Undergraduate Degree in Accounting
To start a career in accounting, it is advisable to begin by earning a college degree. The best choice for an education is to pursue an undergraduate degree in accounting. International students can make the decision to study as an accounting major while enrolled as an undergraduate student.
International students who are considering an accounting major will be very pleased with the wide variety of support and opportunities available while enrolled in school. The undergraduate degree in accounting is usually a student’s first introduction to the field of accounting, as very few high schools or primary schools teach any sort of accounting curriculum. Students should enroll in a top school with a strong business school, make sure the accounting program is highly regarded, and ensure they will have the support of the program when searching for internships or post-graduate careers. If an international student is able to find a good fit program for them, they will surely leave undergraduate school as a highly educated accountant.
Accounting majors will find that the courses required for an undergraduate degree in accounting are challenging, yet very informative. Accounting can be very interdisciplinary depending on the specific program. Expect to take classes in business, accounting, finance and mathematics. Coursework is split into two separate categories: electives and major courses. Electives are usually outside the school of business, and are meant to give the student a chance to explore subjects outside of accounting. Core courses, are related directly to accounting and will be the foundation of the undergraduate degree. Accounting students will start by taking on introductory courses in accounting like Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting. These courses set the principles of accounting that will be built on in future coursework.
As students progress through their degree requirements they will run into the most important courses. These courses are what the degree program are built on. Expect to take many classes in budgeting basics like: Cost and Quality Management, Auditing, Federal Tax Procedure and many others. In addition, students will get a great feel for accounting by taking Intermediate Accounting I and II. Some programs may require undergraduates to take an advanced accounting course as well. Students will also take some specialized class like Computer Applications in Accounting, which expose students to the new software that are necessary for accounting firms. In addition, expect to take some type of business law classes. Some schools require multiple business law courses, and give students an option to study corporate law as well.
Like with most educational programs, the usual program length for an undergraduate degree in accounting is four years. Some students excel in the program and graduate in three years, and it is also not unusual to see some students graduating in five years. Accounting courses can be very challenging, and often students take a break to work in an internship position for a semester or academic year. This ensures some practical experience, as well as some course credit available. With courses in finance, statistics, mathematics and business, the typical course load of a student can be daunting. Accounting majors are required to take about 120 credits during their undergraduate career. This includes general education courses handled in the first two years of study, elective courses, and of course accounting major courses.
So what is the career outlook like for student pursuing an undergraduate degree in accounting? There is currently many openings as an accountant for a multitude of different companies, and future employment outlook appears to be great. While entering the work force is a great option, many students decide to go on to pursue a master’s degree. This degree shows a real understanding of the field. In order to qualify for these programs, international students also decide to pursue a CPA designation, which requires 30 extra credit hours beyond an undergraduate degree. This allows students to get both a master’s degree and CPA designation and truly make them stand out. An accounting major in undergraduate school will build a get a great grasp on accounting and find that they are ready for their next step.