Students who want to prepare for the certified public accountant exam and pursue careers in accounting now will be able to earn a Master of Accountancy degree through the University of Houston-Victoria School of Business Administration.

“With this new graduate degree, students will have more opportunities to choose from,” said Wei-Chih Chiang, a UHV associate professor of accounting.

Students can now apply for the graduate program, which Chiang said has been several years in the making. The program will be offered starting in the spring.

When Chiang started teaching at UHV a decade ago, he mentioned the university would need to have a master’s program in accountancy. Few colleges offer a graduate accounting program in the Houston and Victoria area, he said.

The program officially was proposed four years ago. It went through several discussions across UHV and the University of Houston System before recently receiving approval and accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, he said. The business school also is accredited through AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which accredits less than 5 percent of business schools worldwide.

Being able to offer a master’s degree in accounting means that students will have courses that are focused on accounting instead of business classes that have minimal accounting.

“A lot of times, students asked for a Master of Accountancy program and whether we had one,” Chiang said. “They said, ‘I don’t want a Master of Business Administration.’ The students wanted their master’s degree specifically in accounting.”

The accounting profession is constantly growing. In 2018, Texas had the second-largest number of accountants and auditors in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A person who becomes a CPA and has an accounting degree also could become a CEO of a business, Chiang said.

“More than 50 percent of CEOs have accounting backgrounds,” he said. “Accountants can do much more than bookkeeping.”

The average annual salary for those starting out with an accounting degree is about $45,000 to $55,000, Chiang said, with the salary increasing for those who become CPAs. The average wage in 2018 in Texas for an accountant and auditor was between $78,970 and $98,130, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“This is an exciting time for the School of Business Administration as we offer another professional degree option for our students,” said Ken Colwell, dean of the school. “The Master of Accountancy is an important credential for students who wish to pursue a career in accounting.”

Anyone interested in the program will need to have a bachelor’s degree. Those who do not have business degrees will need to take basic undergraduate accounting courses, Chiang said. Courses will be offered face to face in Victoria and at UHV Katy as well as online.

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