Should I get a Master's Degree in Accounting? If you're a current accountant, college student, or someone thinking about switching careers into the accounting profession, you have most likely already asked yourself this question--probably multiple times. And if you've come to the conclusion that you would like to pursue this postgraduate degree, another question remains: should you obtain it through live courses or exclusively online?
Online education, or eLearning, is of course quite the norm these days and is definitely a growing trend among accounting majors and masters degree seekers. While some people prefer going to an in-person University, others prefer the flexibility of online courses. When it comes down to it, here are the benefits of each and it's up to you to decide which one best fits your needs.
Benefits of getting a Master's Degree Online
Many people who choose to go the online route are those who:
- Already have a job locked in
- Just need extra credits to qualify to sit for the CPA Exam
- Have outstanding loans from their undergraduate degree
- Need the ability to study when they want, where they want
- Don't mind being in a closed off environment without frequent in-person interaction with professor/peers
Generally, obtaining your Master's Degree online is a great option if you already have a job because keep in mind that online universities do not typically host career fairs and don't have accounting societies, clubs, or organizations. In addition, it is cheaper than private or public universities which is ideal if you're already in debt or tight on funds.
However, while you of course learn a lot, what's missing is the professor/peer interaction. You'll manage your coursework through your class portals and discussion with peers may be held in virtual forums. Speaking with your professor will normally happen through email. So if you're considering an online Master's Degree, make sure you know just what to expect and the type of person you are. If you're not someone who possesses these qualities, then you might want to consider an in-person university.
With that being said, shop around and talk to your peers or networking connections about which online university is best for you. There are many out there, so read the reviews, talk to the administration, and get a better understanding about what the university has to offer and what the program is like.
Benefits of getting a Master's Degree in Person
Conversely, many people who choose to go the in person route are those who:
- Are looking to find a job
- Need structure and routine to succeed
- Are not in debt or don't mind being in debt
- Learn better in an environment surrounded by their professor/peers
If you haven't landed an internship as an undergraduate and you're graduating soon without any experience, going in person to a university could benefit you in that the networking opportunities are effortless to find. Universities host career fairs, job events, Meet the Firms, and have many on campus organizations and clubs such as Beta Alpha Psi Chapters and Accounting Societies that easily give you opportunities to find internships or entry-level positions. Being connected in this way justifies the amount of money you spend as you can see it as a greater investment than just obtaining a Master's degree.
Additionally, if you're someone who finds success through structure and routine, in person classes will give you just that. A set time to attend, turn in homework, and being physically present in a classroom among your professor and peers is great for those who learn and retain information better when surrounded in a learning environment.
Again, make sure that if you choose this route, you're choosing the school that's fit for you and your needs.
In the end, it's all about hard work and dedication.
No matter which route you decide to take, remember that success comes with hard work and dedication. We're confident that you'll make the best choice for yourself and your future. For more information about making sure obtaining your Master's Degree is the right decision for you, read our other blog on the topic here.