What Are the Benefits of an Accounting Degree?

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An accounting degree is a good choice for many people, offering highly marketable job skills. Most businesses need accountants sooner or later, and it is a popular major for many students who enjoy numbers and analysis. Some students choose to major in accounting as an undergraduate, while others prefer to get a master's degree. At either level, an accounting degree is a valuable asset..

Marketability

  • A degree in accounting opens doors for good jobs in public accounting, government and private industry. In 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors held approximately 1.3 million jobs in the U.S. The BLS reports that employment in this area is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018--the highest percentage of growth among all occupations.

    To really make your degree work for you, supplement it with a license, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) license. The CPA exam is the better known, and although it is primarily for public accounting professionals, it's very well received in both the private and government sectors. The CPA exam is developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

    The CMA is a newer certification for people interested in working in industry, and it is set up by the Institute of of Management Accountants. The CMA exam is a series of tests developed by the IMA..

Salary

  • The average annual salary for accountants and auditors was $59,430 in May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With experience and certifications such as CPA or CMA, professionals can accelerate salary raises, making accounting a very financially rewarding career.

Variety

  • An accounting degree offers a wide variety of opportunities. You could work as a film production accountant and see your name on the movie credit. Auditing is another area accountants gravitate toward, offering lots of travel. Often, IT firms hire accounting graduates to work as functional consultants for their software, helping sell the programs or set up the systems and train users.

Self-employment

  • An accounting degree can offer people the benefit of self-employment. Accountants can work for themselves doing taxes and bookkeeping. Many take the CPA exam, become certified, work in public or private industry and then become self-employed. Some accountants specialize in a particular industry and then provide services as a self-employed consultant to that industry. According to the Department of Labor, about 8 percent of accountants are self-employed.

References

  • Photo Credit education equals earning potential image by Jan Beltz from Fotolia.com
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