Accounting Degrees and Specialties

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Some students may be surprised to learn that accounting specialties come in a variety of topics for your accounting degree. The best fitting program for you should depend on your career goals and the  accounting tasks that you’re interested in. Do you hope to pursue a career as a CPA, help businesses to evaluate their finances, enter the exciting field of forensic accounting, or concentrate on something else? Read up on some of the top common types of accounting degree types below to help see which option is right for you.

Accounting Specialties

Public Accounting

Accounting degrees for future CPAs or Certified Public Accountants are often more involved than the typical Bachelor degree, usually requiring 30 additional credit hours. Some schools offer five year programs that combine a Bachelor and Masters degree for students interested in public accounting specialties. You can expect to take courses related to accounting, auditing, taxation, and more.[i]

Business Accounting

If you’re hoping to run the accounting department of an organization, you may be interested in a degree in accounting with a focus on the needs of businesses. Many MBA programs offer accounting specialties, helping students to gain an understanding of business management and leadership principles in addition to accounting and finance.

Tax Accounting

Laws governing taxation can be so complex that many individuals and businesses need the advice of a tax accountant. If you are seeking an accounting degree program with a focus on tax legislation, Internal Revenue Code, and other critical topics for tax professionals, you may wish to pursue a bachelor program in tax accounting or even a Master of Science in Taxation.

Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting may be one of the most fascinating types of accounting specialties, involving the investigation of financial crimes such as embezzlement, illegal transactions, and more. This career area typically calls for knowledge of not just accounting but also investigative procedures and law. If you’re interested in this specialty, evaluate accounting degrees with a concentration in Forensic accounting.[i]

International Accounting

Today’s business world is increasingly global in scope, and accounting professionals often benefit from knowledge of international procedures and regulations. If you are hoping to enhance your current career or prepare for diverse professional opportunities in your field, a concentration in international accounting and finance may be for you.


Bookkeepers handle accounting, payroll, and administrative tasks for businesses, and while they don’t always require degrees in accounting, some formal learning in this field may be helpful for professional advancement. An associate or bachelor degree that focuses on accounting fundamentals is often a good choice if you are interested in becoming a bookkeeper.