Accounting and Statistics: Courses for Your Career Part 2

Career Advancement

Businesses are more and more eager to see their employees equip themselves with the tools to identify, diagnose, and treat financial problems in their companies. And business classes, such as auditing and statistics, which used to be taken at night, are now available as online college courses, a more convenient option for students with fulltime jobs. It is common that an employee is on the job for several years before seriously considering further coursework in order to advance. The Wharton School of business says, “The average student has worked for 5 or 6 years between college and the MBA program… [W]e evaluate work experience not in terms of years but the depth and breadth of an individual's position, his or her contributions to the work environment, and level of responsibility and progression.”6

Employers will often expect an accountant or auditor to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. However, junior college graduates, distance learning students, clerks and bookkeepers, or even part-time interns can start out in junior accounting positions and advance by performance on the job. To further this goal, a student can work toward an MBA or to become a licensed CPA.7

Continuing education offers benefits to those who are already well established but who wish to acquire advanced certification. In order to become a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), applicants need 2 years’ of professional experience, “agree to meet continuing education requirements,” and pass an exam. A designation of Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), or Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA) also requires on-the-job experience and prerequisite coursework.8 It is therefore quite likely that a bookkeeper or accountant who wishes to advance professionally will find him- or herself taking an online college accounting and/or a college statistics courses after an extended time on the job, and while working full time.

6 Wharton MBA Program, FAQs, How much work experience do most accepted students have? Is there a particular type of work experience Wharton seeks?

7 Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Licensure and certification, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Accountants and Auditors

8 Ibid.