Expand mobile version menu
  Skip to main content


Program Description

Just the Facts

Accounting. A program that prepares individuals to practice the profession of accounting and to perform related business functions. Includes instruction in accounting principles and theory, financial accounting, managerial accounting, cost accounting, budget control, tax accounting, legal aspects of accounting, auditing, reporting procedures, statement analysis, planning and consulting, business information systems, accounting research methods, professional standards and ethics, and applications to specific for-profit, public, and non-profit organizations.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

Getting into an accounting degree program is not easy. You'll need some business knowledge, good computer skills and high marks. But it's not all about the numbers.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) says candidates must also be creative thinkers and have good people skills.

"Good written and verbal communication skills are essential to an accounting career," says Anne Christensen. She is an accounting professor at Portland State University. "Students also should strive to master computer basics such as word processing, spreadsheets and locating information on the World Wide Web."

Many accounting professors say high school courses such as English and computer science will help prepare students for university accounting programs.

Extracurricular activities are important, too. "Students who get involved in drama learn to speak well and present themselves in front of an audience," says Christensen. "Most extracurricular activities will enhance a student's performance in accounting and other professional careers."

Most accounting positions require at least a bachelor's degree.

There are some accountants who remain uncertified, but many more are state-licensed certified public accountants (CPAs). Qualifications for CPA certification vary between states. Several states require candidates to complete 30 hours of college coursework beyond the usual bachelor's degree.

All states use the four-part Uniform CPA Examination prepared by the AICPA. This two-day exam is extremely difficult. Only about a quarter of those who take it pass all parts.

Besides tuition, textbooks are the biggest expense in an accounting program. First- and second-year students can save themselves some cash by picking up used textbooks. But used third- and fourth-year books are tough to find because senior students tend to hold on to them.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see Accountants and Auditors

Affordable Colleges Online: Accounting Resources
Links to online accounting education resources

Tax and Accounting Sites Directory
Heaps of info at your fingertips

American Accounting Association
Dedicated to worldwide excellence in accounting education


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


Powered by XAP

OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.