#1 University of Hartford
The University of Hartford (UHart) is a private university offering an online Master of Science in Accounting and Taxation that requires 30 credit hours. Typically, students can complete this program in less than one year while studying full time.
At UHart, students use Blackboard as the learning management system (LMS) for their remote courses, which can be completed 100% online and on a flexible, potentially shorter study schedule. This program contains two track options: (1) Financial and Assurance Services as well as (2) Taxation. The core curriculum is designed to prepare students for their CPA exam by analyzing accounting theory and utilizing practical application tools. Business Law and Ethics for Accounting Professionals are required courses for each track. A seminar project is also required. Graduates may explore roles as accounting managers, senior tax analysts, and corporate controllers.
#2 New York University
New York University (NYU) is a private institution with a Master of Studies in Law in Taxation requiring a minimum of 24 credit hours. This degree is designed for part-time students, with an expected completion time of at least two years.
NYU uses Brightspace as its LMS to deliver online coursework. This software allows students to finish their degrees online with a flexible schedule that meets their needs. The core curriculum of the taxation degree is meant for students who already possess their tax or accounting licenses. By the end of the course, students are often prepared to oversee complex business transactions from a tax perspective. Required classes include Corporate Tax, International Tax, and Estate Planning. Career options may include financial product advisor, tax consultant, and estate planning advisor.
#3 Indiana University - Bloomington
Indiana University - Bloomington (IU) is a public university with a Master of Science in Accounting. This online degree program requires 30 credit hours, which part-time students can complete in 21 months.
IU students use edX as their primary LMS for this accounting program, allowing them to complete courses online and on a flexible schedule. The curriculum for this program engages students in a deep exploration of accounting while developing skills in communication and decision-making. It's designed to strengthen a student's understanding of core accounting concepts so they can pass their licensing exams. Among the required classes are Financial Reporting, Financial Management, and Advanced Financial Accounting. Career opportunities for alumni may include a CPA or accounting manager.
#4 George Mason University
George Mason University (GMU) is a public university that hosts a Master of Science in Accounting. In order to earn this degree, students must complete 30 credit hours, which is typically achieved within two years for part-time students.
Online students at GMU use the popular LMS Blackboard to complete their coursework, which is delivered online in a flexible format. The curriculum helps students prepare for their licensing exams while developing the necessary skills to give them a competitive advantage in the international field of accounting. There are a number of required courses, such as Professional Accounting Colloquium, Advanced Issues in Taxation, and Advanced Issues in Financial Accounting. Online students are also required to complete a one-week global residency abroad. Graduates may find employment as chief financial officers, controllers, and chief operating officers, to name a few options.
#5 Golden Gate University
Golden Gate University (GGU) is a private institution with an online Master Of Science In Accounting Data and Analytics requiring 30 credit hours. The completion time for this degree depends on the time commitment from students, but it's likely to take between one and two years of study. Four concentrations are available: (1) Advanced Analytics for Accountants, (2) CPA Applied Accounting, (3) Essentials of Leadership, and (4) Taxation.
At GGU, students use Moodle as their LMS, where courses are delivered 100% online using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous formats. The core curriculum for this program does satisfy the requirements for the CPA exam. Required courses, regardless of the concentration, include Introductory Financial Accounting, Intermediate Accounting, and Auditing. Alumni are prepared to become professional accountants.
#6 University of Maryland Global Campus
The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is a public university with an online Master of Science in Accounting and Financial Management requiring the completion of 36 credit hours. Master's programs at UMGC are generally finished in approximately two years for full-time students.
UMGC's online course management system is known as LEO, which allows students to study entirely online. The accounting degree trains students to understand the importance of high-level procedures and decision-making at leadership positions. Among the major requirements are Financial Accounting, Federal Income Taxation, and Auditing. Additionally, students must complete an accounting and financial management capstone. This program is best suited for mid-level professionals looking to land executive-level roles at financial institutions.
#7 University of Dallas
The University of Dallas (UD) is a private university offering an online Master of Business Administration in Accounting that requires 39 credit hours. Typically, students complete this program in approximately two years while studying full time.
At UD, students use Brightspace for their remote courses, which students can complete 100% online and on a flexible study schedule. Classes are also offered year-round. The MBA core contains 10 classes focused on building leadership skills while covering advanced business topics. Required classes for the accounting concentration include Data Analysis for Decision Making, Managerial Finance, and Value Based Marketing. A capstone project is also required. Graduates of this program have gone on to work as finance and accounting specialists, fund accounting analysts, and audit managers.
#8 Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University (SHU) is a private institution with a Master of Science in Accounting requiring 30 credit hours. Full-time students may complete this program in approximately two years.
SHU uses Canvas to deliver their online coursework. This software allows students to finish their degrees completely online and asynchronously, with the option of attending live sessions throughout each semester. Students primarily explore areas of finance, including accounting, business law, taxes, and auditing. Those without a business background are required to take prequalification courses in Legal Studies and Accounting. Core classes include Financial Reporting, Commercial Law, and Essentials of Federal Taxation. A capstone project is mandatory to meet graduation requirements. There's also a Master of Business Administration - Accounting available fully online, which features many of the same courses. Career options for graduates of either program include auditors, financial analysts, and budget analysts.
#9 Rutgers University - Camden
Rutgers University - Camden (RU) is a public university offering an online Master of Accountancy requiring 30 credit hours. Students studying on a full-time schedule can complete this program in two years.
RU - Camden students use the Canvas learning management system to access their core online courses, which are taught entirely online by the same faculty that teaches campus courses. The program page emphasizes that students can maintain a positive work/life balance while finishing their master's degrees. The curriculum for this program covers accounting technology and prepares students for the CPA exam. Half of the credits are electives allowing students to specialize their path with classes, such as Problems in Financial Reporting. Advanced Taxation, and Forensic Accounting.
RU's online school also offers a Master of Accountancy in Governmental Accounting that features courses such as Accounting for Managers, Ethical Issues in Public Financial Management, and Government Budgeting Systems. Graduates may take advantage of RU - Camden's career guidance and resume assistance services to gain employment with public or private financial organizations.
#10 California State University - Northridge
California State University - Northridge (CSUN) is a public university that offers an online Master of Science in Taxation, which requires the completion of 30 credits. CSUN notes that this is a 19-month program but does not specify if the duration is for full-time or part-time students. Typically, full-time master's students graduate in approximately two years.
Canvas is the main learning platform used by CSUN students for their online degrees. Coursework is delivered remotely and synchronously with virtual classes meeting one weeknight per week and once on Saturdays. Prior to the start of the program students are required to complete a 16- to 40-hour Tax Bootcamp course. This online degree explores several key areas of taxation, including core classes such as Income Taxation of Partnerships, Federal Tax Procedure, and Income Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders. Students can choose their culminating project. Personalized services are offered for graduates interested in advancing their careers as tax advisors and tax consultants.
#11 University of Massachusetts - Lowell
The University of Massachusetts - Lowell (UMass - Lowell) is a public university offering an online Master of Science in Accounting that requires 30 credit hours. Typically, students complete this program in approximately two years while studying full time. Concentration options are available in business analytics, corporate leadership, and accounting and international business.
At UMass - Lowell, students use Blackboard for their remote courses, which can be completed entirely online. The master's program in accounting is designed to prepare students for upper-level roles in accounting while meeting the requirements to pursue a CPA license. Required classes include Advanced Cost Management, Accounting Data Analytics, and Contemporary Accounting Issues. Graduates may explore roles as revenue agents, tax collectors, and financial managers.
#12 La Salle University
La Salle University is a private institution with an online Master of Business Administration - Accounting requiring between 33 and 42 credit hours. The program page notes that full-time students are likely to complete the program in as few as 14 to 16 months.
La Salle uses Canvas to deliver their online coursework. This software allows students to finish their degrees completely online while accommodating their professional schedules. Over the course of this program, students explore ethical and legal issues related to the business world, in-depth tax policy, as well as online tools for privacy and security. Required classes include Financial Accounting, Financial Markets, and Business Economics for Managers. Students are also required to complete an integrative capstone course. Career options include business operations managers, revenue managers, and financial managers.
#13 University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut (UConn) is a public university with an online Master of Science in Accounting. This degree requires 30 credit hours, which full-time students can complete in approximately two years.
UConn students use Blackboard as their primary learning management system, where they can complete courses 100% online and asynchronously. Students also have the opportunity to study at their own pace. The curriculum for this program covers the latest accounting technologies, builds valuable decision making skills, and offers additional credits that can be put toward a CPA license. Among the required classes are Advanced Assurance Services, Contemporary Managerial Accounting Issues, and Data Analytics: Skills for Accountants. Career opportunities upon graduation may be available as certified public accountants.
#14 Rider University
Rider University is a private university that hosts an online Masters in Accountancy. In order to meet the graduation requirements, students must complete 30 semester hours, which can be done in approximately two years on a full-time schedule. Specializations are available in Business Analytics, Finance, Forensic Accounting, Information Systems, and Sport Management.
Online students at Rider University use Canvas for their coursework, which is delivered completely online. The curriculum may fulfill the credit requirements for a CPA license. Students acquire practical skills in accounting technology, analytics, and communication. Core classes vary for each concentration but include courses such as Visual Analytics, Applied Data Management for Business Users, and Financial Market Operations. Internships are also available for full-time students. Graduates may find employment as certified public accountants, senior financial analysts, and tax associates.
#15 The University of Scranton
The University of Scranton is a private, Jesuit institution that features an online Master of Accountancy requiring a total of 30 credits. The completion time for this degree is approximately two years for full-time students. Specializations are available in Forensic Accounting and Accounting Analytics. This online degree offers a bridge program allowing non-accounting bachelor's degree holders to pursue their MAcc.
Students at the University of Scranton use Brightspace as their learning management system, where courses are delivered entirely online and on a flexible timeline. The core curriculum teaches soft skills in business, such as strategic communication and account management, alongside Jesuit training in ethics. Foundations courses include Advanced Managerial Accounting, Effective Accounting Communication, and Contemporary Financial Accounting Topics. Students must also complete a capstone project in order to graduate. Career opportunities may be available as controllers, accounting managers, and compliance managers.
There's also a more expansive online Master of Business Administration - Accounting that requires between 36 and 48 credit hours.
#16 Wilmington University
Wilmington University (WU) is a private university that offers an online Master of Science in Accounting. This degree requires 30 credit hours spread across 10 courses, which can be completed in as little as one year for full-time students.
Canvas is the main learning platform used by WU students for their coursework, which can be completed 100% online. This degree incorporates practical assignments, discussions, and case studies, as well as technical skills in problem-solving and analytics, in order to prepare students to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation. The core curriculum includes classes such as Data Analytics for Accountants, Advanced Managerial Accounting, and Fraud Prevention and Forensic Accounting. WU also offers accounting internships through its close connection with professional accounting firms.
#17 University of Massachusetts - Amherst
The University of Massachusetts - Amherst (UMass - Amherst) is a public institution with an online Master of Science in Accounting. There are two tracks available, one for current accounting professionals and another for professionals transferring to accounting from another field. The former requires 30 credits while the latter requires between 33 and 45 credits. Typically, full-time students graduate between one and two years.
All online courses at UMass - Amherst are delivered entirely online and through the Canvas learning management system. Most courses are completed asynchronously on a flexible timeline. This degree focuses on accounting and auditing with core courses in Data Analytics, Financial Statement Analysis, and Advanced Audit. Students also engage in hands-on problem-solving and team-based learning while meeting the credit requirements for a CPA license. The school's Office of Career Services assists students in seeking employment after graduation. Many graduates go on to become certified public accountants.
#18 Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private university offering an online Master of Science in Accounting requiring 30 credits. Students studying on a full-time schedule can complete this program in approximately 12 to 15 months. Non-accounting students are eligible for this program but they are required to take between 33 and 48 credits.
At Syracuse University, students use the Blackboard learning management system to access their core online courses, which are taught entirely online. Courses are offered both asynchronously and in live sessions through online meeting rooms. The curriculum for this program explores various tools and functions of professional accounting through core courses, such as Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Principles of Taxation. Students learn advanced accounting and business principles allowing them to pursue careers as financial analysts, personal financial advisors, and financial managers. Syracuse University also offers an online Master of Business Administration in Accounting, which features a closer look at business operations alongside accounting principles.
#19 Colorado State University Global
Colorado State University Global (CSU - Global) is a public university offering an online Master of Science in Professional Accounting requiring 30 credit hours. Students studying on a full-time schedule can complete this program in approximately two years.
Students at CSU - Global use the Canvas learning management system to access their core online courses, which are taught entirely online and in an asynchronous format. The curriculum for this program teaches important skills for professional accountants, such as preparing tax documents, organizing financial records, and identifying cost-improvement strategies. There are 24 credits required for the core coursework, including Accounting Ethics, Advanced Accounting, and International Accounting. A capstone in accounting is also required. Graduates may earn career opportunities as financial managers, auditors, and bookkeepers.
#20 Regis University
Regis University (RU) is a private institution that features an online Master of Science in Accounting requiring 30 credit hours. The completion time for this degree is approximately 12 to 24 months for full-time students. Specialization options include Financial Accounting, Fraud/Forensic Auditing, IT Accounting, and Managerial Accounting.
Students use Brightspace as their learning management system, where courses are delivered entirely online through eight-week terms. The curriculum helps to meet the CPA requirements allowing students to pursue their licensing exam. Practical accounting applications are explored through foundational courses in Business or Corporate Finance, Intermediate Accounting, and Auditing Principles and Procedures. Career opportunities include chief financial officers, forensic accountants, and auditors.
#21 Temple University
Temple University (TU) is a public university offering an online Master of Science in Accounting and Financial Management that requires 30 credit hours. This program is designed to be part time for working professionals. There's a six-year time limit to graduate.
At TU, students use Canvas for their remote coursework, which is completed entirely online and on a flexible study schedule. Courses may be delivered synchronously and asynchronously. Students learn valuable business acumen and leadership skills for career mobility, alongside professional competencies in the fields of accounting and finance. Required classes include Applied Data-Driven Decision Making, Leading Organizations, and Applied Management Accounting. Up to six credits are available for independent study.
TU also offers an online Master of Accountancy, which can be completed on a full-time or part-time schedule. Either master's program in accounting offers career coaching services and professional development resources allowing students to be hired by public accounting firms or other companies within the accounting industry.
#22 (tie) Florida Tech - Online
Florida Tech - Online (FIT) is a private institution with an online MBA in Accounting requiring 36 credit hours. Students studying full time are likely to complete the degree in approximately two years.
FIT uses the Canvas learning management system to deliver its online coursework. This software allows students to finish their degrees completely online. The core curriculum explores advanced business practices, such as marketing variances and cost estimation, while covering managerial accounting principles for various organizations. Required classes include Essentials of Business Development, Managerial Economics, and International Accounting and Reporting. Students are also required to complete a three-credit capstone project in strategic management.
FIT also offers an online MBA in Accounting and Finance that features additional courses in e-commerce, financial risk management, and investments. Career paths for graduates of either program include certified public accountants, senior budget analysts, and directors of accounting operations.
#22 (tie) Texas A&M University - Commerce
Texas A&M University - Commerce (TAMUC) is a public university with an online Master of Science in Accounting. This degree requires 36 credit hours, which full-time students can complete in approximately two years.
TAMUC students use Brightspace as their primary learning management system, where they can complete courses 100% online and on a flexible schedule. The curriculum is designed to increase accounting competencies through practical skill development and experiential learning. Students take core classes in Fraud Examination; International Accounting; and Sales, Franchise, and Other Taxes. Some courses are waived for students with a relevant bachelor's degree. Graduates may explore careers as professional accountants and tax managers.
#24 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign
The University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign (UIUC) is a public university that hosts an online Master of Science in Accountancy (iMSA) requiring 32 credit hours. UIUC reports the average completion time is between 18 and 36 months, with most students studying 10 to 15 hours per class, per week. Up to 60 months are permitted to meet the degree requirements. One concentration is available: Accountancy Analytics.
Online students at UIUC use Coursera to complete their coursework. The format is flexible, allowing students to determine their individual course loads. The experiential curriculum involves first-hand engagement in federal taxation procedures, auditing, and financial reporting. There are a number of required courses, such as Accounting Analysis, Managerial Accounting, and Auditing. Graduates may find employment as certified public accountants.
#25 Fontbonne University
Fontbonne University (FBU) is a private institution that features an online Master of Science in Accounting requiring 30 credits. The completion time for this degree is approximately two years for full-time students.
FBU students use Acadeum as their learning management system. Courses are delivered entirely online and in a flexible, deadline-driven format. The curriculum is comprehensive and includes training in complex thinking and decision-making. This allows degree holders from other fields to pursue their master's in accounting. Here are a few examples of required courses: Federal Income Taxation for Business Enterprises, Auditing, and Advanced Accounting Theory.
FBU also offers an online Master of Business Administration in Accounting, which is designed to be completed in one year and focuses on advanced skills in business operations. Both programs prepare students to take the CPA exam, which may lead to employment opportunities as certified public accountants.
#26 Saint Joseph's College of Maine
Saint Joseph's College of Maine (SJC) is a private university that offers an online Master of Accountancy. This degree requires 30 graduate credit hours. Full-time students need one year to graduate while part-time students can expect to take two years.
Brightspace is the main learning platform used by SJC students for their coursework, which they can complete 100% online in a format that they can adjust according to their professional schedules. The curriculum uses real-world issues, problem-based learning, and written assignments to prepare students for leadership roles in accounting. Among the required credits are major-focused classes, such as Legal Environment/Business Law, Corporate Financial Management, and Forensic Accounting. CPA exam requirements are met through this program. Jobs for graduates may be available as auditors, certified public accountants, and compliance managers.
#27 Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University (PSU) is a public institution with an online Master of Professional Accounting requiring the completion of 30 credit hours. Typically, online master's degree students graduate in approximately two years while studying full time.
All online courses at PSU are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. This allows students to study completely online. This degree focuses on CPA exam preparation and credit fulfillment through the study of audits, tax laws, commercial transactions, and more. There are ten courses in total, including Strategic Cost Management, Financial Statement Analysis, and Financial Reporting. An additional three credits are designated for the capstone project in forensic accounting and litigation support. Students may be hired as certified public accountants, budget analysts, and accounting officers.
#28 DePaul University
DePaul University (DPU) is a private university offering an online Master of Science in Accountancy requiring 48 credit hours. Students taking two courses per term can graduate in 18 months.
Students at DPU can engage in synchronous virtual lectures or asynchronous learning, depending on their preferences. The curriculum is modeled after the CPA exam core + discipline and covers both foundational principles of accounting alongside practical applications and advanced theory. Students spend up to 15 hours per week on each course, such as Financial Accounting, Auditing, and Advanced Topics in Accounting Theory. Graduates have access to DPU's career management center, which may lead to careers as financial controllers, chief financial officers, and certified public accountants. DPU also offers an online Master of Science in Taxation that explores tax statutes, cases, regulations, and rulings.
#29 Shorter University
Shorter University is a private, Christ-centered university offering an online Master of Accountancy that requires 31 credit hours. The graduate program page notes that all credits can be completed in as little as 12 months. Generally, full-time students take between one and two years to finish a master's program.
Shorter University students use Moodle for their remote courses, which can be completed 100% online and at a flexible pace. This program is best suited for bachelor's degree holders in accounting or a related field, as a variety of accounting-related competencies are explored in-depth, including those needed to prepare students for the CPA exam. Some required classes include Advanced Financial Accounting, Current Issues in Accounting, and Financial Statement Analysis. Business internships are available as part of the elective options. Students may go on to become certified public accountants.
#30 Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a private institution with an online Master of Accounting. Required credits range from 30 to 51, depending on existing bachelor's credits. The program may be completed in as little as 18 months for full-time students. There are four majors available in this field at NSU: (1) Accounting Analytics, (2) Managerial Accounting, (3) Public Accounting, and (4) Tax.
NSU uses Canvas for its online coursework, which is delivered 100% online in an asynchronous format. The curriculum explores introductory, intermediate, and advanced accounting courses as well as additional required courses, such as Cost Accounting, Accounting Theory, and Financial Statement Analysis. Up to 33 credits are devoted to the core curriculum while each major contains 15 credits. An accounting internship is available as an elective with the Managerial Accounting, Public Accounting, and Tax majors. Career paths include professional accountants in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and in public practices.
What Is a Master's in Accounting Degree?
Earning a master's degree in accounting helps you prepare for higher levels of responsibility in the field by providing you with advanced knowledge of the discipline. Accounting master’s degrees can go by various names, but the two most common are Master of Accountancy (MAcc) and Master of Science in Accounting (MSA).
Most master's in accounting degrees take between one and two years, depending on whether you're a full-time or part-time student as you complete the required 30-40 credit hours. Much of the coursework covers intermediate and advanced accounting practices, building on the foundational information provided in a bachelor’s program. Additional topics include taxation, financial reporting, fraud examination, auditing, international accounting, and ethics in financial management.
You can earn a master’s of accounting online or on campus. If you opt for distance learning, your online program will probably be made up of primarily asynchronous classes, which means they have no set meeting times. You can sign in on your own schedule to access course materials and complete assignments.
Some master's degree programs, however, may have some synchronous elements, such as a live class discussion. Naturally, you'll complete any internship or work experience requirements in person.
When researching online accounting degrees, it's important to consider only those schools that have been accredited — like all of the schools on our list of the best online master's degrees in accounting. Accreditation is a sign that the school has passed an independent quality review. Enrollment in an accredited program is required for eligibility for financial aid, and it may be required for you to sit for certification exams in your state.
You may also want to select an online accounting master's program that has earned programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
For master's degree consideration, you need to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college with a minimum GPA of 3.0. If you haven't already earned a bachelor's in accounting or an accelerated bachelor's in accounting, admissions officers may ask you to complete prerequisite courses in accounting, economics, or statistics before starting your master’s program.
You’ll need to submit your program application about six to nine months before your desired start date. Among the items that schools may ask you to include with an application are official transcripts from your undergraduate institution and any other colleges where you've taken courses, letters of recommendation from professors familiar with your school work, a personal essay about your accounting career goals, and your professional resume. Some of the more competitive schools may also require GRE or GMAT scores.
Accounting master's programs often have similar curricula in order to meet the educational standards approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Although the core courses may have different names at different schools, the learning outcomes tend to be the same. Some schools may also include an optional or required internship for students without previous accounting work experience.
It's common for accounting master's programs to let you specialize in a particular branch of accounting. You'll use your choice of elective courses to help improve your competencies in the concentration. As an accounting graduate, a specialization may also give you a competitive edge when you're job hunting. Some of the most popular concentrations you can find in accounting master's programs include:
- Auditing specialists review the accounting of outside employers. They take courses in financial reporting and disclosure, fraud prevention, and ethics.
- Business analytics, sometimes called "business intelligence," means using data to analyze trends in variables such as profits and spending. Courses in this specialization often cover data collection, predictive analytics, and visualization.
- Forensic accounting uses accounting techniques to investigate crimes. In their courses, students learn to identify red flags in financial statements, perform digital prevention and detection techniques, and interview fraud suspects.
- Taxation knowledge can be useful for all varieties of accountants, making this a potentially versatile concentration. Coursework includes lessons on tax law, corporate tax strategy, flow-through entities, and tax research.
What Can You Do With a Master's in Accounting Degree?
With a master's in accounting degree, you will probably go to work in one of the four primary areas of accounting:
- Public accountants often work with clients on a contractual consulting basis and may work for a dedicated accounting firm, such as Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG.
- Private accountants perform accounting services for just one company or business.
- Government accountants, including state auditors, work for government agencies.
- Educational accountants conduct research and teach students to become accountants.
However, there are opportunities for additional education and other related career paths.
While many accountants build rewarding and lucrative careers on bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting, you may be interested in pursuing even more advanced education:
Once you've earned an online master's in accounting, you can pursue accounting positions in a wide range of work environments as a generalist or specialist in specific functions, such as auditing or tax accounting. You may find employment in a large corporation or financial institution, go to work in one of the big accounting firms, or start your own business providing accounting services to individuals and small businesses
A master's degree may also allow you to branch out into other areas of business. Finance is perhaps the most likely field to move into as there are countless opportunities to pursue related occupations, such as a budget analyst, personal financial planner, or financial manager. However, if you would like to keep your business career options open, you may want to earn a master's in business administration (MBA) or perhaps an MBA specializing in accounting instead of focusing narrowly on accounting.
To enhance your accounting career, you may also want to pursue certification. Some certifications are required, while others are voluntary or simply preferred by employers. Certification demonstrates your commitment to professional development as well as your high level of skill in a particular aspect of accounting or finance.
One of the best known and most prestigious certifications is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. CPA certification allows you to provide multiple types of high-level accounting and auditing services. CPA licensure requirements vary by state, but in general you'll need to complete 150 credit hours of accounting courses at an accredited university. Your master's degree provides the extra 30 credit hours beyond the 120 earned in your bachelor's program, which is why most students who intend to become CPAs earn accounting master's degrees. You'll then need to pass the CPA exam.
Want more specifics on what you can do with an advanced degree in accounting? Discover the possibilities in our accounting career guide.
Financing Your Master's Degree in Accounting
Cost is one of the most important factors in deciding whether to pursue a master's degree in accounting, but there are ways to minimize the expense. For example, graduate students enrolled in accredited online master's in accounting programs are eligible for financial aid. Simply submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and you'll be notified if you qualify for any federal, state, or school-sponsored aid.
Of the various types of financial aid available, grants and scholarships are preferred because they generally don't have to be repaid. Your employer may also offer tuition reimbursement as part of your employee benefit package.
Of course, you can also take out a student loan, but the interest on the loan can add a substantial amount to the total cost of your accounting master's degree. Before accepting a loan, you may want to determine its full cost by using our student loan repayment calculator. Also keep in mind that private student loans often have higher interest rates and less flexible repayment plans than federal student loans.
FAQs About Master's in Accounting Programs
How Much Is a Master's Degree in Accounting?
Using the NCES's calculation of $19,749 per year for a graduate degree, we can estimate that a two-year master's in accounting will cost $39,498. However, costs vary widely by school. In general, public schools are the most affordable for in-state students. Next are for-profit private schools, with nonprofit private schools the most expensive.
How Long Is a Master's Degree in Accounting?
Designed for working adults, most online master's programs in accounting take approximately two years to complete. Some schools offer accelerated online master's degrees in accounting, which full-time students can complete in one year.
Is a Master's Degree in Accounting Worth It?
Earning a master's degree in any subject is a significant investment of time and money, so it's only natural to question whether the degree will be worth it. The answer is, in part, dependent on your personal goals and circumstances. If your goal is to become a CPA, a master's degree is essential. Additionally, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the median weekly income for master's degree holders is $1,574, as compared to a median of $1,334 for all bachelor's degree holders, which translates into $12,500 more per year.
Do You Need a Master's Degree To Be an Accountant?
No, you do not need a master's degree to be an accountant. Many graduates with bachelor's degrees in accounting establish solid careers in this field. However, earning a master's degree and becoming a CPA may allow you to increase your lifetime earnings potential. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for all accountants is $77,250, but an accounting master's degree and certifications may enable you to earn an income that's significantly higher than the average accountant salary.
Highly trained accountants will always be in demand, and those who develop advanced skills and possibly become CPAs are likely to land higher-paying positions in the field. You may end up working for a large corporation, an accounting firm, or as an independent consultant. Regardless of the specific path you choose, earning an on-campus or online accounting degree is an effective way to advance your career.
Why Trust Us?
27 Data Researchers
60,000 Degrees Researched Annually
20,000 Hours Spent on Research Annually
Launching Rankings Since 2009