Boost Your Bottom Line with an Accounting Degree

Often referred to as ‘bean counters’ in jest, the profession of accounting is actually serious business for the career-minded individual. Accounting has long been a respected job and one that continues to grow exponentially to meet the needs of the market. According to the Department of Labor Statistics in 2008 there were more than 1.75 million accountants in the US who earn, on average, approximately $61,000.

The different possibilities for work in the accounting field are numerous; graduates can find themselves working in the public sector, in government, in an accounting firm, or a business of any size.  The general responsibilities of an accountant are to make sure that financial records are accurate, taxes are paid properly, and other needed analysis and communication of financial data.

Incoming college students interested in an accounting degree have several options depending on the amount of time available and level of certification desired. Prospective accountants must attain, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business administration or a similar field. Some common degrees for accountants include the bachelor of science degree in Business Administration (BSBA) with a concentration in accounting. Another option is a bachelor’s degree in Technical Management (BSTM) with a focus in accounting. Continuing on to earn an MBA or MA is also highly desirable. For those looking to work in a general bookkeeping job, a well-chosen two-year program at a community college will return an associate’s degree in accounting that can provide an entry-level opportunity.

After earning an accounting degree online or at a traditional institution of higher education, many graduates further their employability with a certification. Each state in the United States maintains a Board of Accountancy and licenses the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a gold star for any resume. The CPA process typically requires 150 hours of coursework, two years of relevant experience working under a CPA, and passing the exam. In addition, the life of an accountant requires continuing education to stay current on current laws and tax codes. Typically, annual continuing professional education is required to renew the CPA certification.