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How Do I Get a Master's Degree in Accounting?

After a student obtains a bachelor's degree, she can then move on to get her master’s degree in accounting.
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  • Written By: Elva K.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Accountants give tax advice, keep records, compile tax forms, and represent individuals in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proceedings. Individuals interested in careers in accounting often pursue the master's degree because it improves their job options. Getting a master's degree in accounting generally requires first getting a college degree and graduate training.

You could pursue one of two paths to get to the master's degree. One path would be to pursue the bachelor's degree in accounting and then pursue the master's degree in accounting. The other path would be to pursue a bachelor's degree in any subject and then pursue a master's degree in accounting. Please note that not all schools offer a master's degree option for people without bachelor's degrees in accounting.

If you pursue an accounting bachelor's degree, complete the required courses, do a college internship in accounting, and earn the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. Then, you can find a job and work as an accountant for a few years before applying to the master's degree program. Or, by contrast, you could opt to not work immediately after college. Instead, you could apply to a master's degree program in accounting as soon as you are finished with the accounting bachelor's degree.

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By contrast, if you pursue a bachelor's degree in a non-accounting major, then simply complete whatever major you choose and then apply for the master's degree. Of course, during the undergraduate degree, it can be helpful if you take introductory accounting and business courses as electives because they will give you familiarity with the courses you will take on the graduate level. Taking these courses as an undergraduate is not necessarily required.

Keep in mind that master's degree programs vary in terms of cost, location, professors' research preferences, and the types of companies that tend to come to the school to recruit students for jobs. It is important for you to have a sense of what you can afford to pay for schooling. Have a sense of various schools' scholarship opportunities. Also, have a sense of what your career goals are and where you hope to live and work after graduate school.

Looking at the website of the American Accounting Association (AAA) and reading its listings of the various accounting programs can be a helpful place to start in your search for a master's degree program. Reading various business magazines to find out about accounting programs could be helpful. Also, talking to professors and people who have already completed the master's degree and who are working successfully as accountants is the sort of thing that could help you to determine which school or schools would be the best schools to apply to for the master's degree in accounting.

The application process will involve asking for references from previous professors and previous employers. Also, you will need to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) which tests your math, analytical, and verbal skills. In addition, you will have to fill out the applications for any schools you are interested in. An interview may also be necessary as part of the application process.

Once accepted into a master's degree program, you will go through two years of extreme academic challenge. Your task is to finish the necessary coursework, do the required internship, complete your master's degree thesis if your particular program requires one, and do whatever other academic tasks your school requires. If you do this, you will have met the criteria and will attain the master's degree in accounting.

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