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How much does your major in college matter when pursuing a career in accounting?

I'm a junior high school student who's striving to be an accountant someday. I'd like to know the importance of a major, as well as the importance of the college you attend when taking into consideration a career in accounting.

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Brandon’s Answer

For accounting, you can have another major other than accounting and be an accountant. However, in order to do so you will need the relevant job experience in order to do so. Some people work as a book keeper or an accounting clerk. There are certifications that allow you to go into the profession. That may vary, because there are many occupations that will require you to have at least a bachelor's degree in accounting to be considered for the position. A CPA (Certified Professional Accountant) requires you to have specific accounting education and experience.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Michelle
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Yi’s Answer

Hi Michelle,

I don't think major in Accounting is a must in college but certainly beneficial. Though there's two things you need to consider:

1). Would you like to start pursuing accounting field jobs right after graduation from college? If so, I would suggest you to consider major or minor in business (accounting, finance, etc), and take a few fundamental accounting classes. Also, if you decide to get a master's degree in accounting, majoring in those subjects can be beneficial too. However, I did have a graduate school classmates majoring in music and he graduated from Berklee College of Music :)

2). Do you plan to obtain a CPA license in the future? If so, then depends on different states, general rule is that you have to have 150 credits to be able to become a licensed CPA, and some states specify how many hours of accounting-specific studies you need as part of their CPA Exam requirements. Illinois, for example, requires 30 hours in accounting-related subjects, including courses in auditing, financial accounting, managerial and taxes. Other states, such as Maine and California, have more detailed accounting coursework requirements, including minimum total hours in upper-level accounting and business courses. As such, if you would like to become a CPA in the future, I think it's beneficial to start taking some accounting coursework during college whether or not you major in accounting.

Hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon I will use this advice as I prepare for my career. Michelle
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Tamathia’s Answer

My answer to any aspiring accountants is to major in accounting. Start researching colleges that have great accounting programs and seek out to those schools. Also, depending on what kind of an accountant you want to be, you may not need to take the CPA. That's why I would suggest to major in accounting to see the different positions in accounting.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for giving me advice. Michelle
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Keri’s Answer

Sure, you don't have to stick to accounting as your major if you're eyeing a career in the accounting field. There are plenty of other paths to explore, like economics, IT technology, or anything that deals with risk. One smart move could be securing an internship with an accounting firm. It's a fantastic way to dip your toes into the world of accounting. Big firms often scout for college students to intern during the summer. So, why not start your search early in the school year? This could open up exciting opportunities for the next summer. Good luck, and remember, the world is your oyster!
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Baljit’s Answer

Hi Michelle,
Taking a accounting degree would be beneficial if you a re considering becoming an accountant. It will give you the ground work to understand what you are going to do when you study accounting and work as an accountant. There is a lot of intricate things that accounting degrees do such as trying to balance accounts and taking the classes would only be beneficial to you and give you the experience you need.

The next step you would have to consider after graduation in accounting would be whether you want to become a CPA. But just before your last semesternof studying accounting start you application for the CPA exam. There are also help online with CPA exam prep too.
Thank you comment icon I'm excited to put your great advice to good use! Michelle
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Megan’s Answer

Accounting is a versatile field.

My mother did bookkeeping, learned accounting through online resources, and has an English degree. She took the practical work experience route.

I currently work as a SOX controls consultant, am an active CPA, and have an Accounting degree. I took the college degree route.
Thank you comment icon Your advice was so helpful! Michelle
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Valesca’s Answer

While a good job will most likely require a Bachelor's degree, it probably won't matter what field it is in.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Michelle
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