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If you are a whiz with numbers and can understand complex instructions well, why not apply your skills toward a potentially lucrative and stable career? Earning an advanced degree in accounting and taxation--such as a Master of Science in finance or a Master of Science in tax law and preparation--can be a smart career move.

Courses to expect from an online master's degree program in accounting and taxation

An online master's degree program in business with a specialization in taxation may introduce you to intricate tax laws and accounting standards. Individual curriculum varies depending on your degree program and specialization. Some core coursework may include classes in:

  • Corporate taxation
  • Taxation law
  • Business ethics
  • International taxation
  • Tax accounting

To be admitted into a master's program in accounting and taxation, you'll need to pass the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and/or the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. If you have not already passed an official CPA examination, your program might include classes that can help you prepare for and pass the exam.

Careers for graduates of an online master's degree program in accounting and taxation

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the 2009 median salary for accountants and auditors at $60,340. Salaries vary by job title and employer, among other factors. Below are 2009 mean annual salaries for accounting- and auditing-related careers, categorized by type of employer.

  • Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services: $73,920
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $66,330
  • Federal executive branch: $88,190
  • Local government: $57,490
  • State government: $54,040
  • Insurance carriers: $65,520

Potential careers for graduates of an online master's degree program in accounting and taxation include public accountants and government accountants, to name a few. Public accountants provide a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services to clients. Government accountants maintain and examine records of government agencies and audit certain private businesses and individuals.

The 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act not only created new or enhanced standards for corporations and public accounting firms, the act also created demand for more accounting professionals. Some specialized public accounting positions, such as forensic accounting, which involves the investigation of white-collar crime, are gaining popularity.

For all accountants and auditors, the BLS projects big job growth between 2008 and 2018: 22 percent, equaling around 279,400 jobs. Those with higher degrees, such as a Master of Science in tax law and preparation or Master of Science in finance, and those who have passed the CPA exam should have a leg up, notes the BLS.

As you contemplate which program is right for you, take a look at our Guide to Majors, which provides more in-depth information about careers and degrees. Explore the Guide to Master's Degrees for possible graduate-level degree programs in accounting and finance.

You can also browse below at different master's degrees in accounting and taxation to see if one is right for you. If you find one you like, simply fill out the form and an admissions representative from that school will contact you.

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