Best Online Master’s in Accounting 2021
Updated August 11, 2021
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Students interested in graduate accounting programs can earn a master's in accounting online, giving them the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.
Online master of accounting programs prepare students to enter a growing field -- the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the accounting and auditing field will increase the total number of jobs by 6% from 2018 to 2028.
Choosing the right online accounting master's program entails weighing important factors like tuition costs, available courses, and degree requirements. Students should choose the program that best fits their needs, lifestyle, and goals.
This page ranks the best online master's in accounting programs to help students find the right program for their needs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, including common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.
The Best Online Master's in Accounting Programs
Online Master's in Accounting Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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Featured Online Master's in Accounting Programs
What Is an Online Master's in Accounting Degree?
Online master's in accounting programs provide busy students with a flexible option for earning their degree. These programs vary in length and course requirements, but all of them prepare students to sit for the CPA exam and work as professional accountants. Professionals with an established career in accounting, including those who hold a bachelor's in accounting, may choose to pursue a master's to increase their salary potential and/or take on leadership roles.
Students earning a master's in accounting online study topics in areas like business ethics, finance, leadership, and information management systems.
Choosing an Online Program
When researching online accounting master's programs, students should consider a variety of factors, such as delivery format. For instance, online learners should research whether prospective programs feature any on-campus requirements. They should also consider whether online programs offer asynchronous or synchronous courses. Other key considerations include tuition costs, course requirements, and program length. Learn more about how to choose a program through the link below.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Accounting Program?
Course offerings will vary across schools, meaning the exact curriculum of each online accounting master's program is different. That said, however, certain classes are likely to appear in most programs, as they make up an integral part of the knowledge and training needed in accounting.
Master's in Accounting Curriculum
- Auditing: This class addresses basic concepts related to internal and external auditing, such as internal control, evidence collection, and ethical standards. Learners may be required to evaluate case studies and apply standards and procedures to conduct audits in the public and private sectors.
- Fraud Examination: Covering common types of financial fraud, such as concealment and employee embezzlement, this course introduces methods of identifying and investigating corporate dishonesty. Prospective forensic accountants develop practical fraud detection and prevention skills, along with working knowledge of relevant legal procedures.
- Government Accounting: Coursework explores financial issues related to government and nonprofit organizations, including budget reporting, program analysis, and tax levies. Students learn to prepare financial statements according to Governmental Accounting Standards Board regulations and perform government audits in compliance with national standards
Accounting Certifications and Licenses
Accounting Professional Organizations
Careers in Accounting
An online master's in accounting degree provides graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to work in several capacities throughout the financial sector. While many students go on to become treasurers, auditors, or budget analysts, others work in law enforcement as forensic accountants. The positions listed below rank among the most popular with graduates.
|Median BLS Salary (2020)||$71,550|
|Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)||6%|
In addition to preparing and assessing clients' financial records, accountants maintain financial operations, oversee and inspect accounting systems, and complete tax returns. While most entry-level accounting positions require only a bachelor's degree, many employers prefer to hire candidates with a graduate degree.
|Median BLS Salary (2020)||$129,890|
|Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)||16%|
A financial manager's duties depend largely on their setting and industry; most focus on data analysis and cost reduction, while other professionals also prepare budgets, monitor cash flow, assess financial risks, and/or direct mergers and acquisitions. Employers typically prefer candidates with a graduate degree and industry certification.
Human Resource Managers
|Median BLS Salary (2020)||$116,720|
|Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)||7%|
Human resource managers oversee the administrative functions of an organization, including hiring, benefits plan development, and other staffing issues. These workers serve as liaisons between an organization and its employees. Along with a master's degree, candidates for many high-level human resource management positions need extensive work experience in a related field.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to complete a master's in accounting program?
Most online master's in accounting programs comprise 30-36 credits and take 1-2 years to complete.
What can I do with a master's in accounting?
Graduates can work in roles such as certified public accountant, auditor, or financial analyst. They can also pursue various careers in business.
Is a master's in accounting better than an MBA?
Both degrees prepare students to pursue advanced roles in business and finance. However, a master's of accounting serves as a more specialized accounting degree, whereas an MBA emphasizes various business concepts and skills.
What is an accountant?
Accountants manage and analyze financial records for businesses and individuals. They often assist in preparing taxes and help businesses and individuals make informed financial decisions.
What is a CPA?
A CPA, or certified public accountant, is an accountant with certification from a state accounting board. CPAs have passed their state's required exam and completed the required number of practice hours and college credits.
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