Masters of Accounting Degree Programs
Welcome to our comprehensive directory of Masters of Accounting Degree programs. Advancing in any field, be it engineering, medicine or business, usually requires specialization. One of the hottest areas of business growth today is accounting, and consequently, the popularity and value of a Master of Accounting is skyrocketing.
Below, we interview Amy Dunbar, Director of the University of Connecticut’s Master of Science in Accounting Program.
Approximately 25 percent of all graduate students are taking business programs entirely online, according to 2014 data from the U.S. Department of Education, and business programs are the most popular graduate concentrations for entirely online formats. When you’re weighing your options for an online Master of Accountancy (MAcc), finding the right program should start with deciding on a preferred specialty even before beginning your search, whether it’s taxation, data analytics, assurance or valuation. Whether it’s a general MAcc or one in a specialized track, if you’ve completed a standard 120-credit bachelor’s program it will easily earn you the additional 30 credits you need to sit for the CPA exam.
An online MAcc degree program involves about 36 credit hours of course work that can be completed in about one year with a highly intensive credit load, or 18 months to two years if you are taking fewer credits. In some cases, certain courses may be waived if you are already a certified public accountant (CPA). An online master’s in accounting program has advantages in that you can complete the courses when you have available time, helping you to balance work or other responsibilities. Core classes are typically geared toward topics such as ethics, advanced economics or other selected accounting areas. Curriculum classes are focused on your specific career goals, such as tax accounting. If you prefer a campus-based MAcc program, some institutions offer a full-time day program that you can complete in less than one year.
If your goal is to prepare for the CPA or other certification exam, then you want to be sure to choose a quality program. Check the program’s accreditation status through the U.S. Department of Education.
Why should you get a master’s in accounting?
Known variously as a Master of Accountancy (MAcc, MAc, or MAcy), Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcy or MPA or MPAcc) or Master of Science in Accountancy (MSAcy), this professional graduate degree is a necessity for anyone pursuing a career in public accounting. These programs are required for state certifications, including the minimum 150 credit hours needed to be eligible for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and other certifications such as Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).
A recent Payscale.com survey shows that starting jobs for people with a master’s in accounting range from between $38,810 to $54,474, often with a $5000 starting bonus. With a master’s in accounting and a state certification, you can expect to earn $5000 more to start than people earn with just a bachelor’s degree. After four years, the advantage grows to $7,000 per year and after that, to $11,000 per year. Payscale.com estimates it takes seven to 10 years to “break even,” considering the value of a year of lost salary while earning the degree against the increased per-year earnings.
You can better the seven year, “break even” time-frame by continuing to earn a living while earning your master’s degree. Nearly every program allows for flexible learning during evenings and weekends or online. It takes more than 10 months to complete your degree this way; however, the financial benefits of continuing to earn while you learn, not to mention the professional benefits of not taking a year out of your working career, are considerable.
What courses are included in a master’s of accounting program?
Typical programs run from 10 months to a full year, with core courses in areas such as taxes, financial reporting, corporate valuation, financial decision-making, budgeting, and information systems. Also, most programs add electives in related areas. Popular electives come from other areas of business study, information technology and law. Master’s in accounting candidates choose a specific area within the accounting field for their concentration, specializing in anything from taxes to financial consulting.
Things to consider when looking at your degree program options are quality, flexibility, and cost. Be sure to check rankings and talk to people with personal experience with each program you are considering. At this level of study, you should have a very clear idea of your career goals. Talk to potential employers and recruiters about what programs they value the most. If you are taking time off your career to earn your degree, look for accelerated programs that take fewer months to complete. If you are working full time, look for flexible programs. Cost is always a factor. Compare your potential increased earnings with program costs and choose the best value.