Master's in Accounting Lucrative Careers

  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Financial Controller
  • Financial Accounts Manager
  • Actuary

If the thought of crunching numbers for the rest of your life makes you giddy with delight, a Master's in Accounting might be the right career choice. The bad news is that it won't be easy. Most business schools pride themselves in turning out capable, intelligent graduates ready to take on the toughest jobs in the field. The good news is that the variety of careers likely goes well beyond what you might expect, and many of them offer good pay that is often higher than other degrees that are less labor intensive. Here are five lucrative jobs that require a Master's Degree.

Resource: Top 20 Cheap Online Master's in Accounting Degree Programs

Certified Public Accountant

You've probably seen the designation CPA. Payscale.com lists the average salary at $62,000 but, depending on the company you work for, could go above six figures as you gain experience. A CPA is the top level designation in the profession. A CPA is normally involved in some form of creating and reviewing financial records, filing taxes, and performing audits for corporations, government, or individual clients. He or she might work as part of a larger firm with hundreds of accountants or on their own in more modest surroundings.

Chief Financial Officer

Though you don't normally step out of the classroom and directly into the job of CFO for a major company, a masters degree could help reach that goal eventually. Part of the triumvirate (along with the CEO and COO) that heads a large corporation, a CFO can expect to pull down a sizable salary. Starting pay at a smaller organization would be about $70,000 and go all the way up to $300,000 or more to oversee the financial health of a very large company.

Financial Controller

A financial controller is one of the positions an accountant with a masters degree might move through on his or her way up the ladder to CFO. Expect pay to start in $50,000 range and top out at about $125,000 depending upon the particular company and job responsibilities. A financial controller, sometimes called a comptroller, is in charge of managing the day-to-day operations of a company's financial departments like budget, audit, and accounting. This job involves the actual producing of various financial reports such as profit and loss statement, balance sheets, and financial prospectuses.

Financial Accounts Manager

This mid-level managerial position pays in the vicinity of $60,000 to $100,000. Once again, the actual salary depends upon how many years of experience you have and what company you work for. This type of manager is normally the one who creates and implements the systems and processes that make a company's financial world go ‘round. It's their job to figure out the best ways to gather, analyze, verify, and report the necessary financial information. He or she would normally work within a group of other mid-level managers in the company.

Actuary

This innocent sounding job title can generate salaries from $150,000 to $250,000. Perhaps most associated with insurance companies, an actuary's job is to study, analyze, and create policies that reduce financial risk within the organization. You'll see an actuary's work product most associated with predicting a person's life span, based on the presence or absence of risk factors like a family history of smoking, cancer, and more. This information is integral to making products like life insurance policies or reverse mortgages profitable.

As you can see from this list of careers available for those with an interest in numbers, the pay can be quite respectable and even in line with what some doctors and lawyers earn. With a master's degree in hand, the only limits are those which you put on yourself.