If you love crunching numbers and want to learn how to help businesses balance their books, a career in accounting might be just what you're looking for. Accounting trade schools can prepare you for a wide range of careers in this field. For example, you could learn how to work as an internal auditor, or professional who manages an organization's financial matters. Likewise, vocational training in accounting can also prepare you to work as a public accountant, or professional who provides a wide range of financial services to corporations, governments, and individuals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov).
Accounting trade schools teach students the skills to work in a wide range of jobs within the industry. According to the BLS, the following specializations are most common:
- Government accountants- oversee the financial records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals in order to ensure compliance with government regulations
- Information technology auditors-oversee an organization's computer systems in order to ensure that all financial data is secure
- Internal auditors- Manage an organization's financial transactions in order to protect them from mismanagement
- Management accountants- analyze the financial transactions of their organization in an effort to provide solid data for business purposes
- Public accountants- provide a wide range of financial services to individuals, businesses, and corporations including consulting, accounting, and assistance with tax compliance.
Accounting certifications and degrees
According to the BLS, most accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor's degree in order to gain employment. However, in certain cases, those with an associate degree and on-the-job experience may be able to gain employment as a junior accountant and work his/her way up.
Most accountants and auditors have completed formal training and education in accounting. As the BLS noted, accountants and auditors commonly complete an apprenticeship or internship also, in order to gain some on-the-job experience. Because an accounting career relies heavily on numerical data, accounting students typically study subjects such as statistics, applied probability, and advanced algebra. Specific accounting classes will introduce students to topics such as financial accounting theory, federal and state income taxes, and business law.
Accounting salary and career outlook
Because the health of the accounting job market is tied in closely with the health of the economy, jobs in accounting are expected to increase at a healthy pace. According to the BLS, employment for auditors and accountants is expected to increase 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is about as fast as the average for all other occupations combined.
Projections Central also predicts that the following states will see even larger increases in employment for accountants and auditors from 2012 to 2022:
- Colorado: 28.4 percent
- Utah: 28.4 percent
- Georgia: 25.7 percent
- Arizona: 23 percent
- Tennessee: 23 percent
- Washington: 21.5 percent
The BLS reports that the annual median wage for accountants and auditors was $65,080 in May of 2013, with the top ten percent of earners bringing in $113,740 and the bottom ten percent earning $40,370 (BLS.gov/oes, 2013).
With healthy pay and plenty of job prospects on the table, it's not hard to understand why so many students are interested in an accounting career.
Accountants and Auditors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm
Accountants and Auditors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-6
Accounting, Kelley School of Business, 2014, http://kelley.iupui.edu/undergrad/academics/majors/accounting/
Long Term Projections, Accountants and Auditors, Projections Central, State Occupational Projections, 2014, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm