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5 Tips for Choosing a Graduate Accounting Program

How to Choose a Graduate Accounting Program

  • Check Out the University
  • Consider Your Specialization
  • Examine Past Graduates’ Success
  • Consider a Program Type
  • Crunch the Numbers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the finance industry is growing rapidly with every passing year and more and more professionals in the field are seeking out master’s degrees in accounting. While the majority of colleges and universities around the world offer graduate degrees in this field, including the ones in your own backyard, choosing the right program can be remarkably difficult. Here are five tips for choosing a graduate level accounting program.

1. Check Out the University

Before you decide to study anywhere, make it a point to visit the university or college in question. Take the tour, talk to students and faculty wherever possible, and ask lots of questions. Examine the academic resources available – the library, the academic services center, and other supports – that will make your time there more successful. If you don’t feel satisfied with what you see and hear during your visit, continue your search.

2. Consider your Specialization

Master’s degree studies nearly always require the student to choose a specialization, so consider carefully what you really want to do. Does corporate tax interest you? Non-profit finance? Accounts receivable? No matter what sort of work you want to do, there is a specialization for it within the context of your master’s studies. Look for schools that explicitly offer what you’re interested in or that offer courses that will permit you to cobble together or even self-design your degree program.

3. Examine Past Graduates’ Success

When you’re visiting or communicating with a college or university, ask them about their students’ success statistics following graduation from your program of choice. A quality program will not only offer great academic instruction, but will provide ample resources for finding work and getting hired after completion of a degree. If they don’t have statistics on graduate employment or they seem rather low to you, either pass them by or relegate them to a back up list. Graduate school is a tremendous investment, both academically and financially, and you’ll want the security of knowing that your university or college is a resource that will continue to support you as you start to build your career following graduation.

4. Consider a Program Type

While many graduate students take traditional on-campus programs, online and hybrid programs are also immensely popular. Consider your current responsibilities and financial situation – do you work full-time or have a family to support? What sort of financial aid can you expect for your graduate studies, and will it be enough to not only cover your tuition but help you pay your bills while you study? No matter what kind of program you choose, it should fit your life and needs while you’re studying, so pay close attention to schools that offer your program type of choice.

Resource: Top 10 Online Accounting Degree Programs

5. Crunch the Numbers

How much will your program cost? Will you receive fellowships, scholarships, or straight-up student loans for your degree studies? Graduate school is a significant investment personally, academically, and financially. When choosing a program, consider whether you’ll be getting your money’s worth for the quality of education you’ll receive and what your prospects will be after graduation.

Choosing a graduate accounting program is a challenge, but these tips will help you make the right decision and be more successful following the completion of your master’s studies.