What Can You Do with a Master's Degree in Accounting?

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By DeVry University

August 27, 2021
7 min read

Whether you’ve recently earned your bachelor’s degree or have been working in your accounting role for some time, you might be considering the next steps in your career. Earning a master’s degree in accounting may be a great choice.

But, what can you do with a master’s in accounting? How long will it take you to accomplish your goals? Read on for answers to these frequently asked questions and more.

Explore Accounting Careers

After earning a master's, you may be interested in pursuing more expanded job opportunities in the world of finance and accounting. In fact, there are certain jobs that may only be available to people who hold a graduate degree in accounting. Some of these jobs can potentially include:

  • Public Accountant: A public accountant is responsible for helping companies with their finances. Their duties may include auditing, tax preparation, financial planning and budget and financial statement creation. To become a CPA, one requirement is to pass the CPA exam, which is only available to people who have at least 150 credit hours of accounting classes. Many people who become CPAs pursue a master's program in order to fulfill this requirement.

  • Auditor: Auditors are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of an organization's financial records. While it is possible to become an auditor without a master's degree, pursing a master's in accounting may help you stand out as you move forward in your career. Oftentimes, senior-level auditors have a master's degree or higher-level degree. Auditors may work for public accounting firms or as internal auditors within organizations.

  • Finance Manager: Finance managers oversee the budgets of all departments in an organization. These senior-level accountants often have a master's degree, CPA certification and several years of experience in the industry.

  • Senior Financial Analyst: Financial analysts analyze budgets and data to arrive at a risk calculation for proposed projects. Many employers require their financial analysts to have a master's degree, and some may prefer them to have a CPA certification as well.

  • Tax Examiner: Tax examiners work for the government and evaluate tax forms for both individuals and businesses. Not all tax examiners have a graduate degree, but those who wish to pursue a senior-level position often hold a master's.

  • Forensic Accountant: Forensic accountants perform a variety of functions, depending on the organization they work for. Some work for law enforcement agencies and identify financial crimes; others work for private companies and help uncover suspected fraud within the organization. Many forensic accountants have a Certified Fraud Examiner credential or a Certified Forensic Accountant credential. If you’re interested in becoming a forensic accountant it can be helpful to have a master's degree, as it can potentially help you maximize the number of jobs for which you could be prepared for.

As you can see, there are many opportunities you can consider pursuing once you’ve earned a master's in accounting. Read on to learn more about the value of accounting graduate programs, how to pursue this degree and the various specializations you can choose from.

  • Is a Master's Degree in Accounting Worth It?
  • Do Accountants Need a Master's Degree?
  • How Long Does it Take to Get Master's Degree in Accounting?
  • Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree in Accounting
  • What are the Different Types of Accounting Degrees?
  • Why should you get a Master’s in Accounting?
  • Specialization in Accounting

Is a Master's Degree in Accounting Worth It?

Pursuing a master's degree in accounting can certainly be worthwhile for anyone who wishes to work in the accounting profession long term. Per Accounting Today, 25% of new hires at U.S. accounting firms in 2018 had a master's degree.

Taking a look at your long-term career plans as well as the requirements for relevant job postings in your area can be a great way to help you determine if earning a master's degree can help you pursue your individual goals.

Do Accountants Need a Master's Degree?

Not all accounting jobs require a master's degree, but many accountants choose to pursue a master's degree to help them stand out amongst other job candidates and pursue higher-level roles.

In addition, some certifications, such as a CPA, require some a minimum number of credit hours. Most accountants who pursue these certifications choose to enroll in a master's program to fulfill those requirements.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's Degree in Accounting?

At DeVry, you can earn your master's degree in as little as 1 year and 8 months1 (not including breaks) – and even faster when you have qualifying transfer credits.

Some of our programs include course options that allow you to complete Becker Professional Education's CPA Exam Review as a part of your curriculum. Through this partnership, you can prepare yourself for the CPA exam while pursuing a master's degree.

Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree in Accounting

Choosing to pursue a master's degree online provides a number of benefits to you. Compared to master's programs at physical locations, an online program can provide significantly more flexibility. For example, you can work full-time while taking classes and simply adjust your study schedule to meet your specific needs.

In addition to flexibility, our online programs at DeVry provide the following benefits to students:

  • 24/7 tutoring2
  • One-on-one faculty guidance
  • E-library access
  • Mobile app
  • ASPIRE student assistance counseling program
  • Career services and support
  • An online student community

What are the Different Types of Accounting Degrees?

At DeVry we offer four different accounting-focused master's degree programs. They include:

  • Master’s in Accounting: Our Master's Degree in Accounting program is designed to prepare you for a career working at an accounting firm, a private company or the government. This program includes CPA exam preparation and is best suited for individuals who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

  • Master’s in Accounting and Financial Management: Similar to our Master’s in Accounting, our Master’s in Accounting and Financial Management prepares you for a career in the accounting profession. In this program, you may choose between a Finance or CPA Exam Preparation emphasis. It is designed to help you apply accounting concepts to financial accounting, managerial accounting and financial management, regardless of your previous work or education background.

  • MBA with an Accounting Specialization: An MBA with a Specialization in Accounting provides a balanced approach between traditional accounting and the real-world application of accounting through business practices.

  • MBA with a Finance Specialization: An MBA with a Finance specialization provides you with the opportunity to build financial management skills that can be applied in a business setting.

Why Should You Get a Master’s in Accounting?

A master's in accounting may be the credential you need to take the next steps toward your future. Whether you want to qualify for higher-level accounting jobs, pursue roles in a new area of the industry or advance at your current organization, earning a graduate degree can help you demonstrate your advanced skillset in accounting.

In addition, earning a master’s degree may help you prepare for industry-specific certifications, such as the CPA credential. This is yet another way that you can prove your capabilities to current and future employers.

Specialization in Accounting

A specialization in accounting can provide you with the skills you need to prepare for an accounting career. Through our Accounting Specialization at DeVry, you can learn useful skills such as:

  • Accounting Theory and Practice
  • Advanced Accounting Studies
  • Accounting Research

You'll also gain a more thorough understanding of accounting regulations and standards as well as the skills you need to pursue a professional license.

The skills you gain through an accounting specialization can also help you gain a better understanding of business management. These additional skills can help make you a more effective employee who is more aware of the various considerations that go into every business decision.

Take the Next Step in Accounting

Pursuing a graduate degree in accounting can be easier than you think. At DeVry, we offer a range of tools and resources to help you fit school into your busy life. Connect with us to learn more about our classes starting every 8 weeks.

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Related Information


1Not including breaks. Assumes year-round, full-time enrollment.
2Each student is allotted 13 hours of tutoring per academic session through www.Tutor.com (available 24/7). Additional tutoring services are also available through www.DeVryTutors.com.