Online master's in accounting programs prepare graduates for an array of career choices, including tax auditing, corporate management, financial information systems, and investigative or forensic accounting. The field is growing for accountants and auditors.

What Are the Most Affordable Online Master's in Accounting Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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Rank School Location
1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
2 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
3 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
4 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
5 University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia, MO
6 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
7 California State University-Sacramento Sacramento, CA
8 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
9 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX
10 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA

Many of the nation's finest business schools now offer affordable master's in accounting (MAC) programs completely online, giving students the opportunity to continue working while they earn credit toward their degree, which should give them an edge in the increasingly competitive business world. Master's graduates are more desirable than accountants with undergraduate degrees, and they earn more right out of college. Corporations from all over actively court MAC accountants before they even finish school.

Accountants understand the importance of getting the most value for their dollar, including dollars spent on education. Students should consider what they receive for their investment, and make a holistic evaluation of affordability. That's why we've ranked the following online MAC programs using our unique college affordability score, which accounts for quality of education, total cost, financial aid opportunities, and potential future earnings.

Affordable schools promise a return on investment. They demonstrate track records of providing rigorous academic experiences for an affordable cost, and their graduates earn salaries that make paying back their loans relatively simple.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2021 Most Affordable Online Master's in Accounting Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 89%

UNC-Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School offers an online master's in accounting. Students can enroll on one of four yearly start dates.

Distance learners begin with core courses such as accounting system essentials, analytics for accountants, financial reporting, and leadership immersion. Students then choose from three concentrations: tax, audit, or financial reporting and analysis. After taking core courses, students focus on electives in their chosen concentration. Online learners must complete a leadership immersion on campus.

Students with a CPA or CFA license, five years of professional or military experience, or a 3.2 minimum undergraduate GPA do not need to submit test scores. UNC-Chapel Hill is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Accounting
School Status: Public
Tuition: $1,446 per credit
Credit Requirements: 36-48 credits
Program Length: 12-36 months
Format: Online with an on-campus immersion
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum required
Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT may be required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

2

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

Based in Champaign, U of I offers an online master's in accounting. This program is delivered in partnership with the online learning platform Coursera.

Students begin with core courses, such as accounting analysis, auditing, and federal taxation, before moving on to 12 credits of electives, including four credits of non-accounting coursework. Students can also take advantage of Coursera's open-enrollment courses to further their professional goals, reinforce concepts, and complement their learning.

Students may apply with a bachelor's degree in any field, as long as they have completed at least one undergraduate business management course. U of I is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Accountancy
School Status: Public
Tuition: $850 per credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 18-36 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GMAT or GRE optional

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3

University of Miami

Coral Gables, FL Graduation Rate: 82%

Based in Coral Gables, Florida, UM offers an online master of professional accounting. Students can choose from two tracks based on their previous accounting experience. The master of professional accounting with CPA track caters to students with previous accounting experience, while learners coming from other disciplines can complete the master of professional accounting.

Students without accounting experience begin with core courses, such as an introduction to financial and managerial accounting and intermediate accounting. Alternatively, those with previous experience begin with an accounting information systems course. CPA track students complete a total of 40 credits — eight more than the base program.

UM holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and its business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Professional Accounting; Master of Professional Accounting CPA Track
School Status: Public
Tuition: $2,170 per credit
Credit Requirements: 32 or 40 credits
Program Length: 16 or 20 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

4

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Based in Tucson, UArizona offers a master of science in accounting online. Students do not need previous accounting experience to enroll in this program. Enrollees can choose from six start dates throughout the year.

Accounting students begin by completing any necessary prerequisites, such as an introduction to financial accounting, before moving on to core courses. Students also take electives in a variety of accounting and non-accounting subjects.

Applicants must submit a copy of their resume and a letter of recommendation as part of their admissions packet. UArizona is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and its business school holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Accounting
School Status: Public
Tuition: $1,000 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 12-18 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GMAT required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

5

University of Missouri-Columbia

Columbia, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

Located in Columbia, Mizzou offers an online master's in accounting. Students in the program can participate in internships and prepare to take the CPA exam.

Participants take courses like auditing theory and practice and accounting and business strategic analysis. Elective options include governmental accounting and budgeting, topics in accounting, and tax research and procedure. Learners also work with advisors to select relevant business electives. Students who take one course per semester can finish in three years, although many participants graduate faster.

Mizzou holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and its business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Accountancy
School Status: Public
Tuition: $814 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-3 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum preferred
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

6

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

Located in Fairfax, Virginia, Mason offers an online master of science in accounting that is designed to prepare students to meet the minimum requirements for licensing.

Students take 15 core credits and 15 elective credits, beginning with courses like a professional accounting colloquium and advanced issues in taxation. Notable elective choices include governmental and nonprofit accounting, fraud and the law, and governance and ethics. Students take courses on their own time through an asynchronous learning platform, and learners can focus on one or two courses per eight-week session.

The program requires students to hold a bachelor's in accounting degree or at least 27 credits of undergraduate accounting classes. Mason holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and its business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Accounting
School Status: Public
Tuition: $1,156 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 11-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: GMAT or GRE required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

7

California State University-Sacramento

Sacramento, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

Sacramento State offers an online master of science in accountancy. Students receive instruction through a combination of online course materials, video streaming, and instant messaging.

Students begin with three pre-foundation courses before starting the program: business economics, accounting, and legal environment of management. Afterward, core requirements include classes like financial reporting, cost analysis and control, and governmental and not-for-profit accounting. Students must also complete a culminating projected related to accounting and ethics.

Students submit applications to the university first and then to the accounting program. Sacramento State is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Accountancy
School Status: Public
Tuition: $694 per credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GMAT or GRE required

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8

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY Graduation Rate: 83%

Located in Upstate New York, Syracuse offers an online master of science in professional accounting through the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Students with an accounting background can complete the program in 12 months, while students from other fields can complete the program in 24 months.

Students without an accounting background begin with foundational courses, such as managerial accounting and cost analysis and control, before moving on to the core curriculum. Alternatively, learners with accounting experience start directly with the core, taking classes like financial statement analysis and international accounting and reporting. Participants also choose from electives, such as supply chain and logistics management and venture capital.

Syracuse is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Accounting
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,683 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30-48 credits
Program Length: 12-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

9

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 46%

Based in Brownsville, Texas, UTRGV offers an online master's in accounting. Students take courses through seven-week blocks and can graduate in 12 months.

Learners begin with core courses, such as advanced accounting, business law for accountants, and information technology for accounting and control. Students then choose from two concentrations: auditing or taxation. Concentration courses cover topics like fraud examination and internal auditing or international taxation and wealth, transfers, trusts, and estates. Enrollees can choose from one of four start dates each year.

UTRGV is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Accountancy
School Status: Public
Tuition: $472 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 12 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GMAT required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

10

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

University Park, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

Based in University Park, Penn State World Campus offers an online master of professional accounting. Students who complete this program acquire the skills needed to sit for the CPA exam.

Students begin with core courses like auditing theory and practice, business tax and planning, and strategic cost management. The curriculum also includes a capstone course on forensic accounting and litigation support, which allows students to apply critical thinking skills to aid in investigations and litigation support activities. The class utilizes real-world case studies to support the course material.

Students without an undergraduate accounting degree must take six prerequisite accounting courses, beginning with financial and managerial accounting for decision-making.

Penn State World Campus holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and its business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Professional Accounting
School Status: Public
Tuition: $951 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: GMAT or GRE required (waived through 2021)

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

11

SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Utica, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

Located in Utica, New York, SUNY Poly offers an online master of science in accountancy. The program accommodates both full-time and part-time students.

Learners begin by completing core courses such as financial statement analysis and reporting, advanced income tax research, and fund accounting. Students also take core business courses designed to build the foundational skills necessary to work in business settings. The business core includes topics like multinational economics of technology and quantitative business analysis. A seminar in accounting and finance provides a chance for participants to demonstrate skills mastery. Students may also choose to specialize in forensic accounting and valuation.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's in accounting or complete required prerequisite courses before enrolling. SUNY Poly holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and its business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Accountancy
School Status: Public
Tuition: $532 per credit (in-state); $625 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: Minimum requirement varies depending on an applicant's GMAT score
Standardized Tests: GMAT required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

12

Maryville University of Saint Louis

Saint Louis, MO Graduation Rate: 72%

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville offers an online master of science in accounting. Maryville also offers a bridge program for students without a bachelor's in accounting.

Students without a background in accounting participate in the 30-credit bridge program before starting on the accounting core. Core courses go over topics like tax planning and decision-making, financial reporting, and accounting and research. All students take 12 credits of CPA-informed preparation courses, getting ready to sit for the CPA exam.

Maryville holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and its business school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Accounting
School Status: Private
Tuition: $765 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits (accounting bachelor's); 60 credits (non-accounting bachelor's)
Program Length: 10-24 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

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13

Regis University

Denver, CO Graduation Rate: 69%

Based in Denver, Colorado, Regis offers an online master of science in accounting. The curriculum of this program aligns with CPA certification requirements.

Faculty deliver courses in eight-week blocks, allowing students to focus on fewer courses at a time. Classes cover topics like advanced accounting, international accounting, and controllerships. Students can specialize in one of four areas: financial accounting, fraud and forensic accounting, IT accounting, or managerial accounting. Participants can also complete internships to ensure preparedness for the work environment.

The program accepts applications on a rolling basis and boasts six different start dates throughout the year. Regis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Accounting
School Status: Private
Tuition: $920 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

14

Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ Graduation Rate: 70%

Located in South Orange, New Jersey, Seton Hall's Stillman School of Business offers an online master of science in accounting. The program allows students from non-accounting bachelor's programs to complete graduate work in accountancy.

Students take prerequisites in both accounting principles and legal studies before starting on accounting core courses. Accounting courses include financial reporting, essentials of federal taxation, and commercial law. Students choose from elective classes in areas like financial statement analysis, tax research, and governmental and not-for-profit accounting.

Students with a minimum 3.4 GPA, five years of relevant work experience, or a CPA license do not need to supply GRE or GMAT scores. Seton Hall holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and its business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Accounting
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,305 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 18-20 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

15

St John's University-New York

Queens, NY Graduation Rate: 61%

Located in Jamaica, New York, St. John's offers an online master of science in accounting. Applicants should have a business or accounting background. Enrollees with a business background take 30 credits of core courses and a capstone, while students with a bachelor's in accounting take a nine-credit core, 18 credits of accounting electives, and a capstone.

All students, regardless of their background, take classes in information technology auditing, business tax planning, and global managerial accounting. Students with an accounting background may choose a concentration, selecting from options like data analytics, enterprise risk management, and financial services reporting.

St. John's is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Accounting
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,215 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30-33 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.25 minimum preferred
Standardized Tests: GMAT or GRE required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Accounting Program?

Many of the most affordable online master's in accounting programs are also the highest quality. Details may vary by school and program, but applicants can expect common application procedures, concentration offerings, and coursework as part of their accounting degrees. The length and cost of each program also varies, but the following section includes general estimates of completion times and tuition prices for a master's degree.

Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Accounting

Online accounting master's degree applicants need a bachelor's degree. Some master's programs specify that applicants must possess a bachelor's degree in business, finance, accounting, or a related major, but many welcome applicants with bachelor's degrees in other subjects, as well. Additionally, some schools require that students earn their bachelor's degrees from an institution with regional accreditation in order to qualify for admission.

Some schools also require previous work experience, but many of the most affordable online master's in accounting degrees do not. Completing the degree provides graduates with a broader scope of lucrative job opportunities. For any master's degree, minimum GPA requirements can vary widely, though most of the best master's in accounting online prefer a minimum 3.0 GPA. Many programs do not require GMAT or GRE scores; however, those that do may waive this requirement for applicants with a bachelor's degree in accounting, extensive work experience, or a GPA above the school's minimum requirement.

Taxation

Online MAC programs offering a taxation concentration introduce students to critical income, estate, and sales taxation principles and practices. Students develop a mastery of auditing, financial reporting, and tax law for corporate, nonprofit, and individual clients. Graduates also qualify to sit for the CPA exam.

Careers this Concentration Prepares For: Accountant, auditor, tax director

Auditing

The auditing concentration within an online master's degree in accounting prepares students to follow Sarbanes-Oxley federal requirements in their career, and introduces the latest auditing technologies and techniques. The curriculum emphasizes coursework in advanced auditing, ethics in accounting, and detection and prevention of fraudulent financial statements.

Careers this Concentration Prepares For: Compliance auditor, internal auditor, accountant

Forensics

Students concentrating in forensic accounting as part of an online MAC program study fraud investigation, specifically related to bankruptcies, contract disputes, mergers and acquisitions, and complex financial agreements. Aspiring forensic accounting experts also learn how to use forensic financial evidence in the prosecution of white-collar criminals.

Careers this Concentration Prepares For: Forensic accountant, investigative accountant, fraud examiner

Management

The management accounting concentration teaches students to strengthen business and leadership aspects of their role as accounting manager. Coursework prepares students to lead teams of employees, including at the managerial/executive level, to improve financial productivity and efficiency within an organizations. Graduates qualify to sit for the CMA exam.

Careers this Concentration Prepares For: Certified management accountant, controller, accounting director

International

Online MAC programs in international accounting train students to practice accounting and comply with tax laws in a global environment. Coursework explores how international taxation and accounting regulations compare to U.S. systems. Graduates possess a mastery over foreign exchange rates, related financial risks, and management of global financial systems.

Careers this Concentration Prepares For: International accountant, international auditor, international tax accountant

Sample Courses for an Online Master's Degree in Accounting

  • Financial Reporting: A crucial skill in any accounting occupation, a course in financial reporting provides students with a comprehensive understanding of international accounting, consolidation reporting, SEC regulations, and reporting practices specific to corporations in financial distress. Financial reporting coursework at the graduate level also trains students in advanced tax preparation for individuals and corporate clients.
  • Advanced Auditing: Coursework in advanced auditing builds on a student's prior knowledge of auditing principles and practices, introduced at the undergraduate level. Topics include common auditing errors, auditing follow-up protocol, and ethical concerns specific to this occupation. Most courses in this subject incorporate a combination of case studies, current auditing research, industry promotional materials, and student-led presentations.
  • Business Law: This course examines the law in the context of business, stressing the importance of legal compliance and ethical practice in the corporate decision-making process. Topics include contracts, product liability, tort litigation, and internet and employment law. A necessary component of many accounting careers, business law courses also often explore international rules and regulations.
  • Globalization and Managerial Economics: Coursework in globalization and managerial economics explores and compares international taxation laws, financial reporting methods, and accounting practices. Students develop a critical understanding of the global marketplace, essential to aspiring international accountants and domestic tax and finance experts alike.
  • Corporate Financial Management: This course provides an in-depth exploration of financial management from a corporate perspective, examining capital structure, corporate policy, portfolio management, budgeting, and global executive markets. Students develop a working knowledge of risk-assessment methods specific to corporate finance shareholder valuation.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master's in Accounting?

While completion times for the most affordable online accounting degrees vary, most students complete a master's degree in two years. Many online schools offer the degree in an accelerated format, which typically takes less than 24 months to complete. Most online accounting master's degrees do not include residency requirements, but students who choose to complete courses on-campus may take longer to earn the degree.

A master's in accounting comprises roughly 60 course credits. Students must consider whether to pursue a part- or full-time schedule, and may choose either a self-paced or cohort learning program. Many schools follow self-paced learning models for maximum flexibility, enabling students to take as many courses as they prefer per semester. In other cases, cohort-style learning requires all students in a group to complete their coursework simultaneously.

How Much Does an Online Master's in Accounting Cost?

As with any degree program, the cost of even the most affordable online master's in accounting varies. Each school dictates its own fees for tuition, which may vary depending on whether students are in-state or out-of-state. Some programs may also include fees for services and facilities used exclusively for online learning, such as technology fees, test proctoring, and virtual labs. Applicants should always research tuition prices at their preferred schools, and explore their own personal financial aid options to understand the full cost of earning a master's in accounting. The average amount spent for graduate school is $18,947, according to the NCES.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Accounting Prepares For

Certified Public Accountant

The American Institute of CPAs offers the CPA credential to aspiring public accountants through individual state boards of accountancy. AICPA provides the same universal exam to all CPA candidates regardless of location, but test takers may need additional education or experience, depending on their state of residence. Most states require at least a bachelor's degree and two years of professional experience to take the CPA exam, which comprises four, four-hour sections.

Chartered Financial Analyst

The CFA Institute offers the CFA credential to students who aspire to work in portfolio management and high-level investment analysis. Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree and pass a three-part CFA exam. They must also complete four years of experience working in investments and become a member of the CFA Institute to obtain their charter and become CFA-certified.

Certified Management Accountant

The Institute of Management Accountants offers CMA certification to candidates aiming for executive financial management positions. The CMA exam tests students' expertise in financial reporting, performance, control, and planning, plus their financial decision making skills. The IMA requires aspiring CMAs to hold a bachelor's degree in accounting or professional accounting certification, complete at least two years of work experience, and pass the exam to obtain certification.

Additional Requirements for an Online Master's in Accounting

While largely technical in nature, most online master's degrees in accounting include some additional requirements, such as an internship, and culminate in a capstone or thesis. Most master's-level accounting internships encompass three credits, which students complete through placement in a local accounting firm or financial institution. Some programs even coordinate paid internships. An online master's degree in accounting typically concludes with a capstone course in lieu of a thesis requirement.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Accounting Degrees

Students beginning their school search should narrow their options to only include accredited programs. Colleges and universities may hold regional or national accreditation through a recognized accrediting agency. Either type of accreditation is acceptable, but regional accreditation is generally more common and preferable among many top schools. In some cases, colleges with regional accreditation only accept transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions. Students should confirm their school's accreditation status through a legitimate agency overseen by the Department of Education U.S. Department of Education (ED) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

In addition to institutional accreditation, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) gives accreditation to some business degrees and some of the nation's most affordable online master's in accounting. Programmatic accreditation cannot replace institutional accreditation, but AACSB recognition highlights the industry's most relevant and valuable accounting programs.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Accounting Graduates

Master's in Accounting Salary

Employment for accounting master's degree graduates varies by location, employer, and individual requirements. As with most occupations, candidates with advanced degrees and professional experience qualify for the most lucrative jobs in accounting and finance. Populated by Payscale data, the table below highlights the median salaries for accountants and finance professionals through all career stages.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Less Than 1 Year of Experience 1-4 Years of Experience 10-19 Years of Experience
Accountant $50,937 $46,000 $49,000 $56,000
Budget Analyst $59,994 $49,000 $55,000 $71,000
Cost Estimator $55,100 $47,000 $51,000 $63,000
Financial Analyst $60,196 $54,000 $59,000 $71,000
Financial Manager $72,531 $59,123 $63,000 $81,000

Master's in Accounting Careers

Graduates of online accounting master's degrees can pursue a variety of career paths and fields of expertise. Aspiring accountants with an eye for detail should demonstrate dexterity in crunching numbers, and have a thorough understanding of mathematical functions. With qualifications exceeding the minimum education requirement for most entry-level jobs, candidates with their master's degrees can pursue advanced positions in fields including accounting, auditing, and finance management.

Accountant or Auditor

Accountants and auditors prepare and thoroughly examine taxes and other financial records, respectively. They help ensure individuals and corporations can follow financial rules and regulations and operate efficiently and lawfully. Accountants must obtain CPA certification through their state board to file SEC reports -- another critical requirement of a tax preparator. Most employers accept candidates with their bachelor's degrees and CPA certification, but master's degree holders may qualify for advanced positions in finance.

Median Annual Salary: $70,500
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts help clients manage their finances by evaluating their spending habits, drafting or amending their budget, and monitoring their expenditures. These professionals may work for public or private institutions, ranging from large corporations to individual business owners. Most budget analyst employers require at least a bachelor's degree, though some government agencies may also require the certified government financial manager credential.

Median Annual Salary: $76,220
Projected Growth Rate: 4%

Cost Estimator

Cost estimators help estimate the money, labor, time, and materials necessary to complete a project, make a product, or provide a service. Most budget estimators work in construction, manufacturing, or auto repair. Employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in finance, business, or a related field, plus work experience in their area of expertise.

Median Annual Salary: $64,040
Projected Growth Rate: 9%

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts help clients make informed investment decisions by analyzing the risk and performance of bonds and stocks, and make investment recommendations to improve the overall health of clients' financial portfolios. Candidates should hold their bachelor's in finance, accounting, mathematics, statistics, or economics. Some employers may require a FINRA license for sales positions, while others may sponsor CFA certification for new-hires.

Median Annual Salary: $85,660
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Financial Manager

Financial managers oversee all financial operations of an organization, corporation, or private client. They help their clients reach long-term financial goals by drafting finance reports, advising on investments, and creating a budget with a focus on overall financial health. Candidates should hold a bachelor's degree and work in accounting, security, sales, or financial analysis for at least five years to pursue this career.

Median Annual Salary: $127,990
Projected Growth Rate: 16%

Professional Organizations

Joining a professional accounting or finance organization can provide students with benefits not available anywhere else. Students often receive discounted membership rates as an incentive to join a professional organization while still earning their degree. Members enjoy perks including networking opportunities, continuing education courses, and career placement services. The following represent some of the largest and most reputable accounting and finance organizations.


Financing Your Online Master's in Accounting Program

Most U.S. college students need financial aid to fund their degree. Regardless of a student's major or socioeconomic status, they may qualify for one or multiple financial aid resources. Common options include federal funding, scholarships, grants, and work-study. All financial aid programs and most schools require students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines students' eligibility for almost all forms of educational funding.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Scholarships for Online MAC Programs

Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Government Finance Officers Association provides this scholarship to aspiring government accountants and finance professionals. Students must show evidence of full-time enrollment in a graduate program, in a course of study related to state, local, or government finance. They must also provide a letter of recommendation with their application.
Amount: $15,000

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AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship Award

Who Can Apply: AICPA sponsors the Carey Scholarship, providing financial aid to applicants with a background in liberal arts or a nonbusiness field who plan to enroll in a graduate accounting program and pursue CPA licensure. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited school and student affiliate membership in AICPA. Eligible graduate programs receive AACSB and/or ACBSP accreditation.
Amount: $5,000

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Wiley CPAExcel Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Named for its flagship exam-prep product, Wiley Efficient Learning, Inc. offers this award to full- and part-time college students enrolled in at least one accounting course. The grand-prize winner receives a cash award and the Wiley CPAExcel Platinum study course; the runner-up receives the course only.
Amount: $500

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NABA National Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The National Association of Black Accountants presents this award to black applicants who hold active NABA student membership. Students must show proof of enrollment in a full-time undergraduate or graduate program in business, accounting, or finance, and hold a minimum 3.3 overall and 3.5 major GPA.
Amount: $1,500

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NABA Member Scholarship Award

Who Can Apply: NABA offers the Member Scholarship Award to recipients with similar qualifications through the NABA National Scholarship Program, in a wider range of cash awards. Applicants must be black NABA members and enrolled in a full-time undergraduate or graduate program in accounting, business, or finance. Students must demonstrate an overall GPA of at least 3.3 and a major GPA of at least 3.5.
Amount: $1,000-$3,000

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AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students

Who Can Apply: AICPA grants this award to applicants who belong to a minority racial or ethnic group, and are enrolled in a full-time undergraduate or graduate accounting degree.
Amount: Up to $5,000

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Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship

Who Can Apply: GFOA presents this scholarship to students pursuing careers in accounting for local or state agencies. Applicants must show proof of full-time enrollment in an upper-level undergraduate or graduate program.
Amount: $10,000

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