sit for the Uniform CPA Examination.

A Master of Accountancy degree provides a student with additional academic work to promote technical competence and skills of communication, presentation and interpersonal relationships. Auburn University reports that students with a Master of Accountancy degree have a much higher success rate on the uniform CPA examination.

Doctoral Program in Accounting

A Ph.D. in Accounting degree program prepares a student for research and teaching. Doctoral programs in accounting are academic degrees for potential accounting professors, rather than professional public accountants.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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