As you explore your graduate school options, you may wonder what a master of government accounting degree is and whether it can help you achieve your career goals. Master’s degree programs in government accounting can prepare you for a role in public service accounting in which you will keep track of the revenues, expenses, budgets and other financial data for government agencies. Often, studies in government accounting also equip students with the skills to work in nonprofit accounting, handling the financial reporting of charitable organizations.
Government Employment of Accounting Professionals
If you’re wondering whether a master of government accounting degree is marketable, you might be surprised just how common it is for the government to hire accountants. Around eight percent of all accountants and auditors — work for government entities, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That adds up to more than 100,000 accounting professionals. These jobs are found in a variety of entities within local, state and federal government agencies. Even such well-known entities as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seek candidates with a background in accounting.
Generally, a master of government accounting degree is a smart career preparation choice for students in various situations, including practicing and prospective certified public accountants (CPAs). Aspiring CPAs who choose this option develop specialized government accounting skills while simultaneously completing the 150 credit requirement to sit for the CPA exam, according to Rutgers University. Completing a master of government accounting degree is also a good choice for accountants who have already earned the CPA credential but want to expand their knowledge of government accounting practices. Even candidates with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) background can benefit from studying government accounting, especially if they intend to sit for the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) exam.
The Curriculum of a Graduate Program in Government Accounting
In a master of government accounting degree program, you will most likely take core courses in subjects that will teach you not only the concepts of government financial management, but also how to apply those concepts to real-world problems and situations. The core curriculum might include classes such as governmental accounting and auditing, government budgeting systems, public financial management, ethical issues in public financial management, public sector auditing and advanced governmental accounting. In some programs, your core classes will also include more general accounting studies in topics such as auditing concepts, information systems design and accounting for managers.
A master of government accounting program’s curriculum combines advanced general accounting and auditing studies with specialized studies into public sector and government accounting. If you would like to serve in the public sector – not to mention reap the benefits of s job with the federal, state or local government – then earning a master of government accounting degree is one way to develop the skills you will need for this career path.