Opportunities for experience in the online MAc program

Professionals develop their careers over time through strategic decisions that lead them to their ideal positions. People who begin to think about their long-term professional goals early on and seek out opportunities for experience before they graduate often find their effort pays off later on.

The skills needed for an accounting internship, volunteer position, or to participate in a professional organization are much like those necessary for succeeding in this industry, such as initiative, leadership and communication. As such, pursuing these opportunities for professional and personal growth will typically benefit students in their future careers.


Working in an internship helps students and recent graduates in a number of ways. By getting a taste for what life on the job entails, students will be better prepared for their future careers. Plus, employers will feel more confident that an applicant with internship experience will be able to adjust easily to their company.

Another one of the major benefits of an accounting internship is it increases the intern’s likelihood of landing a full-time job at that company after graduation. The job offer rate for interns was 59 percent, and more than three-fourths of interns who received a job offer took it, according to the 2018 Internship & Co-op Survey Report from National Association of Colleges and Employers.

A group of professionals review reports together.

At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, students will have access to resources for finding internships. Plus, students in the online master’s in accounting curriculum through the Collat School of Business can get three credit hours toward their degree when they enroll in the elective course, AC 564: Accounting Internship.

Accounting internship requirements for earning academic credit include:

  • At least 50 working hours for each credit hour
  • Complete the undergraduate course BUS 305: Professional Development
  • Approval from the internship coordinator before beginning the internship
  • Register in and pass AC 564: Accounting Internship

Community service

Students can gain work experience in accounting by giving back to their community. A few ways accounting students can engage in career-relevant community service include:

  • Offering free tax preparation services to their community
  • Speaking at local elementary, middle and high schools about business principles
  • Accounting pro bono for a not-for-profit organization

While the idea of doing work for free may not appeal to students at first, consider this: 82 percent of respondents to a Deloitte survey said they were more likely to choose a candidate with volunteer experience. Further, 85 percent said they’d be willing to overlook other flaws if an applicant included community service on their resume.

Additionally, 85 percent of respondents said that skills-based volunteering helps talent boost their communication skills, compared to 77 percent who said the same for non-skills based volunteering.

Student and professional groups

Joining career- or interest-related organizations is a helpful way students can network with others who share common experiences or expertise. Taking part in a professional organization can benefit one’s career in a number of ways.

Not only does it allow people to network and share knowledge and experiences, but it also gives young professionals a way to connect with more experienced people. Additionally, when companies have a job opening, it’s common for them to seek viable candidates through local chapters of professional organizations. Listing involvement in an organization on a resume shows leadership and initiative, and demonstrates individuals’ dedication to their careers.

Exploring the various corners of a field through a professional organization can also lead people to find a niche they can excel at. For example, joining the society Beta Alpha Psi at the University of Alabama at Birmingham will give students the chance to network with fellow students studying accounting, finance and information systems. These fields are distinct, but learning about how they interrelate and the various aspects of these industries can show students new opportunities for personal and professional development.

Students have access to a number of student organizations as well as student chapters of professional organizations when studying at the Collat School of Business, including:

Financial Management Association

The Financial Management Association at the University of Alabama at Birmingham gives students the opportunity to network with local finance professionals to gain a greater understanding of the financial field and to connect with future potential employers.

National Association of Black Accountants

NABA represents more than 200,000 black professionals in accounting and finance fields across the U.S. The Birmingham chapter has a student chapter at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which students are welcome to join and participate in.

Beta Alpha Psi

This organization is open to students pursuing their degrees in accounting, finance and information systems, and attracts local professionals who want to engage with the incoming generation of professionals.

Gain valuable skills through the Collat School of Business accounting program

Skills building outside the classroom is important for gaining a well-rounded view of the accounting field. There are numerous valuable ways to gain experience in the field when studying accounting through the Collat School of Business.

To learn more about earning a master’s in accounting at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, or the many opportunities to build experience and skills outside the classroom, reach out to an enrollment advisor today.


Recommended Reading:

Which skills do you need to be a not-for-profit accountant?

How professionals stay up-to-date on current trends in accounting



National Association of Colleges and Employers 2018 Internship & Co-op Survey Report

University of Alabama at Birmingham Master of Accounting course descriptions

University of Alabama at Birmingham Bachelor of Science in Accounting course descriptions

University of Alabama at Birmingham Internships

Deloitte 2016 Deloitte Impact Survey Building leadership skills through volunteerism

Collat School of Business Opportunities for Experience

Facebook UAB FMA

National Association of Black Accountants About Us

National Association of Black Accountants Birmingham Chapter Student Chapters

UABBAP Full Membership

JobMonkey 9 Reasons To Join A Professional Organization