Best Online Masters in Accounting Degrees for 2022

Master's Degree in Accounting Career Options & Salary

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Higher education and advanced degrees are becoming more and more the norm in nearly every profession. While accountants and auditors have many opportunities for professional certificates or even state licensure (such as the certified public accountant (CPA) certificate), master's degrees in accounting can be irreplaceable. In fact, an in-person or online accounting degree program or MBA in accounting program can even help facilitate graduate's ability to sit for the CPA exam, since they must have a bachelor's and a number of extra credit hours beyond that, and become licensed as certified public accountants and open other avenues to success in their accounting careers. This page is dedicated to the many ways an online or in-person master's in accounting program can help you create the career of your dreams without pushing you to leave your current career.

These programs can also cover a variety of niche subjects for those who have a vision of where they want their courses and accounting master's degree program to take them in terms of their accounting careers:

  • Auditing
  • Corporate, Public Accounting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Financial Reporting
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Accounting Information Systems

PROS

    Master's degrees in accounting have plenty to offer a working professional in terms of improving their employment prospects, even if they already have plenty of work experience. One of the chief reasons people choose to pursue an online master's in accounting programs or a Master of Accountancy (Macc) is that they almost immediately find new opportunities for employment. Not only might 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 (though this might be easier with a hybrid -online and in-person courses- rather than a fully online program) and your school's alumni network may also provide new employment 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 work experience could result in a permanent position with a local or online college.

CONS

    While an accounting master's degree has much promise, there are also possible negative aspects to consider of a master's program. 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 debt load at the end. While most accounting master's programs are designed to take no more than three years, and online programs are more likely to offer accelerated options, consider if you can fulfill that full-time schedule or if you would need to attend part-time. 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 in accounting or MBA 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. This might mean taking an online master's degree or another option.


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What are the Best Online Masters in Accounting College Programs?


1

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) is one of the top universities in the nation offering unique opportunities in both online bachelor's and online master's degrees. The graduation rate is high at 89%, with a total enrollment of approximately 30,000 students. UNC-Chapel Hill has a large online programs offering for their business schools bachelor's degree and online master's. Online programs such as: bachelor's degree in business administration, bachelor's degree in economics, online accounting master's degree, Master of Business Administration with a concentration in finance.

  • Net Price: $10,038
  • Retention Rate: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 91%
  • Total Enrollment: 30,092
  • Undergrad Students: 19,395
  • Graduate Students: 10,697
  • Diplomas Awarded: 230
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2

Purdue University

Purdue University is one of the top names in higher education, with their main campus located in West Lafayette, Indiana. The school is known as a pioneer in many ways, but their online platform, Purdue Global, is bringing their highly esteemed instruction to students far and wide. In-state tuition is $9,900 and out-of-state tuition is significantly higher at $28,700. It also has a high 82% graduation rate. Purdue University offers undergraduate online accounting programs and graduate programs with an online master's in accounting.

  • Net Price: $12,294
  • Retention Rate: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 83%
  • Total Enrollment: 46,655
  • Undergrad Students: 35,706
  • Graduate Students: 10,949
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $79,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Purdue University
3

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

NC State’s campus also offers endless opportunities for involvement and hands-on experience to ensure a well-rounded experience in academics, socialization, community participation, and work experience. This state school has over 36,000 students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate programs. With more than 9,000 faculty, students have an advantage over other state schools due to the low student-to-teacher ratio of 14 to 1. Among the online programs at NC State University is an online master's in accounting degree program.

  • Net Price: $14,600
  • Retention Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 84%
  • Total Enrollment: 36,042
  • Undergrad Students: 26,150
  • Graduate Students: 9,892
  • Diplomas Awarded: 117
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • North Carolina State University at Raleigh
4

Rutgers University-Newark

Rutgers University in Newark (RU-N) is a well-known educational institution. There are nearly 14,000 student enrolled each year. The student-to-faculty ratio is 16 to 1, which is comfortable for professors and students alike. Rutgers University educates and confers awards ranging from bachelor’s all the way up to doctoral degrees (for professional practice and research/scholarship). RU-N offers an online accounting degree that is 100% online for a Master of Accountancy in Governmental Accounting.

  • Net Price: $13,832
  • Retention Rate: 87%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Total Enrollment: 13,231
  • Undergrad Students: 9,118
  • Graduate Students: 4,113
  • Diplomas Awarded: 149
  • Grads Salary: $79,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • Rutgers University-Newark
5

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass Amherst) is a state-run institution whose campus is home to 30,000 students, including nearly 25,000 undergraduates. Since it's located between two of America's largest cities, students have ample opportunity to not only study but to engage with the finest cultural, governmental, and business institutions available. The university supports 109 bachelor's degrees and five at the associate degree level. Online students can earn a college degree and specialize in fields such as management, public health and health sciences, agriculture, natural sciences, engineering, and humanities, and more. UMass Amherst offers an online master of science accounting degree program and a bachelor's degree in accounting.

  • Net Price: $22,505
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 83%
  • Total Enrollment: 31,642
  • Undergrad Students: 24,233
  • Graduate Students: 7,409
  • Diplomas Awarded: 162
  • Grads Salary: $75,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • University of Massachusetts-Amherst
6

George Mason University

George Mason University (GMU) is a public university located in Fairfax, VA, in the greater Washington, D.C. area. GMU was established in 1956 by the University of Virginia system. The school later broke from the UVA system in and became its own entity. Today, George Mason boasts over 37,000 students and is the largest public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. GMU also provides top programs for graduate students that span the full spectrum of academic and professional interests, including creative writing, STEM, economics, business, healthcare, and more. At the GMU School of Business, students can take online courses to complete their master of science in accounting degree.

  • Net Price: $18,285
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Total Enrollment: 38,541
  • Undergrad Students: 27,104
  • Graduate Students: 11,437
  • Diplomas Awarded: 72
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • George Mason University
7

University of St. Francis

University of St. Francis (USF) is a private, Catholic, not-for-profit institution located in Joliet, Illinois. Founded in 1920, this university enrolls over 3,400 students each year. USF is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and The Illinois State Board of Education. The college has a retention rate of 73% and an overall graduation rate of 65%. USf offers online accounting students an Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting degree.

  • Net Price: $16,761
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Graduation Rate: 60%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,529
  • Undergrad Students: 1,627
  • Graduate Students: 1,902
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $81,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • University of St. Francis
8

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona (UofA) is a public land-grant research university in Tucson, Arizona. Founded in 1885, UofA offers over 150+ majors and is home to over 48,000 Wildcats. UofA was the first university in the Arizona Territory; has a retention rate of 84% and an overall graduation rate of 64%. The Online Master of Science in Accounting program provides a path for working accounting professionals and students to complete advanced coursework and prepare for or further a career in professional accounting while earning credit toward a CPA license. The CPA program at UofA has a 70% CPA exam pass rate, compared to the 49% national average.

  • Net Price: $15,620
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Total Enrollment: 45,601
  • Undergrad Students: 35,357
  • Graduate Students: 10,244
  • Diplomas Awarded: 11
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • University of Arizona
9

Regis University

This private, not-for-profit university does offer campus housing for students who want to be close to their classes. The student population is over 5,500; undergraduates make up about half the student body, with nearly 2,700 undergraduates attending altogether and graduate students make up the remaining student population. The student-faculty-ratio at Regis University is 10 to 1, which is good for you and your fellow students. Regis offers students an online accelerated bachelor's degree in accounting and an online master of science in accounting degree.

  • Net Price: $27,785
  • Retention Rate: 73%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,310
  • Undergrad Students: 3,197
  • Graduate Students: 3,113
  • Diplomas Awarded: 37
  • Grads Salary: $83,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • Regis University
10

Auburn University

Auburn University is one of Alabama's best academic institutions. Founded in 1856, the institution became the South's first land-grant college in 1872. With 24,600+ undergraduate and 4,700+ graduate students, over 30,000 altogether, Auburn is a large institution. With 14 colleges and schools that each encompass a wide range of degrees and programs, Auburn students never lack for an outlet for curiosity and research. They can also enjoy a 91% retention rate and an excellent 79% graduation rate. Auburn University has a 100% online accounting master's program from the Harbert College of Business.

  • Net Price: $24,028
  • Retention Rate: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 79%
  • Total Enrollment: 30,737
  • Undergrad Students: 24,505
  • Graduate Students: 6,232
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 20:1
  • Auburn University
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Overview of an Online Master's in Accounting


What Online 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 online 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 an online 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 most online and on-campus programs 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.

    Common Coursework in an online master accounting degree:
  • Financial accounting
  • Financial reporting
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Forensic accounting
  • Cost accounting
  • International accounting
  • Prepare financial statements
  • Business law
  • Nonprofit accounting
  • Accounting principles
  • Accounting fundamentals
  • Advanced financial accounting topics
  • Management accounting
  • Public accounting
  • Corporate finance
  • Financial planning
  • Small business accounting
  • Accounting principles
  • Financial operations
  • Tax compliance
  • Tax liability
  • Tax law

Potential Careers in Accounting with a Master’s


    Accounting professionals that have completed an online accounting master's programs can find rewarding careers in the financial field with many different companies. By completing an accounting degree program at this level, you will stand out among other candidates applying for the same position.

  • 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 $80,200 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 $136,100, 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 $87,700.
  • 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 post certificate in accounting, you are looking at a field that boasts a median salary of: $69,300.
  • 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 $63,400, the sky is the limit for a top accountant.
  • Certified Management Accountant:
    A certified management accountant (CMA) is a professional designation awarded to accounting professionals who have met specific requirements in education, experience, and examination. The CMA designation is granted by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which is a global organization that provides support and resources for accounting and finance professionals.

Options to Advance


It's almost a guarantee that your online 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 masters or an online master's degree in business. You will also find it hard to reach the C-suites without a master's and in some cases it would be advisable to have a PhD in Accounting. That's because today's business climate needs professionals who have verified skills on top of experience.

Beyond traditional employment, your online 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.

What You Need to Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)


A certified public accountant is a qualified accountant who is licensed to provide accounting services to the public. This professional designation is equivalent to the title of chartered accountant. The certification ensures that an individual has the best training and is qualified to provide accounting services to the public. The CPA certification is one of the most widely recognized credentials in the accounting profession. You can become a CPA by taking the CPA exam.

You do not need a master of science accounting degree in order to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. You do however need to have completed your undergraduate bachelor's degree in accounting in order to take the certified public accountant exam. Graduate accounting programs can assist with advancing your knoewledge or specialization within the accounting field and can help prepare you even more to take the CPA exam.

The educational requirements to become a CPA vary from state to state, but most states require a bachelor's degree in accounting or related fields and at least 30 semester hours of additional coursework to be eligible for the CPA exam. Most students satisfy the education requirements with an accounting major, although they can also complete an advanced degree in accounting or a master's degree.

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