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Is an Accounting Degree Worth It?

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.

December 14, 2022

5 min read


If you’re looking forward to preparing for a career in business, chances are you’re comparing different degree programs to determine which could offer you the best career potential. 


You might be asking yourself: What are the potential benefits of earning an accounting degree compared to other business administration concentrations? Is an accounting degree worth it in terms of career and earning potential?

Skills and Education Required for an Accounting Career

Deciding to earn an accounting degree is an exciting step. To help ensure the program you’re enrolling in is the right fit for you, it’s important that you thoroughly review the skills required to perform the job you’re interested in pursuing. Accountants need a combination of hard and soft skills to succeed in their careers, which may include:

  • Organization

  • Data analysis and attention to detail

  • Critical thinking

  • Effective communication

  • Time management

  • Problem solving

Coursework in an accounting degree program should cover specific skills like the principles, practices and procedures used by accountants, as well as the logic and reasoning that is so elemental to the profession. At DeVry, coursework in our Accounting Bachelor’s Degree, for example, includes:

  • Critical thinking

  • Judgment and decision making

  • Financial accounting

  • Auditing

  • Accounting information systems

  • Federal income taxation

Is an Accounting Degree Worth It?

As you continue to weigh your career options and investigate which career paths may have better earning potential or are more in line with your interests, you’re probably asking yourself: Is an accounting degree worth it? While there certainly is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, let’s take a look at some of the potential benefits.

There can be several strong positives to an accounting career:

A straightforward career path

If you’re a person who likes to have a clear idea of where their career is headed, then an accounting degree may give you that. An accounting degree helps equip you with a specific set of skills that can be applied to many accounting jobs across multiple industries. Career paths in accounting are often well defined, making it easy to transition from one role, organization or industry to the next.

Broad availability

Some careers require you to live in or near a particular industrial hub, but accountants can work just about anywhere. Since accounting is a universal business need, they can typically find work in any city or suburb, and in organizations of all sizes. Remote opportunities may also be available. 

Fulfills an essential function

Since all organizations need people to help prepare and file taxes, manage cash flow or oversee other business-related accounting functions, accountants serve an essential role in nearly every industry. 

Ability to choose a specialization

Some degree programs in business or other similar field allow you to add on more focused coursework in the form of a specialization. By choosing an accounting specialization, you may be able to gain a richer perspective on how this discipline interacts with your core degree, and may help to build confidence through professional development and expanding your knowledge base. Types of accounts or accounting specializations include:

  • Bookkeeping: Multitasking bookkeepers maintain the official financial records of a company, including its accounting ledgers. They may also handle the company’s payroll, make purchases, prepare customer invoices and track past-due customer accounts.

  • Financial accounting: Financial accountants track all of the money that flows into and out of an organization. This process includes revenue and expenses, assets and liabilities and shareholder equity. Another important task for financial accountants is the preparation of annual financial statements such as balance sheets and income and cash flow statements.

  • Management accounting: In this specialty, the accountant is mainly engaged in the planning, organizing, recording, classifying and summarizing an organization’s financial information to help the company’s management team make well-informed decisions. This may include tracking the financial performance of certain divisions or business units within a larger organization. Cost accounting is a form of managerial accounting that measures a company’s total cost of production by assessing variable and fixed costs.

  • Forensic accounting: Forensic accountants examine financial records to uncover evidence of illegal or unethical activities such as fraud or embezzlement. These accountants often work with attorneys or criminal investigators to help gather evidence of suspected criminal activity.

  • Tax accounting: The primary duties associated with this accounting specialty involve preparing and filing tax returns with state, local or federal tax authorities. This could include income or payroll taxes, depending on the type of client involved. Working with individuals or businesses, tax accountants make sure the documentation is completed accurately and filed on time, thereby avoiding any penalties.

  • Auditing: In auditing, accountants determine and verify the accuracy of financial statements and other information prepared and submitted by organizations or their various business units. They may also work to verify that an organization has established sufficient internal controls over its financial reporting. 

Chance to work in different industries

Because the need for accounting is so universal and accounting principles are standardized across the business world, you may not have to stay within one specific industry while working in this field. This standardization can open up the possibility of focusing on a particular industry throughout your career or transitioning to different positions with companies in a number of different industries as your career progresses.

Option to pursue entrepreneurship

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to operate your own business, you may choose to open your own accounting practice. Public accounting firms can be found everywhere, and range in size from one-person offices to major firms with divisions that offer multiple accounting specialties. 

Is there a downside?

Is there a downside to the accounting field? We don’t think so. However, here are a few noteworthy things to consider when pursuing a career as an accountant:

  • Some positions require advanced education:1 If you’re thinking about becoming a Certified Public Account (CPA), you should know that there are specific requirements for pursuing this certification, including earning a set number of credit hours before you can sit for the exam. In addition, tax accountants must stay up to date on changes in the IRS tax code. If you’re considering either of these as a career path, for example, you will need to be willing to commit to additional study time. 

  • You may have a busy season: The period from January 1 to April 15 is widely known as tax season. Describing this period as busy for accountants might be something of an understatement. During this time, you may be required to work longer hours to get your clients’ returns filed before the April 15 deadline. 

  • Attention to detail is essential: Keeping track of a company’s finances is an important task. As an accountant, you should be prepared to balance various regulations, growth expectations, tax laws and other complex challenges without missing a beat.

Accounting Degree Options

Education is a crucial first step for anyone preparing to pursue an accounting career. At DeVry, we offer a range of accounting degree and certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels designed to fit your personal and career goals and lifestyle requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting: Begin your accounting career journey and build a strong foundation in accounting and economics with this bachelor’s degree program. 

  • Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Accounting: When you enroll in our Business Administration, Management or Technical Management bachelor’s degree program, a specialization in accounting will help you focus your skills and prepare to apply them in an accounting setting. 

  • Master’s Degree in Accounting: Already have an undergraduate degree in accounting? This master’s degree is designed to help you explore new job opportunities with an emphasis on CPA or CMA Exam preparation or general accounting.

  • Master’s Degree in Accounting and Financial Management: Transition into career opportunities in finance or accounting and develop important skills while you select an emphasis on CPA or CMA Exam prep, general accounting or finance.

  • MBA with a Specialization in Accounting: Build a thorough background in the theory and application of managerial and financial accounting in a business environment while developing corporate-level communication and business administration skills. 

  • Graduate Certificate in Accounting: Undergraduate degree holders who want to further their knowledge or develop accounting skills without completing a full degree program will find this certificate program to be an attractive option. 

  • Graduate Certificate in Accounting Certification Preparation: For students with an undergraduate specialization in accounting or finance who want to advance their careers, this online program offers emphasis on either CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or CMA (Certified Management Accountant) exam preparation.

Accounting Degree Career Options

Accounting careers can be found in nearly every industry, including public accounting corporations, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and multinational companies. You can explore a range of career opportunities with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, or go on to earn a master’s degree or Master of Business Administration (MBA) so that you may consider higher-level positions.

Career options you may consider after earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting include:

  • Accountant

  • Accounting Manager

  • Auditor Public Accounting or Government & Non-Profit Organizations

  • Budget Analyst

  • Credit Analyst

  • Financial Analyst

  • Financial Manager

  • Financial Planner

Is Accounting a Steady Career?

Because all businesses need the services of an accountant or an outside accounting firm, the occupation is a solid choice. Accounting-related jobs are expected to remain steady during the next decade. According to job growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 4% from 2022 to 2032, with about 126,500 job openings projected each year over the decade.2 This growth is projected on a national level and local growth will vary by location. This projection is not specific to DeVry University graduates and may include earners at all stages of their careers. 

Is an accounting degree right for you? If you’re looking for a career with projectably steady employment growth, prefer a clearly defined, step-by-step career path and have interest in working with numbers or business finances, this degree could be a great fit for you.

Start Your Accounting Career Journey at DeVry

If you’re ready to pursue a career in accounting, explore our flexible online or hybrid3 Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and prepare to learn many of the fundamental accounting skills that can be applied to a career in finance, management, forensic accounting and other fields. 

You can earn your bachelor’s degree in 4 years on a normal schedule or in 2 years and 8 months on an accelerated one.4 Classes start soon!

1Credits and degrees earned from this institution do not automatically qualify the holder to participate in professional licensing exams to practice certain professions. Persons interested in practicing a regulated profession must contact the appropriate state regulatory agency for their field of interest. For instance, typically 150 credit hours or education are required to meet state regulatory agency education requirements for CPA licensure. Coursework may qualify for credit towards the State Board of Accountancy requirements. However, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the state board of accountancy for the jurisdiction in which they are applying to determine whether they have completed the appropriate credit hours and coursework to qualify to take the CPA exam. Employees of DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management are not in a position to determine an individual’s eligibility to take the CPA exam or satisfy licensing. 
3Program, course, and extended classroom availability vary by location. In site-based programs, students will be required to take a substantial amount of coursework online to complete their program.
4Accelerated schedule is per 12 month period, does not include breaks and assumes year-round, full-time enrollment. Normal schedule is per 12 month period, does not include breaks and assumes 2 semesters of full-time enrollment.

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