If you’re aiming for a career as a forensic accountant, you might wonder if a double major is the right educational path for you. The traditional route is to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, which of course is still necessary to embark on this career path. However, pursuing a double major in both accounting and forensics might be worthwhile, depending not only on your goals but also on the type of forensics program you choose.
Early Preparation for a Forensic Accounting Career
Typically, candidates begin the path to becoming a forensic accountant by earning bachelor’s degrees in accounting. They usually become certified public accountants (CPAs), which means that they must complete an additional year of college study, gain adequate experience and take the CPA examination, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Then they find entry-level auditing jobs that allow them to gain work experience and enroll in master’s degree programs in forensic accounting. While some schools now offer undergraduate forensic accounting degree programs, forensic accounting study often still takes place as the graduate level. Students who start their accounting studies as undergraduates begin building their educational background in forensics before they even finish their bachelor’s degree, which means they are better prepared to enter the field of forensic accounting without a master’s degree or to excel in a graduate-level education program.
Differences between Forensic Degree Programs
Before students decide to double major in accounting and forensics, they should learn as much as possible about the forensics program at the intended school. Many forensic programs are forensic science programs, which have a heavy basis in sciences like chemistry, biology and physics. Forensic science programs are often ideal for candidates who want to work as scientists in crime laboratories, but they may not provide the same skills that aspiring forensic accountants are seeking. Programs like the more general forensic studies major, the forensic psychology major and even the forensic investigation major may be a better choice for students who want to learn the theories at work in forensics but who might not envision working as a scientist in a lab.
For the right student in the right forensics program, there are plenty of benefits of pursuing a double major during your accounting education. Most aspiring forensic accountants become CPAs, and the extra coursework necessary for earning both bachelor’s degrees can often fulfill the additional college credit requirement to sit for the CPA examination. Studying forensics early on helps students develop a strong background in forensics, allowing them to succeed in master’s degree programs or possibly even attain forensic accounting positions without graduate degrees. Having a degree in forensics as well as accounting can show potential employers that you are serious about pursuing your dream career. A double major in forensics and accounting isn’t for every student or even every aspiring forensic accountant, but those who do their homework with regards to their school’s forensics major can find the opportunity valuable.