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Accounting Major

90,103 yearly degrees
#7 in popularity
$79,000 median salary

Accounting is a major that typically falls into the Business, Management & Marketing category.

There are 1,075 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in accounting, 1,374 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 626 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 23 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting an Accounting Degree?

This is one of the most frequently chosen college majors. It is the 7th most popular in the country with 56,000 students graduating with a bachelor’s in accounting in 2017. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 51.1% of the graduates are women, and 48.9% are men.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of accounting majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 7.9%
  • Black or African American: 7%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 12.3%
  • White: 59.8%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 6.9%
  • Other Races: 6.1%

Accounting Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in accounting. About 6.9% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending accounting majors to the U.S. are China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

What Will You Learn as an Accounting Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to accounting to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Accounting Majors

Accounting majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Accounting Majors

Skills for Accounting Majors

When studying accounting, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

Important Skills for Accounting Majors

Abilities for Accounting Majors

As an accounting major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

Important Abilities for accounting Majors

What Can You Do With an Accounting Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with accounting:

Careers Related to Accounting
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Tax Preparers 10.7% $39,390
Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks -1% $45,050
Business Professors 18% $83,960
Financial Managers, Branch or Department 18.7% $127,990
Credit Analysts 8.3% $71,520
Auditors 10% $70,500
Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents -0.6% $54,440
Budget Analysts 6.5% $76,220
Statistical Assistants 9.3% $48,330
Treasurers and Controllers 18.7% $127,990

Accounting Major Salary

Accounting majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $50,000 to $90,000. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for an Accounting Major  ( 50000 to 90000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )
$0
$200k

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Accounting Major Jobs

Some careers associated with accounting may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for accounting careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Accounting
Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Less Than a High School Diploma 0.5%
High School Diploma or Equivalent 14.4%
Post-Secondary Certificate 3.9%
Some College Courses 9.6%
Associate's Degree or Equivalent 8.4%
Bachelor's Degree 40%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 3.2%
Master's Degree 13.8%
Post-Master's Certificate 0.3%
First Professional Degree 0.6%
Doctoral Degree 5.7%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.1%

Online Accounting Programs

There are 1,374 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting, with 230 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Online learners benefit from being able to watch lectures remotely and complete coursework on their schedule, but they also take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to dropout.

Is an Accounting Major Worth It?

The median salary for an accounting grad is $79,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 103% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $798,400 after 20 years!

accounting salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Pixabay via License

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