A Bachelor’s degree is typically a four-year program which provides the basic educational qualification for beginning a professional path. A bachelor’s degree in accounting can lead to several careers, such as auditor or accountant. Different educational institutions offer different types of bachelor’s in accounting programs, including Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of business administration, and Bachelor of arts. While each type of bachelor degree in accounting comes with some courses that are specific to that degree, all of them ultimately prepare the candidates for careers in business and accounting.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors make a median annual wage north of $70,000. The following discussion details what to expect during a bachelor’s degree in accounting, what courses might make part of the degree, and future career and educational opportunities after obtaining this degree.
What is the Way Forward After Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting?
There are a number of direct Accounting jobs that become a possibility after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Some of these options, like tax examiners, can fetch nearly $55,000 in annual salary, according to the BLS. There are also numerous careers that are not accounting-heavy that candidates can choose to pursue with this degree. Some even choose to continue their education towards a master’s degree, chartered accountancy, or research based post graduate programs.
Here are some of the many lucrative careers and educational avenues that can be explored with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting:
- Financial Analyst.
- Public Accountant or Auditor.
- Corporate Accountant.
- Internal Auditor.
In terms of higher education after a bachelor’s degree, candidates can pursue the following:
- Certified Public Accountancy (CPA) certification program.
- Master’s in Accounting.
- Doctoral degrees in accounting.
- Other relevant certifications, for instance forensic accountant, internal auditor, etc.
What do you need to do to get an Associate Degree in Accounting?
The easiest and most direct way to earn a bachelor’s in accounting degree is to enroll in a four-year degree program at any accredited institution. Most institutions offer the four-year degree anyways. However, that is not the only option. For candidates who do not have the prerequisite accounting education, a direct admission to a bachelor’s degree might also be difficult to achieve.
Therefore, an alternate way is to complete an associate degree in accounting before opting for a bachelor’s program. An associate degree usually takes two-years and prepares students with the necessary foundational knowledge of accounting concepts. Graduates of associate degrees can also transfer to four-year degree programs and then obtain a bachelor’s degree within two years.
Some institutions accelerated three-year bachelor’s programs in accounting and there is also the option of part-time enrollment for candidates who wish to continue their career alongside. However, in the latter case it will certainly take longer to finish the bachelor’s degree as compared to a full-time program.
Community colleges usually have lower tuition fees than more reputed institutions. However, a combination of an associate degree and remaining two-years of bachelor’s program might cost more than a regular four-year’s bachelor’s program.
It is also imperative to mention here that admission in bachelor’s degree in accounting would require some extra tests or examinations, entailing the candidate to prove interest in accounting, finance and business; analytical skills; attention to detail; etc.
What to Expect While Pursuing a Bachelor’s in Accounting?
In addition to a heavy dose of accounting formulae and basic mathematical usage, students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree in accounting can expect a combination of generalized curriculum as well as specialized subjects.
Cost Accounting, Auditing, Financial Accounting, Accounting Information Systems, International Financial Reporting Standards, and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, etc. are just some of the concepts candidates will be expected to master during the degree.
There is also the option of compulsory and elective courses. The elective options usually vary from college to college, but required courses cover similar material in most college’s bachelors in accounting degrees.
In either case, students can expect to complete 120 credits. These may include courses covered in the associate accounting degree program. These requirements and the possibility of credit transfers should be checked with respective institutions before enrollment.
What Kinds of Bachelor’s in Accounting Degrees Are There?
While the major subject of the degree would remain accounting, there are a number of different programs that candidates can choose depending on their interests, skills and prospective career plans. Different institutions offer different degree programs so this should also be checked with respective institutions before applying. Some of the options may include:
- Bachelor of Accounting/Accountancy.
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting.
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting.
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting.
Can a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting be Obtained Online?
Online education has its merits over conventional classroom models, but it also comes with some undeniable shortcomings. On the plus side, learning from home offers a lot of flexibility and freedom of studying schedule. It allows candidates to continue their jobs, or other daily life activities without needing to stick to a rigid school time table.
Online education is also significantly cheaper than attending regular classes. Students may be able to pursue a degree from a far away institution with an online model, when it is not possible for them to physically attend the college or university.
With subjects like accounting, there is no need for a lab or specialized equipment, which means that all necessary coursework can also be completed remotely.
On the other end of the spectrum, distance learning puts a heavy responsibility on candidates of preparing, maintaining, and improving a consistent studying schedule. It may also deprive them of peer learning, and other social benefits of attending an organization.
There is also a lack of community building as part of an educational institution and candidates may lose out on co-curricular activities and opportunities that come with physically attending an institution.
In a nutshell, online learning can be an excellent mode of learning for some students while it can become cumbersome and unsustainable for others. There is no one size fits all policy here and candidates will have to make this decision based on their individual conditions and preferences.
To make the process of deciding on this choice, candidates may opt for trial periods of online learning before finalizing on either mode of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Like any other degree, a bachelor’s in accounting should be pursued after ensuring that the chosen organization is accredited and the degree will be widely acceptable. A failure to obtain a degree from an accredited institution can significantly reduce its validity in professional fields, as well as for pursuing higher education.
Furthermore, an accredited degree offers several other benefits including potential financial aid and transference of credits.
The chosen institution for obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting should be accredited by an agency that specializes in the field. Some of these agencies are:
- International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Other helping factors in finding an accredited program would be to check whether the chosen institution has an association to Advance Collegiate Schools, or Accreditation Councils etc.
How to Select the Best Institution for a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting?
The process should start with the objectives of a candidate pursuing the degree. Different institutions have different points of strength, for instance some are renowned for their educational reputation, while some have more flexibility in choice of subjects. Similarly, some institutions are popular because they are affordable, while some have degree programs that include professional experience as part of the degree thereby making the future career path easier for their students.
In addition to the individual goals of a candidate, there are other logistical and operational factors to consider as well, including location, size of student body, admission requirements, pre- and post-enrollment assistance, format of courses etc.