Teaching Accounting – Entering Academia as an Accountant

Accounting professors plan and conduct courses in relevant curriculums in a postsecondary environment.  They may teach, graduate, undergraduate or other college-level courses as well as individuals preparing for their CPA exam. Accounting professors plan lessons, grade exams, and assignments and offer advice to students pursuing various goals. They specialize in a wide array of topics and may even supplement their teaching with private practice professional accounting.

Accounting Educational Requirements 

If you are passionate about numbers, finance, have organizational skills and an analytical brain, you already know Accounting is for you. If the thought of mentoring students and instilling the knowledge and wisdom you hold of Accountancy excites you even more, than perhaps the terminal degree academic track is your future calling.  This is an ideal career path to pursue, as the need for committed teachers continues to grow as baby boomer educators enter retirement. Here are the steps to becoming an accounting professor;

After graduating from high school, you are eligible to apply to enter an undergraduate program. You can choose to study general coursework at a community college then join university after year 2, or you can do the 4 years at the university.  If you are looking to start your undergraduate soon, ensure the program you are targeting is AACSB accredited. This way, graduate school will recognize it when you apply to a master’s program.

After completing your undergraduate degree, you can choose to work in the field immediately or enroll for your masters at a reputable graduate school. At this level, the accounting courses are more intense and involve specialization in various fields. Examples of courses you will pursue in graduate school include business law, financial management, corporate management, and taxation.

To qualify as an accounting professor, you need to pursue a doctorate after completing the graduate degree. However, if you plan on teaching in high school, a master’s degree is the minimal requirement.  To obtain a PhD, you will need to complete a research project and most often write a dissertation. However, it is essential to check the requirements of specific schools before enrolling for a doctorate.

If you are switching careers, you will need to meet the above accounting education requirements before you qualify to teach accounting.

What is the Average Accounting Professor Salary?

According to the most recent U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accounting professors earn an average of $85,730 annually. The BLS goes on to report, the highest earning accounting professor earned $152,450 while the lowest earned $34,540 in the year 2016.  The accounting professor salary also varies from state to state.  For example, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the 2016 accounting professor’s annual mean wage was $122,480 in California, $55,590 in Kansas and $72,840 in West Virginia.

What are the Available Accounting Teaching Jobs?

Apart from being an accounting professor, you can teach accounting in high school after completing your master’s degree. Also, some community colleges recruit master’s degree holders; however, you are advised to check with the specific community college, as credential requirements may vary between institutions.

Also, some colleges require that accounting professors have a set number of years of professional experience in the profession. However, again, some schools will have different requirements.

What’s the Future Hold for Professors of Accounting?

According to the BLS report, the projected job growth in the accounting sector between 2016 and 2026 is faster than average with an estimation of nearly 140,000 entry-level accountant positions to add to the mix. This means that accounting teachers will be in very high demand as we round up the decade and prepare the next generation to learn the trade.

While the road to landing good accounting teaching jobs takes time, the rewards are worth it. Given the increasing demand for both accounting professionals and academic instructors as predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a lucrative career option to pursue.