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General Accounting Major

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General Accounting

51,670 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
19,244 Master's Degrees Annually
#2 in Popularity
$79,830 Median Salary

Types of Degrees General Accounting Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many accounting graduations there were in 2019-2020 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 50,540
Master’s Degree 17,582
Associate Degree 4,151
Basic Certificate 1,390
Undergraduate Certificate 1,186
Graduate Certificate 768
Doctor’s Degree 38

What General 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:

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  • Economics and Accounting - Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
  • 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.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • 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.

Skills for Accounting Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to accounting:

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  • 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

Accounting majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a General Accounting Major?

People with a accounting degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Accountants 10.0% $70,500
Auditors 10.0% $70,500
Budget Analysts 6.5% $76,220
Credit Analysts 8.3% $71,520
Financial Examiners 9.7% $80,180

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in General Accounting?

50,540 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
50% Percent Women
31% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 50% of the graduates are women, and 50% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of accounting majors is as follows:

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Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 4,091
Black or African American 3,351
Hispanic or Latino 6,830
White 30,053
International Students 3,112
Other Races/Ethnicities 3,103

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Accounting. About 6.2% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do General Accounting Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Accounting majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $78,820 to $90,310 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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.

Median Salary for a General Accounting Major  ( 78820 to 90310 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with accounting require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for accounting careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 7.9%
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) 1.6%
Some College Courses 10.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 9.4%
Bachelor’s Degree 45.5%
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. 1.8%
Master’s Degree 11.8%
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. 0.6%
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. 0.1%
Doctoral Degree 11.5%

Online General Accounting Programs

In the 2019-2020 academic year, 1,540 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) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 170 42
Certificate (2-4 Years) 12 3
Associate’s Degree 411 123
Bachelor’s Degree 115 38
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 518 106
Post-Master’s 16 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 21 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in General Accounting Worth It?

The median salary for a accounting grad is $79,830 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 100% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $798,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to accounting.

Major Number of Grads
Accounting Technology/Technician and Bookkeeping 19,820
Accounting and Finance 3,100
Accounting and Business/Management 1,600
Other Accounting and Related Services 756
Auditing 163

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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