Available as either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS), accounting bachelor’s degree programs provide students with a strong foundation in accounting theory, principles, and practice. Students in BS and BA programs often take similar introductory courses, but BA programs typically include more general education credits, while students earning a BS in accounting usually have to take more courses required for the major. Read more about BS and BA in accounting programs if you would like to forge a career in the accounting field.
What You Learn in a Bachelor’s in Accounting Program
Bachelor’s degree programs in accounting are offered at four-year colleges and universities. Prerequisites for admission to BS and BA programs are typically a GED or high school diploma. In order to be successful in a bachelor’s degree program in accounting, it is important to have a strong mathematical background and good communication skills.
It takes around four years to complete a bachelor’s degree with full-time study. Bachelor’s degree-seeking students are typically required to complete 120 semester hours of coursework, including general education credits, accounting courses, business administration courses, and electives. Many bachelors’ programs allow students to pursue their coursework entirely online to accommodate their busy schedules.
A bachelor’s degree in accounting also provides the foundation to pursue a graduate degree in business, accounting or law. As of 2012, 46 states and the District of Columbia require candidates seeking to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework in order to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam, which is 30 hours more than the standard four-year bachelor’s degree. Many schools offer a five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree to enable students to meet this 150-hour requirement.
BS and BA in Accounting Curriculum Overview
Balancing theory with practical knowledge, both BA and BS programs are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue an accounting career. However, a BA degree program typically provides a well-rounded education, featuring more elective hours and less major hours, while a BS in accounting is usually more specialized than a BA, because it features more focuses coursework on accounting. Classes that students majoring in accounting may be required to take during their bachelor’s degree studies include:
- Principles of accounting
- Managerial accounting
- Introduction to business law
- Financial analysis
- Financial reporting
- Internal and external auditing
- Corporation taxation
Career Opportunities for Accounting Professionals
Accounting positions are available in both the public and private sectors. Working towards efficiency with regards to the financial operations of an organization, accountants are responsible for preparing and examining financial and tax records to the specifications of government regulations. Graduates can pursue careers with job titles, such as:
- Financial accountant
- Public accountant
- Tax accountant
- Accounting consultant
- Government accountant
- Budget analyst
Most accounting positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Obtaining a professional accounting certification may give graduates a competitive edge, because it demonstrates professional competence. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of accountants and auditors was $63,550 in 2012. In response to stricter financial regulations, as well as continued globalization, accounting services are expected to be in demand over the coming decade. From 2010 to 2020, the employment of accountants is projected to grow 16%.
While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you will likely gain a broad understanding of the business world, as well as accounting functions in various industries. Obtain a comprehensive accounting education and take control of your future by pursuing a BA or BS in accounting.