What Is the Core Curriculum of an Accounting Degree?

Accounting is frequently offered at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. It may be offered as a major or as a concentration option through degree programs in business administration. Graduates from an accounting program are typically prepared for business and management careers that require an understanding of finance. Read on for information about the core curriculum in undergraduate and graduate programs, and for career information. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Accounting Degree Overview

An accounting degree gives students an understanding of basic business and accounting practices, and it can prepare students to move forward in professional careers as accountants or business managers. Students holding a bachelor's degree in accounting are prepared for entry-level positions in government, industry, corporate and public accounting, while a master's degree program can prepare graduates for management positions.

Important Facts About the Core Curriculum of an Accounting Degree Concentration

Common Courses Cost accounting, accounting research, auditing principles, financial reporting, financial analysis
Programs Enterprise Risk Management, Tax and Auditing
Prerequisites GMAT exam
Online Availability Blended online coursework and traditional education

Bachelor's Degree

You may be able to select accounting as a specialization area within a Bachelor of Science in Business or a Bachelor of Business Administration degree program. Also, there are Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree programs, and these may even offer emphasis areas, like in financial analysis, internal auditing, accounting information systems or managerial accounting. Core courses in an accounting baccalaureate program often include a set of basic business subjects, like business management, business communication, business research, finance and economics.

Here is a list of major accounting courses that may be offered:

  • Accounting systems
  • Financial accounting
  • Federal income taxes
  • Accounting software programs

Master's Degree

At the graduate level, you may be able to study accounting as a concentration through a Master of Business Administration, or you could complete a Master of Accounting or Master of Science in Accounting. Graduate programs may also offer concentration areas, like in information technology or risk management. At this level, programs often prepare you for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination, which will be discussed in more detail further in this article.

In a master's degree program in accounting, you may study:

  • Business, corporate and investment taxes
  • Accounting information systems
  • Financial statements
  • Entrepreneurial finance and accounting

Career Opportunities

Completing an accounting degree program can prepare you for employment in a variety of accounting environments. For example, you may become a public accountant, financial accountant, government accountant, cost management accountant, tax accountant or accounting consultant. Furthermore, you may work as a budget analyst or an auditor. Master's degree holders may be able to move into higher-level positions within these job fields.

Licensure and Certification

You may become licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Holding this designation is required if you will be doing accounting business with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Even if you don't work with the SEC, holding the CPA license can be advantageous in the job market. This certification is offered through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Earning it requires holding 150 hours of college credit and passing four examinations, though individual states may have additional requirements.

Additionally, there are several professional organizations that offer specialty certification. For example, you could become a Certified Management Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Government Auditing Professional, Certified Information Technology Professional or Personal Finance Specialist. Each certification has a specific set of qualifying requirements.

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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