Is an Accounting Degree Worth It?
The demand for accounting graduates is obvious—with nationwide job growth for accountants and auditors projected to be 11.2% by 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth necessitates a strong pipeline of accounting graduates. However, not anyone can become an accountant—there’s very specific coursework required to join this growing field.
But how can you tell if an accounting degree is worth it? We’ve compiled information on job growth, career prospects and the benefits of an accounting degree to help you determine if an accounting degree is right for you.
Is Accounting a Good Major?
The short answer is a resounding yes. If you want to work in accounting, finance or business, getting a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting is a great investment in your career.
Here’s why accounting is a great degree for the current and future job market:
- Accounting will always be a necessity: There’s a saying that taxes are one of two certainties in this world—which is a good thing for accountants. While not all accountants focus on taxation, financial accountability and accuracy are essential for any business. Even as technology advances and automation increases, accountants will be needed for their critical thinking skills and strategic input.
- Demand for accountants and auditors is growing: Currently, there are over 1.3 million accountants and auditor jobs in the United States, with 125,085 jobs posted on average every month. Plus, the accounting field is expected to keep growing at a rate much faster than average for all occupations.
- An accounting degree might be more flexible than you think: An accounting degree is a great foundation for any career in business. Whether you have aspirations to work at top leadership levels in an organization or start your own business, an accounting degree provides a general business core and deep expertise in financial regulations, responsibility and reporting.
What Jobs Can I Get With an Accounting Degree?
Accounting degrees are specialized business degrees that are also very flexible.
“An accounting degree gives you the ability to see the entire financial picture, while also being very analytical and detail-oriented,” says Annette Hoelzer, Lead Faculty Accounting at Franklin University. “An accounting degree teaches you perseverance, critical thinking and problem solving that can prepare you for any number of career paths.”
These are some of the top jobs you can get with different levels of accounting education:
- For accounting majors who don’t have a CPA: Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks are entry-level positions that focus on the administrative aspects of accounting. They are a great way to get experience before pursuing the CPA. If you're interested in preventing fraud, you can pursue a job as a financial examiner, which can be a long-term career or a training ground for becoming a forensic accountant.
- For those with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a CPA: The CPA is the most well-known accounting designation. No other certifications have the ability to write audit reports or give opinions on publicly traded company financials, which makes a CPA a natural path to becoming an accountant or auditor.
- For people with an accounting master’s degree and a CPA: Corporate controllers, treasurers and risk managers are all types of financial managers where a master’s degree in accounting and a CPA (or other finance certification) can help you excel.
- For accounting majors who want to work in a different area of finance: Getting an accounting degree doesn’t mean you have to become a public accountant. You will also be prepared for jobs in the larger scope of business and finance, including financial analyst, budget analyst and operations research analyst.
How Much Will An Accounting Degree Cost?
The cost of an accounting degree can vary widely. The degree level, type of institution and time to graduation are all important variables. To help you begin to understand the cost of an accounting degree, here are the average yearly tuition rates for bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
|Degree and Institution||Average Yearly Tuition (2019-20)|
|Bachelor’s Degree at Public Four-Year||$8,730|
|Bachelor’s Degree at Private Non-Profit Four-Year||$36,360|
|Master’s Degree at 4-Year, Public||$8,990|
|Master’s Degree at 4-Year, Private Non-Profi||$31,140|
Here are a few tips for finding an affordable accounting program:
- Explore online programs that provide lower cost-per-credit hour tuition rates and more flexibility in completing your degree.
- Find a university with a generous transfer credit policy that will allow you to apply any previously earned credits or professional credentials toward your degree.
- Consider the total cost of your degree by factoring in fees, outside costs and financing opportunities, rather than only tuition rates.
Ready to make your move in accounting? Gain insights for every career stage in our free Accounting Career Guide.
How Can I Make My Accounting Degree Work Harder for Me?
A bachelor’s degree qualifies you for entry-level positions and is a first step to meeting requirements for a CPA. But if you want to take your bachelor’s degree in accounting to the next level consider:
- Completing a master’s degree in accounting. To qualify to take the CPA you need to complete 150 credit hours, which is typically 30 more credit hours than a bachelor’s degree and the number of credits required for a master’s degree in accounting. If you have to take the courses anyway, why not gain another credential that can help set you apart and increase your salary expectations?
- Getting your CPA license. A CPA is the gold standard for public accountants. If you want to work at an accounting firm, large company or government, you will most likely need your CPA to advance past entry-level positions.
- Getting specialized financial certifications. If you want to pursue a specialization in areas like risk management, finance and investments, management accounting, taxes or auditing, getting certified in these areas will help you set yourself up for success.
How Will an Accounting Degree Prepare Me to Succeed?
An accounting degree will teach you both hard and transferable skills, giving you a well-rounded skill set that prepares you need to succeed in nearly every facet of business.
Choose Franklin University for Your Accounting Degree
Franklin University offers fully-online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting, offering flexibility for working professionals to complete their degree. All Franklin faculty have extensive professional experience, providing unique insights that help you apply theory to real-world situations. Plus, coursework is constantly updated to reflect industry demand and integrate new technologies.