Average Salary With a Master’s in Accounting

With a master’s degree in accounting, you can take the CPA test to get certification in this field, which means more job opportunities and a higher salary. It does require an extra 12 to 24 months in school (more if you go part-time), so before you enroll, let’s take a look at what you can expect to make once you have your masters degree in this field.

Base Salary as an Accountant

According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounts make an average of $68,960 annually. This is a figure that reflects all levels of education, from junior accountants with just a bachelor’s degree to CPAs with a masters degree to those who have even more training in this field or related fields. Most of the jobs available are in accounting firms, bookkeeping, tax preparation, and payroll, but jobs are also available at the government level, working in accounting for individual companies, consulting, and more. The top paying sector of this industry is the federal government, where accountants make, on average, $89,310 annually. Other high-paying jobs can be found in Securities and Commodity Contracts Intermediation and Brokerage, Financial Investing, the Post Office, and Information Services.

Salary by Location

Location plays a major role in the salary you’ll be offered since cost of living varies from one please to the next. According to reports, the top-paying states in this industry are as follows:

  • New York: $85,230
  • District of Columbia: $84,390
  • New Jersey: $79,620
  • Maryland: $75,870
  • Massachusetts: $75,030

You’ll also make more money if you live in a city than if you live in a more rural area. Keep in mind that it is also more expensive to live in a city, however, so if you’re looking for the biggest bottom line, somewhere less populated might be your best bet. In any case, according to reports, the top-paying metropolitant areas for accountants are as follows:

  • New York, New York: $89,220
  • San Jose, California: $88,750
  • Nassau, New York: $87,000
  • Newark, New Jersey: $84,600
  • San Francisco, California: $84,590
  • Haverhill/North Andover/Amesbury, MA/NH: $82,420
  • Washington, D.C.: $82,360
  • Bethesda, Maryland: $80,850
  • Oakland, California: $80,160

The “Big Four”

In this industry, working for one of the “big four” is your fast track to more money and better benefits. These companies are, in order of size:

  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
  • Ernst & Young
  • KPMG
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers

They have offices through the United States, so you don’t have to live in New York to work at one of these companies.

Online Master of Accounting Programs

Walden University MS - Accounting Walden University – Walden University has several different online master's degree programs for students interested in the field of accounting. Students can generally choose between MBA and MS in Accounting degrees as well as becoming certified or obtaining an international MBA. These programs explore advanced accounting principles to help students improve their analytical and financial decision-making skills. Additionally, students will be prepared for professional certification examinations.
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Southern New Hampshire MBA - Accounting MS - Accounting MS - Accounting: Taxation International MBA - Accounting MBA w/Cert - Accounting Southern New Hampshire – Southern New Hampshire University has a robust selection of accounting degrees available for students interested in taking their careers to the next level. The MBA program prepares students for advanced positions in the field as well as the CPA exam. The DBA in Accounting is the highest professional degree while the PhD program is more focused on research in the field and teaching.
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Liberty University MBA - Accounting DBA - Accounting Liberty University – Liberty University offers an online DBA in Accounting for students interested in further advancing their careers. For this program, students will master tax and auditing skills, accounting theory and accounting information systems. Students will also study accounting ethics and best practices both individually and as a part of a team.
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Keiser University MAcc - Forensic Accounting Keiser University – Keiser University offers an intensive graduate program with an online Master of Accountancy that educates students in both the theories and practices of the modern business world. Students need to complete courses covering a variety of related topics, including advanced financial reporting and accounting concepts, advanced auditing theory and applications, and special topics in taxation.
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Kaplan University MS - Accounting MS - Accounting: Tax MS - Accounting: Audit MS - Accounting: Govt Kaplan University – Kaplan University offers several accredited online MSA degrees with specializations in Taxation, Auditing, and Government Accounting. These degree programs are great for students who already have a bachelor's degree in business and are hoping to specialize in a particular field of accounting. Additionally, these courses help prepare students for the certified public accountant examination.
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Capella University MBA - Accounting PhD - Accounting DBA - Accounting Capella University – Capella University is a massive online school that has several master's degrees in accounting available. This ranges from the general MBA program to the Taxation and Public Accounting specializations. Classes train students on a range of relevant topics like organizational budgeting, accounting information systems, international accounting, data analyzing, and reporting financial results and problems.
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Strayer University MBA - Accounting MS - Accounting: Taxation MS - Accounting: Public Accounting Strayer University – Strayer University offers several different online master's degrees for accounting, including an MBA program and specializations in Taxation or Public Accounting. Any one of these degrees is a major step towards becoming a CPA, but the examination is taken separately from the degree curriculum. Coursework varies from program to program but all cover advanced accounting, business practices and ethics, and leadership development.
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University of Alabama at Birmingham MAcc - Accounting University of Alabama at Birmingham – The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a smaller college that can provide more professor-to-student interaction with its low student-to-teacher ratios. Many students have chosen to enroll in the Master of Accounting program entirely online due to scheduling flexibility and cost efficiency.
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Grand Canyon University MBA - Accounting MS - Accounting Grand Canyon University – Grand Canyon University offers online MS and MBA degrees in Accounting. The programs are designed to enhance theoretical and practical accounting skills for practitioners, researchers, and educators. The coursework focuses on advanced accounting, auditing and taxation practices while developing students’ leadership skills as well. Additionally, these programs prepare students for professional certification examinations.
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Northcentral University DBA - Advanced Accounting PhD - Business Admin: Advanced Accounting Northcentral University – While Northcentral University does not offer any master's degrees in accounting, it does have two doctorate level programs for those wanting to advance their careers in the field. The PhD program is a research-oriented degree focusing on forensic analysis, economic effects, and performance. The DBA program is professional degree designed to teach students technical skills and practical applications in accounting.
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