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Four major accounting fields are open to the college graduate: public accounting, commercial/industrial, government, and education. Areas of specialization after the acquirement of basic experience includes financial accounting, cost accounting, auditing, tax practice, management advisory services, internal auditing, and controllership. Other career options include Actuary, Benefits Administrator, Financial Analyst, and Statistician.

Educational Qualifications

Most accountant and internal auditor positions require at least a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or a related field. Preference is commonly given in all career positions to those with a Master’s degree. Previous experience in accounting or auditing can help an applicant get a job. The Certified Public Accountant certificate is a desirable added qualification in all areas.

An accounting student wishing to prepare for a professional examination leading to the Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, or other professional accounting designation should consult the Coordinator of the Program in Accounting, Economics, and Finance.

Job Outlook

Employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 16 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for thorough financial documentation is expected to increase in response to recent financial crises and subsequent financial regulations.

Entering Salary

The median annual wage of accountants and auditors was $61,690 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,940 and the top 10 percent earned more than $106,880.

The median annual wage of paralegals and legal assistants was $46,680 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,460, and the top 10 percent earned more than $74,870. The median annual wage of lawyers was $112,760 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $54,130, and the top 10 percent earned more than $166,400.

The median annual wage of financial analysts was $74,350 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,490, and the top 10 percent earned more than $141,700.

The median annual wage of medical and health services managers was $84,270 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $51,280, and the top 10 percent earned more than $144,880.

The median annual wage of management analysts was $78,160 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,900, and the top 10 percent earned more than $138,790.

The median annual wage of human resources specialists was $52,690 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,050, and the top 10 percent earned more than $93,260.

The median annual wage of market research analysts was $60,570 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,350, and the top 10 percent earned more than $111,440. The median annual wage for marketing managers was $112,800 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,750, and the top 10 percent earned more than $166,400.

In May 2010 the wages for economists began at $89,450, for urban planners $40,410, and for political scientists $48,720

Career information adapted from:

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2012). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh