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Accounting programs prepare people to work as accountants.

Accounting programs teach students various accounting methods and how to audit records to ensure they comply with tax laws and other standards. They also learn how to create and review financial records.

Accounting programs include topics such as:


In accounting programs, students may be able to specialize in one or more of the following areas:

A master's degree program provides students an opportunity to specialize in auditing, computer science, or business management.


Most colleges and universities offer bachelor's degree programs in accounting. A bachelor's degree usually takes fours years of full-time study to complete. However, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification may require a fifth year of study in order to prepare for the exam.

Many schools offer graduate degree programs in accounting. One option is to get a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in accounting. Typically, master's degree programs require two years of course work beyond the bachelor's degree.

Several schools offer doctoral (PhD) programs in accounting. These programs prepare people to do research or teach accounting at the college level. PhD programs usually require two or more years of courses beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs in accounting is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores. Your bachelor's degree should be in accounting or another business field. If your undergraduate major was not business-related, you should take several courses in accounting. Other recommended courses are economics, statistics, and business law. You should also take courses in management information systems and management.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Things to Know

You can work as an accountant without being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). However, the CPA certification improves your job prospects in certain fields of accounting. Although a national organization gives the CPA exam, the requirements for who can take the exam vary from state to state. For example, some states require work experience in accounting or more education.

Certification is also available for those who specialize in management accounting or auditing.

Some business courses in high school can be useful preparation for a career in accounting. However, your high school transcript needs to show preparation for a demanding college-level program.


East Side Area

Big Bend Community College

Central Washington University

Walla Walla University

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Bellevue College

Central Washington University - Des Moines

Central Washington University - Lynnwood

City University of Seattle

Edmonds Community College

Everett Community College

Golden Gate University - Seattle

North Seattle College

Northwest University

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle University

University of Washington - Bothell

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University (Spokane Campus)

Gonzaga University

Park University - Fairchild AFB

Whitworth University

Statewide and Distance Learning

Washington State University - Global Campus

WGU Washington

Tacoma Area

Pacific Lutheran University

University of Washington - Tacoma

Tri-Cities Area

Heritage University (Pasco (Tri-Cities Area))

Vancouver Area

Washington State University - Vancouver

West Side Area

Saint Martin's University

South Puget Sound Community College

Western Washington University

Yakima Area

Heritage University