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Sorting Out the Options in Accounting Education

Sorting Out the Options in Accounting Education

Dona DeZube, Monster Finance Careers Expert

September 03, 2009

About 60 percent of the students in the UNC program are right out of undergraduate school; the other 40 percent have been out from two to eight years. The program starts in mid-May and lasts for 12 months, with four short vacation breaks.

After graduation, 90 percent of program graduates go into public accounting with Big Four or regional public accounting firms. The other 10 percent go into corporate accounting. “Our students go into finance and accounting leadership or rotational program positions,” Lowman says.

For the 2007-08 academic year, the tuition at UNC runs $17,000 for in-state and $32,000 for out-of-state students. That seems like a lot, but Lowman points out that the program has had a 90 percent to 100 percent placement rate since the mid-1990s.

Just Take the Classes

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in something other than accounting, another option is to take 30 hours of accounting classes, points out Dennis Reigle, CPA, director of academic and career development at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. “It’s going to take a little longer, but they can keep their job and do it over a period of time with less economic depravation,” he says.

You could also go for a second BA. If the cost of the BA is lower and the courses are offered at more convenient times, that option may work better for you, Claggett says. “It depends upon how far along you are in your career,” he says. “If you’ve been an engineer for 20 years, you’re better off getting a BA because you’re going to take a pay hit.”

Not surprisingly, those running master’s programs disagree. “Do you want to go back to school for a less powerful degree or a more powerful degree, which is a master’s degree?” Lowman asks.