Going back for an accounting degree... many years later? How to do it?
April 5, 2012 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Going back for an accounting degree... many years later? How to do it?

I am working as an accountant. I have a BA and MFA, and have worked my way up from admin to accounts payable to bookkeeper. I do have an accounting certificate, but it was through community college, and it was several years ago.

I've just switched jobs, and have some potential for job growth in the future. I'm certainly capable of doing my current job with no additional training. However, I feel like a refresher is needed for me to be at my best. (It may just be a matter of my confidence levels, too - I'm quick to learn, and can generally figure things out, which is how I got where I am, but I'd like to be more confident.)

Plus, the future may hold more analysis and job growth, and I'd like to be prepared for that.

I've looking into local colleges a little bit, but from what I can tell on the website, it says classes for transfer credit aren't valid after five years. I graduated more than 5 years ago.

Has anyone had experience with this? How do people go back to school to get degrees while working? I can't hop into a masters/fast track program, because I don't have the accounting undergraduate requirements. I may be interested in getting my CPA in the future, but in order to do that, I need a bachelor's degree in accounting. Do I really have to go through *all* undergraduate classes again? That would take years, and I just don't see how it's possible.

What am I missing? Any other suggestions besides going back to school?
posted by needlegrrl to Education (5 answers total)
Many states (most? all?) permit candidates for the CPA to use an MS in accounting or an accounting-focused MBA, precisely because of the impracticality of getting a second bachelor degree, and the absence of accounting curricula altogether from many liberal arts schools.
posted by MattD at 12:13 PM on April 5, 2012

Sorry, to continue ... few MBAs with accounting tracks require an undergraduate accountancy degree, or even an undergraduate business degree. MS accounting degrees use a combination of undergraduate and work experience; your career in bookkeeping might qualify.
posted by MattD at 12:16 PM on April 5, 2012

A few years after getting my BA in Russian Language I jumped into an MBA program with a concentration in accounting (night classes that catered to working people).

Though I didn't have to, I took a few basic accounting classes at a community college; and I took a math class that I needed as a pre-req.

Depending on your state's CPA licensing requirements, you probably will have to go back for some schooling if you want to go that route.

This is totally doable for you!
posted by Zoyashka at 12:49 PM on April 5, 2012

Are you certain that you need a BA in Accounting in your state to sit for the CPA? I'm in Washington State, and here you just have to have a BA in any discipline, plus a certain number of upper-level accounting classes in order to take the exam.

I'm earning a certificate in an online program at a community college that will allow me to take the test.
posted by lotus-eater at 1:06 PM on April 5, 2012

lotus-eater - you're right. This is what the secretary of state site says "In order to be eligible for examination, an applicant must have received a baccalaureate degree conferred by a college or university accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization recognized by the Board with a concentration in accounting or, with a non-accounting concentration, supplemented by what the Board determines to be the substantial equivalent to an accounting concentration. Applicants must have completed 30 quarter hours or 20 semester hours in accounting subjects above the elementary level at a four-year accredited college or university which offers a baccalaureate degree."

So I would still need the hours, but I wouldn't need the degree to be in accounting. I just skimmed it, and assumed that it needed to be accounting. I knew I was missing something - thank you!
posted by needlegrrl at 1:45 PM on April 5, 2012

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