Masters in Accounting Salary and Career Outlook

When thinking about earning an advanced degree, it’s natural to wonder how it will pay off in the long term. A degree is an investment in your future. Understandably, you’ll want to see a return on that investment. A Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree can unlock new job opportunities and significant pay, but it’s most prominently viewed as a way to move up in the industry rather than one capable of opening up jobs entirely unavailable to those without an advanced degree. Your career outlook depends on experience and certifications, and a MAcc degree can help with both.

For example, consider the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. It’s a major step in an accounting career and can lead to considerable salary increases. While a MAcc degree isn’t explicitly required to obtain the certification, a MAcc program can be incredibly valuable in obtaining a CPA certification. Most MAcc curricula focus on highly technical, practical elements of accounting work, making them perfect for those seeking a CPA certification. Actual licensure requirements vary from state to state; however, the majority of states require 150 credit hours for licensure and a minimum of 120 credit hours to sit for the exam.

Accountants who demonstrate the proper skill set in their work can find success, and earning a MAcc degree may be a steppingstone to more advanced roles. It helps you develop your skills and expertise while building your resume. This lays the potential groundwork for promotions and higher salaries, even if it isn’t necessarily required for a job. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at what to expect from a master’s in accounting salary.

An accountant prepares a financial report on a laptop.

Master’s in Accounting Salary Range

General accountant and auditor salaries are a natural starting point when considering a master’s in accounting salary range. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for accountants and auditors was $73,560 in 2020, and the job market is projected to grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029.

Location plays a factor in salary, as well. For example, the median annual salary for an accountant or auditor in New York was $101,440 in 2020. However, in Florida, the same position paid a median of $74,960.

Budget analysts, which is a potential specialization for accountants with business skills, received a median annual salary of more than $78,970 in 2020, according to the BLS. Individuals in another specialized role — financial analysts — earned a median annual salary of $83,660 in 2020.

These figures point to the high earning potential, but also high salary variability, in the accounting sector. As general information about accountant and auditor positions can pertain to everyone from new accountants with a bachelor’s degree to experienced professionals in the late stages of their career, it can be difficult to pin down exactly what to expect.

According to June 2021 salary data from PayScale, those with a MAcc degree made a median annual salary of approximately $72,000 across all accounting and finance positions. For accounting managers, median salaries average approximately $73,500. These salaries are even higher for those who are financial or corporate controllers, exceeding $85,000 and $100,000, respectively.

All of this indicates that a master’s in accounting salary range is generally high, and those with a MAcc degree who move into management or specialized roles will likely experience the greatest boost.

Accounting Jobs Outlook

Salary improvements are to be expected when obtaining an advanced degree in accounting. To a great extent, a degree can make it easier to gain recognition for expertise and move into a more specialized field in the industry. For example, accountants who have obtained a master’s degree may work in forensic accounting, public accounting, auditing and compliance, and supporting government operations through accounting and handling tax and payroll issues. Here are some popular careers you can pursue with a MAcc degree and their approximate median salaries, according to June 2021 data from PayScale.

  • Certified public accountant: $68,500
  • Compliance officer: $70,000
  • Corporate accounting manager: $84,000
  • Forensic accountant: $71,000
  • Internal auditor: $59,500
  • Tax manager: $98,500
  • Credit analyst: $52,000

Each role requires specialized knowledge that can be obtained through a blend of work experience and continued education. A MAcc program, such as the online MAcc at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), can cover key areas of emphasis to help prepare students for these types of roles. For example, the MAcc curriculum includes coursework on ethics, government and not-for-profit accounting, business analysis and tax issues, all of which can be applicable for advanced roles in the industry.

How to Achieve an Accounting Salary Increase

Three main components can help you earn a salary increase: experience, education and credentials. Working in the field, gaining different types of experience and taking on new responsibilities can all lead to a raise in compensation.

A second factor is education. The new skills students learn in advanced degree programs can translate to higher pay, and a graduate degree shows employers that you’re ready for senior-level positions.

The third key element in achieving a salary increase is earning a new credential. While the CPA is the most popular accounting credential, others can positively affect salary, such as the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credentials. Credentials establish your knowledge and skill set in the world of accounting and can open the door to managerial positions and higher salaries.

Pursue Your Master’s in Accounting

A master’s in accounting salary will vary depending on job role and a number of other factors, and education and certification are two ways you can position yourself for high-paying opportunities. The online MAcc program from University of Nevada, Reno is specifically designed to help students prepare for their CPA exams while offering convenient, accessible learning opportunities. Find out more about our program and how you can get started advancing your career through a master’s degree by contacting us today.

Recommended Reading:

Working from Home: Virtual Accounting JobsWhat is a Tax Manager? A Dynamic Accountancy Career PathFinancial Accounting vs. Managerial Accounting: What’s the Difference?

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