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Accounting Industry Growing Stronger Every Day Creating Plenty of Employment Opportunities!

The job outlook for accountants is high because everyone needs them! If you become an accountant, you will have a wealth of opportunity that includes the traditional type of accounting positions plus jobs being created thanks to technology and increasing government regulation.  This is a great time to become an accountant anyway you look at it!So let’s get going with a discussion on how to become an accountant!

Market Demand is Out of Balance and That’s Great for YOU!

Market demand for accountants is expected to grow between 2006 and 2016 by 18 percent. That’s a lot of jobs. Currently there are 1.3 million accountants employed in various jobs, but by 2016 there will be 1.5 million employed. Of course that number could be even higher if the government continues to add new regulations at a faster pace which seems to be the trend.

Someone has to help businesses and individuals adhere to all these complicated rules and laws. That someone is the accountant!

According to the US Department of Labor statistics there will be several areas where job growth will be high over the next 6 years. According to the Industry-Occupation Employment Matrix, the following industries will experience growing demand.

  • Accounting, tax preparation and payroll services (219,252 jobs)
  • Management accountants  (18,370 jobs)
  • Local government (9,970 Jobs)
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services (17,832 jobs)

There are over 50 different industries listed on the matrix and these are some of the highest growth industries for accountants. Accountants of the future like you that are trained in the use of software, forensic accounting, and computer records auditing will have tremendous employment opportunities.

The salaries and wages for accountants of all types are excellent, but especially if you obtain a CPA or certification.  The CPA rules in most states now require an additional 150 hours of coursework beyond the requirements for a 4-year degree. That is one reason why accounting salaries so high.  Beginning accountants with a bachelor’s degree in business administration are starting their jobs at salaries ranging from $36,051 to $50,303.

The bottom line is that the more education and certification you earn, the higher the salary you can demand.

Education is a Must-Have To Get The Best Salaries and Wage Rates

Employers today expect you to have a degree to be hired as an accountant. In fact, you can get an Associate’s Degree in accounting but your pay will be several thousand dollars lower compared to jobs requiring a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. 

For example, people with Associate’s Degrees are earning between $33,317 and $47,507. Those with a Bachelor of Science degree earn between $37,326 and $50,030. So you can see the type of degree you have makes a big difference.

The beginning positions in the accounting field require a 4-year degree most of the time, but some employers may even ask that you have a Master’s Degree. Accountants with a Master’s Degree are earning top dollar at between $39,805 and $53620.

Why Certification Counts Too!

When you read any information about becoming an accountant there is always a discussion on the importance of certification. Accounting is a highly technical field so it should not be a surprise to learn that there are a number of certifications you can earn depending on your interests and career goals. The certifications indicate you have proven your competency in the field of study and/or have completed additional studies making you an accounting specialist.

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the gold standard in the accounting field.  To earn a CPA you will have to get a 4-year degree in accounting plus take those additional hours of coursework. Then you have to pass a rigorous exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.  But with that CPA certificate you can earn an average of $50,000 a year fairly quickly as opposed to the mid-30s.

Other certifications that you can earn to expand your accounting training include the following.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA)
Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP)
Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA)
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Accredited Business Accountant (ABA)
Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA)
Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP)
Elder Care Specialist (ECS)
Certified Fraud Examiner (CFA)
Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)

The previous certifications do not necessarily require a CPA but the following certifications do.

  • Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV)
  • Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)

Choosing the Right Program and Certifications

When you look down the list of certifications, it’s easy to see you can specialize in almost any area you choose. Many accountants get their degree and their first job in accounting or auditing and then work on earning their certifications while employed.

Choosing the right accountant education program for your career means you have to have a general understanding up-front of what you want to do. For example, some people will choose to attend a junior college and obtain an Associate’s Degree in accounting so they can look for a staff accounting position.

But you might know you want to become a CPA and obtain one or more of the specialization certifications. In that case, you will want to attend a university that offers all the courses you need to: 1) obtain the degree, 2) prepare for taking the CPA exam, and 3) obtain the certification of choice. For example, some universities specifically offer programs in internal auditing.

By the way, if you want to specialize in tax accounting there are programs for that too. How do you become a tax accountant?  You will need to earn a Bachelor’s Degree and during that time take specialized tax accounting classes. Many tax accountants choose the 5th year option while in college and also earn a Master’s Degree due to the complexity of tax accounting.  It is highly recommended you obtain a CPA certification also.

In fact, in most states you have to be a CPA to do certain types of tax work.

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