Master’s in Accounting Degrees & Schools Guide

Master's Degree in Accounting Career Options & Salary

Why Earn a Master’s in Accounting?


Higher education is becoming more and more the norm in nearly every profession. While accountants have many opportunities for professional certificates or even state licensure, a master's degree that focuses on accounting is irreplaceable. In fact, a graduate degree can even help facilitate licensure as a CPA or open other avenues to success. This page is dedicated to the many ways a Master's Degree in Accounting can help you create the career of your dreams.

Business Degrees & Career Paths


PROS

    A master's degree in accounting has plenty to offer. One of the chief reasons people choose to pursue graduate work in accounting is that they almost immediately find new opportunities. Not only will your current employer consider you for a promotion, but you might find that recruiters start buzzing around your door, as well. On top of this, you are likely to expand your network through your classmates, your school's alumni network may also provide job opportunities.

    Another benefit of a graduate degree is that you could someday use those credentials to teach at the college level. This might come later, after you retire from your primary career, but your master's plus ample experience could result in a permanent position with a local or online college.

CONS

    While a master's degree has much promise, there are also possible negative aspects to consider. One of the chief negatives is the possibility that the degree won't pay off as you expect. Indeed, there is no guarantee that your new accounting credentials will result in a significant pay increase or promotion. Thus, you might consider performing a risk/reward analysis to determine if it really is worth it.

    Your analysis should factor in all of the downsides, including the time it takes to complete a degree, the career and family sacrifices along the way, and the inevitable the debt load at the end. While most master's degrees are designed to take no more than three years, consider if you can fulfill that full-time schedule. It's also important to consider your family and whether full-time school will affect your ability to meet their expectations as well. After you factor all of these things into your analysis, you might determine that a master's degree in accounting is not worth it after all. On the other hand, you may discover ways to manage your obligations in a new way that facilitates higher education or work your way toward your degree more slowly and/or economically.

Overview of a Master's in Accounting


What Accounting Master’s Degrees are Available?


Accountants have several options available for their graduate studies. If you are ready to consider upgrading your credentials, take some time to determine exactly which degree will suit your long-term goals.

MBA with a Specialization in Accounting (MBA): This degree will steep you in a core business curriculum and then allow you to specialize in your true focus: accounting. The MBA is a great choice if you are aiming at upper management, including the C-suites.

Master of Arts in Accounting (MAcc): If your studies are weighted to include coursework in business law, management, or economics, you could be conferred an MA in Accounting.

Master of Science in Accounting (MSA): An MSA degree program is one that keeps its focus on accounting, information technology, and financial analysis. That is, an MSA does not include many, if any, courses from the humanities curriculum. Your degree will have a laser-focus on quantitative analysis.

Master of Healthcare Administration with a Specialization in Accounting (MHA): If you've already landed a job in the Healthcare industry, you may wish to pursue an MHA. The curriculum will include a core group of healthcare management courses, but then you can major in accounting as it pertains to healthcare.

Admission Requirements


Admission's requirements for your master's degree in accounting can vary widely. However, you will want to provide an application packet that includes your practical accounting experience in addition to your academic background, including your undergraduate GPA. You should provide a transcript from a nationally accredited business school and proof of any certifications or licenses you have achieved, including a CPA license. You should strive to submit transcripts with the highest possible GPA, as most schools will need to see a minimum GPA of 2.5 or above to admit you. You will also need to provide GRE scores that meet the program's standards, provide letters of recommendation, and possibly an entrance essay.

How long does it take to earn a Accounting Master’s?


If you attend full-time, you can complete a Master's Degree in Accounting in as little as twelve months. Other programs, such as an MBA, might take longer – up to two years or more. You can always take more time if needed, but your program will likely have restrictions on how long you can take. For that reason, try to make education your priority. Attend classes on a full-time basis and make sure to do loads of networking at departmental parties. After all, no one can ever take your education from you, and it just might be the ticket to a far brighter future.

Potential Careers in Accounting with a Master’s


  • Investment Banker – Associate:
    It's practically unheard of to reach the Associate level in investment banking without a master's degree, preferably an MBA from a top-10 school. This field is very competitive and hardworking, but you'll find that the median salary of $78,000 is supplemented with a healthy annual bonus. If you work hard and are successful as an associate, you will likely move into a V.P. position before you know it.
  • Chief Financial Officer:
    Most C-level positions require a master's level degree on top of a strong track record. You might consider attaining a CPA license or certificate (if state rules provide for a certificate) on top of your graduate degree. CFOs are frequently well compensated. Median salary for a CFO is $130,000, before benefits and bonus.
  • Management Consultant:
    Many fresh graduates decide to work for a management consulting firm for a period after their schooling is over. This field not only pays well but will also provide you with the experience you need to decide where you would like to focus your professional energies. On the other hand, many graduate degree holders make consulting their life's work. Consider that the median salary, before benefits and bonus, is $86,000.
  • Forensic Accountant:
    This is an exciting field for those who love solving puzzles and creating solutions for a range of clients that spans from law enforcement investigators to divorce attorneys. Now that white collar crime is gaining more attention, the field for forensic accountants is growing. With a master's degree in accounting, plus a certificate or two, you are looking at a field that boasts a median salary of: $65,600.
  • Financial Planner:
    If you are fascinated with finance and wish to help people turn their savings into true wealth, this path may be for you. Though you can join this profession with an undergraduate degree and a Series 7 license, a Master's degree in Accounting will give you the credentials you need to land top clients. Though median salary for this profession is $62,500, the sky is the limit for a top accountant.

Options to Advance


It's almost a guarantee that your Master's degree in Accounting will provide ample opportunities for advancement. No matter which specific degree path you choose, your employers or clients are bound to attach real financial value to your added knowledge and skill. The business community looks approvingly on graduate degrees, so your status will immediately rise as soon as you graduate.

In fact, some job descriptions, such as an Investment Banking Associate, require a master's degree. You will also find it hard to reach the C-suites without a master's degree. That's because today's business climate needs professionals who have verified skills on top of experience.

Beyond traditional employment, your master's degree may help you hang your own shingle. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, bankers are more apt to loan money to those with graduate degrees than those without. Plus, your business proposal will be all the more professional after you've completed a graduate program. No matter if you're starting a tax consultancy or a manufacturing business, your graduate degree will pave the way to success.

Best Master’s of Science in Accounting MAcct Programs


  • University of Illinois at Chicago
    Chicago, IL

    University of Illinois at Chicago offers a top-notch suite of business-related master's degrees. In addition to their Master of Science in Accounting, you might consider their MS programs in Business Analytics, Finance, Management and Information Systems, Marketing, and Supply Chain Operations Management.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Accounting
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Science in Business Analytics
    • Master of Science in Finance
    • Master of Science in Management and Information Systems
    • Master of Science in Marketing
    • Master of Science in Supply Chain Operations Management
  • University of Washington – Foster School of Business
    Seattle, WA

    Whether you live in Seattle or not, you probably are aware of their booming, tech-driven economy. This hotbed of business activity will need accountants to help manage finances, file taxes, and perform audits to keep the human side of things running at peak efficiency. You can pursue a degree in Professional Accounting, among a host of others.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Executive MBA
    • MBA in Technology Management
    • Master of Science in Business Analytics
    • Master of Science in Entrepreneurship
    • Master of Science in Information Systems
    • Master of Science in Taxation
    • Master of Science in Supply Chain Operations Management
  • New York University – Stern School of Business
    New York, NY

    NYU is situated in the center of one of the hottest business and financial environments in the nation. Since Stern is considered one of the very best schools of business, you will graduate with unlimited potential. Not only to they offer a Master of Science in Accounting, but the Stern School offers a host of other business concentrations.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Data Analytics & Business Computing
    • Master of Science in Quantitative Finance
    • Master of Science in Quantitative Management
    • Master of Science in Business Analytics
    • Master of Science in Global Finance
    • Master of Science in Risk Management
  • University of North Carolina – Kenan-Flagler Business School
    Chapel Hill, NC

    The Kenan-Flagler school is among the best in the nation. You will study in the heart of the booming Research Triangle Park and Charlotte's bustling financial activity is not too far, either. You can opt for Master of Accounting degree or you might choose one of many top business programs offered by UNC.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Business Administration – Executive Program
    • Master of Business Administration – Full-time program's
    • Master of Accounting
  • University of California-Davis – Graduate School of Management
    Davis, CA

    California CPA candidates have the most success after completing UC-Davis' Master of Professional Accountancy program. Located between Sacramento and San Francisco, you will be poised for interviews with some of the Bay Area's top firms. If that weren't enough, you can easily fly to Los Angeles or even Seattle to pursue your dreams.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Business Administration – Full-Time or Part-Time
    • Master of Science in Business Administration – Business Analytics
    • Master of Professional Accounting

Traditional Schools Offering a M.S. in Accounting


  • Business School of Master’s Degrees – Eller
    Online

    The Eller College of Management is a top-notch institution that offers nationally accredited programs across a variety of business disciplines. Even better is the fact that they offer this tremendous education online so that you needn't move to Arizona to attend.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Accounting
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics
    • Master of Science in Cybersecurity
    • Master of Science Management Information Systems
  • Purdue Global
    Online

    Indiana's Purdue University has always offered a top-notch array of programs. Now their nationally-accredited business courses are available online. No matter where you are, you can access coursework in accounting or a range of other business disciplines.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Accounting
    • Master of Science in Finance
    • Master of Science in Management and Leadership
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Science in Information Technology
  • University of Phoenix
    Online

    University of Phoenix is one of the nation's premier purveyor of online education. While the University of Phoenix also offers traditional classroom experiences in various towns, you can schedule when and how you want to study in their online classrooms.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting
    • Master of Health Administration
    • Master of Management
    • Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Human Resources Management
  • Penn State World Campus
    Online

    The Penn State name will turn heads when you submit your resume for consideration at the top firms. Your nationally accredited degree will arm you with the business acumen to succeed as an employee, consultant, or independent businessperson.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Professional Accounting
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Applied Statistics
    • Master of Professional Studies – Business Analytics
  • Devry University
    Online

    DeVry is one of the premier career colleges in the United States. They have spent decades preparing technicians and business people for success. Now they offer a broad range of business options for the aspiring graduate student. Not only do they offer a Master of Accounting, but several other professional programs, as well.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Accounting
    • Master of Business Administration – Accounting
    • Master of Business Administration – Finance
    • Master of Business Administration – Accounting and Financial Management

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