You’ve made the decision; it’s time to get your accounting degree. But how to begin? We’re here to help. Below you’ll find all the accounting degree basics; the Who, Why, What, Where and How of earning your accounting degree.
You, of course, that’s who. What made you choose accounting? Do you have an accounting specialty in mind? Take some time to consider things. What do you do well when it comes to school? Are you a social butterfly or a bookworm? Do you enjoy the classroom, or do you prefer hanging out online? What is important to you? What gave you trouble in school—writing papers, taking notes, or showing up to class prepared?
All of these are important factors to consider before moving forward. A good exercise is to sit down and write down answers to the questions above. Earning an accounting degree is challenging, and knowing your strengths and weaknesses before you go in is key. Take the time to really dig deep and understand yourself before taking the next step and begin your accounting school research.
This is important: WHY do you want to earn an accounting degree? Are you fulfilling a life-long dream, or simply following the expectations of your parents or friends? Are you hoping for a lucrative career and an accounting degree is the next step down that path, or are you someone who loves economics? Whatever your reason, if you are doing it for yourself and the dreams you hold for your life, you are more likely to succeed.
Accounting is an exciting and growing field, with many specialties expecting growth over 20% in the coming decade. There are so many options—you can be a staff accountant (the cornerstone of any company), or pursue fraud investigations as an auditor. Knowing all of the accounting degree basics, and what you want to do with your accounting degree, will help you with course selection.
Let’s start with your interests. What types of things excite you? What types of jobs or careers appeal to you? Don’t feel restricted by the expectations of others—let your hopes and dreams soar when considering these ideas.
Now, let’s look at your abilities. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What kind of skills do you have? Look at the courses you took in high school. What were your best subjects? Is there a pattern there? What kinds of extracurricular activities did you participate in while in high school? What kinds of things did you learn from part-time or summer jobs?
The next step is to examine what you value in work. Do you value helping society? Do you like working under pressure? Are you interested in a specific group affiliation? What about stability, security, status, pacing, working alone or with groups, or having a positive impact on other people?
Now, the reality check. You need to honestly evaluate your options. Do you dream of being an accountant, but find that your math skills are rusty? Does your specialization require an advanced degree, but you have no desire to go to graduate school? Do you have a strong interest in working in the non-profit sector, but your family is convinced you will become a corporate officer like your father? None of these things should stop you from having a career in accounting, necessarily, but it is still important to face these obstacles and be realistic about whether you can get around them.
Finally, based on all your research and self-assessment, you should now have a better idea of the accounting specialties you are not interested in pursuing as well as a handful of potential areas that do interest you. Now it’s time to begin accounting school research!
This question is just as important but much more practical. Choosing where to learn accounting is just important as why. Do you want to stay close to home, or are you eager to explore other places? Does your accounting specialty have a preferred college or university, or can you attend anywhere? Do you want a place where you can live on campus, or would you rather live off-site?
The first step, of course, is to find out the best college to learn accounting for your area of specialization. Then you can check out the best local options as well as visit other locations. What college offers the courses you want at the times you want them? When visiting a college, be sure to check out the surrounding neighborhoods and the services they offer. After all, if you are going to spend a lot of time in that area, you will need more than a place where you learn accounting—after all, you’ll need to eat and shop!
Secondly, you should spend some time researching how the college assists its graduates and their careers in accounting. Does it have a strong career center? How about their job placement office? Once you’ve graduated you’ll need some assistance taking that next step. Check out how they will assist your career in accounting.
Once you have done your accounting school research, you will know which college is the best place for you.
Ah, how may seem like the biggest question. How will I get in? How will I pay for college? How will I manage to work while going to school?
Luckily, in this day and age there are as many diverse options for earning your degree as there are students. You can go to school part-time and keep that good job. You can go to school online, part-time, full-time, or for just some of your courses.
Financial aid is readily available to anyone who needs it, making a college degree a reality for everyone. The admissions counselors at the college you choose can help you navigate the paperwork required and provide guidance on both financial aid and your course load.
To earn that accounting degree, all it takes is you making the commitment and taking that first step. We hope this article has provided you with some great accounting degree basics, helped with your accounting school research, and given you solid information about where to learn accounting. We wish you luck in your career in accounting!
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