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Accounting has been called “the language of business.” That language has expanded to fit our modern business and technological age and has become more complex. We live in a global economy, requiring more advanced, accountable systems to maintain a robust economy. To position yourself in this new business world, an online Master’s in accounting degree is a must.

Who Are Accountants?

Every business, no matter how large or small, requires someone who can do basic bookkeeping, finance analysis, cost and income tracking, local, state, and federal tax regulation compliance, and ethical business practices assurance. Today’s economy is also an international one, with global markets and businesses requiring experts in accounting policies and procedures.

These financial areas, among others, are the domain of accountants. 

Accountants should have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in accounting. If you have career ambitions to move into leadership or executive management, a graduate degree in accounting will be your best bet. 

What Does a Master’s Degree Mean for an Accountant?

A Master’s degree will open more opportunities. If you want to become a Chief Financial Officer or a Chief Operating Officer in a business or corporation, a graduate degree in accounting is a must. An advanced degree will equate to more salary and benefits. 

Master’s degrees in accounting are offered through schools or colleges of business. They are either stand-alone degrees or a specialty in an MBA program. Either option will help set you on a career path to executive management or leadership positions. 

What Are the Best Online Master’s in Accounting?

Online College Plan uses data from the National Center for Education Statistics to determine the best programs. We factor in how robust the school’s online education is, how well that school delivers on its promises, how affordable the program is, and how selective the school is as a whole. For more information, see our methodology page.

  1. MERIT: 100

    Do you like being in control of how you study? This unique approach to higher education may be exactly right for you. Developed by a group of state governors in 1997, WGU is competency-based education and you’ll advance at your own speed.

    This online Master’s in accounting degree can be completed in as few as 24 months, depending on your knowledge of the subjects. Fully ACBSP accredited, this program consists of 10 courses in topics such as Advanced Managerial Accounting, Management Communication, Financial Management, Advanced Tax Concepts, and more. 

    The MA prepares you to sit for certification and licensure exams. WGU delivers on its mission—97% of its graduates would recommend this university to others.

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  2. MERIT: 98.73

    It may surprise you, but Penn State University has been offering distance education for over 125 years. Now, through its Penn State World Campus, more than 20,000 students are enrolled in online degree programs.

    If you’re looking for a graduate program to advance your career to become a CPA, you should check out this online Master of Professional Accounting degree. An undergraduate degree in accounting isn’t required for this program, but a bachelor’s degree and prerequisites are required. The program is completed with 30 credit hours. 

    You’ll take such classes as Strategic Cost Management, Business Tax Planning Theory and Practice, Auditing Theory and Practice, and complete a capstone project. U.S. News and World Report gives high marks to this university, ranking it #77 in “Most Innovative Schools” and #18 for “Best Public Schools.”

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  3. MERIT: 90.02

    Are you looking for a highly ranked and respected graduate accounting program? The University of Illinois has you covered—U.S. News and World Report ranks it #2 in accounting business programs. What’s even better, you can complete the degree online.

    Illinois Online supports a 32 credit hours Master of Accountancy with a solid core curriculum. You’ll study courses in Accounting Analysis, Managerial Accounting, Federal Taxation, and Auditing. Electives for this degree include Business Ethics, Advanced Financial Reporting, Infonomics, and Accounting Analytics Application. 

    You’ll need an undergraduate degree, a 3.0 GPA,  and GRE scores. A degree from the Gies College of Business will put you in an alumni group that includes the CEOs of McDonalds, Ticketmaster, Goldman Sachs, and Eastman Kodak.

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  4. MERIT: 88.21

    The Kenan-Flagler Business School of the University of North Carolina rightfully brags of being the “#1 Online Master of Accounting Degree.” UNC has been named #1 for Best Graduate Universities for Accounting Professionals by Linkedin.  Accredited by the AACSB, the school’s Master of Accountancy requires 36-48 credit hours (depending on previous coursework).

    The curriculum for this highly regarded program includes areas of study in financial reporting and analysis, auditing principles, and taxation, and also develops skills in communications and leadership. You’ll examine contracts, ethics and legal issues, as well as negotiation techniques. 

    You don’t have an undergraduate degree in accounting? No problem. You can still apply for admission, although you may need to take prerequisites before accounting core courses. UNC has a robust employee recruiting tradition with 98% of graduates employed within three months.

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  5. MERIT: 86.93

    Founded in 1971, Liberty University is an evangelical liberal arts school with over 100,000 students and over 600 academic programs, 400 of which are online. You’ll want to look at the online Master of Accounting degree.  

    Through this 30 credit hours program, studies involve tax research, accounting ethics, financial accounting theory, and others. You can choose an accounting specialization in audit and financial reporting, financial services, business, forensic accounting, taxation, leadership, or general accounting. 

    This is an ACBSP accredited program which allows you to transfer up to 50% of the degree total into the program. Coursework in this degree will prepare you to sit for licensure and certification exams.

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  6. MERIT: 86.72

    The University of Arizona’s in the top 100 “Best Business Schools” according to U.S. News and World Report as well as one of the publication’s “Best Value Schools.” The Eller College of Management offers an online, accredited Master of Accounting degree. 

    You can earn your 30 credit hour degree in as few as 12 months. The curriculum includes courses in Advanced Accounting, Business Law for Accountants, Ethics for Professional Accountants, Principles of Auditing, and others. You can also earn credit toward your CPA certification as well as take MBA electives.

    A bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA and GMAT scores between 500 and 700 are required for admission. The program offers six start dates annually. The college holds AACSB accreditation.

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  7. MERIT: 84.48

    It’s hard to beat UConn’s Master of Science in accounting program if you’re looking for an online program. The program rightfully brags of its MSA being ranked #9 with U.S. News and World Report. As the school website says, this program is “Nationally Ranked. Globally Accessible.”

    The degree requires 30 credit hours for completion and you can enroll full-time or part-time depending on your other life commitments. Topics covered with this degree will include business law, various accounting specialties, analytics, taxation, etc. You’ll receive the same education as students attending on the Storrs, CT campus. 

    You’ll need a bachelor’s degree (an accounting major isn’t required, but prerequisites will be necessary) to apply. Additional admission materials include an application, a current resume, academic transcripts, recommendations, and complete four short-answer essays. GMAT scores are required.

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  8. MERIT: 84.20

    In 1991, a retired Marine Corps officer wanted to provide distance education for U.S. military personnel serving across the globe. From this concept, the American Military University was born. Ever developing, the school reorganized in 2003 and the American Public University was created. 

    Today, you can receive an online MS in accounting which requires 36 credit hours and can be completed in two years of full time attendance. This MS offers six concentrations in applied business analytics, CPA, government accounting, information technology, health information management, or internal auditing. 

    A bachelor’s degree is required for admission. Once admitted, you can begin your studies immediately with the school’s monthly course start times. Depending on your state of residence, this program may or may not satisfy the CPA test requirements.

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  9. MERIT: 83.81

    Colorado State University Global holds the distinction of being the first accredited 100% online state university in the nation. Started in 2007, CSUG now has over 18,000 enrolled students and offers an online Master of Science in finance with an accounting concentration. The program offers monthly start dates. 

    The MS requires 36 credit hours (including 12 credit hours in the accounting specialization) and you’ll study basic finance concepts in financial principles, investments, bank management, and business foundations. You’ll also complete a capstone project. Accounting specialty courses are Advanced Accounting, Accounting Ethics, Advanced Income Taxation, and Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination. 

    You’ll join an eclectic, and successful, alumni group. Colorado State University has a long and distinguished alumni list which includes a corporate VP for Microsoft Studios, a Tuskegee Airman, astronauts, award-winning authors and poets, and a Saturday Night Live standout.

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  10. MERIT: 82.69

    At the end of WWII, the business school opened at UMass Amherst with 10 faculty members and graduated just 15 students. Fast forward seventy years and the Isenberg School of Management has nearly 4,000 students and 133 faculty. 

    The school supports an online MS in accounting degree which requires 30 credit hours, allowing you to complete the program in two semesters, if you wish. You’ll study data analytics, professional responsibilities, business ethics, and you’ll meet necessary requirements for licensure and certification exams. 

    You need an undergraduate degree, resume, school application, academic transcripts, and the GMAT/GRE test scores are waived for accounting students. No BS in Accounting? No problem. You can still apply through the accounting transitions program. Talk with an admissions advisor to get the details for that program.

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  11. MERIT: 81.62

    It’s always good to hear what students say about a school, and the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University rates 94% in student satisfaction. With that kind of report, you  may want to check out this online Master of accountancy (MAcc) degree. Additionally, the business school has an impressive 81% first-time pass rate for the CPA exam. 

    Fully accredited, this program is designed for working professionals and will prepare you to pass certification exams. The 30 credit hour program can be finished in two years. Besides core accounting classes, you’ll take courses in Advanced Accounting Topics, Financial Analysis and Valuation, Advanced Real Estate Finance, and others. There is an on-campus, two-day residency during the final spring semester.

    A degree from this school will put you in an alumni group of business heavyweights such as Tim Cook of Apple, the CEO of Time Inc., the founder of Habitat for Humanity, as well as an Egyptian billionaire.

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  12. MERIT: 80.89

    Popularly known as Mizzou, this university offers an online Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree through its Robert J. Trulaske, Jr. College of Business. U.S. News and World Report includes Mizzou in its “Best Value Schools,” “Top Public Schools,” and “Best Colleges for Veterans.” 

    Courses will include such classes as Audit Theory and Practice, Organizational Behavior, Internal Auditing, Strategic Cost Management, Governmental Accounting and Budgeting, Accounting Ethics, and more. The school reports a 70.1% CPA exam pass rate.

    It takes 12 months to complete this 30 credit hour degree and admission requires you submit GMAT/GRE scores, hold a bachelor’s degree, and have completed certain prerequisites.

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  13. MERIT: 79.45

    The Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business at the University of Oklahoma offers an online Master of Accountancy degree you can complete in 30 credit hours. Over the past ten years, graduates of this degree have enjoyed a 75% CPA exam pass rate. The program holds AACSB accreditation. 

    Among the classes you’ll take are Accounting Theory and Research, Fraud Examination, Income Tax Accounting, Management of Information System, Organizational Behavior, and Accounting Ethics and Professionalism. The coursework is designed to help you advance your career and make you an attractive hire for a wide range of businesses and organizations. 

    This university is 15 years older than the state for which it’s named, having been established in 1890 while Oklahoma was still a territory. OU is recognized by U.S. News and World Report’s as #93 in its “Best Colleges for Veterans,” #172 for “Best Value Schools,” and #60 in “Top Public Schools.”

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  14. MERIT: 79.36

    Not every university can claim to have the first man to step foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong, as an alumni, but the University of Cincinnati can. That’s one point of pride for UC, but there are others, such as being considered “one of the best business schools in the country” by The Princeton Review. 

    The online MS in accounting through the Carl H. Lindner College of Business focuses on preparing you for the CPA exam as well as helping you advance in your career. Topics included in your studies will include financial reporting, auditing, fraud examination and prevention. This curriculum is designed to give you the tools needed to pass the CPA exam. 

    If you’re interested in admission, you should have at least a 3.0 GPA, a bachelor’s degree, GMAT/GRE scores (or a waiver), an essay, academic transcripts, and two references. UC graduates have a 100% employment placement in companies such as Kroger, Caterpillar, KPMG, and others.

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  15. MERIT: 78.56

    If you’ve ever wanted to travel abroad and study business in foreign countries, then the George Mason University online MS in accounting may appeal to you. Ranked #56 among more than 300 AACSB accredited programs by U.S. News and World Report, this MS in accounting is a distinguished degree. 

    Among the 30 credit hours required are mandatory classes in Professional Accounting Colloquium, Fraud Examination, and Global Accounting Environment, among others. International study is a week-long residency to enhance your knowledge of global business. Prior residencies have been conducted in England, Germany, and Poland. 

    Over 64% of the MSA graduates are employed by program completion. Little wonder that U.S. News and World Report consistently includes GMU in several categories such as “Best Value Schools,” “Best College for Veterans,” and “Top Value Schools.”

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  16. MERIT: 76.82

    Even though it may be tempting to enroll in this Boca Raton university to enjoy the sun and beaches while you advance your degree, you probably can’t just pick up and move. That’s okay. Florida Atlantic University brings its Master of Accountancy (MAC) program to you. 

    The 30 credit hour, 10 course degree is AACSB accredited and provides a broad curriculum which will prepare you for certification exams. Some of the coursework you’ll take will be Advanced Accounting Theory, Concepts of Federal Income Tax, and Communication. Admissions considers your GMAT/GRE scores, a bachelor’s degree, and academic transcripts. 

    Graduates of FAU’s College of Business hold upper level executive positions in American companies like IBM, Office Depot, eBay, as well as Eli Lilly and Company. The university has been named in “Top Public Schools” by U.S. News and World Report.

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  17. MERIT: 76.13

    This school had humble beginnings in 1906 when it began as a school to teach 15 Georgia children agricultural techniques and homemaking skills. Now, with a total enrollment of over 26,000 students, Georgia Southern University is expanding its reach with online degree programs. 

    The two-year Master of accountancy program offered online, known as WebMAcc, is designed for the working professional and is identical to the degree offered on campus. Through the Parker College of Business, the 30 credit hour curriculum includes Tax Research, Fraudulent Financial Reporting, Current Legal Issues, as well as prerequisites and electives. 

    You’ll need a baccalaureate degree, academic transcripts, GMAT scores, an application, and references for admission. Georgia Southern University is a military friendly school.

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  18. MERIT: 75.65

    The University of Alabama-Birmingham is probably best known in the region for its outstanding medical school and research. Tracing its beginnings to 1859 as a medical college, UAB is now a robust urban university with 12 colleges and schools. One of those schools, the Collat School of Business, has an online Master in Accounting degree. 

    Concentrating on skills and leadership, the MA coursework offers studies in Principles in Accounting, Financial Accounting, Income Taxation, Business Law for Accountants, Tax Entities, as well as elective courses. The program is AACSB accredited and the 30 credit hours of study can be completed in five semesters. 

    U.S. News and World Report recognizes the university as a “Best Value School,” and on its list for “Best Colleges for Veterans,” and “Top Public Schools.” Even more significant is the recognition of the Collat School of Business as offering one of the top 10% graduate non-MBA accounting programs.

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  19. MERIT: 75.15

    In 1932, a small school known as the New Hampshire Accounting and Secretarial School was opened with the mission to train bookkeepers in the theory and methods of accounting. The initial enrollment was 35 evening school students. That simple beginning has led to a whopping 104,000 enrolled students on campus and online worldwide. 

    The Master of Accounting degree at SNHU has a solid curriculum in Advanced Auditing, Tax Research Accounting, Situational Ethics in Accounting, Federal Income Tax of Corporations and Partnerships, as well as a capstone project. The 36 credit hour curriculum is ACBSP accredited and will allow you to sit for certification exams.

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  20. MERIT: 74.87

    U.S. News and World Report cites the Naveen Jindal School of Management in the top 40 “Best Business Schools” in 2020 and six of the school’s business/management programs rank in the top 10 of online options. U.T.-Dallas has also been recognized by publications such as The Princeton Review and Money Magazine.

    You can choose between the school’s MS Accounting Flex option (completing the degree at your pace) or the MS accounting cohort (more regimented). Both options require 36 credit hours. The Flex Plan requires nine hours of core courses and a choice from six tracks in professional accounting, advanced accounting, taxation, risk assurance/internal auditing, accounting analytics, or research foundations. 

    The cohort option requires you to go through the program on a precise schedule and doesn’t allow for flexibility in choosing electives. This option is intended for students without an accounting background.

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  21. MERIT: 74.68

    While South Dakota was still known as the Dakota Territory in 1862, the University of Vermillion was established. It wasn’t until 1882, however, that the university was finally funded and enrolled nearly 70 students. The original 70 students probably never imagined that one day students would be able to receive a degree without ever setting foot in South Dakota.

    The online Masters of Professional Accounting (MPA) is offered through the Beacom School of Business. After completing accounting and business prerequisites, you can specialize in accounting analytics in this 30 credit hour program. You can also choose an internship,  thesis or non-thesis option. USD also offers a joint MBA/JD degree.

    Core accounting coursework covers Cost Accounting, Accounting Standards and Ethics, Tax Planning and Practice, and others. You’ll take 21 credit hours of core courses and 9 restricted elective hours. You need a baccalaureate degree with a 2.85 GPA, GMAT scores, recommendation letters, and prerequisite accounting courses.

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  22. MERIT: 72.65

    UMass-Lowell is rightfully proud of the national recognition its online programs receive. Their online AACSB accredited MS in accounting moved up seven positions into #26 with U.S. News and World Report. Additional accolades from the publication include placement on the lists for “Best Colleges for Veterans” and “Top Public Schools.”

    UMass is recognized by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). This program offers specializations in business analytics, international business, and corporate leadership. You’ll be qualified to sit for the CPA certification exams. 

    Among the 30 credit hours required, you’ll study taxation, auditing, cost management, and more, before advancing to the specialization courses. Admission documents needed are straightforward and include a baccalaureate degree, GMAT, three recommendation letters, academic transcripts, resume, and an essay.

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  23. MERIT: 72.58

    Located about 8 miles from Baltimore, MD, Towson University is recognized for its academic programs by publications such as The Princeton Review, Money Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes Magazine. U.S. News and World Report, for instance, rates TU as one of the country’s “Top Public Schools.”

    The online MS in accounting and business advisory services degree is a joint educational degree between Towson University and the University of Baltimore. When you graduate, you’ll be trained to analyze and interpret statistical and financial data, understand regulations in the accounting field, identify ethical issues, and other professional accounting skills.

    Topics will include accounting basics, financial statements, forensic accounting, fraud and investigative accounting, taxation policy, international finances, and others. You’ll have an internship opportunity where you’ll work on projects in an accounting environment. With approval, you can conduct individual research. The MS will allow you to sit for certification and licensure exams.

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  24. MERIT: 71.61

    If you log into Nova Southeastern University Florida’s website homepage, you’ll see the school’s challenge to “Prepare to Dominate”, encouraging you to not be just another “fish in a school” but to be a shark. 

    NSU Florida offers you an online MS in accounting with three concentrations. You can choose to focus on public accounting, management accounting, or taxation. This degree will prepare you to sit for the CPA exam. All accounting graduate students are required to take core courses in Auditing, Cost Accounting, Accounting Theory, Intermediate Accounting, Internet Technology, and others. Depending on your concentration choice, you’ll take 12 specialty specific related courses and six elective credits.  

    The H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship online business programs at NSU Florida have been rated as “Best Online Master’s in Business Programs (Excluding MBA)” by U.S. News and World Report. This is a private university founded in 1964.

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  25. MERIT: 71.19

    1929. The year of the Great Depression and nine years after the beginning of Prohibition. A perfect time for Rutgers University to open its Seth Boyden School of Business on the site of a former brewery. Regardless of the irony, the university is a highly ranked business school as cited by U.S. News and World Report, who ranked it #8 for “Best Online Graduate Accounting Business Programs.”

    Requiring 30 credit hours, the Master of Accountancy program can be completed within a year. This Master in Accountancy in governmental accounting (MAccy) degree will prepare you to sit for certification exams and you’ll study management accounting, auditing, ethical accounting issues, governmental accounting, and financial management, among others. 

    You don’t need GMAT scores to apply for this program and application deadlines are the first of August and January.

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  26. MERIT: 71.15

    Florida Tech has some impressive graduates; among its 60,000 alumni are space shuttle astronauts, the first female four-star general, a national teacher of the year, and Fortune 500 CEOs. So it’s not surprising that U.S. News and World Report named Florida Tech’s MBA program one of the “Best Online MBA Programs.”

    Florida Tech’s MBA with an accounting concentration is offered 100% online and earns credits toward the CPA exam. You’ll cover financial reporting, budget models, nonprofit and government accounting processes, healthcare accounting, current accounting issues, and other topics. The 36 credit hour program also includes a capstone project requirement. 

    Florida Tech’s Nathan M. Brisk College of Business holds accreditation for its business degree programs through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).

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  27. MERIT: 69.49

    National University, located in San Diego, CA, was established by a Navy veteran in 1971, and remains committed to the nation’s active and veteran military. Today, National University provides educational opportunities across the country and globe and boasts 170,000 alumni. 

    You can apply to National University’s online Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree at any time and classes begin every month. Topics covered in this program include nonprofit and government accounting principles, auditing, accounting ethics, taxation, and more. You can specialize in accounting for professional skills. 

    This MAcc prepares you to sit for the CPA, CIA, and CMA certification exams. Not surprisingly, National University is military friendly and is a Yellow Ribbon School. You need a bachelor’s degree, academic transcripts, either GMAT/GRE/MAT scores, as well as a school application.

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  28. MERIT: 68.53

    Named a “Best Online MBA Program” by U.S. News and World Report, this Pensacola, FL university has an online MBA in accounting program. With a current enrollment of over 12,000 students, UWF is the third largest campus in the Florida State University System. 

    This MBA is comprised of 36 credit hours and is accredited by AACSB-International. A bachelor’s degree is needed (not necessarily in accounting), a 3.0 GPA, GRE/GMAT (waiver possible with at least a 3.25 GPA and relevant work experience), demonstration of accounting proficiencies, academic transcripts, application, recommendation letters, and resume. 

    You’ll take core courses in Business Process Integration, Business Analytics, Advanced Managerial Accounting, Financial Management, and others. Topics in your major will include auditing, taxation, financial accounting, and more. The MBA curriculum will prepare you to sit for licensure and certification exams.

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  29. MERIT: 68.32

    Like many schools of the 19th century, Texas A&M University-Commerce started as a teacher’s college and over the years has morphed into the second largest institution in the Texas A&M University System. 

    This MS in accounting is intended to help you gain the strong foundation and skills to take positions in corporate, public, or government arenas. You’ll study topics in auditing, tax accounting, forensic accounting, analytics, international accounting, and ethics. You’ll complete a comprehensive exam prior to graduation. 

    The curriculum and delivery of this degree is designed for working professionals to improve their skills and employment opportunities. Admission requirements are a baccalaureate degree, academic transcripts, GRE scores, an admission application and financial application. You may be able to qualify for institutional scholarships or grants.

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  30. MERIT: 68.21

    If you have an undergraduate degree, or equivalent, in accounting, and are wanting to obtain CPA or CMA certification, you may want to check out this online program. SUNY Polytechnic University is part of the State University of New York system and the MS in accounting degree is fully accredited by the AACSB. 

    Among the 33 credit hours required, you’ll study core courses covering advanced topics in analytics, auditing, financial management, quantitative analysis, information systems, and more. A concentration in forensic accounting is available by completing nine credit hours. Prerequisites may be required in some cases.

    As with most schools, admission requires an application, an undergraduate degree, academic transcripts, GMAT scores, professional or academic recommendation, and a resume. SUNY Poly Tech is ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Value Schools,” “Top Public Schools,” “Best Colleges for Veterans,” and “Best Value Schools”.

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What Graduate Degree Do I Need?

There are a number of graduate accounting degrees available and titles will vary depending on the school. You may find degree titles such as Master of Accountancy (MAcc), Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA), Master of Science in Accounting (MSA), or Master of Business Administration (MBA). 

Whatever the degree is called, you’ll want to check to see if it will prepare you to sit for certification exams in your state. Each state has different educational criteria for licensure and certification. 

What Skills Do I Need to Be an Accountant?

It takes more than skill with numbers to be an accountant. In today’s complex accounting world, it helps to be self-motivated, have a keen attention to detail, have good organization skills, as well as an ability to work both independently and with teams. Strong interpersonal communication skills are important  as are time management abilities. 

What Is the Job Outlook for Accounting?

The overall job outlook for trained accountants appears stable, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Between 2018-2028, the estimated job growth for the profession will be an average of 6%, which is considered about as fast as average.

Accounting jobs can be found in various sectors including companies and corporations, government agencies, financial services, insurance companies, tax preparation, and payroll services. The ever growing healthcare industry also is a good place for employment.

How Much Can I Earn With an MS in Accounting?

Any salary estimate will depend on your job as well as where you live and work. You also should factor in benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, tuition reimbursement, etc. 

PayScale reports salaries for Master’s prepared accountants: accounting manager $79,000, financial controller $86,000, corporate controller $101,000 and chief financial officer (CFO) $132,000. 

Do I Need to Be Certified in Accounting?

There are several professional certifications available for accountants depending on your career or what you want to accomplish. Among the certifications are: Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). 

Will I Be Certified With a Master’s Degree in Accounting?

A MS in accounting won’t automatically certify you in the field. In the example of the CPA certification, nearly every state requires certified accountants to have 150 credit hours for licensure. Undergraduate degrees typically require 120 credit hours for completion and graduate degrees are usually 30 credit hours in length. 

Graduate hours will count toward the hours needed to sit for the CPA exam or other certification requirements. 

Should I Look for a Specific Program Accreditation?

Accreditation is an important aspect of choosing an academic program. It’s valuable to know that the school curriculum, faculty, and policies meet specific guidelines. Accredited colleges and universities undergo periodic, institutional peer reviews as a quality assurance method. Additionally, specific academic programs are accredited. 

You should check to see if the accounting program you’re interested in is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB-I) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP.)

Do I Need an Accounting Degree to get a Master’s in Accounting?

Surprisingly, no. Many business schools will admit students with an undergraduate degree in a field other than accounting. Your admission may be conditional, pending completion of prerequisite courses in business and/or accounting. The school may also consider your work/life experience, GRE/GMAT test scores, and your undergraduate GPA in determining your admission status. 

You may want to talk with an admission advisor to see what criteria is used for non-accounting undergraduates. 

Are There Accounting Specialities?

Yes. Almost every career has specialties and accounting is no different. Online accounting degree programs may provide concentrations in internal audit, nonprofit organizations, financial advising, management accountant, etc. Schools and programs may offer a wide variety of concentrations you can study in addition to the core business and accounting courses.