March 2017 Editor's Note: This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Guest Blogger: Robert T. Burrus, Jr., Ph.D., Dean, Cameron School of Business
Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Even in our ever-changing political and financial climate, we expect to see continuing growth in the demand for accounting graduates, particularly those who are able to earn licensure as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The United States Bureau of Labor reports that accountants are enjoying the fastest job growth over all other occupations, and that growth is expected to continue through 2024.
Formal education and practical experience are both valued in the accounting profession and necessary to earn certification as a CPA. Graduation from the Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) Program is a logical first step toward CPA licensure and a wide array of career opportunities. UNCW offers a 32-hour program that can be completed in 10-13 months. When combined with an undergraduate degree, the MSA program allows graduates to satisfy the 150-hour education requirement to earn licensure as a CPA. More importantly, the MSA coursework provides the expertise necessary to succeed in many functional areas of accounting, including financial reporting, internal and external auditing, taxation, information systems, cost management and business advisory services.
UNCW MSA students benefit from extensive preparation for the job market and numerous opportunities to work in teams. Students are advised by an engaged, professional faculty. All job seekers receive assistance with resume preparation, opportunities to practice interviewing skills and a broad array of events to facilitate networking and interaction with practicing professionals. These include four separate meet-the-firm events on campus, preview tours to major employers in Raleigh and Charlotte, and a two-day Business Week event that brings dozens of accounting professionals to campus each spring.
Preparation leads to placement, and the UNCW MSA program has placed over 90 percent of graduates every year since the first class of 1996! Employers include the largest professional service firms in the world, as well as many national, regional and local CPA firms, major corporations and government agencies. Although most graduates begin their careers in the southeast United States, recent classes have seen placements in cities across the country, including New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver and San Francisco, to name a few.
Candidates considering the MSA program should consider the following key facts:
- The MSA is open to well-qualified graduates of any accredited undergraduate program.
- The MSA can be completed in approximately one year, regardless of undergraduate major.
- Over 90 percent of MSA graduates secure employment with top firms, most well before graduation.
- The MSA program offers full-time, daytime, face-to-face instruction.
- Small class sizes allow students to work directly with highly qualified faculty members, who also provide individual guidance on CPA exam preparation and career planning.
- UNCW’s tuition and fees are among the lowest of comparable programs, and substantial assistantship and scholarship assistance is available on a competitive basis.
The MSA program is an excellent choice for students who seek to build strong analytical and communication skills, help individuals and businesses succeed, and join a respected profession with high ethical standards and strong earning potential.