- Class Size
- Program Accreditation
- Experience of Professors
- CPA Test Prep
- Passage Rate
Though many different colleges offer degree programs in accounting, the hallmarks of a quality accounting program should remain the same across schools. Those hallmarks include the professional experience level of the professors working for the school and the prep that it offers those who need to take the CPA exam. The top schools will offer help to those who want to gain professional experience before they graduate too.
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5. Class Size
One characteristic that all the top accounting programs share is that they offer low class sizes. This applies to both the courses available online and those on a college campus. Students may take classes with 10 or fewer students in the same classroom, but some schools have up to 20 or more students in each course. Colleges that offer lower class sizes give students the chance to have their thoughts and opinions heard.
4. Program Accreditation
No accounting major should enroll in a program without first making sure that it has regional accreditation and program accreditation. Regional accreditation comes from an accrediting body that does an extensive review of the college. This is what lets majors get and use financial aid and transfer their credits. It typically comes from organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Students will also want to make sure that the accounting program has accreditation from a business organization too. The groups that accredit accounting programs today include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Commission for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
3. Experience of Professors
Anyone who wants to study accounting in college should also look at the amount of experience that the professors in that program have. The top schools hire professionals who have years of experience. These professors have their CPA credentials and experience working with nonprofit organizations and both public and private corporations. They may have experience working with individual clients too. Those teachers can pass on their knowledge to students and get them ready to work in the field. They may have connections to help students find internships too.
2. CPA Test Prep
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, auditors and accountants earn a median salary of $69,350 per year. The top professionals working in this field have their credentials and licenses, which they can get through national exams. One exam that most majors take after they graduate is the CPA exam. One hallmark of a quality accounting program is that it will offer test prep for students. This can include group study sessions that are open to anyone preparing for the exam and practice tests that students can take. Those practice tests will include questions found on the actual CPA exam.
1. Passage Rate
Another characteristic of a good accounting degree program is a high exam passage rate. Colleges will often include this information on their websites, though students may need to call other schools to find out what their passage rates are. Schools may list a general passage rate that includes the percentage of students who passed that exam in total. Students may want to find out how many passed the exam on their first attempts, especially since they need to pay a fee each time they take it.
Accounting programs at the undergrad level prepare students for graduate school and for working in entry-level jobs. Those at the graduate level prepare students to take the CPA exam and any other licensing tests. The hallmarks of a quality accounting program include CPA test prep and small class size.