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2023 Accounting Degree Guide

Do you find it fun and easy to keep track of your favorite sports team's records in order to forecast how their season is going to play out? Accountants do just that, except in the business setting. They gather information, examine records, decode, and communicate information to individuals or organizations in order to improve their financial risk and performance. A program in Accounting will prepare students to perform related business functions and practice the profession of accounting.

There are many different concentrations within this major; they include Auditing, Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Business/Management, and Accounting Technology/Technician and Bookkeeping. While studying this major you will be taking courses in Business Law, Cost accounting, Tax accounting, Accounting information systems, and Auditing. This major is commonly offered as a Bachelor's degree.

#8 Most Popular Major
99.3k Degrees Awarded
-1.8% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, accounting was the 8th most popular major nationwide with 99,265 degrees awarded. This represents a 1.8% reduction in accounting degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 101,094.

Our 2023 Best Accounting Schools ranking analyzes 1272 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for accounting students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of accounting programs later in this article.

2023 Best Colleges for Accounting
2023 Overall Best Accounting Colleges >

Best Accounting Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Accounting
Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting
Master's Degrees in Accounting
Doctorate Degrees in Accounting

Accounting Degree Requirements

Attention to detail will be a helpful skill as you work with numbers and variables that can be misinterpreted and thrown off by one mistake. Strong mathematical skills and an analytical mind will help you in both your college classes and your career.

If you have the chance, it is helpful to take courses in Business, Computer applications, Calculus, Statistics, and Microeconomics while still in high school. This program is not only offered as a Bachelor's Degree, but students can continue onto higher education and receive a Master's or Doctorate in this major.

Prior Education for an Accounting Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most accounting degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific accounting careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Accounting Degree Types

There are many different accounting degree levels. You can get anything from a in accounting to the highest accounting degree, a . How long it takes to complete some common accounting degree levels is shown below.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to accounting, with approximately 41.9% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to accounting tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 40.0%
High School Diploma 14.4%
Master’s Degree 13.8%
Some College Courses 9.6%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 8.4%

66.8% of accounting workers have at least a bachelor's. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in accounting have obtained.


The education level required is different depending on the accounting career you are seeking.

Accounting Careers

Above Average Number of Jobs
$47.7k Average Starting Salary
6% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

While accounting is a general topic, specialization is important. Many accountants specialize in auditing, taxes, or consulting. Depending on your focus you can become a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, or a Certified Internal Auditor. In order to become a Certified Accountant, you must take a national exam to obtain a license. Graduate can also become Budget Analysts and Financial Analysts. These Analysts create, study, and oversee the budgets and finances for organizations. The demands for these Analysts are increasing rapidly.

Growth Projected for Accounting Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your accounting degree? Accounting careers are expected to grow 6.4% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to accounting.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 1,705,300 -1.5%
Accountants and Auditors 1,537,600 10.0%
Financial Managers 689,000 18.7%
Financial Analysts 328,200 10.8%
Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks 164,700 -1.0%

How Much Money Do People With a Accounting Degree Make?

Recently graduated accounting students earned an average of $47,698 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $10,688 to as high as $77,441. As you might expect, salaries for accounting graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Accounting Careers

Salaries for accounting graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers accounting grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Financial Managers $146,830
Business Professors $103,330
Financial Analysts $100,990
Financial Examiners $90,310
Credit Analysts $82,300

Getting Your Accounting Degree

With over 4,844 different accounting degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased accounting school rankings to help you with this.

One of 21 majors within the Business, Management & Marketing area of study, Accounting has other similar majors worth exploring.

Accounting Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Accounting 73,172
Accounting Technology/Technician and Bookkeeping 19,817
Accounting and Finance 3,648
Accounting and Business/Management 1,637
Other Accounting and Related Services 814

View All Accounting Concentrations >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Business Administration & Management 416,590
Finance & Financial Management 57,778
General Business/Commerce 56,042
Marketing 52,916
Management Sciences & Quantitative Methods 43,382

View All Accounting Related Majors >


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