Online Master's in Accounting

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How Long Does It Take to Get an Accounting Master’s Degree?

A master’s degree in accounting can be a candidate’s ticket to a sought-after job, possibly at a higher salary than that earned by accounting bachelor’s degree holders.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports that the accounting master’s degree is among employers’ top 10 in-demand master’s degrees, with 15% of those polled for a 2021 report planning to hire a candidate who holds that degree. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections for accounting jobs from 2019 to 2029 are in line with this finding, noting that a master’s degree and relevant certification can give accounting professionals an advantage in pursuing those roles.

It’s no surprise, then, that 2020 figures from NACE show the average salary of accounting master’s degree holders — $74,428 — tops that of several business master’s degree fields including sales, logistics, and human resources. This salary is 29% greater than the average for accounting bachelor’s degree holders.

A master’s in accounting offers potential benefits, but what does earning that degree involve? If you’re interested in learning more, you’re probably wondering, how long does it take to get a master’s in accounting?

An accountant sits at a desk while talking on the phone.

How long is a master’s in accounting program?

The amount of time it takes to earn an accounting degree, such as a bachelor’s or master’s, depends in part on whether a student is enrolled in an online or in-person program.

Online vs. on-campus master’s in accounting programs

In-person master’s in accounting degree programs generally take about two years, although some schools offer accelerated or part-time programs that can shorten or lengthen the time frame. Online programs can take considerably less than two years to complete — about a year or less, in some cases — depending on the student’s desired pace. Online programs may also take longer for students who choose to take fewer courses at a time. Online master’s in accounting programs are a good choice for those who want to tailor the pace of their study to accommodate other demands on their time, including work and family.

How long is a master’s in accounting program at Maryville University?

How long it takes to complete a master’s in accounting degree program at Maryville University depends on many variables, including a student’s academic background. Typically, students can finish the online program in as little as 10 months.

Maryville’s industry-relevant curriculum, focused on preparing students for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam, offers options for those with an undergraduate degree in accounting as well as for those entering accounting from a different field. Students with a bachelor’s in accounting follow a master’s degree curriculum with 30 credit hours. Those who are new to accounting take 30 additional credit hours of bridge programming.

Benefits of an online master’s in accounting program

A master’s in accounting degree can make professionals more attractive to hiring managers and boost their salary. It also can lead to higher-level jobs and the opportunity to pursue the CPA designation, which can open career doors. But why do people pursue this in-demand degree online? Among the benefits of earning a degree online are:

  • Flexibility — Online master’s in accounting programs typically allow students to schedule courses according to the timetable that fits with their professional and personal obligations.
  • Convenience — Studying online provides students with the option to do their coursework anywhere they have online access, without having to commute to campus.
  • Individualized pace — Whether students want to finish quickly or take longer to earn their master’s degree, online programs frequently offer class session start dates that allow them to move at whatever pace works for them.

Students who earn their master’s degree online receive an education they say compares favorably with on-campus programming. A 2019 study of 1,500 students conducted by LearningHouse, an educational resources company, polled graduate students who had attended in-person and online classes. Of those students, 90% reported that online learning is as good or better than attending classes on campus.

Maryville’s Online master’s in accounting program credit breakdown

Maryville University’s online Master of Science in Accounting program prepares students for the accounting field of today — and the industry changes and demands of the future. Maryville’s curriculum emphasizes advanced accounting topics and includes courses that prepare students for the CPA exam. It also offers courses specifically for students who don’t have an undergraduate degree in accounting. As mentioned above, students with a bachelor’s in accounting follow a curriculum with 30 credit hours. Those who are new to accounting take 30 additional credit hours of bridge programming.

Bridge program for students without a bachelor’s in accounting

Designed specifically for those who come to the master’s in accounting program from another discipline, the bridge program emphasizes topics that prepare students for core accounting courses. Students take Survey of Business as well as 10 courses worth three credit hours apiece. The courses are:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Advanced Managerial Accounting
  • Financial Reporting I
  • Financial Reporting II
  • Auditing
  • Business Law
  • Business Statistics
  • Macroeconomics or Microeconomics
  • Principles of Finance

Core accounting courses

All students in Maryville’s online Master of Science in Accounting program complete a Graduate Preparation course as well as 18 hours of core accounting courses. These courses, each worth three credit hours, are:

  • Tax Planning and Decision Making
  • Accounting for Governmental and Nonprofit Entities
  • Financial Reporting III
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Accounting Research and Communication
  • Data Analytics

Becker CPA-informed courses

Maryville’s online Master of Science in Accounting program’s curriculum includes 12 credit hours of Becker CPA exam preparation courses. The three-credit-hour courses focus on the advanced auditing and financial accounting and reporting topics required for the test.

Taking these courses as part of the master’s program is a convenient — and potentially more affordable — way to get ready for the exam. The Becker CPA exam prep courses are:

  • Advanced Auditing
  • Advanced Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Advanced Business Environment and Concepts
  • Advanced Accounting Regulation

Take your next step toward a leadership role in accounting

If you’re wondering whether a master’s in accounting is right for your career, and want more information on how long it takes to get an accounting degree, take some time to explore Maryville University’s online Master of Science in Accounting program. You’ll get a top-quality education in advanced accounting concepts at Maryville, as well as excellent preparation for the CPA exam — while enjoying the convenience and flexibility of online learning.

Discover how Maryville’s online Master of Science in Accounting can help you achieve your professional goals.

Recommended Reading

Accounting Matters: CPA vs. Accountant

Are Accountants in High Demand? A Look at the Numbers

Online vs. Traditional Degrees

Sources

Learning House, “Online College Students 2019”

Kajabi, “20 Benefits of Online Classes for Teachers and Students”

MastersDegree.net, “Guide to Getting a Master’s Degree in Accounting”

Monster, “How to Become an Accountant”

National Association of Colleges and Employers, “Salary Survey: Winter 2020”

National Association of Colleges and Employers, “Salary Survey: Winter 2021”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Accountants and Auditors”