You are interested in a career in accounting, and why wouldn’t you be? There’s probably no more secure and lucrative profession out there (at least not a legal one) if you’re good with numbers, organization, and information. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, accounting jobs are expected to rise at a steady 10% over the next decade, with many specialties – especially those related to new technology – growing even faster.
However, once you begin looking at how to begin an accounting career, you’ll quickly discover that there are numerous career options available at various educational levels. For your future career, each degree will lead you in various directions. Let’s look at the different types of education levels available to help you better understand where you can go for an accounting career.
THE FOLLOWING ARE EXAMPLES OF ACCOUNTING DEGREE PROGRAMS:
1/2 year certificate or accounting diploma
Two-year associate’s degree in accounting
Four years for a bachelor’s degree in accounting
1-2 years for a master’s degree in accounting
Accounting Master’s Degree 1-2 years for a bachelor’s degree
Accounting PhD or DBA 1–5 years for a bachelor’s degree
ACCOUNTING CERTIFICATE OR DIPLOMA
Many accounting professionals begin their careers by completing a short certificate or diploma program in accounting. Most diploma programs last about a year and cover the fundamentals of accounting, bookkeeping, payroll accounting, or some other specific work. They will get you a job as a bookkeeper or accountant, but they won’t get you into a 4-year college because they don’t meet the general education criteria. Certificate programs can be shorter, requiring just three or four classes – the bare minimum required to begin working.
Students will usually obtain these entry-level credentials from a community college or a small accounting program. Although a bookkeeper certificate or diploma will not get you very far toward a college degree, it is suitable for people who want to learn accounting fundamentals and prepare for licenses and qualifications such as the Certified Bookkeeper test.
ACCOUNTING ASSOCIATE’S DEGREES
An associate’s degree in accounting is the next step after a certificate or diploma. A two-year associate’s degree (usually 60 credit hours) would provide students with the fundamentals of accounting and the general education requirements needed to transfer to a four-year institution. An associate’s degree in accounting is available at most local community colleges and technical schools, and many private universities in Singapore also offer completely online accounting associate’s degrees. Any of these accounting associates are reasonably priced.
Graduates with an associate’s degree would also find entry-level positions such as bookkeeper and accounting clerk. Although the options are small, the opportunity to pass credits to a 4-year program is the real advantage of an associate’s degree over a quicker and less expensive diploma or credential. To make transitioning to a bachelor’s degree simpler, most public community colleges would have articulation agreements with local colleges and universities.
ACCOUNTING BACHELOR’S DEGREES
A bachelor’s degree in accounting is currently the minimum requirement to begin a career as a certified public accountant (CPA). A four-year bachelor’s degree typically requires at least 120 credit hours, but you’ve already completed the first 60 if you have an associate’s degree. If you’ve completed your general education requirements (the first two years), your classes will concentrate on accounting, business, finance, math, and statistics. Accounting bachelor’s degrees and degree completion programs are becoming increasingly popular online.
Many bachelor’s programs also offer specializations in highly in-demand fields like forensic accounting, accounting information systems, and actuarial science, in addition to qualifying for a CPA license. Since there is such a high demand for certified, skilled accountants today, colleges and universities provide extremely low-cost online accounting bachelor’s degrees to meet student and employer demand.