Can You Get an Accounting Master’s Without a Background in Accounting?

As long as businesses have financial records and governments collect taxes, we’ll need accountants. 

Wherever you live in the United States, accountants are in demand. Whether you wish to run financial operations for a corporation or start your own business helping individuals file taxes, the options are nearly endless. According to Lightcast, a labor analytics firm, that need will only grow. It predicts that positions for accountants and auditors will increase 10.6% by 2032. 

One way to take advantage of this growing demand is to earn a master’s degree in accounting. But is this pathway open to professionals who do not have a background in the field?

Who Is a Master’s in Accounting for? 

A master’s in accounting can open doors for individuals who wish to transition into accounting roles, as well as accounting and finance professionals working in the field. This graduate degree may be a good choice for those who wish to specialize in specialized roles or qualify for leadership positions. 

While a master’s in accounting can be a good fit for individuals with a wide range of backgrounds, certain traits are important for success in a graduate degree program. Accounting may be right for you if you are detail-oriented, organized and enjoy solving complex problems. You don’t need to be a math genius to excel as an accountant; however, it’s essential to be comfortable working with and analyzing numbers. 

What Are the Requirements for a Master’s in Accounting?

Requirements for enrolling in an accounting master’s degree program vary by school. As a rule of thumb, however, you must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree to earn a master’s degree. Some schools require graduate admissions exams, such as the GRE or GMAT. Many programs require a certain minimum GPA, transcripts and letters of recommendation, and some prefer applicants with professional experience in the field. 


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Can You Get an Accounting Master’s Without a Bachelor’s in Accounting?

While you’ll need a bachelor’s degree to enroll in a master’s degree program, each school sets its own requirements regarding prior study in the accounting field. Many programs require that applicants hold an undergraduate degree in accounting or an adjacent field of study, such as business or finance. Others accept students with an unrelated bachelor’s degree but require that they complete prerequisite coursework before applying. 

Franklin University’s M.S. in Accounting program offers a unique pathway program for students with any accredited bachelor’s degree, even if they have never taken an accounting or business course. Upon being accepted to Franklin’s program, students take five corequisite courses, either at Franklin or another accredited institution, alongside master’s level courses. That means you can earn a master’s in accounting, without any prior study in the field, in as little as 21 months. 

Can You Get an Accounting Master’s Without Work Experience in Accounting?

Everyone has to start somewhere, and accounting is no exception. While a professional background in accounting can help some individuals prepare for a master’s degree, you shouldn’t let a lack of experience in the field stop you from pursuing your career goals. Unlike some master’s degree programs, Franklin University’s M.S. in Accounting does not require work experience. In fact, Franklin’s pathway program is specifically designed for students without an accounting background. If you do have work experience in the field, however, it can be evaluated to possibly meet the prerequisite requirements or used to receive internship credit.

If you would like to gain work experience to bolster your resume while you study, Franklin’s faculty can help you find internship, co-op or apprenticeship opportunities. You can also participate in Franklin’s Volunteer Tax Assistance Program to build your skills while giving back. 

Is a Master’s in Accounting Worth It?

A master’s degree requires a significant investment of time and money, so it makes sense to carefully consider whether it’s right for you. However, this degree does offer a number of advantages.

Like in most professions, accountants with master’s degrees can often command higher salaries than those with only an undergraduate degree. According to Lightcast, the median advertised salary for accountants and auditors was $71,000 between March 2022 and March 2023. For positions requiring a master’s degree, that figure rose to $80,300. That difference will compound over time as you advance through your career, meaning that a master’s degree could potentially pay for itself within just a couple of years. 

A master’s may also offer even more significant earnings advantages by helping you access more specialized roles or move up the ranks within a company more quickly. It can also help you earn the additional credit hours you need to qualify as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), the most in-demand certification in the field, which is required for many highly-paid positions. 

Jumpstart Your Accounting Career at Franklin

No matter your educational and professional background, Franklin University can help you pursue a rewarding career in accounting. Our 100% online master’s in accounting is designed for adult learners, with the flexibility you need to balance your studies with your life. 

Students with an undergraduate degree in an unrelated subject can complete Franklin’s M.S. in Accounting and all required corequisite courses in as few as 21 months. That means that in less than two years, you can be well on your way to your professional goals. 

Franklin’s IACBE-accredited curriculum offers targeted preparation for in-demand accounting certifications, focusing on the practical skills and tools you need for success. You’ll receive the personalized support you need to manage your transition into accounting and gain access to a powerful professional network of fellow students, faculty and alumni. 

Learn more about how Franklin University can help you find your pathway into accounting

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