Masters Degrees in Accounting in California

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Updated January 5, 2023

Looking for a Master's Degree in Accounting in California? You should consider these top-tier graduate programs and jobs in the Accounting field.

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Master's Degrees in Accounting in California

Earning a Master's Degree in Accounting in California

The best degrees in California for accounting combine practical skills and theory, empowering graduates to create innovative products and manage projects. Graduates with a master's degree are well-equipped to pursue diverse career opportunities. After earning a master's degree, graduates enter the workforce and advance in their fields.

Master's degree-holders earn an average of approximately $1,574 per week, which is about $6,296 per month and $81,848 per year. Those with a master's degree face a 2.6% unemployment rate, compared to the 6.2% rate for those with a high school diploma.

Accounting Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in California in the Accounting Profession

An accounting degree can open doors to many opportunities. You might work in the financial sector, but you could also consider working for a government agency or a nonprofit.

The average annual wage in California is $47,920, or $23.04 per hour. All 16,529,810 employees in California are subject to this stat. Based on the BLS, the lowest 10% of earners in the state make about $29,780 per year, whereas the highest 10% earn approximately $130,430. The following is a comparison of the wages for accountants and auditors in California.

Key

Accountants and Auditors in California
Accountants and Auditors Nationally
All Occupations in California
All Occupations Nationally

Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in California and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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According to MERIC, California ranks number 49 out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.) in terms of the cost of living index. A cost of living index measures the average cost of living in the United States against the cost of living in specific regions of the country. The U.S. average is 100, and all locations are either above (more expensive) or below (less expensive). California's cost of living is 139.8, which is 39.8% higher than the national average. Check out how the cost of living here compares to other states.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Jobs for accountants and auditors are projected to grow 6.9% over the next 10 years. There is a projected change from 1,392,200 professionals in 2020 to 1,488,200 in 2030 for the BLS. The typical entry-level education required for these positions is a master's degree. The most common job titles are:

  • Accountants and auditors
  • Account Auditor
  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Auditor-In-Charge
  • CPA
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Cost Accountant
  • Field Auditor
  • Financial Accountant

Master's Degrees in Accounting in California

#1 Masters Degrees in Accounting in California

University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master of accounting program, offered by the University of Southern California from its Los Angeles campus, ranks as a top program in the state. Graduates prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous accounting program. After completing a master's degree, candidates can pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of accounting. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. The program recommends that applicants have a background in accounting or a related field.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Students who attend on-campus classes can also access the library and gym, as well as other amenities and facilities available at most institutions. To prepare for an accounting career, internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

University of Southern California at a Glance:

Type of school: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 11%

Total Online Master's Programs: 55

Program name: Master of Accounting

Graduate Tuition In State: $46,272

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $46,272

Average Tuition
In-state
$59,260
Out-of-state
$59,260
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
16%
Students Enrolled
46,287
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 Masters Degrees in Accounting in California

University of California-Davis

  • Davis, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online degree can enroll in the master of professional accountancy program at the University of California-Davis. Graduates prepare for advanced roles in the field of accounting during the rigorous master's degree program. A master's degree also trains candidates for leadership roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in accounting. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. The master's program recommends a background in accounting or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. Common facilities and services offered at most universities, like the library or gymnasium, are accessible to students living on campus. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

University of California-Davis at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 39%

Total Online Master's Programs: Data not available

Program name: Master of Professional Accountancy

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,442

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,544

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
46%
Students Enrolled
39,074
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#3 Masters Degrees in Accounting in California

University of California-Irvine

  • Irvine, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's degree in accounting at the University of California-Irvine offers high academic quality. The master of professional accountancy program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current careers or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of accounting. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with prior experience in accounting or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience, and on-campus students can benefit from library and gym facilities. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

University of California-Irvine at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 27%

Total Online Master's Programs: 1

Program name: Master of Professional Accountancy

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,442

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,544

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
30%
Students Enrolled
36,303
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 Masters Degrees in Accounting in California

San Diego State University

  • San Diego, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in San Diego, California, San Diego State University offers a top-ranked master of science in accountancy degree. The master's degree helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current careers or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in accounting, and learners can specialize in their program by choosing a variety of electives. The master's program builds on prior experience during a bachelor's program.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. Common facilities and services offered at most universities, like the library or gymnasium, are accessible to students living on campus. To prepare for their career, graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

San Diego State University at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 34%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program name: Master of Science in Accountancy

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,176

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,680

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
36,334
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#5 Masters Degrees in Accounting in California

California State University-Long Beach

  • Long Beach, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

California State University-Long Beach enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online program. The master of science in accountancy program strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. After completing a master's degree, candidates advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of accounting. Learners specialize in their course of study to prepare for the job market. Applicants who majored in accounting or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. Many institutions provide libraries and fitness centers for students living on campus. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

California State University-Long Beach at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 39%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program name: Master of Science in Accountancy

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,176

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,680

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
42%
Students Enrolled
40,069
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Financing a Master's Degree in Accounting

Many degree-seekers use financial aid to cover college costs. You can get financial aid by applying to scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs. Students may be eligible to receive federal and private student loans as well as scholarships. You may be able to find out if the colleges you are interested in offer scholarships or grants by reviewing their websites.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in California

California colleges charge varying tuition rates. In spite of this, there are some commonalities among public and private institutions. In order to determine whether attending a public institution is right for you, please review the information below.

Public 4-Year School Tuition Rates: California vs. National Average

Key

California
National Average

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The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
End of interactive chart.

How does a private college compare to a public college in terms of cost? In general, private schools charge higher tuition rates. Take a look at the following graph to learn about private colleges in California.

Private 4-Year School Tuition Rates: California vs. National Average

Key

California
National Average

Chart

Bar chart with 5 bars.
The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
End of interactive chart.

Federal Student Loan Information

In order to fund your education, have you ever considered borrowing student loans? Taking out a loan involves many considerations.

Check out the following data to determine what is typically borrowed by students.

Undergraduate Federal Loans
Demographic Percent who borrowed Amount borrowed
Total 66.6% $27,400
Female 69.6% $28,100
Male 62.5% $26,500
White, not Hispanic or Latino 66.1% $26,700
Black, not Hispanic or Latino 85.7% $34,800
Hispanic or Latino/a, of any race 67.7% $25,700
Asian, not Hispanic or Latino 43% $22,700
Other or Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino 70.4% $28,300
Source: NCES

Online vs. On-Campus

Pros and Cons: Online Degrees

Pros

  • Cheaper tuition
  • Flexible, asynchronous classwork
  • No on-campus fees for parking, tech, etc.

Cons

  • Less structure
  • Minimal peer-to-peer interaction
  • Less facetime with professor
  • No access to on-campus amenities

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees

Pros

  • Gym, library, etc. access
  • Smaller class options
  • Face time with peers and professors

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
The main differences between online and on-campus programs include the cost and class sizes. Online programs offer many advantages. For example, they are flexible, affordable, and convenient. In the case of on-campus programs, student fees are optional. Attending classes has advantages, however.

Top Accounting Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Associate, Bachelors, Doctorate
Florida Associate, Bachelors, Masters
Georgia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Illinois Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
New York Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
North Carolina Associate, Bachelors, Masters
Pennsylvania Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Washington Associate, Bachelors, Masters

Private vs. Public

Many differences exist between public and private colleges. First, the cost will vary depending on whether you choose a public or private school. The cost of education at public schools is often reduced by grants and scholarships. The merit scholarships at private colleges tend to be based on previous academic performance.

In private colleges, students often benefit from more personal interaction with faculty. In this article, we highlight some of the pros and cons of attending a private institution versus a public institution.

Pros and Cons

Private

  • Unique program offerings
  • Cultural or religious options
  • Local prestige
  • Higher costs
  • Less regulatory oversight

Public

  • Government-issued tuition costs
  • Government funding, benefits, and regulation
  • Oftentimes large classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions

In California, how much do accountants and auditors make?

In-state accountants and auditors make a mean annual salary of $92,840.

Are accounting degrees in high demand?

The total number of accountants and auditors is projected to increase by 6.9% from 2020 to 2030.

Are there any opportunities to earn a master's degree in accounting online?

A master's degree in accounting can be earned online. Most schools offer some form of online education.

What is the timeline for completing a master's degree?

The average master's degree takes two years for a full-time student to complete. There will be a longer length of time required for part-time students, as well as a variation in completion times.

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