How Much Can an Accountant Earn With a Bachelor Degree?

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Accountants may have a number of slang-like phrases associated with their job duties -- running the numbers, getting in the black, bottom-lining it -- but the main task of the trained professionals in accounting is to study, maintain and record a company's finances. Accountants handle information from investments, payrolls, receipts and expenses, and also may be involved with annual statements, tax matters and purchase decisions.

Facts

  • In 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average salary for accountants to be $67,430 nationwide. The bureau also noted several areas where accountants earned much-higher-than-average salaries. The federal executive branch of the government topped the list, with an annual salary of $88,190. The tobacco manufacturing industry also paid a higher salary of $81,560, followed by the securities and commodity contracts industry at $80,780. Accountants for the postal service also earned above the national rate at $79,600 per year.

Location

  • Accountants on the East Coast earned the highest salaries in 2009. The state of New York led the country, with average salaries of $84,280 per year, followed by the District of Columbia, at $79,990. The District also topped the BLS's list of highest per-capita employment of accountants in the country. New Jersey placed third on the highest-paying list, with annual salaries of $79,330. In fourth place was Maryland, at $76,220, followed by Massachusetts, at $73,290 per year.

Considerations

  • The traditional minimum requirement to being hired as an accountant is a bachelor's degree in a field such as accounting, finance, business or economics. Some employers may accept bachelor's degrees in other fields of study and perform on-the-job training. Prospective accountants with master's-level degrees or certifications such as Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, Certified Information Systems Auditor or Certified Internal Auditor may receive higher salaries.

Outlook

  • The BLS expects a 22-percent growth in the employment of accountants between 2008 and 2018, adding 279,400 jobs nationwide during that time period. The bureau attributes heightened demand for accountants in part to a growing economy and to companies' desires to maintain stricter records. The BLS notes that accountants with certifications in addition to their bachelor's degrees will have a greater chance at securing employment.

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References

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