How a Graduate Degree in Accounting Really Pays Off
You’ve decided that graduate school is the best way to move up the corporate ladder and find a career you enjoy. Now what? The list of potential graduate degrees can seem intimidating: MAC, MBA, JD, MS, and more.
How do you find the degree that makes the most sense for you? A good first step is to look at the costs involved in going back to school versus the rewards you’ll gain.
When determining the ROI of a graduate degree from a purely financial angle, one program stands out: the Master of Accounting (MAC).
Most MAC degrees take just one or two years to complete, which means fewer credit hours to pay. Other programs, such as law or business, can take two or three years, or even longer if you can’t attend full-time.
Many universities offer fellowships to help accounting graduate students pay for tuition. Numerous scholarships are available from organizations like the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Leanne Fredericks serves as bank vice president, leading balance sheet strategy. She regularly taps into the skills she has learned in pursuit of her Master of Accounting degree and notes that the online format was the perfect choice to help her balance work, school, and life.
Increased Opportunities for Growth
Once you’ve earned your MAC degree, you’ll have another tough choice: Which job to take?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs for accountants will increase by 13 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Those jobs pay well, especially for MAC degree holders. The median salary for someone with a MAC degree is $91,000, according to Georgetown University research. This is much higher than the median salary of those who hold only bachelor’s degrees: $69,000, which is 24 percent lower than the MAC degree holder’s median.
Accounting salaries at larger companies often hit six figures after five years of work experience. In corporate accounting, a vice president of finance earns an average of $200,000 to $390,000, according to “2016 Salary Guide: Accounting and Finance.” A CFO in the same field earns between $300,000 and $480,000. How high can you go?
Even if you don’t do pure accounting every day, you’ll still have plenty of job options. Hiring managers look for professionals who can analyze information, create smart business strategies, and identify trends to increase efficiency – all within a MAC degree holder’s purview.
It’s nice to earn a great paycheck, but most people consider more than just numbers when seeking rewarding careers.
People who work in accounting consistently rank high in job satisfaction. In a survey by Hudson Global Inc., 78 percent of the accounting and financial workers polled felt satisfied with their jobs. A Monster survey found that accounting and finance professionals were among the most satisfied with their jobs, ranking No. 2 in the survey.
Another part of the happiness equation is knowing your work counts.
The financial markets rely on accurate accounting to function properly, with investors and others making decisions based on financial statements that accountants develop and audit. Accounting isn’t just a job; it helps keep the wheels of the global economy turning.
Add it all up – great pay, job opportunities, and high satisfaction – and it’s clear the MAC has strong ROI.
Take a Closer Look
Interested in how the MAC stacks up to an MBA or a JD? Here’s a quick look at this topic: “The ROI of the MAC: Why a Master of Accounting Degree Makes Sense for Working Professionals.”
The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School offers the #1-ranked online Master of Accounting degree. Built for working professionals from ALL backgrounds and starting every three months, the flexible program can be completed in as little as 12 months or can be extended to up to 36 months.
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