Eight Things To Look For In An Accounting Program

 

Are you considering pursing a degree and career in accounting? Before you make the decision of where to attend college, you have to evaluate the Accounting degree programs for the schools in your consideration set. There are several programs available to prepare you for life as an accountant, from Ivy league colleges to technical school programs. But, before you enroll you must ensure that you invest the time to research so you can find your ideal degree program match. Here are a list of the top eight things you should seek out in an Accounting program:

1) CPA eligible upon graduation: Gillian Kelly, 2009 Drexel University alumni, states that the most important aspect of choosing an Accounting program should be CPA eligibility upon graduation. Top schools offer training for your CPA examination within the curriculum and are certified for CPA prep. To become a licensed CPA, you must be declared eligible for the examination, and subsequently licensed, by the board of accountancy. A student becomes “eligible” for the exam by meeting specific requirements as determined by the board of accountancy for the jurisdiction (state) for which they are applying.

2) Placement percentage (Big 4 and non-Big 4): Senior Financial Analyst at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Brett Stier, asserts that the job placement for Big-4 accounting firms (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young, and KPMG) versus non-Big 4 firms is something that prospective Accounting students should inquire about prior to applying. If your goal-post graduation is to work for a smaller firm or as an in-house accountant or bookkeeper, then you do not need to be as concerned with the placement percentage as those who want to start their career at at high-profile firm. Nonetheless, career placement rates speak for the program’s overall quality, so it’s an important consideration point.

3) Course offerings: The amount and specificity of course offerings is another aspect to consider when searching for that perfect program. Look for a school that offers not only CPA-prep type courses, but also general business classes. Finance, marketing, public accounting, and management are all important courses for building your business knowledge and making you a well-rounded professional.

4) Faculty knowledge: A teacher can make or break your learning experience. A teacher with industry experience is typically preferred to those who have been in solely academia their whole careers. Check with the school’s admissions office for faculty bios or research the school’s website to learn more.

5) Internship opportunities: As the workforce grows increasingly competitive, it’s more important than ever to inquire ahead of time with your “wish-listed” school about the internship opportunities available to its students. Colleges and universities today often have career services departments whose focus is to place students in internships and post-graduation employment. Ensure that the school you are looking at has some sort of internship placement assistance, for a student with no prior experience is at the bottom of the totem pole compared to more experienced peers.

6) Focus on practical knowledge: According to Ben Raley, Business Sales Consultant at Wells Fargo, one of the top things to look for in an Accounting degree program is the focus on career-practical projects over examinations. Many practicing accountants and financial professionals find that the more practical knowledge gained in their studies, the more prepared they will be for the real, working world.

7) Modality: Invest time and research on the various online degree programs that are available to you as an Accounting student. This way, you’ll be able to narrow down the program that is best suited for your life and needs. Many students these days enjoy taking a blend or all online-based courses, so they are able to maintain a work schedule while pursuing college.

8) The fun stuff: Is Greek life, student activities, student business organizations, or sports important to you? If so, put this in your consideration set as well.

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