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What Should You Consider When Selecting a Graduate Accounting Program?

Congratulations on your interest in earning a Master’s in Accounting. Your commitment to your career and your future will pay dividends for years to come. Of course, you wouldn’t be interested in this field if you weren’t detail-oriented and cautious, which is why you’re curious about what you need to know before enrolling in classes. If you can answer these four questions, you’ll find the perfect program for the next stage of your professional journey.

Does the Program Offer Credit for Undergraduate Course Work or Experience?

If you’ve taken advanced bookkeeping as part of your bachelor’s degree, you won’t gain much benefit from taking it again at the graduate level. Before enrolling in an online program, find out if you can transfer any of your previous credits to the school. This lets you save money and skip redundant classes. Of course, if your undergraduate degree is an unrelated subject like health sciences, you won’t be able to transfer credits. If you’ve worked as a bookkeeper for financial clerk for several years, universities may let you use that professional experience to skip some degree requirements.

Resource: Top 10 Online Accounting Degree Programs

Is the Program Accredited?

The average Master’s of Accountancy takes 1-2 years to complete and costs tens of thousands of dollars. Don’t spend your time and money without doing your due diligence. The best way to choose a top program is to look for accreditation. The accrediting process surveys professors, students and coursework to determine if a program is offering high-quality education. Schools are required to renew their accreditation every five years, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). American schools in all subjects, including education, health sciences and mathematics, are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Can You Take Classes Without Entering a Degree Program?

Before you go for the formal admissions process of writing an application, paying fees and committing to one university, see if you can take one or two courses as a non-degree student. This lets you test out the instructional style and online systems you’ll be using for your entire program. If you’re not completely sure a Master’s of Accountancy is the right degree for you, a trial run is the perfect way to test your suspicions. Just make sure you can transfer the course credits towards a degree later.

Are You Required to Complete an Internship?

Interning as a master’s degree student has benefits and drawbacks. You can gain professional experience in a setting where you’re allowed to make mistakes. This lets you build your resume. You might build a strong network or even leverage your experience into a full-time job after graduation. However, if you’re working full-time during school, it can be difficult to find time for an internship. If you’re headed into your master’s degree with a specific career goal, you want to ensure you can find an internship that matches your long-term plans. You don’t want to intern as a Client Associate at a Big 4 accounting firm when you dream of behind-the-scenes work in government. Talk to potential schools about internship options during your degree.

Finding success as an accountant means working hard, committing yourself to continuing education and paying careful attention to details. As you search for the best graduate accounting program, you’ll hone many of the skills that will make you an ideal accountant.