MS in Accounting OR non-Accounting BA + CPA?

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Tara in Chicago, Illinois

112 months ago


I have a BA in Anthropology. At the undergraduate level, I have one general Math/Algebra class and one Statistics class (both of which I received As in). I have no prior accounting or finance experience. For a career change, I would like to become an Accountant.

Should I just take the accounting courses at my local (and inexpensive) community college to fulfill the 48 credit hours to sit for the Illinois CPA exam; OR should I spend the money and time on a Master of Science in Accounting (M.S.A.) degree, and possibly pursue the CPA credential at a later date?

Please compare job prospects and salaries of the MS in Accounting vs. the BA in Anthropology PLUS the CPA credential.

I'm just wondering if it will pay off to go the long and expensive track rather than the fast and cheap track.

FYI I'm making a career change, so I'm not a kid anymore...time is running out for me ;).


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Vince in Norfolk, Virginia

112 months ago

Hi Tara,

How do you know that you want to be an accountant if you've never worked as one? Here's my advice: In order to get into a reputable school for a M.S. in Accounting you are going to have to take some prerequisite business and accounting classes. You should start taking these prerequisite classes (look at M.S. programs in your area and their requirements for admission) at your local community college. Work hard to land an internship (these usually pay pretty well). Sell yourself as an M.S. in Accounting and CPA candidate. Once you land a good internship (I recommend public accounting), you'll know whether it is for you or not. I recommend the M.S. in Accounting and CPA combo. The education will really help you in the field and it will make you very marketable and attractive to employers. This is what I am currently doing. Hope this helps.

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Salz in Santa Rosa, California

111 months ago

Accounting is a great field to go into. There are always a need for accountants and tax services.

Here is a list of tax preparation and accounting companies. Maybe you could contact the companies with any questions you have about becoming an accountant. Good luck to you.

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