The best investment you can make is in yourself, which is why pursuing any kind of graduate degree is well worth the time, effort, and hard work. The benefits of a master’s in accounting are particularly valuable in the highly competitive industry of professional accounting. According to the most recent figures available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 1.4 million employed accountants and auditors in the U.S. overall, working in government, management, finance, and a variety of other sectors. While that’s a sizable number, there are nonetheless more accountants than available positions.
With a master’s in accounting from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Collat School of Business, you can obtain the combination of hard and soft skills you need to thrive in this line of work and distinguish yourself from the competition. Plus, since the program is 100% online, you can complete the required coursework on your schedule, at your own pace. This fact alone makes pursuing a graduate degree well worth it.
However, the benefits and advantages of an online master’s degree in accounting go well beyond convenience and accessibility. Here are a few other reasons why preparing to advance your accounting career with a graduate degree is a no-brainer:
Better Prepares You for the CPA Exam
Becoming a Certified Public Accountant is a highly prestigious title, one that requires a tremendous amount of hard work and discipline. In fact, of the approximately 1.4 million accountants in the U.S., less than half (47%) are CPAs, according to estimates from the CPA Accounting Institute for Success.
Obtaining a CPA credential isn’t as simple as passing the CPA exam, however. In addition to having completed a bachelor’s degree program at an accredited college or university, the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants also requires aspiring CPAs to complete 150 credit hours. Since most bachelor’s degrees typically involve between 120 and 128 hours of college coursework, this may leave undergraduates short of the mandatory amount.
Completing a master’s degree can not only help to fill that gap, but can also further hone the skills you learned in your undergraduate degree program, such as improved accuracy, better management of financial records, and leadership traits employers actively seek.
Obtain Your Master’s in Accounting Faster
One of the top advantages of an online accounting degree program is that soon-to-be master’s in accounting graduates can work at their own pace, which may be slow and steady. This capability comes in handy in this field because the job can have long hours, especially during certain periods of the year when workloads are higher, such as tax season in April.
Yet the opposite is also true — you can get your master’s faster than you would otherwise. Although it can vary, graduate degree programs done on campus usually take between one-and-a-half to two years to complete. UAB’s Master of Accounting program can be finished in as little as one year. The program is 30 credit hours at three credits each. The curriculum is streamlined and builds on itself, allowing students to more efficiently learn and grow. Some of the core courses include Governmental and Not-for-Profit Accounting, Advanced Financial Accounting, Business Law for Accountants, and Corporate Governance.
Broad Spectrum of Coursework
Although accountants’ duties and responsibilities are similar regardless of their employment sector, they work in a wide variety of industries. For example, according to the BLS, while roughly one-quarter of the nation’s accountants and auditors work in tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services (24%), there’s a fairly even split in accountants in other sectors, such as finance and insurance (9%), government (8%), enterprise management (7%), and those who are self-employed (6%).
Say you’ve been involved in tax preparation for most of your accounting career and are considering trying something different. An online master’s through UAB can help you get a better sense of what else is out there through a diverse cross section of coursework, including Corporate Governance, Governmental and Not-for-Profit Accounting, and Advanced Auditing and Attestation. Any one of these three credit-hour courses can help you build upon what you already know, or perhaps introduce you to a discipline that you may want to pursue further.
Plus, UAB faculty have decades of experience in accounting and come from many different backgrounds in this field. They may be able to offer additional insight that can help guide your career.
Vast Amount of Networking Opportunities
When it comes to finding a job, sometimes it’s not only about what you know, but who you know. It’s no different in an accounting career. The people you come into contact with may be aware of job opportunities that you’re not, or can perhaps offer suggestions about what skills to work on to improve your chances of filling an open role at a particular firm.
The networking opportunities are numerous through UAB’s online master’s in accounting program. In addition to full access to UAB’s esteemed faculty — several of whom are award-winning — you also have the opportunity to network with other online students who are taking the program along with you, as well as UAB’s ever-growing pool of accounting graduates. They may be able to offer suggestions of some of the next steps you can take to leverage your master’s in accounting upon graduation.
Enhances Your Earning Potential
Accounting is rewarding — both from a professional and financial perspective. As noted by the BLS, the median annual salary for accountants and auditors in 2019 was approximately $71,550, well ahead of the median overall earnings amount among all occupations in the U.S.
Generally speaking, those with master’s degrees tend to make more money than individuals with bachelor’s degrees. The same is true in accounting. According to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, accountants on average earn up to 15% more with a CPA license than without.
Again, while you do not necessarily need a master’s to complete the CPA exam, the coursework involved can set you up for success in taking the test and passing.
Conveniently Resolve Any Troubleshooting Issues
The chief benefit of master’s in accounting programs done online is that it can adjust to your timetable, not the other way around.
UAB’s online master’s in accounting network infrastructure is highly reliable, but if you should run into any problems, our technical help desk is always open — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can contact us in whatever way works best for you, by phone, chat or email.
Online Program is Recognized and Accredited
The UAB Collat School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. We have garnered national and international respect for the academic excellence.
The online and in-person curriculum are equally robust and should be recognized as such by employers.
Whether it’s to grow your salary potential, for continued learning purposes or to become better prepared for the CPA exam, the benefits of a master’s in accounting are vast. Invest in yourself and your future by applying today or request a free brochure.