It may assist to understand the distinctions between an undergraduate and graduate education if you’re considering pursuing a master’s in accounting.
Coursework in these degrees differs significantly, including the level of specialization. Also, your employment options fluctuate based on whether or not you obtain a postgraduate degree.
Differences in Accounting Curriculum Based on Degree Level
The most noticeable distinction between undergraduate and graduate degree programs is the difficulty level. A more advanced subject topic necessitates a higher level of difficulty in graduate school.
As students progress through their undergraduate studies, they are exposed to more advanced concepts, such as financial reporting, taxation, and auditing, which they can apply to their work in a Master of Accountancy, Master of Science in Accountancy, or Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcy) program.
It is common for a master’s degree in accounting to include courses in cost accounting, financial reporting, and tax research methodologies.
Accounting Information Systems and Auditing, Fraud Investigation, and Corporate Financial Management are some of the other major graduate accounting courses of study. A capstone course is often required before a student may earn a diploma.
There are several things you may not have known about master’s degree accounting programs. Free electives or program electives are often available in graduate accounting programs for students looking to specialize in one area of the subject.
In graduate accounting schools, U.S. News & World Report reports that auditing, financial accounting, forensic accounting, and tax accounting are among the most popular specialties.
Selecting an area of concentration in line with your professional aspirations will help you not only advance in your current position, but also open doors to more specialized positions that pay well and provide interesting work responsibilities.
You may be able to accomplish both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only five years if you don’t want to spend another two years in school.
Opportunities for Those With an Accounting Master’s Degree
With a master’s degree, what can you do that an undergraduate degree can’t? Accountants often need at least a bachelor’s degree to begin their careers.
It’s possible to begin your career as an entry-level accountant and work your way up the ranks to more difficult and rewarding responsibilities as you gain experience with your accounting bachelor’s degree.
Those who desire to go beyond the role of a staff accountant may require a more advanced degree.
Acquiring an advanced degree can be a big assist if you’re hoping to get your CPA or another sought-after accounting certificate.
Some of the most critical responsibilities in public accounting, the compilation of financial papers mandated by law, can only be performed by CPAs.
Thus, CPAs tend to earn more money and have greater employment chances than accountants who are not certified.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master’s degree is not necessary to become a certified public accountant (CPA) (BLS).
It is, however, not enough to complete a 120-credit hour bachelor’s degree in order to sit for the CPA examination.
Candidates for CPA certification in virtually every state in the United States are required to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework.
At the very least, you’ll need to go back to school for an additional year to earn your CPA certification.
With the additional coursework necessary for most aspiring CPAs, this year is often used to achieve or work toward a master’s degree in accounting.
The additional 30-semester hours of undergraduate or graduate courses can be taken as a dual major or non-degree option for students who are not yet ready to commit to a master’s degree program.
Graduate study isn’t just for aspiring CPAs anymore. An advanced degree in accounting, such as a master’s, can help you move up the corporate ladder to positions such as finance director, accounting director, or compliance director.
Accomplished accountants can also use their advanced training to go into positions such as risk analyst or auditing specialist.
Students who get a Master of Accounting degree may pursue government positions, such as revenue agents, tax inspectors, and government-owned financial institutions.
According to U.S. News & World Report, graduates of accounting master’s degree programs can earn as much as $20,000 or more per year than their counterparts with only a bachelor’s degree.