Why a Masters of Professional Accounting Degree + Online Option

How to Choose a Masters of Professional Accounting + Online Option

This article provides an overview of the masters of professional accounting degree program, some of the subjects and courses that it covers, and why this degree may help you achieve greater career advancement. It also presents an online masters of professional accounting program that you may want to consider.

What Is a Masters of Professional Accounting?

Masters of professional accounting programs are for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Usually, students can choose a concentration in either taxation or auditing. It is also common for internships to be included as part of the program. Uniquely, these internships are often paid ones, in which students can work together with a licensed accountant. Sometimes, a capstone requirement such as a comprehensive examination is included. Most schools do not require a thesis for completion, but they may require certain GMAT/GRE scores for acceptance into the program.

The programs have a theoretical component, but the emphasis is on applying practical skills to the field of accounting. Hence, course topics tend to include:

  • Taxation
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Financial Accounting
  • Auditing and Assurance Services
  • Integrated Accounting Applications
  • Operations Management

Why Earn a Masters of Professional Accounting?

In order to take on an accounting position in which you can file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), you have to be a certified public accountant (CPA). In order to become a CPA, you will need to complete an education above that offered by a bachelor’s degree. Hence, by completing the masters of professional accounting, you may be eligible for CPA licensure.

You also have the opportunity to continue your study and take on a doctorate degree, such as a Ph.D. in accountancy. Doing so will enable you to become involved in research, or to become an educator at the university level.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that accountants and auditors had a median salary of <a href=”https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm”>$68,150</a> per year as of May 2016. However, this is at the bachelor’s degree level. Those with a graduate degree or above are more likely to find themselves in the top 10% of earners, who earn $120,910 per year or more. The BLS has also prdicted that there will be an 11% increase in demand for these professionals from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the national average and will translate into some 142,400 new jobs.

Online Option for Masters of Professional Accounting

Colorado State University

Should you be interested in getting a masters of professional accounting degree, and particularly if you want to become a CPA, then you may want to consider the online Master of Professional Accounting program offered by Colorado State University (CSU). This program enables graduates to become independent practitioners or to work for large firms. They are respected for their advanced knowledge on financial law and regulation applications and changes. They are known to help improve profit margins and reducing costs at the same time.

The degree is more than just about balancing the books and handling financial records. Rather, it focuses on becoming effective public accountancy leaders within government agencies, corporations, and more. The degree prepares students to meet the regulations as set by the state’s Board of Accountancy, enabling them to take the CPA examination.

The course focuses on communication skills, planning, teamwork, and leadership. Students learn how to develop strategic accounting principles in order to solve problems within organizations. They can apply quantitative and qualitative analysis and use this for the decision-making process. Furthermore, they investigate legal and ethical conflicts and ensure that the needs of the organization are met while complying with regulatory standards.

The program takes 30 credit hours to be finished, 24 of which are part of the core curriculum. To be accepted to the program, students must have accounting experience and have taken at least 15 hours of upper-division coursework in accounting. Alternatively, they must hold an MBA and have 12 hours of experience. Furthermore, students must complete the course in one year and have a GPA of 3.0 minimum throughout.

Upon graduation, students can:

  • Create new accounting strategies to improve performance and solve organizational issues.
  • Ensure accounting methods are adapted to meet the needs of their organization.
  • Understand and apply financial and economic theories, principles, and conflicts to create opportunities and solve problems.
  • Be highly effective communicators on a range of business and organizational issues.
  • Understand domestic and international accounting standards and how they relate to transactions.

CSU is a highly respected university with world-class faculty, with all of them having relevant industry experience. They are advanced degree holders and have received training on providing online instruction. This ensures that students can get the greatest experiences despite not having any face to face interaction. Furthermore, the degree focuses on today’s economic needs. It enhances the skills of those who are already excellent communicators, active problem solvers, critical thinkers, good with numbers, driven by results, independent, and organized.

Furthermore, the degree provides students with resources relevant to their career. The school has also created the Awards of Completion and Skills Endorsements, which prove to prospective employers that a graduate has all the relevant skills and knowledge. Two awards offered to graduates from this particular degree are the Applied 21st Century Accounting and the Advanced Accounting and Auditing awards.

The core curriculum of the degree includes:

  • Fundamentals of Research and Writing
  • Advanced Accounting
  • Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination
  • International Accounting
  • Accounting Ethics
  • Advanced Cost Accounting
  • Advanced Auditing and Assurance Services
  • Governmental Accounting

Students must also complete an accounting capstone and they can choose to complete an accounting internship.

Those who complete the masters of professional accounting have a variety of career options available to them. The vast majority start by becoming CPAs, which further enhances their career opportunities. They can find work in the private and public sector, managing money for corporations or individuals. They may also work to ensure federal and state financial regulations are followed. Some of the potential careers available to them include:

  • Cost accountant
  • CPA
  • Accounting manager
  • Staff accountant
  • Internal auditor


As you can see, earning a masters of professional accounting is a great way to advance your career in accountancy. Good degree programs meet the requirements for the CPA licenses in all states, which means you can file with the SEC. Either way, completing this graduate degree will set you apart as a leader in your field, ensuring you have the skills and knowledge to make a difference in the world of accounting and finance.


Accountants and Auditors. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from <a href=”https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm”>https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm</a>

Online Master of Professional Accounting. (n.d.). Retrieved from <a href=”https://csuglobal.edu/graduate/masters-degrees/professional-accounting”>https://csuglobal.edu/graduate/masters-degrees/professional-accounting</a>

New Online Master of Professional Accounting Degree. (n.d.). Retrieved from <a href=”https://csuglobal.edu/about/news/new-online-master-professional-accounting-degree”>https://csuglobal.edu/about/news/new-online-master-professional-accounting-degree</a>