Types of Degrees Accounting Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many accounting graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Accounting Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to accounting and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were 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:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Economics and Accounting - Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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:
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Abilities for Accounting Majors
A major in accounting will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
What Can You Do With a Accounting Major?
People with a accounting degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Financial Managers, Branch or Department||18.7%||$127,990|
|Treasurers and Controllers||18.7%||$127,990|
Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of accounting majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||3,658|
|Hispanic or Latino||7,105|
Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Accounting. About 6.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
How Much Do Accounting Majors Make?
Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary
The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting made a median starting salary of $43,900 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $39,900 (25th percentile) and $50,700 (75th percentile).
Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a accounting degree.
Salaries According to BLS
Accounting majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $50,110 to $90,310 (25th to 75th percentile). 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, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Accounting
Some careers associated with accounting require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. 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 Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||0.5%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||14.4%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||3.9%|
|Some College Courses||9.6%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||8.4%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||3.2%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||0.3%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||0.6%|
Online Accounting Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 2,228 schools offered some type of accounting program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||675||200|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||649||178|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||21||6|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||22||1|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Accounting Worth It?
The median salary for a accounting grad is $78,820 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 98% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $778,400 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Accounting
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to accounting.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Business Administration & Management||410,147|
|Finance & Financial Management||56,186|
|Human Resource Management||26,823|
|Management Sciences & Quantitative Methods||23,738|
|Business Support & Assistant Services||19,483|
|Management Information Systems||14,747|
|Specialized Sales, Merchandising & Marketing||5,873|
|Other Business, Management & Marketing||5,834|
|General Sales & Marketing||5,734|
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By Pixabay under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.