The Complete Guide to Accounting Degrees

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Are you ready to find your fit?

What is accounting? Is Accounting a good major? Looking to choose one of the top accounting schools in the US?

Take a look at this comprehensive and frank examination of the profession of accountancy, the complexities of professional development in the accounting occupation, and what you ought to look for when selecting from the best accounting schools.

Divided into five major sections, this College Choice Guide to Accounting you will provide you with:

  1. University of North Carolina Greensboro
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    UNC Greensboro offers an online Master of Education in Birth-Kindergarten Interdisciplinary Studies in Education and Development. The program is administered by both the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. It seeks to prepare graduates for a wide variety of leadership roles in a number of different contexts, whether that be a traditional classroom-based role or in community efforts. The program specializes in the unique educational needs of young children up to five years of age and their families.

    Features

    The program offers two areas of concentration: Early Childhood Leadership Program Administration and Early Childhood Leadership Advanced Teaching Licensure. Relevant coursework includes

    Introduction to Inclusive Birth Kindergarten Services Inclusive Family-Centered Practices in Early Childhood Screening/Assessment in Inclusive Early Childhood Services Leadership Mentoring in Educating Young Children Advanced Curriculum in Early Childhood Education

    Notables

    Graduates will be prepared for a range of professional roles, such as early childhood teacher, early interventionist, resource and referral specialist, child care consultant, family advocate, program administrator, and community college instructor. The program is designed for students with a Standard Professional I or initial license seeking, and teachers, directors/administrators, technical assistance providers, and other professionals will benefit from it.

  2. West Virginia University
    Location

    Morgantown, WV

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    West Virginia University s online Master of Arts in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Child Development and Family Studies is designed to prepare students to work with children, adolescents, or families in educational, applied, or other clinical settings. It is also suitable preparation for those interested in pursuing doctoral-level training. Graduates of the program are better prepared to meet the challenges of their work than they would with a bachelor s degree only.

    Features

    Students enjoy a measure of flexibility in WVU s program and benefit from a wide selection of elective courses relevant to their particular interests and career objectives, such as

    Education psychology Curriculum and instruction Counseling and guidance Psychology Special education Sociology Social work Public administration

    Notables

    Graduates of WVU s program have pursued careers as directors of child care programs in corporations, hospitals, and the private sector. Other graduates work as instructors and faculty members at four-year colleges and branch campuses of major universities teaching classes in child/human development and family studies. Still others work in curriculum development, community health care agencies, and traditional classroom settings.

  3. University of South Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    University of South Florida offers a fully online Master of Science Degree in Child Adolescent Behavioral Health (MSCABH). It is designed for those seeking to become professionals in public and non-profit agencies and schools that work with diverse children and adolescents experiencing behavioral health challenges and their families. Graduates will be prepared to serve as directors, supervisors, and case managers in mental health, substance abuse, juvenile justice, developmental disabilities, and child welfare agencies, as well as consultants in schools and early education and care programs.

    Features

    USF s program will also prepare students interested in pursuing doctoral studies in education. Examples of courses in the program include but are not limited to

    Child Adolescent Behavioral Health Cultural Competency in Children s Mental Health Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Policy Evaluation Research Methods in Community Health

    Notables

    USF s program offers four areas of concentration, and students can complete their program with a thesis or applied track. The thesis track is designed for those interested in possibly furthering their education beyond a master s degree or working in a more research-based setting. The applied track offers a field experience component. Both tracks feature overlapping coursework.

  4. University of Southern Mississippi
    Location

    Hattiesburg, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Southern Mississippi offers an online Master of Science Degree in Child and Family Studies that prepares students to work with families in diverse settings in order to promote quality of life and to serve as an effective advocate for families. The program is ideal for working professionals in educational settings and agencies who struggle to fit traditional classroom learning into their busy schedules

    Features

    Coursework in the program spans the developmental process and includes:

    Theories in Child and Family Studies Advanced Child Development Evaluation and Assessment Parenting Across the Lifespan Family Advocacy Advanced Family Theories Adolescence and the Family System Individual Family Life Cycle Development

    Notables

    Graduates of Southern Mississippi s program have pursued careers in a wide variety of roles, including as a certified family life educator, early childhood educator, preschool teacher/director, substance abuse specialist, sexual health educator, foster care coordinator, elementary, middle, and high school educator, nonprofit program manager, family program administrator, child life specialist, college instructor, resource specialist, and developmental play specialist.

  5. Stephen F. Austin State University
    Location

    Nacogdoches, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Stephen F. Austin State University, located in Nacogdoches, Texas, offers an online master s degree in early childhood education program through its Department of Elementary Education. The program is designed to meet the specific needs of individuals who work with children ages birth through eight years and to encourage specialized competency in organizing programs for young children and families.

    Features

    Students will be exposed to in-depth study and research related to a number of relevant issues in the field, including

    child growth and development theoretical underpinnings of classroom practice development of learning strategems sociological and psychological factors influencing behavior in young children.

    Notables

    Students in the program may select a traditional thesis option or take an additional six hours of courses. A minimum of six hours undergraduate work in early childhood courses related to growth, development, and curriculum is required for admission. It has been recognized as a great value in online education, so for students who are watching the bottom line, SFA could be a great choice. The program requires 36 credit hours to complete.

  6. University of Northern Colorado
    Location

    Greeley, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    University of Northern Colorado offers an online master s in early childhood special education. It is available either online, on campus, or a combination of both, and it is a great choice for working professionals who need to pursue further education without leaving their jobs. Students will develop a range of specialized skills to work with young children and their families. Faculty members are actively involved in teaching and research with local school districts and agencies, and the program encourages extensive field-based learning.

    Features

    Coursework in the program covers a range of topics relevant to the practice of early childhood education, including but not limited to the following:

    Family/Professional Partnerships Typical and Atypical Early Child Development: Application to Early Childhood Special Education Scientifically Based Literacy Interventions Research, Policy and Advocacy in Early Childhood Special Education Learning Environments and Cultural Considerations Assessment, IEP Development and Instructional Planning

    Notables

    UNC s School of Special Education has been designated as a Center of Excellence by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education three times. UNC is also the top-ranked university in the state (and one of the top 10 in the nation) for online graduate programs in education. In addition to the above, students will learn appropriate ways to work with children and their families across a range of abilities and cultural experiences and also how to effectively collaborate with general educators and related services professionals.

  7. University of Colorado at Denver
    Location

    Aurora, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    UC Denver s online Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education is designed to prepare early childhood professional leaders with the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of young children and their families within a rapidly changing and diverse society. It is offered through the School of Education and Human Development, the largest graduate school of education in Colorado, and has extensive partnerships in urban schools.

    Features

    The curriculum in the program covers the gamut of standard topics in the field, such as

    Curriculum in Early Childhood Education Language and Literacy in Young Children Research in Schools Basic Statistics

    Notables

    UC Denver s program boasts multiple accreditations, such as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Colorado Department of Education Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Graduates of the program will be well prepared to excel in classroom and educational settings, child care programs, early intervention programs (including Head Start and Early Head Start), and family support and home-based programs.

  8. San Diego State University
    Location

    San Diego, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    San Diego State University features an online Master of Science Degree in Child Development, which focuses on child social and emotional development and on contextual child development, for instance, early childhood education programs, schools, families, and communities. Students will be able to further their professional expertise and credentials in areas related to children and families. It is also suitable preparation for students interested in pursuing doctoral-level education.

    Features

    Coursework in the program prepares students to face as many challenges in their careers as possible through topics such as

    Human development and theories Family processes and theories Applications for prevention and intervention Research methods Program development and proposal writing

    Notables

    Additional topics students can expect to cover in their program include early childhood development, prevention, intervention, family processes, risk and resilience, development across the lifespan, parent-child intergenerational relationships, enhancing school readiness and preparing teachers to work with families, socio-emotional and behavior support in educational settings and homes, influences of language and culture, and atypical development. Students conclude their program with a capstone project.

  9. North Dakota State University
    Location

    Fargo, ND

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    North Dakota State, a leader in online education, offers an online Master of Science in Human Development and Family Science with a focus on Youth Development, an emerging field that focuses on promoting the positive development of youth. Professionals put developmental research and theory into practice in structuring and implementing programs and services for adolescents. Graduates will be prepared to work for organizations such as 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, non-profits, faith based groups, community recreation, juvenile justice facilities, middle and high school programs, extension services, and military youth programs.

    Features

    Coursework in this innovative program is geared toward understanding and encouraging youth, such as

    Foundations of Youth Development Community Youth Development Adolescents and Their Families Contemporary Youth Issues Youth in Cultural Contexts Youth Professionals as Consumer of Research Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation

    Notables

    NDSU s online Master of Science in Human Development and Family Science: Youth Development is an intentionally collaborative, inter-institutional program offered by the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA), a web-based distance education program. The program requires 36 credits to graduate, including a practicum experience. Students can also opt to complete their program with a thesis, and most complete it within two or three years.

  10. Missouri State University-Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Missouri State Springfield s online Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development can lead to a number of opportunities in education, administration, municipal government, and even private business, such as a teacher, director, supervisor, principal, researcher, agent, case manager, consultant, regulator, sales representative, and inspector. It can also serve to prepare students for further education at the doctoral level.

    Features

    Coursework in Missouri State s program is comprehensive and will prepare students for a number of possible career outcomes. The program includes courses such as the following:

    Orientation to Early Childhood and Family Development Advanced Human Development Studies Inquiry in Early Childhood and Family Development Advanced Family Studies Programming and Policy Issues for Early Childhood Settings Children and Families in a Diverse Society Educational Research Methodology Proposal Development

    Notables

    Missouri State s program identifies several actionable outcomes for their program, for instance, the ability to describe the characteristics and influences on an individual s development to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging; describe the process to build effective family and community relationships; and advance cultural competence to enhance interactions with individuals across settings with an ultimate goal of working toward anti-bias practices on a global level.

  11. Michigan State University
    Location

    East Lansing, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Michigan State offers a number of options for those interested in online graduate work in education. Through the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Social Science, it offers Graduate Certificates in Youth Development and Youth Program Management and Evaluation; a Master of Arts in Family Community Services or Youth Development; a Master of Science in Child Development or Human Development and Family Studies; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development and Family Studies.

    Features

    The Master of Science in Child Development focuses on the behavioral, psychological, biological and contextual processes that promote positive developmental outcomes in infants and young children. Available courses in the program cover topics such as

    Development across cultures Infant development Language and literacy research and practices Social-emotional development Observational methods for home or classroom Approaches to early education Intervention and prevention programs

    Notables

    Students in MSU s program will develop professional competence, creative thinking abilities, and the ability to perform and utilize research. Each student s program is developed within the framework of the area of major interest, taking into consideration his or her professional experience, interests, and educational and career goals. Graduates of the program have worked in college teaching, research, extension, marriage and family therapy, and administration in early childhood education centers.

  12. SUNY University at Albany
    Location

    Albany, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    SUNY Albany, part of the State University of New York system, offers an online Master of Science in Early Childhood Education that is designed to foster a strategic set of competencies and skills. Graduates are expected to be caring professionals who boast both theoretical and practical knowledge and know how to employ research in their careers. They will receive extensive training in assessments, analysis, pedagogy, and learning acquisition. SUNY graduates are lifelong learners.

    Features

    Students in the program will receive exhaustive training in all aspects of early childhood education, including

    Literacy development Science Mathematics Writing instruction Assessment Data-based decision making Critical literacy

    Notables

    Graduates of SUNY Albany s program are encouraged to be professionally active and critically engaged in their work. Students in the program will benefit from practicum experiences within courses that lead to literacy specialist certificates; focused courses that differentiate between preschool, elementary, middle school, and secondary literacy theory and practice; attention to ensuring that the knowledge, dispositions and proficiencies we expect for professional teachers and specialists are built into every master s level course.

  13. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Minnesota, one of the great public higher education institutions, offers an online Master of Arts in Child Life that prepares students to draw on development science to address the needs of children and adolescents in advocacy, community, and health care settings. Minnesota s program is unique in its incorporation of biological and cognitive sciences in addition to psychological and educational emphases. This allows students to be comprehensively prepared for wherever their careers might take them.

    Features

    The program offers three specialized tracks, in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health; Child Life; and Individualized Studies. Examples of courses include

    Child Life Theory, Practice and Program Development Developmental Perspectives on Illness and Injury in Healthcare Therapeutic Play for Child Life Practice Therapeutic Relationships: Supporting Children in Healthcare Childhood Death and Bereavement

    Notables

    Graduates of the program will develop competency to help children cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury, disability, and hospitalization. Successful graduates of the Child Life track will be eligible for the Child Life Professional Certification Examination and the Association of Child Life Professionals Eligibility Assessment. This track helps individuals advance their careers in fields that relate to child development, such as law, juvenile justice, child welfare, education, the arts, advocacy, policymaking, nonprofit management, pediatric nursing, and parent education.

  14. University of Missouri-Columbia
    Location

    Columbia, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Missouri Columbia offers an online Master of Arts in Human Development and Family Science with an emphasis Youth Development that will appeal to those seeking online graduate work in education. Graduates of this degree will be well equipped to pursue positions with organizations such as 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, cooperative extensions, correctional facilities, faith-based groups, and non-profit organizations.

    Features

    Students typically take two classes each semester and finish in two to three years. Course work in the program will introduce students to such topics as

    Agency budgeting, fund raising, grant writing and processing Conceptual approaches to youth development Normative pathways to development Policy development for optimal youth outcomes Problem-solving with funding sources, boards, agencies, families and other stakeholders Youth and family cultural issues

    Notables

    Missouri-Columbia s program is available entirely online, and courses are offered through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, which means that students will have access to the resources of not only Missouri-Columbia s faculty but also those of other member institutions. Courses are offered on a semester schedule, and graduates will be well prepared for pursuits with a variety of organizations and professional endeavors involving youth.

  15. University of Nebraska Online
    Location

    Lincoln, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Nebraska, another of the United States great public institutions, offers an online Master of Science in Youth Development. It is the same degree that on-campus students earn. The program prepares graduates to help youth transition into adulthood competently, both emotionally and intellectually, through a strengths-based curriculum. It is one of the few youth development programs in the country despite the growing need for professionals trained in strengths-based approaches.

    Features

    Coursework in Nebraska s program prepares students for the many challenges and opportunities they will face as youth workers through classes such as

    Foundations of Youth Development Community Youth Development Adolescents and Their Families Administration and Program Management Program Design, Evaluation, Implementation Youth in Cultural Contexts Youth Policy

    Notables

    Nebraska s program seeks to prepare its graduates with specific, targeted competencies necessary for success in youth development, such as the ability to develop policies with a positive effect; apply basic research and evaluation skills; understand normative pathways to development; work with agencies, boards, families and other professionals; gain the necessary skills for budgeting, grant writing, and fund-raising; examine the impact of local, state, federal, and global policies on youth; and identify how youth and family cultural issues affect positive youth outcomes.

What is Accounting?

Accounting is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial information concerning a business or organization.

Sometimes referred to as the “language of business,” accounting measures and assesses the economic activities and information of a given organization for several different parties and users, such as creditors, auditors, managers, regulators, the public, and investors.

Divided into several fields, including financial accounting, management accounting, auditing, and tax accounting, accountancy is both diverse and challenging, providing an array of interesting specializations to help individuals and companies manage their financial resources and capital assets.

Whether you are interested in pursuing an online accounting degree, a Bachelors in Accounting, or a Masters in Accounting from one of the best accounting schools in the country or locally at a regionally-accredited college or university, the accounting field is a necessity for every kind of business and will remain so for as long as people have money to count.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, Accountants and Auditors with the minimum requirement of a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting make a median income of $67,000 in an industry experiencing a faster than average growth rate.

But is accounting a good major? Statistics like these make it clear that obtaining an accounting degree will deliver both professional and financial satisfaction; a worker with an accounting degree is an asset for a corporation, large or small.

Career Path Overview

Unsurprisingly, accountants are indispensable for any business venture, making the field of accountancy a solid choice for any student interested in choosing a discipline of study that will provide stability, job security, and upward mobility.

While the accounting industry is not known for risky innovation, that doesn’t mean that the industry is not without change.

In recent decades, the areas of forensic accounting and global finance have set new trends and offer exciting opportunities to would-be accountants interested in the cutting-edge of their field.

Mainstays, like traditional public accounting or management accounting, are necessary and maintain their relevance as the industry adapts to changes in money management.

If you are interested in becoming an accountant, there is a tried and true career path to follow that should result in landing a well-paying job with options for career advancement, like certifications in field-specific areas that will focus your professional endeavors.

It is extremely unlikely that you will be able to land an accounting job without the necessary schooling for understanding the nuances of the industry and practices in accounting. Whether you are looking to get an accounting degree online or looking to attend one of the top accounting schools, an accounting degree is considered to be an entry-level requirement for employment and will help you gain access to an exciting disciplines of auditing, financial reporting, and taxation.

Below, you will find information about the most popular type of accounting: The CPA. Other kinds of accountancy have a similar professional progression, but we are going to use the CPA as an example.

Get a Degree

Typically, people interested in accountancy earn a Bachelor’s degree in accounting, which provides them the 150 cumulative credit hours needed to graduate; this amount of school typically takes four years of business school, where accounting programs are housed in a university’s class structure.

Advanced degrees in accounting, like a Master’s in Accounting or a PhD, also exist but are reserved for individuals who wish to work in academia, researching and teaching accounting.

Most importantly, you should decide if you want to be a public accountant or a corporate/business accountant.

Within these two distinct specializations are myriad of concentrations that will allow you to focus your accounting degree toward an industry need, like internal auditing, taxation, managerial accounting and many others which are covered in the next section of this guide.

It should also be noted that online accounting degrees have become rather popular in recent years. If you’re interested in flexibility, affordability, and independence, then an online degree might be right for you. If you decide to get an online degree, be sure that your school is accredited and provides parity resources you might receive at an onsite institution.

Industry Access

If you are simply wanting to be an accountant, a Bachelor’s in Accounting will grant you access to the industry, but it will be severely limiting for your future in the trade, as you will only be able to perform limited tasks like financial record maintenance and preparation.

As an accountant at this level (without any specialization, certification, or licensure) you can also prepare tax returns after passing an examination and being issued a Preparer Identification number from the IRS.

Again, it is important to note that completing an accounting degree is the minimal requirement for work as an entry-level accounting employee; without obtaining CPA certification you will be strictly limited concerning professional growth as an accountant.

Beginning to Work

After becoming an Accounting major but before completing an accounting degree, it is recommended that students work as interns to bolster their résumés and professionally prepare for life in the accounting workforce.

Such opportunities are not rare: many corporations, large and small, offer competitive internships, often with pay. After graduation, you may consider returning to school for a Master’s in Accounting or pursuing certification as a CPA, as both will open professional doors for you.

In accounting, continuing education in the form of one of many kinds of certification is paramount to maintaining professional relevance and job security. See the next section of this guide for information about the various fields of study and the numerous certification options.

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

To become a CPA is an investment of time, money, and energy. Many people who get a Bachelor’s in Accounting go on to pass the Certified Public Account (CPA) exam which enables them to be upwardly mobile in the industry as a CPA.

Along with at least 40 hours of continuing education in a specific area of accounting and working under the supervision of an actively licensed CPA for a set number of hours, a new CPA can then begin to move beyond accountancy’s menial tasks and into more meaningful activity, like auditing and client representation.

Taking the Exams

The CPA exam is a major hurdle for anyone entering the accounting industry and is a requirement for advancement within professional accounting. The exam, which is a requirement in every state, has four distinct parts which can be taken in any order offered during the first two months of every quarter.

The four exams are: Regulation; Auditing and Attestation; Business Environment and Concepts; and Financial Accounting and Reporting. All four exams must be completed in 18 months. It is recommended that students prepare for these tests in advance by taking test-prep classes and studying independently, as the tests are complex, intricate, and challenging.

Types of Accounting & Certification

After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, it is important to discern what type of accountant you would like to become and the best accounting specialization for you. All average salaries linked below are generalized starting points to give you an idea of a base salary, as the field specializations vary widely. The top accounting schools will offer you—the student—guidance about which specializations are right for your skills and interests.

A Career in Corporate, Banking, and Financial Accounting

In this field of accounting, professionals deal with the capital assets of businesses, corporations, and banking institutions.

Whether an appraisal of the state of assets concern investments or cash on hand, a financial, corporate, or banking accountant performs tasks related to the internal and public uses of an institution’s money including appraisal, compensation, bookkeeping, auditing, analysis, and financial management.

This information is then translated into a public financial record to be reviewed by banks, stockholders, government agencies, or anyone interested in evaluating the company’s financial practices for reasons of investment or partnership. There are several related certifications in this field, each dealing with a particular focus of asset management.

Average Entry Pay: $52,000

Further Certifications

1. Accredited Senior Appraiser

ABBREVIATION: ASA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Candidates for this designation must have five full years of appraisal experience, a college degree (or equivalent), and complete course exam requirements for all four of 27-hour discipline-specific valuation courses as well as two appraisals for peer review and approval. Evidence of professional growth via continuing education and professional activity is mandatory for remaining accredited.

2. Certificate in Loan Review

ABBREVIATION: CLR

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Designed for commercial loan review and lending personnel, this certificate is for accountants interested in loan review and its procedures. With this certification, professionals learn about the state and national standards of the lending financial services industry.

3. Certified Bank Auditor

ABBREVIATION: CBA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Designed to give accountants expertise in the four bank-specific areas of accounting (accounting, auditing and bank law, regulation, and auditing practices for business), this certification requires a CBA exam (three-year completion period), a Bachelor’s degree, and two years of bank auditing experience.

4. Certified Financial Services Auditor

ABBREVIATION: CFA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For accountants interested in investment management and portfolio analysis, this certification includes three examinations to test the candidate’s ability in investment decision-making. Each candidate must pass all three exams to earn this certificate.

5. Certified Accounts Payable Associate

ABBREVIATION: CAPA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For accountants interested in careers in business financial management, this certification offers comprehensive training in the accounts payable profession. To be approved for the exam, candidates must demonstrate employment and affirm the IAPP ethical code. Certification requirements vary depending on education experience. There are certification completion plans and requirements for accountants with bachelor’s degrees, associates degrees, and for non-degree holding personnel. Recertification is necessary and is obtained by continuing education or retaking the exam.

6. Certified Accounts Payable Professional

ABBREVIATION: CAPP

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For International Accounts Payable Professionals (IAPP) members, this is a comprehensive certification for individuals interested in the accounts payable profession. With similar educational requirements as above regarding exams, education, and continuing education, this professional credential is required for personnel working in the field. Employees of federal agencies may be exempt from membership requirements

7. Certified Bookkeeper

ABBREVIATION: CB

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For accountants with two years of bookkeeping experience, the exam for this certification covers details of organizational financial management including payroll, depreciation, internal controls, entry adjustment, error correction, and merchandise inventory. Candidates must follow the AIPB code of ethics and pass the national examination.

8. Certified Management Accountant

ABBREVIATION: CMA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Focused on the connection between financial performance and strategy, this certification offers comprehensive curriculum in accounting and finance-related fields. To achieve this certification, accountants must pass a skills-based, critical thinking and decision making examination.

9. Certified Treasury Professional

ABBREVIATION: CTP

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For treasury and finance professionals, this certification is awarded to people who demonstrate comprehensive mastery in mergers and acquisitions, risk management, corporate governance, capital structure, and cash management. Candidates must have at least two years of work experience in finance-related fields, or in equivalent fields as defined by the AFP to take the computer examination.

A Career in Credit Accounting

In this field of accounting, professionals work to manage credit in ways that will improve revenue and reduce financial burden and risk.

Credit accountants manage access to credit by controlling and collecting payments from customers as well as internally limiting a company’s access to credit so as to keep the financially solvent.

Credit accountants assess risk, maintain cash flow by efficiently collecting money, balancing good and bad debt, set credit criteria, and initiate legal actions to recover money lost from organizations and individuals delinquent on debt payments to the organization.

Average Entry Pay: $46,000

Further Certifications

1. Certified Credit Executive

ABBREVIATION: CCE

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

This executive-level designation credentials accountants capable of managing credit function at the executive level. Education, experience, and industry participation are standard requirements, as is a comprehensive examination over the areas of accounting, finance, management, domestic and international credit models, and law. Recertification is required every three years.

2. Credit Business Associate

ABBREVIATION: CBA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

This introductory academic designation demonstrates mastery over three credit-related disciplines of study: financial accounting, financial statement analysis and business credit principles. With two plans for completing coursework, this designation has no minimum work experience requirements, but does have a comprehensive examination.

3. Credit Business Fellow

ABBREVIATION: CBF

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

This participation-based designation is for CBA accredited accountants who demonstrate knowledge in business law, financial statements, credit law, and risk assessment within the aforementioned categories. Passing a comprehensive examination is a requirement.

A Career in Government Accounting

In this field of accounting, professionals ensure that private companies maintain fiscal accountability to the public (the taxpayer) and comply with federal regulations and standards; for example, accountants in this field might review the records of governmental agencies or audit private companies concerning the provision of goods and services or the validity of publicly traded capital. Government accountants audit, set public standards for state and local governments, and create financial reports that are clear, reliable, and relevant to the public so as to keep private companies accountable to their constituents.

Government accountants audit, set public standards for state and local governments, and create financial reports that are clear, reliable, and relevant to the public so as to keep private companies accountable to their constituents.

Average Entry Pay: $108,000

Further Certifications

1. Certified Defense Financial Manager

ABBREVIATION: CDFM

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

This specialization ensures that an accountant has extensive knowledge concerning competencies related to the Department of Defense and financial management. Requiring three comprehensive exams and ethics requirements, persons earning this certification must have 80 hours of continuing professional education every 24 months.

2. Certified Government Auditing Professional

ABBREVIATION: CGAP

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Designed to equip auditors working in the public sector with knowledge of fund accounting, legislative oversight, confidentiality rights, and grants, this certification requires a character reference and at least two years of auditing practice in a government setting.

3. Certified Government Financial Manager

ABBREVIATION: CGFM

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

This certification assesses the knowledge and skills for individuals working in government positions—federal, state, and local. Candidates applying for this certification must meet the educational, ethical, and experiential requirements.

4. Certified Public Finance Officer

ABBREVIATION: CPFO

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Designed to assess the knowledge of individuals working in government finance, this certification requires five exams which cover government finance.

A Career in Information Technology Accounting

In this field of accounting, specialists help to integrate new technologies into an organization’s accounting process to help to streamline, update, and systematize accounting practices for digital consumption and use. Often working collaboratively with IT departments, these accountants ensure that equipment and software related to a company’s accounting practices run smoothly and perform accounting tasks efficiently with maximum attention to user-friendly performance and security.

Average Entry Pay: $37,000

Further Certifications

1. Certified Information Security Manager

ABBREVIATION: CISM

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For accountants with information security management experience and responsibility, this designation provides executive managers with practice and knowledge to be an effective security management consultant or adviser.

2. Certified Information Systems Auditor

ABBREVIATION: CISA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

With international acclaim, this credential signifies expertise in controls, security, and information systems auditing. This is the preferred designation for systems auditors from around the world and is considered a serious career advancement in the field of systems auditing.

3. Certified Information Technology Professional

ABBREVIATION: CITP

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

This certification, held by an array of individuals in technology, academia, and business, is for candidates who demonstrate a broad range of technology skills to applied business solutions. To achieve this certification, individuals must complete 200 hours of technology education in a designated period of time.

A Career in Operations Management Accounting

This field of accountancy concerns the delivery of essential financial and non-financial administrative information to managers within a company. Accountants working in this field are in charge of preparing concise and accessible information concerning finances for employees who make strategic performance decisions for companies as well as assess risk by identifying and measuring the organization’s financial state against its objectives.

Average Entry Pay: $70,000

Further Certifications

1. Certified in Integrated Resource Management

ABBREVIATION: CIRM

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Designed to enhance collaboration among business functions including marketing and sales, human resources, product development, and finance, this certification includes five modules that must be completed. Modules cover enterprise concepts and fundamentals, identifying and creating demand, designing products and processes, delivering products and services, and integrated enterprise management.

2. Certified in Production and Inventory Management

ABBREVIATION: CPIM

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

This certification is for accountants interested in production and inventory management, operations, supply chain management, procurement, materials management, and purchasing. This designation is primarily focused on manufacturing, providing a detailed understanding of scheduling, production planning, quality improvement, and forecasting. This certification is a precursor for more advanced certifications concerning management, production, and inventory.

3. Certified Supply Chain Professional

ABBREVIATION: CSCP

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For accountants interested in supply chain management, this designation offers a comprehensive and integrated examination of supply chain business theory and all those working with enterprise resource planning systems, from supplier to customer.

A Career in Payroll and Compensation Accounting

In this specialization of accountancy, employees engage in recording, organizing, and maintaining an organization’s employee compensation. Accountants working in this area keep track of gross wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses as well as attend to and help employees understand the federal income taxes, state/local taxes, Medicare taxes, and Social Security taxes removed from their paychecks.

Average Entry Pay: $50,000

Further Certifications

1. Certified Payroll Professional

ABBREVIATION: CPP

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

With the successful completion of an examination covering payroll processes and systems, accounting, and compensation management and administration, this designation lasts for five years, which can be renewed by retaking the exam or through continuing education. This certification indicates mastery of all payroll-related practices and concepts.

2. Fundamental Payroll Certification

ABBREVIATION: FPC

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For accountants interested in receiving entry-level payroll positions, this designation demonstrates beginner competency in payroll practice. With the completion of an exam, this certification offers its recipient a basic understanding of the payroll industry, systems analysis, and payroll service. Recertification compliance comes from retaking the examination or completing approved continuing education hours.

A Career in Personal Financial Accounting

Personal finance accountants work with individual clients and families to help them manage wealth. A personal finance accountant helps people understand the ways money works, teaching them how to budget and save, generate wealth over time, and plan for future life circumstances that require substantial amounts of money, such as retirement or saving for college.

Average Entry Pay: $51,000

Further Certifications

1. Certified Financial Planner

ABBREVIATION: CFP

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Accountants earning this certification must meet rigorous professional standards and adhere to ethical and professional standards of responsibility in client interactions. After passing an exam, this certification must be renewed every two years.

2. Elder Care Specialist

ABBREVIATION: ECS

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

This credential is for accountants who prepare clients for the financial challenges of retirement, estate and trust planning, and financial planning for seniors. Ideal candidates must demonstrate customer sensitivity and communication skills in dealing with the elderly, pass an examination with a 70% score, and complete relevant training.

3. Personal Finance Specialist

ABBREVIATION: PFS

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

This accounting credential is awarded to individuals who blend together business insight with personal integrity through experience with one of the six financial planning disciplines (cash flow, risk management, investment, tax, retirement, and estate).

A Career in Public Accounting

In this specialization of accounting, employees serve clients like businesses, governments, non-profits, and individuals to provide audits of financial records, tax preparation, and consultation concerning the financial implications of large-scale monetary risks, like acquisitions and mergers. Typically, when people think of the accounting profession, this is the kind of employee they have in mind.

Average Entry Pay: $60,000

Further Certifications

1. Accredited Business Accountant

ABBREVIATION: ABA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For accountants specializing business law and ethic, finance, reporting, and tax prep for midsize businesses and financial advisement for individuals and families, candidates for this certification must have at least three years of work experience and achieve at least a 70% on the ABA exam.

2. Accredited in Business Valuation

ABBREVIATION: ABV

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For accountants with comprehensive skills in business valuation services, this credential allows competent accountants with certifications in bank auditing, valuation analysis, or chartered financial analysis to advance after completing 75 hours of lifelong learning activity, an exam, and ten business valuation engagements.

3. Certified Public Accountant

ABBREVIATION: CPA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

This popular certification covers a broad spectrum of accounting practices including attestation and auditing, financial accounting and reporting, regulation, and business environment and concepts. Accountants can earn this certification by passing the Uniform CPA Examination and meeting the requirements of the state board where the accountant intends to practice.

4. Certified Valuation Analyst

ABBREVIATION: CVA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Accountants with this certification perform business and intangible asset valuations. To achieve this certification, the candidate must have a valid CPA license, complete a two-part exam, submit six references (three business, three personal), and be a NACVA member in good standing as well as complete an extensive multi-day training.

A Career in Risk Management, Fraud, and Audit Accounting

In this field, accountants help clients examine business practices and assess the risk of such practices, investigate fraudulent financial practices, and independently audit the finances of institutions. People who work in this field help corporations and individuals minimize or eliminate risk in its myriad forms, including fraud, money laundering, and poor investing.

Average Entry Pay: $63,000

Further Certifications

1. Accredited Valuation Analyst

ABBREVIATION: AVA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

For accountants interested in performing intangible asset valuations for corporations, community consultation, and user service, this designation requires a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in business administration from a nationally accredited college or university. Applicants must submit proof of substantive business valuation experience, letters of reference (both character and professional) and pass an examination.

2. Anti-Money Laundering Professional

ABBREVIATION: AMLP

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

With a minimum of 10 years of experience required for grandfathering rights, or the completion of a proficiency exam for candidates with less than 10 years of experience, this designation is for those with interests in bank securities and anti-money laundering efforts. Three years of work experience and a bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited college or university are requirements.

3. Certification in Control Self-Assessment

ABBREVIATION: CCSA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Earned by successfully completing the CCSA exam, this specialty certification is for control self-assessment personnel who meet the eligibility requirements of training, facilitation experience, work experience, education, and character.

4. Certified Forensic Financial Analyst

ABBREVIATION: CFFA

ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

Specialists with this certification provide competent, professional forensic financial support service to legal communities. Candidates must have business valuation credentials, a master’s degree, and be serving as a practitioner member NACVA in good standing with extensive experience in litigation consultation. Candidates must complete a five-day training program and submit two legal references as well as pass a comprehensive exam.

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