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Top 6 Accounting Degree Programs and Career Options

Accounting is a dynamic and versatile field that offers challenging careers with desirable salaries.

A degree or certificate in accounting can open doors in every type of business, including career options in accounting, finance, corporate management, government, and entrepreneurial pursuits. Accounting is the language of business and a basic tool in business needed to succeed. The accounting profession involves the collection, classification, and preparation of financial data for both organizations and individuals. The job market for accountants is expected to increase by 10% between 2016 and 2026, faster than the average projected growth rate of 7% for most other occupations.1

Accounting career options are as versatile as they are abundant. One can choose from a wide range of careers with an accounting degree, with the variety of opportunities increasing with each level of education you acquire.

Top 6 Accounting Degree Programs and Career Options

  1. Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) With a Specialization in Accounting

    This terminal degree can provide the high-level critical thinking skills needed to become an influential leader in the accounting field. A DBA that includes an accounting specialization offers students the latest research, knowledge of best practices in consulting and corporate governance, and a global business perspective, with an exceptional analytical approach that can help you gain an edge over competitors. A doctoral degree in accounting can prepare you to become a leader in accounting theory and practice, with top career options including chief financial officer, chief accounting officer, business researcher, controller, consultant, vice president of finance, and senior auditor.

  2. MS in Accounting

    This online accounting master’s degree program is designed to help you improve your analytical abilities and understand accounting in the context of today’s legal and regulatory environment. An MS in Accounting helps prepare you to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and a number of other professional accounting certifications, and positions you for a rewarding career in the field. Earning your degree through this online program can help you prepare for a variety of accounting career options including financial accounting, compliance auditing, cost accounting, external auditing, and IT auditing.

  3. Master of Business Administration (MBA) With a Specialization in Accounting

    An MBA with an accounting specialization helps prepare graduates to become certified public accountants, while teaching them how to integrate accounting techniques into business practices. Career options for graduates with an MBA with a specialization in accounting include financial analyst, financial planner, budget analyst, investment banker, and finance officer.

  4. Graduate Certificate in Managerial Accounting

    While not a full degree program, this accounting-focused graduate certificate teaches students how to effectively analyze and communicate critical financial data in a business management setting. The certificate can increase your immediate value in your organization; it can also help prepare you for the CPA exam1 or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam, as well as provide continuing education credits to maintain certain certifications. Additionally, credits from this graduate certificate may be transferrable to an MS in Accounting degree program, decreasing the time and cost of getting your master’s.

  5. Graduate Certificate in Auditing

    Ethical, accurate, transparent financial reporting and internal controls are increasingly important in today’s changing business landscape. Students working toward this accounting-focused graduate certificate can gain the skills, knowledge, and professional credentials needed to advance in this specialized and in-demand area of accounting. This certificate program will help prepare students who desire to sit for the CPA, Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exams, and can also provide continuing education credits to maintain certain certifications. Additionally, credits from this graduate certificate may be transferrable to an MS in Accounting degree program, decreasing the time and cost of getting your master’s.

  6. BS in Accounting

    This bachelor’s degree helps prepare you with the technical skills required for entry-level positions in the accounting field. Most states require a minimum of 150 credit hours to take the CPA exam, and most accounting bachelor’s degrees cover the majority of credits required for a CPA license. Accounting career options for graduates with a BS in Accounting include assurance specialist, cash manager, risk manager, tax specialist, public accountant or auditor, and other entry-level accounting positions.

Explore Walden University's accredited online accounting degree programs for graduates and undergraduates. Get the help you need to continue your education and advance your career goals. Earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.


Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of a degree program.

Walden’s BS in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and PhD in Management programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The MS in Accounting and BS in Accounting programs are also accredited by the ACBSP and have earned the organization’s Specialized Accounting Accreditation.

Most states require individuals to complete 150 semester (225 quarter) hours in certain subject areas in order to be eligible to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and/or obtain a CPA license. Walden’s accounting programs can help graduates progress toward meeting those requirements. The BS in Accounting offers 120 quarter (80 semester) credit hours that include upper-level courses in topics such as financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management accounting. The MS in Accounting 30 semester (45 quarter) credit hours, while the MBA Accounting specialization offers nine semester (13.5 quarter) credit hours. These programs include graduate courses in topics such as financial accounting, managerial accounting, and legal and ethical accounting practices. This will require students to complete additional coursework to meet state requirements.

In each state, there are specific policies that must be followed when an individual is seeking to become a licensed accountant. Some states will not allow individuals who complete the Walden accounting programs to sit for the CPA licensing exams due to state-specific issues such as professional accreditation or face-to-face instruction. For information on the educational requirements for your state, refer to the state’s Board of Accountancy or related agency.

Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide guidance about accountant licensure; however, it remains the responsibility of the individual enrolling in the program to read, understand, and comply with the licensure requirements in the state where he or she wishes to practice.

Walden University can make no representation, warranty, guarantee, or commitment that successful completion of a Walden program, or coursework for credit within a program, will make a graduate eligible to sit for a licensure exam or to obtain state licensure.