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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • An account­ing degree offers flex­i­bil­i­ty in career options across var­i­ous indus­tries, includ­ing pub­lic account­ing, cor­po­rate account­ing, and gov­ern­ment.
  • The degree pro­vides a sol­id foun­da­tion for fur­ther pro­fes­sion­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tions like CPA (Cer­ti­fied Pub­lic Accoun­tant) or CMA (Cer­ti­fied Man­age­ment Accoun­tant), which can enhance career prospects and earn­ing potential.
  • Account­ing is a sta­ble field with con­sis­tent demand for qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als to man­age finan­cial records and pro­vide finan­cial advice.

Account­ing is one of the very few tru­ly ever­green fields. Account­ing degree hold­ers can find a place in any indus­try, niche, or busi­ness. When­ev­er mon­ey or num­bers become involved, an account becomes essen­tial. Many account­ing degree hold­ers can work for busi­ness­es or start their own busi­ness, which makes account­ing an unusu­al­ly flex­i­ble career choice as well. So is a bach­e­lor’s degree in account­ing worth it? Let’s explore.

Is Accounting a Good Job for the Future?

There is a demand for accounts right now, and the demand for accoun­tants in the future will only grow. Because of the demand for accoun­tants in the future, peo­ple look­ing for a viable career path, who have strong math­e­mat­i­cal abil­i­ties, and sol­id tech­nol­o­gy skills, need look no fur­ther than a bachelor’s in account­ing. The nature of the field makes it a con­stant­ly in-demand profession.

For those won­der­ing “what can I do with a bachelor’s in account­ing,” the answer is, basi­cal­ly, any­thing you want. For those won­der­ing “is account­ing a good job for the future,” the answer is an emphat­ic yes. Under­stand that an account­ing degree is ver­sa­tile. An edu­ca­tion in account­ing lends itself to pro­fes­sion­al posi­tions at every lev­el, from entry to a cor­ner office, in prac­ti­cal­ly every kind of set­ting, from pri­vate indus­try to edu­ca­tion to gov­ern­ment to self-employment.


Even if a stu­dent doesn’t plan to specif­i­cal­ly go into the account­ing busi­ness, they can still use their degree to help them launch and main­tain their own entre­pre­neur­ial busi­ness, or help some­one else do the same.

“What can I do with a bach­e­lor’s in account­ing?” is bet­ter expressed by won­der­ing what one can’t do with such a degree. Is account­ing a good job for the future? Not only is account­ing a great job for the future, but it’s future-proof. Even with all the tech­nol­o­gy that helps with account­ing duties, a qual­i­fied accoun­tant or some­one trained as an accoun­tant will remain nec­es­sary. The demand for accounts in the future will not wane. There­fore, appli­cants seek­ing a bach­e­lor’s in account­ing can rest assured they will have options avail­able to them going forward.

Are Accountants Happy with their Career Choice?

Many won­der if accoun­tants are hap­py with their jobs. Are accoun­tants hap­py? Of course, that’s a sub­jec­tive ques­tion — what makes one per­son hap­py won’t make every­one hap­py At any job and on any career path, some peo­ple may find dis­sat­is­fac­tion with what they’re doing. But accord­ing to U.S. News polls, accoun­tants score pret­ty high on the sat­is­fac­tion scale; in fact, they name it one of the top 10 pro­fes­sions. https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/accountant

Since account­ing can lead to sev­er­al dif­fer­ent types of careers, stu­dents should do their best to fol­low paths that give them the most ful­fill­ment. Pur­su­ing an account­ing job or using account­ing skills for a busi­ness doesn’t auto­mat­i­cal­ly equate to bor­ing or unhap­py if the per­son finds sat­is­fac­tion with their work and occupation.

Getting a Bachelor’s in Accounting

As with all post­sec­ondary or under­grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion, appli­cants seek­ing a bachelor’s in account­ing must first choose a school or pro­gram. Obvi­ous­ly, many peo­ple want to find the best col­leges for account­ing majors. How­ev­er, find­ing the best school or pro­gram for account­ing depends on sev­er­al fac­tors. The first thing an appli­cant should start with is the school or program’s accred­i­ta­tion status.

Business School and Accounting Program Accreditation

Sim­ply put, accred­i­ta­tion is the process that ensures a school or pro­gram meets qual­i­ty and edu­ca­tion stan­dards set by a pro­fes­sion­al group formed specif­i­cal­ly to cre­ate and main­tain those stan­dards. A uni­ver­si­ty or pro­gram can have more than one accred­i­ta­tion and the more the bet­ter. When look­ing for accred­it­ed pro­grams, appli­cants should know a lit­tle about the dif­fer­ent types of account­ing school accred­i­ta­tion and what they mean.

Region­al accred­i­ta­tion – This means the col­lege or uni­ver­si­ty as a whole received the stamp of approval from one of the larg­er region­al accred­i­ta­tion agen­cies (there are six, rep­re­sent­ing US regions: New Eng­land, the South, the West, etc). Region­al accred­i­ta­tion rep­re­sents the norm, and any insti­tu­tion with region­al accred­i­ta­tion meets or exceeds stan­dards. Cred­its from these types of insti­tu­tions have wide accep­tance and appli­cants can typ­i­cal­ly trans­fer them should they change schools or pur­sue fur­ther edu­ca­tion in account­ing. Degrees from schools with region­al accred­i­ta­tion will have more recog­ni­tion in the account­ing indus­try and broad­er acceptance.

Pro­gram accred­i­ta­tion – Nation­al accred­i­ta­tion typ­i­cal­ly goes to spe­cif­ic pro­grams, rather than an entire insti­tu­tion. For exam­ple, a uni­ver­si­ty with region­al accred­i­ta­tion may have an account­ing pro­gram that also has nation­al accred­i­ta­tion from an accred­it­ing group with a spe­cif­ic focus on account­ing edu­ca­tion and activities.

Nation­al or spe­cial­ized accred­i­ta­tion is just as impor­tant as region­al accred­i­ta­tion for those who are look­ing specif­i­cal­ly for an account­ing pro­gram. As account­ing falls under the busi­ness dis­ci­plines, the largest and most rec­og­nized accred­it­ing agen­cies for account­ing pro­grams include the ACBSP vs AACSB. Anoth­er accred­it­ing body, the IACBE (Inter­na­tion­al Assem­bly for Col­le­giate Busi­ness Edu­ca­tion) exists, but for those seek­ing the best col­leges for account­ing majors in the US, the first two accred­it­ing bod­ies are the ones that real­ly mat­ter. How­ev­er, when it comes to the ACBSP vs AACSB, appli­cants will have to decide which account­ing school accred­i­ta­tion group stan­dards aligns most with their goals.

ACBSP vs AACSB: What’s the Difference?

Both the ACBSP and AACSB are high­ly respect­ed and rec­og­nized accred­it­ing agen­cies for busi­ness pro­grams. The main dif­fer­ence between the two agen­cies has to do with which stan­dards they val­ue most.

ACBSP – The Accred­i­ta­tion Coun­cil for Busi­ness Schools and Pro­grams puts a focus on out­comes and align­ing the goals of account­ing pro­grams with the goals of employ­ers who need accoun­tants. That means a school with ACBSP accred­i­ta­tion will seek to pre­pare a stu­dent for the account­ing work­force by focus­ing on the skills employ­ers need right now.

AACSB – The Asso­ci­a­tion to Advance Col­le­giate Schools of Busi­ness Inter­na­tion­al is an old­er and far more rec­og­nized accred­i­ta­tion agency. This group val­ues research and pub­lished works. Fac­ul­ty mem­bers at an AACSB accred­it­ed insti­tu­tion or pro­gram will spend more time explor­ing account­ing the­o­ries and con­cepts. What is AACSB accred­i­ta­tion mean? It means these pro­grams will take a more schol­ar­ly approach to account­ing education.

Both these orga­ni­za­tions grant 10-year accred­i­ta­tions and con­stant­ly strive to improve busi­ness and account­ing pro­grams for every­body involved. They per­form reviews to make sure the pro­grams main­tain qual­i­ty stan­dards. In a way, the two groups actu­al­ly com­ple­ment each other.

ACBSP accred­i­ta­tion can pre­pare stu­dents to use their account­ing knowl­edge in real-world appli­ca­tions imme­di­ate­ly. An AACSB accred­it­ed pro­gram can help stu­dents learn the fun­da­men­tals and build­ing blocks of account­ing to help them adapt their account­ing knowl­edge to any sit­u­a­tion or need.

Even if appli­cants are seek­ing an accred­it­ed online account­ing degree, they should still look for the ACBSP or AACSB logo. An accred­it­ed online account­ing degree pro­gram is no dif­fer­ent from any oth­er pro­gram when it comes to the need to ensure that accred­it­ed sta­tus is there. Both ACBSP accred­it­ed online schools and AACSB accred­it­ed schools online exist. Always look for one or both of these accred­i­ta­tions, even when seek­ing grad­u­ate stud­ies in busi­ness and account­ing or even AACSB accred­it­ed online PhD programs.

Types of Accounting Bachelor’s Degrees

Say you’re ready to go back to school, but you don’t know where to start. You search “account­ing col­leges near me,” or “bach­e­lor’s in account­ing near me.” You will face a bom­bard­ment of sites and infor­ma­tion. It’s going to take time to nar­row down that search, you can start by know­ing a lit­tle more about what they’re look­ing for.

For starters, two main types of bach­e­lor’s account­ing degree options are most com­mon in the US:

Bach­e­lor of Account­ing (BAC) – This is the most rec­og­nized type of account­ing bach­e­lor degree. These degrees have a more gen­er­al arc as uni­ver­si­ty pro­grams will include some lib­er­al arts class­es. A ded­i­cat­ed BAC pro­gram may forego unre­lat­ed elec­tives for a total focus on account­ing — all elec­tives will be busi­ness or account­ing-relat­ed. Nev­er­the­less, the broad­er focus of a BAC pro­gram will pre­pare stu­dents for both the real-world use of their degree as well as for con­tin­u­ing their edu­ca­tion should they want to pur­sue grad­u­ate studies.

Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Account­ing (BSAcc) – This account­ing bach­e­lor’s will have cours­es with a heav­ier focus on the tech­ni­cal aspects of account­ing. While a BSAcc will require gen­er­al edu­ca­tion as well, it will empha­size math­e­mat­ics, sci­ence, and usu­al­ly tech­nol­o­gy. Since this degree is most­ly tech­ni­cal, it can help stu­dents fin­ish their degree and imme­di­ate­ly join an employ­er to do account­ing duties.

Beyond these two account­ing degree types, appli­cants can also pur­sue busi­ness bachelor’s degrees that have a con­cen­tra­tion in account­ing. These account­ing degree options include Bach­e­lor of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion (BB), Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion (BSBA), and Bach­e­lor of Arts in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion (BABA) degrees.

Appli­cants must remem­ber these types of degrees are absolute­ly busi­ness degrees first and account­ing degrees sec­ond. They’re ide­al for those who want to start or run a busi­ness, or those who want to take on more duties at an estab­lished business.

Appli­cants can also pur­sue spe­cial­ized bachelor’s degrees in account­ing. These types of pro­grams will pre­pare stu­dents to enter a spe­cif­ic account­ing field. The course­work will typ­i­cal­ly include account­ing class­es, but also class­es that teach stu­dents more about a par­tic­u­lar use for account­ing. For exam­ple, appli­cants can pur­sue an account­ing degree with a focus on glob­al finance, finan­cial account­ing, or foren­sic accounting.

What is the Difference: Accounting Certificate vs Degree?

When look­ing at the types of account­ing degrees, appli­cants will invari­ably come across account­ing cer­tifi­cates. When it comes to account­ing cer­tifi­cate vs degree, here’s what appli­cants should know.

A cer­tifi­cate or short diplo­ma in account­ing pro­vides a way for peo­ple to earn just enough account­ing to per­form an entry-lev­el account­ing job. Do not con­fuse these cer­tifi­cates with pro­fes­sion­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tions for account­ing and spe­cial­ized account­ing work. An account­ing cer­tifi­cate can help some­one get a foot in the door, or find work as a clerk or low-lev­el book­keep­er; cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is a spe­cial cre­den­tial (for instance, in tax­a­tion or foren­sic account­ing) that shows you are qual­i­fied for spe­cial­ized account­ing work.

Often, stu­dents tak­ing a ded­i­cat­ed account­ing degree pro­gram can also earn a cer­tifi­cate so they can work in an entry-lev­el posi­tion while they learn. Occa­sion­al­ly, it’s pos­si­ble to find online account­ing cer­tifi­cate cours­es free.

These cours­es can take a hand­ful of months and will allow peo­ple to learn some account­ing basics, such as read­ing bal­ance sheets and oth­er finan­cial state­ments. Using online account­ing cer­tifi­cate cours­es free can also help some­one fig­ure out if they’re ready for a more robust degree pro­gram or not. In these ways, cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams can offer val­ue for peo­ple whether they’re already account­ing majors or not.

What Types of Bachelor’s Degrees are Available from Accounting Schools Online?

In truth, there’s no end to the num­ber of account­ing schools online oppor­tu­ni­ties for online bachelor’s degrees in account­ing. Appli­cants will find ded­i­cat­ed online pro­grams, uni­ver­si­ties with par­tial or full online degree options, and even online degree options that allow appli­cants to earn their degree at their own pace.

Account­ing schools online will still have the same type of course­work and account­ing degree require­ments as any on-cam­pus course. Depend­ing on the types of account­ing degrees, the basic account­ing class­es may also come with oth­er types of course­work, such as human­i­ties or basic com­put­ing cours­es. The account­ing degree require­ments will typ­i­cal­ly con­sist of the basic account­ing prin­ci­ples such as:

  • Intro­duc­to­ry account­ing courses
  • Inter­me­di­ate account­ing courses
  • Advanced account­ing courses
  • Finan­cial records and tax-relat­ed courses
  • Man­age­r­i­al account­ing courses
  • Busi­ness law
  • Some gen­er­al busi­ness man­age­ment cours­es to make busi­ness decisions

Account­ing cours­es will also empha­size deci­sion-mak­ing, crit­i­cal think­ing, and prob­lem-solv­ing, major aspects of an account­ing career.

Alto­geth­er, a con­ven­tion­al bachelor’s of account­ing degree usu­al­ly takes about 120 cred­it hours to sat­is­fy the account­ing degree require­ments for licen­sure, but that is chang­ing. The Uni­form CPA exam now requires 30 more cred­its – 150 cred­its in all – which means that many busi­ness and account­ing schools are recon­fig­ur­ing their bachelor’s pro­gram to meet the new account­ing degree require­ments. It’s impor­tant, for stu­dents who are con­sid­er­ing a CPA license, to look for pro­grams that are already pro­vid­ing the full 150 cred­its, if only for their own convenience.

Pro­grams and account­ing schools online can also offer accel­er­at­ed account­ing degree online pro­grams. When it comes to what class­es to take for account­ing degree suc­cess, each school or pro­gram will post their spe­cif­ic cur­ricu­lum to let appli­cants know. Accel­er­at­ed pro­grams are only for the most moti­vat­ed and the best at man­ag­ing their time.

The admis­sion require­ments for an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram may be lighter. If you have trans­fer cred­its from an asso­ciate degree, you can short­en how long a full-time pro­gram will take. You may have knocked out pre­req­ui­sites that would slow down oth­er account­ing students.

How Much Does an Accounting Degree Cost?

When seek­ing an account­ing bachelor’s degree online, the same accred­i­ta­tion rules apply. Appli­cants should look for val­ue, but they shouldn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly seek out only the cheap­est online account­ing degree. Instead, appli­cants should look for the cheap­est accred­it­ed account­ing schools online.

For exam­ple, AACSB accred­it­ed online under­grad­u­ate schools that don’t cost much will still offer high-qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion account­ing majors and a rec­og­nized degree. The cheap­est online account­ing degree isn’t worth much if the stu­dent doesn’t leave it with a degree they can use in the real world.

As an appli­cant tries to fig­ure out how much does an account­ing degree cost, they should also con­sid­er all the costs that go with attend­ing school. In addi­tion, they will have to fac­tor in things like finan­cial aid, schol­ar­ships, grants, fel­low­ships, and any­thing else that can change the over­all tuition cost. Appli­cants can eas­i­ly find year­ly prices rang­ing from the $8,000 range well into the 60k range.

Some free online account­ing degree pro­grams exist, but appli­cants must read all the instruc­tions and require­ments for attend­ing such pro­grams. In addi­tion, appli­cants must know what they will get out of free online account­ing degree pro­grams. Once again, look for accreditation.

Accounting Certifications, CPA Certification, and Other Licenses

A bachelor’s degree in account­ing can open doors, but appli­cants should real­ly con­sid­er pur­su­ing a degree that also helps them receive prop­er licens­ing to per­form account­ing work more broad­ly. This also applies to obtain account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions to per­form spe­cial­ized account­ing work.

Many cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and licens­es exist. Appli­cants will find there’s an account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for prac­ti­cal­ly every type of spe­cif­ic account­ing job. Here are some of the pos­si­ble cer­ti­fi­ca­tions out there for accountants:

  • Cer­ti­fied Bank Audi­tor (CBA)
  • Cer­ti­fied Finan­cial Ser­vices Audi­tor (CFSA)
  • Cer­ti­fied Fraud Exam­in­er (CFE)
  • Cer­ti­fied Gov­ern­ment Audit­ing Pro­fes­sion­al (CGAP)
  • Cer­ti­fied Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems Audi­tor (CISA)
  • Cer­ti­fied Inter­nal Audi­tor (CIA)
  • Cer­ti­fied Man­age­ment Accoun­tant (CMA)
  • Cer­ti­fied Pub­lic Accoun­tant (CPA)
  • Char­tered Finan­cial Ana­lyst (CFA)
  • Char­tered Glob­al Man­age­ment Accoun­tant (CGMA)
  • Enrolled Agent (EA)
  • Foren­sic Cer­ti­fied Pub­lic Accoun­tant (FCPA)

More account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions exist besides. Includ­ed in that list are the top 10 account­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions in the world. For most peo­ple, obtain­ing the CPA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or CMA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion tends to take pri­or­i­ty. The CPA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion opens the most doors gen­er­al­ly, and it’s the most wide­ly rec­og­nized of the account­ing certifications.

A CMA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion has a focus on prac­ti­cal com­pa­ny finan­cial man­age­ment, and peo­ple who plan to work in the cor­po­rate sec­tor would do well to gain CMA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. How­ev­er, both the CPA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and the CMA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion can com­ple­ment each oth­er. Many peo­ple pick up both these account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, as there’s some over­lap of sub­ject matter.

Know­ing the need for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, appli­cants should apply to pro­grams that offer a degree as well as a path to account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Cer­ti­fied pub­lic accoun­tant pro­grams tend to do this, and appli­cants can find a CPA school online or oth­er account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions online.

The edu­ca­tion­al require­ments for a CPA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion are high, includ­ing an under­grad­u­ate degree with 150 col­lege cred­its and a high GPA.

A Cer­ti­fied Man­age­ment Accoun­tant CMA can still hold spe­cial­iza­tion in account­ing. Com­bin­ing the account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and the spe­cial­iza­tion in account­ing can help the appli­cant find niche employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties suit­able for their skills.

For hold­ers of account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions salary ranges grow. In addi­tion, many account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions have recog­ni­tion as inter­na­tion­al account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. This fact improves the job prospects for account­ing bach­e­lor degree holders.

Enrolled Agent rep­re­sents tax cer­ti­fi­ca­tions that allow appli­cants to work with the IRS or rep­re­sent clients in front of the IRS. An Enrolled Agent exam focus­es on income tax. It makes for a good sec­ondary account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion behind a CPA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. For those specif­i­cal­ly look­ing for gov­ern­ment account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, oth­er than the Enrolled Agent, the CPA, CGMA, and CGAP offer access to gov­ern­ment work. As pre­vi­ous­ly men­tioned, appli­cants can still pur­sue more spe­cif­ic cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and even some account­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions with­out degree such as the book­keep­ing certifications.

Careers in Accounting

An account­ing career can take var­i­ous paths. Careers in account­ing and finance are both numer­ous and lucra­tive. Even entry-lev­el account­ing jobs can start with a good salary and room for a lot of growth. Is account­ing the best job in the busi­ness field? Many peo­ple think so. An account­ing career path can start with entry-lev­el account­ing jobs or even home-based jobs account­ing. The account­ing career can grow from home-based jobs account­ing to an office and viable busi­ness. Entry-lev­el account­ing jobs can turn into senior-lev­el positions.

Since careers in account­ing and finance can work in lit­er­al­ly any indus­try, there’s no lim­it to where an account­ing career path can go. An account­ing career can offer flex­i­bil­i­ty as well. Telecom­mut­ing account­ing jobs are just as plen­ti­ful as oth­er career oppor­tu­ni­ties in the account­ing profession.

Since the demand for accoun­tants in the future will only grow, there’s longevi­ty inher­ent in an account­ing career as well. As proof, any appli­cant should search any account­ing job web­sites. They will see an account­ing jobs list that goes on for­ev­er. Still, account­ing job list­ings don’t do jus­tice to the sheer amount of jobs and account­ing careers available.

How­ev­er, look­ing at account­ing job list­ings can help appli­cants see what employ­ers expect in the real world. For exam­ple, the list­ings will offer:

  • A full account­ing jobs description
  • A list of account­ing qualifications
  • Degrees desired (BBA in account­ing jobs may dif­fer from BS in account­ing jobs)

Accoun­tant job list­ings can help appli­cants see real account­ing career infor­ma­tion to help them for­mu­late their account­ing career path plan­ning. A career plan for accoun­tant degree hold­ers is impor­tant. Look­ing at the job offer­ings can also help appli­cants fig­ure out if they want to pur­sue a future in pub­lic account­ing vs cor­po­rate accounting.

Even a par­tial account­ing jobs list shows the vari­ety and range in the field:

  • Account­ing Clerk
  • Account­ing Infor­ma­tion Sys­tem Specialist
  • Accounts Payable/Receivable Clerk
  • Bud­get Analyst
  • Busi­ness Val­u­a­tion Specialist
  • Cer­ti­fied Finan­cial Planner
  • Comptroller/Financial Con­troller
  • Cost Accoun­tant
  • Cost Esti­ma­tor
  • Enrolled Agent
  • Finan­cial Analyst
  • Foren­sic Accountant
  • Pay­roll Accountant
  • Tax Accoun­tant
  • Tax Con­sul­tant
  • Tax Pre­par­er

Careers in pub­lic account­ing can start at home, while account­ing jobs entry-lev­el require­ments go with cor­po­rate account­ing careers. Most peo­ple must work their way up when deal­ing with a sin­gle cor­po­rate enti­ty as an accoun­tant. A pub­lic account­ing career path can mean work­ing for var­i­ous com­pa­nies or peo­ple. The tra­di­tion­al tax accoun­tant career is always avail­able as well.

Giv­en the breadth of oppor­tu­ni­ty, it’s easy to see why the best job in the busi­ness field is Accoun­tant. For those won­der­ing what are some entry-lev­el account­ing jobs, the best entry-lev­el account­ing jobs will vary from place to place. Once again, perus­ing the account­ing job list­ings will help answer that question.

Bachelor Degree in Accounting Salary Expectations

An account­ing salary can vary depend­ing on loca­tion, indus­try, and account­ing spe­cial­iza­tion. The medi­an account­ing salary can range from 50k to almost 60k depend­ing on the source. The Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics BLS Occu­pa­tion­al Out­look Hand­book specif­i­cal­ly lists the medi­an account­ing salary as $69,350 year­ly or $33.34 an hour as of May 2017.

The BLS also states the low­est 10% of the medi­an range earn an aver­age of $43k while the high­est 10% of the range earn $122k. The demand for accoun­tants will only grow, which means account­ing salary will grow as well.

An entry-lev­el account­ing salary for peo­ple with their degree falls with­in the stat­ed medi­an range, so appli­cants don’t have to wor­ry they will have to start out mak­ing next to noth­ing. For exam­ple, some­one with less than five years of expe­ri­ence can still earn an entry-lev­el account­ing salary of around 56k year­ly or around $27 an hour.

Account­ing salary only ris­es as time goes on and you build more years of expe­ri­ence, con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion, and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, so choos­ing account­ing as a career comes with an account­ing careers salary that will only con­tin­ue to grow. The more exper­tise some­one devel­ops, the more they can demand as an account­ing salary.

Account­ing careers salary can also gain boosts in the form of bonus­es, com­mis­sions, and prof­it-shar­ing. So stu­dents who move on to work for cer­tain com­pa­nies or indus­tries can earn more mon­ey than what aver­age account­ing salary would indicate.

Some low­er-pay­ing work exists in the account­ing field as well. For peo­ple who haven’t yet achieved their BS in account­ing, salary can look more like $13 to $16 an hour. These types of pay rates are typ­i­cal­ly entry-lev­el account­ing jobs salary. Jobs like clerks, interns, and small office man­agers usu­al­ly rep­re­sent entry-lev­el account­ing jobs.

With a bach­e­lor degree in account­ing salary starts to look a lot bet­ter, because appli­cants will have access to high­er-tier account­ing work. Some of the high­est pay­ing indus­tries for accoun­tants include:

  • Bank­ing and Finance
  • Gov­ern­ment accounting
  • Pipeline and transportation
  • Secu­ri­ties and commodities

These indus­tries can offer an account­ing salary in the $90k range. The more spe­cial­ized skills an accoun­tant has, the high­er the poten­tial accoun­tant salary. For exam­ple, a focus on finan­cial analy­sis and finan­cial report­ing is very desir­able to busi­ness­es. Senior-lev­el accoun­tants for pri­vate firms can see a six-fig­ure accoun­tant salary. This also applies to an account­ing salary for posi­tions such as a finan­cial plan­ner or finan­cial advisor.

Professional Accounting Organizations

Many ben­e­fits can come from account­ing mem­ber­ships in one or more of the many pro­fes­sion­al account­ing orga­ni­za­tions and asso­ci­a­tions. These account­ing orga­ni­za­tions and soci­eties offer crit­i­cal per­spec­tives on account­ing. Some of the more pres­ti­gious account­ing orga­ni­za­tions set the def­i­n­i­tions and prac­tices that make up account­ing in all its forms.

The Amer­i­can Account­ing Asso­ci­a­tion def­i­n­i­tion of account­ing isn’t exact­ly the same as the def­i­n­i­tion giv­en by the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Cer­ti­fied Pub­lic Accoun­tants. But, the core mes­sage behind the def­i­n­i­tions giv­en by these orga­ni­za­tions can help appli­cants gain a bet­ter, more fun­da­men­tal under­stand­ing of what their career entails.

Some of the bet­ter pro­fes­sion­al account­ing asso­ci­a­tions include:

Amer­i­can Account­ing Asso­ci­a­tion (AAA) 
Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of Finance & Account­ing (AAFA) 
Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Cer­ti­fied Pub­lic Accoun­tants (AICPA) 
Asso­ci­a­tion of Inter­na­tion­al Accoun­tants (AIA)
Insti­tute of Man­age­ment Accoun­tants (IMA) 
Inter­na­tion­al Fed­er­a­tion of Accoun­tants (IFAC)
Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Cer­ti­fied Pub­lic Book­keep­ers (NACPB) 
Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) 
Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sion­al Accoun­tants (NAPA)
Pro­fes­sion­al Account­ings Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca (PASA)

Account­ing orga­ni­za­tions and any oth­er pro­fes­sion­al account­ing body can help new and expe­ri­enced accoun­tants of any stripe with net­work­ing, learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, pub­li­ca­tions, insights, career devel­op­ment, gen­er­al help, and job oppor­tu­ni­ties. The resources alone offered by account­ing asso­ci­a­tions and soci­ety bod­ies are usu­al­ly worth the price of admission.

Appli­cants seek­ing an account­ing bachelor’s degree would do well to research some the nation­al and local pro­fes­sion­al account­ing orga­ni­za­tions to see what they can offer. Start with the Amer­i­can Account­ing Asso­ci­a­tion, and the Insti­tute of Man­age­ment Accountants.