Washington, DC, does not provide many online opportunities to get higher education in accounting, but there is a related Master of Finance distributed by Georgetown University that can be completed online with two residencies.
American University and George Washington University provide accounting degrees that have plenty of flexibility for those that need to continue working at their job. All of the major institutions are accredited by some of the biggest organizations, such as the AACSB and the ACBSP. With the location, there are many government and nonprofit opportunities for those looking at accounting careers in those sectors.
Masters Degrees in Accounting
With Northeastern University's Online Master's programs, you can choose from 2 degrees:
- Online Master of Science in Finance: Choose from 2 tracks in Corporate Finance or Investment Finance. Complete coursework 100% online—no residencies required. Earn your degree in as few as 16 months while continuing to work.
- Online Master of Taxation: Choose from 2 tracks: Taxation of Entities or Taxation of Individuals. Graduate in as few as 16 months while learning from accomplished scholars and industry experts in taxation and business. Complete coursework 100% online - no residencies required.
District of Columbia Accounting Career Summary
- Average Mean Salary for Accountants and Auditors in District of Columbia: $
- Income Ranges: Top 90% Mean Salary: $ / Bottom 10% Mean Salary: $
- Employment Change: +780 jobs added between 2014 and 2024, an estimated average of 410 new accountant or auditor jobs in District of Columbia per year.
Master of Science in Finance
The McDonough School of Business provides an MSF degree that is mostly completed online with a week-long opening residency and a capstone project that is also completed on campus. The curriculum is broken up into core courses, advanced courses, and electives in a variety of topics. All courses that are three credits take seven weeks to complete, with half-credit courses (generally electives) taking four weeks. The MSF Clinic is a one-credit course for full-time students that will require two additional electives. Students should expect to complete the program over the span of 21 months.
An opening residency is taken after completion of the Financial Markets class. This two-credit course within the curriculum will provide an introduction to the Georgetown University campus and coursework on a case study, providing a good opportunity to network with faculty and peers. The three-credit course is an international project where students use the consulting skills they learned in the program to help solve financial business problems with a foreign company. This is a unique experience for students and provides an opportunity to experience other cultures in their native country. Projects have taken place in South Africa and Nambia.
Graduates have entered job roles such as data analysts, risk management, and corporate finance at a number of prominent financial institutions and accounting firms, such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deloitte, JP Morgan Chase, and Lockheed Martin. One benefit from the school is the MSF Summer Clinics, where students can have hands-on experience with corporate clients that are equivalent to internships. The curriculum is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and geared toward professionals that are looking to advance in their business career or are looking for a specific change within accounting and finance.
Master of Science in Accounting
The Kogod Center for Business Communication and the Office of Career Engagement feature an MSA program that takes up to 37.5 credit hours to complete based on prior experience within accounting. There is no online component with this program, but part-time students that need flexibility in their schedule can complete the program in two to three years and there are two separate time slots at night to meet once per week for each course. Graduates will benefit from being prepared for the Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) exam and exempt from 8 of the 14 exams that go toward certification for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification.
The curriculum is divided up into foundational courses, accounting courses, and electives. Students that have completed a Bachelor's degree from an AACSB-accredited school should satisfy the foundational courses that focus on financial and managerial accounting, statistics, economics, and corporate strategy. Those that do not have a background within accounting will likely need to take the majority of these courses. There are 27 total accounting credits needed, with up to six credit hours reserved for electives (and three credits can be used from the foundational group). For the electives, there are specializations available in Financial Reporting and Assurance, Forensic Accounting, and Taxation.
Requirements to get into the program include unofficial or official transcripts, statement of purpose explaining how obtaining a degree will achieve short-term and long-term goals, updated resume, at least one letter of recommendation, and GRE or GMAT scores. There is no work experience required and an undergraduate degree can be in a different field, but prerequisites apply. Up to nine graduate credit hours can be transferred from another school. Graduates have received opportunities from all of the Big Four accounting firms (Deloitte, Ernst and Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG) after the completion of this degree.
George Washington University
Master of Accountancy and Finance
The GW School of Business has a specialized Master’s degrees within Accountancy and Finance. The Accountancy program is good for experienced professionals and those that are preparing for the CPA exam. 30 credit hours are needed to complete the program, divided up into 10 courses – 7 of those specifically within accounting. The other electives can be chosen from the School of Business or the GW Law School. This curriculum will take only nine months for full-time students, but part-time students that need to fulfill work obligations will likely need anywhere from 21 to 60 months. For undergraduate students already enrolled at GW, they can take a five-year combined program that includes their Bachelor’s degree within Accountancy or Business Administration with the MAccy.
While there is no prior undergraduate degree needed within the field, there are prerequisites needed to be satisfied. These courses include Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting (introductory level), Microeconomics, and Business and Economic Statistics, and can be taken prior to the MAccy curriculum. For those coming from an AACSB-accredited institutions, this requirement is likely fulfilled. Required accountancy courses in the curriculum include various levels of Intermediate Accounting, various levels of Cases in Management Accounting, Contemporary Auditing Theory, and Finance.
An alternative degree is obtaining a Master of Finance, which also has a few tracks to choose from. Students that can dedicate four classes per semester can complete the degree in just a year. Otherwise, the regular track can be completed in two years. There are 12 courses that are needed to complete the program and they are predetermined. Examples of what students will take are Cases in Financial Management and Investment Banking, Investment Analysis and Global Portfolio Management, and Real Estate Finance and Fixed-Income Security Valuation. Some courses can be swapped out with electives if the student has taken a prior course related to it.
Accreditation Options in Washington, DC
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Founded in 1916, this accreditation service focuses on business schools that are not-for-profit. Over 850 different institutions have been given an accreditation worldwide, and especially within accounting, the group looks at how much of the school is geared toward business education, the distinctiveness of the business programs themselves, and how much control the school has over these programs (such as development process, hiring faculty, student selection, and more). Schools within Washington, DC, that have received accreditation are the schools above and the School of Business at Howard University.
Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Since 1998, the ACBSP accredits all business programs across the world and has reached over 1,000 campuses. Their goal is to reach every business program and help them obtain a quality curriculum in order to best prepare students for a role in business. The association has on-campus visits to evaluate the education process and ensures a quality experience for students. This accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is based in Washington, DC and has recognized over 60 organizations.
Career Opportunities in Washington, DC
Based on the national average, entry-level accountant salaries will sit at around 65,802 annually according to Glassdoor. That is 12 percent above the national average, and that salary can jump to at least $90,000 in some positions. Accounting managers also have an average of over $101,000, which is another big jump from the national average. One of the unique aspects of living in the DC area are the vast amount of opportunities available, especially within the government and nonprofit sector.
One of the popular accounting organizations to join in Washington, DC, are the Greater Washington Society of CPAs (GWSCPA). For those that already have the certification, they can join this society from any state or territory within the United States. They also allow non-certified accountants that are working at a nonprofit, government, or university. Benefits from joining the society include networking with other professionals and improving individual skills through news and email updates. It also includes continued professional education with hundreds of webinars and workshops, which are offered at a discount for members. There are also various conferences that are sponsored by the group and job opportunities are distributed constantly on the website.