Discover earning potential in the field of accounting
Accounting represents a deep, diverse range of potential job opportunities demanding a variety of skills. How much you can make depends on many factors, including industry of employment, specific job duties, your experience, and college education earned.
According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for accountants and auditors is $81,660 per year ($39.26 per hour).* Starting pay rates can vary based on location, education, and experience. This average is not entry level – recent graduates will need to earn experience and work their way up to earn a higher salary.
Average accountant salary by state, May 2020*
|State||Per year||Per hour|
|District of Columbia||$110,140||$52.95|
All salary data courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How to start faster in the accounting field
To become an accountant, you may be required to earn a bachelor’s degree, especially if you’re seeking to qualify to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
However, earning a bachelor’s degree isn’t the only first step you can take into this career field. You may choose to begin your career as a bookkeeper or payroll accountant and develop valuable professional experience while you advance your accounting education.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earn an average salary of $44,100 per year ($21.20 per hour).*
Our 8-month diploma in bookkeeping and payroll accounting program is designed to help you get off to a faster start in your new accounting career, find a job, and transfer credit you’ve earned into a bachelor’s degree program in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Accounting is much more specific to managing and analyzing money in and out of organizations. An accounting degree offers students in-depth knowledge to a range of advance accounting principles and processes.
Business administration is often limited to basic accounting principles. Instead, a degree in business administration focuses on many aspects of business, including operations, management, and business strategy.
Students choosing a business administration degree program with an emphasis on accounting and finance may learn big picture business principles while learning the fundamentals of day-to-day financial management and analysis.
While you may not be required to hold a degree to qualify for jobs that include bookkeeping and accounting tasks, employers may prefer earning a degree if you plan to become an accountant and continue advancing your career in accounting and finance. It’s difficult to obtain senior-level roles in accounting without earning an accounting-specific undergraduate degree.
Many states require that you must have a bachelor’s degree plus additional credit hours to sit for the exam to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). State-specific requirements may vary.2
Yes! All of Herzing’s accounting programs can be completed online on your schedule, at your pace.
A key difference between a diploma and a degree in accounting is required coursework.
Typically, an accounting diploma takes 6-8 months, while a degree may take two or more years. In a diploma program, you'll take classes specific to the field of accounting with no general education courses.
It's a cost-effective way to get foundational knowledge in a subject and can help you qualify for an entry-level job.
The difference between finance and accounting is that accounting focuses on tracking the day-to-day flow of money into or out of an organization, while finance is the general management of assets and liabilities and includes future growth planning. The curriculums of their respective degree programs follow suit.
Additionally, if you would like to pursue your CPA, a degree in accounting is often the more preferred choice.
There are many different types of accountants with varying levels of required education. Herzing offers the following undergraduate accounting degree options:
- Associate of Science in Accounting/Associate of Applied Science in Accounting
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
We also offer an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Accounting and Finance.
Bookkeepers record financial transactions and maintain accurate financial ledgers. They may also oversee accounts payable and receivable, process payroll, and track financial transactions.
To become a bookkeeper, you'll want strong math skills, a keen attention to detail, and strong organizational skills. A diploma in a bookkeeping can provide a strong foundation in basic payroll accounting and skills needed to help you find an entry-level job. The programs often take less than a year and can be completed online.