Career Guide: What Can I Do With An Accounting Degree?


Job Description:

Accounting professors plan and conduct courses in relevant curriculum in a postsecondary environment. Professors may teach undergraduate, graduate, or other college-level courses, as well as preparing students for the CPA exam. They plan lessons, assign and grade assignments and exams, and provide advice for students who are pursuing specific goals. Accounting professors specialize in any number of topics, and often supplement teaching with research and academic writing in the field.

Most colleges and universities require a doctoral degree in accounting or a relevant field, and aspiring accounting professors should obtain their CPA licensure for advanced placement. However, some community colleges hire teachers who have only a master's degree. Accounting professors have usually worked (or work) as accountants in the professional world before they teach on the college level. In some cases college and universities prefer candidates who have teaching experience over those who have only professional experience.
Median Salary:
Accounting professors are a subset of business professors, which — according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — are in high demand in New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Ohio. The top metropolitan areas for accounting professors are: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. The top 10% of business professors earned $152,450, while the lowest 10% earned $34,540 in 2012, also according to the BLS.
Job Outlook:

Projected to grow 17% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Professors who teach others about accounting and finances are expected to remain in-demand over the next seven years. As enrollment at colleges and universities increases, post-secondary teachers should experience more job opportunities at educational institutions in the U.S. College teachers may see increased job growth at for-profit institutions, though teaching jobs may depend largely individual education budgets at various schools. As of 2010, an overwhelming 70% of postsecondary teachers worked for colleges, universities and professional schools, according to the BLS. While professors are widely sought-after among postsecondary institutions, employment opportunities are limited, and employers generally prefer candidates with at least a master's degree and exceptional academic credentials.

Continuing Education:

Accounting professors often obtain a director of business administration (DBA) certification and/or a Ph.D. Requirements for employment vary according to the college or hiring institution, however CPA status is not typically required for a teaching position in this field. Once professors begin a teaching career in accounting, continuing education provides the opportunity to obtain ongoing vocational training and possibly advance their academic employment status. Tulane University, for example, offers a wide range of continuing education and online course credit options for many subjects related to accounting, including ethics in accounting and finance, business law, and managerial and cost accounting. In addition to holding an advanced degree and/or the highest-possible credentials, accounting professors with continuing education course credits may find they are eligible for high-ranking academic positions in their field.