You have a knack for number-crunching and analytics. Attention-to-detail and organization are some of your greatest assets. Maybe your personal finances even show it. You are a natural fit for the accounting field, and you’re ready to dive right in. There are, however, some skills you’d like to master first: the ins and outs of Excel, for example, and the workings within QuickBooks. You know an accounting degree is the “right” next step, but is it be worth the investment (both personally and professionally) for you?
Many people considering a career in accounting will ask the question, “Is an accounting degree worth it?” And the truth is, there is no simple answer. Whether an accounting degree is worth it for you will depend on your career goals, as well as your ability to commit to a postsecondary degree program.
You see, there are different types of accounting degrees out there, all with different career outcomes, time commitments, and tuition costs. Instead of deciding whether accounting school is worth it, try to think about which type of program would be most worthwhile for you. Below, Goodwin College offers three considerations to keep top-of-mind when contemplating your college career.
- Consider your career goals.
What do you aspire to do in the accounting field? Do you wish to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), an Accounting Manager for a major company, or Partner at an accounting firm? Or, do you see yourself working in a smaller organization, as a reliable Bookkeeper or Accounts Payable/Receivable Clerk? Do you want to get involved in a certain specialization, such as Taxation, Auditing, or Payroll? In accounting, there are several career paths you can pursue – many beyond the usual “accountant” title. However, these often come with different requisites.
For example, to become an accountant or auditor – so, titles like Public Accountant, Management Accountant, and Internal Auditor – you must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Increasingly, however, employers prefer to hire accountants and auditors with a master’s education. If you wish to climb the job ladder in accounting and earn a high-paying position like CPA, CFO, or Manager, a four-year accounting degree is worthwhile to pursue, at minimum. Typically, these titles come with high salary potential and a positive return on your college investment.
There are several situations, however, where a bachelor’s in accounting may not be the right next step. Say, for example, you do not know what you want to do in accounting. You want to dip your foot in the field, first. Maybe you’re changing career paths, or need to master basic accounting skills for a new job. Perhaps you aspire to work in a lower-stress accounting environment, as a bookkeeper, accounting assistant, or payroll professional, and do not need a bachelor’s or graduate education. In these cases, an associate degree in accounting may be more worthwhile.
An associate degree in accounting can bring you many positive career outcomes, as well as a versatile skillset that can be applied to a variety of jobs. For many, this skillset is worthwhile enough! In Goodwin’s associate degree program, for example, accounting students learn the intricacies of taxation, accounting information systems, economics, and financial data. They also leave prepared to sit for the professional certification in Bookkeeping, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Excel — stand out credentials for prospective employers.
- Consider the cost of the program.
Cost is another important consideration to keep in mind as you research potential accounting degrees. In fact, cost may be the number one thing weighing down your “worth it” scale. It’s no wonder why. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average, full-time, four-year college student in private, non-profit colleges pays over $40,000 annually.
This isn’t always the case, though, so it is important to do your research! Look for financial aid opportunities, and accounting colleges that are recognized for lower tuition rates, without hidden or surprise fees. Goodwin College, for example, has one of the lowest tuition costs for private, non-profit colleges in Connecticut. And we’re upfront about tuition cost. If you choose to pursue an accounting degree at Goodwin, you will know the full cost of your tuition – in its entirety – before starting classes.
Also consider your accounting degree options when thinking about the costs. For example, two-year accounting degrees generally cost less than four-year bachelor’s programs. Some accounting programs can also be taken in a part-time format, allowing you to maintain a job (and a steady income) while going to school.
- Consider the time commitment.
Finally, when deciding if an accounting degree is “ worth it,” ask yourself, is the education worth your time? Even further, how much time can you devote to your education right now? If scheduling is a factor for you, or if you are unsure how you’ll be able to balance life and work with school, be sure to research more flexible accounting degree options.
How many months, or years, can you commit to an accounting degree? If years sounds like too much, a bachelor’s degree may not be the right choice for you right now. Maybe an associate accounting degree, which can be completed in less than two years’ time, is a more comfortable concept to grasp. Perhaps an accelerated accounting degree program is most worthwhile for you, so that you can get into the field even faster.
Also think about the format of your prospective degree program. Does it make sense for you to enroll in full-time or part-time courses? Is it worth it for you to enroll in classes online for flexibility, or do you prefer on-campus learning? Do you need to find a program that offers evening and weekend classes, in addition to the traditional daytime academic sessions? Think about what makes sense for you, and then think about the degree program that’s most worthwhile.
Goodwin College in Connecticut prioritizes flexibility for working students looking to earn their accounting degree. Here, you have the option to take accelerated courses and complete your accounting degree in half the typical time. You also have the option to take courses during the evenings, on weekends, and in a hybrid online/on-campus format.
Deciding on the “Most Worth It” Accounting Degree for You
Is an accounting degree worth it for you? Whether you are an aspiring accountant, auditor, bookkeeper, payroll clerk, budget analyst, or tax specialist, rest assured that there will always be a need for the work that you do. Accounting and Finance are considered some of the most valuable and in-demand college degrees today, and for good reason. Businesses need these skillsets to keep their financial documents in check! And as the U.S. economy grows, so will this need for qualified professionals like you.
To learn more about the associate degree in accounting program at Goodwin College, please do not hesitate to call us at 800-889-3282. You may also request more about our accounting degree program online!
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.