Embarking on the journey to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) often involves considering whether to pursue a Master’s in Accounting. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of earning a Master’s in Accounting for individuals aspiring to become CPAs.

Advantages of Earning a Master’s in Accounting for CPA Aspirants:

  1. Enhanced Knowledge and Expertise: Pursuing a master’s degree provides in-depth insight into various accounting principles, tax regulations, auditing practices, and financial reporting. This advanced education equips CPA candidates with specialized skills essential for addressing complex accounting challenges effectively.
  2. Meeting Educational Requirements: All state boards require 150 credit hours and other specific educational qualifications to sit for the CPA exam. A Master’s in Accounting often fulfills these prerequisites, ensuring eligibility to pursue CPA certification.
  3. Networking Opportunities: Pursuing a master’s degree offers numerous networking opportunities within the accounting industry. Establishing connections with professionals, faculty members, and peers can lead to valuable mentorship, internship prospects, job placements, and a supportive network that can aid in career advancement as a CPA.
  4. Professional Development: Master’s programs provide access to resources such as career counseling, workshops, and seminars that facilitate professional growth. Through these avenues, CPA candidates can hone essential skills like leadership, communication, and critical thinking, which are highly coveted in the accounting profession.

Disadvantages of Earning a Master’s in Accounting for CPA Aspirants:

  1. Time and Financial Investment: Pursuing a master’s degree requires a significant commitment of time and financial resources. The extended duration spent in graduate school may delay entry into the workforce and increase overall educational expenses, including tuition fees and living costs.
  2. Opportunity Cost: While pursuing a master’s degree, individuals may miss out on potential job opportunities and relevant work experience that could contribute to their professional development. Delaying entry into the workforce can affect career progression, salary growth, and overall work experience compared to peers who enter the job market earlier.
  3. Overqualification Concerns: Some positions within the accounting field may not necessitate or prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Overqualification for entry-level roles can limit job prospects or lead to challenges in finding suitable employment opportunities post-graduation.
  4. Lack of Practical Experience: Master’s programs primarily focus on theoretical knowledge and may lack the practical experience gained through on-the-job training or internships. It is crucial for CPA aspirants to seek practical accounting exposure during or after the program to complement academic learning and develop a well-rounded skill set.
  5. Career Interests Diversification: Concentrating on accounting coursework in a master’s program may restrict exploration of other business disciplines or career interests. If an individual’s professional interests evolve or broaden, the specialized focus on accounting during the master’s program may limit flexibility in pursuing alternative paths.


The questions often becomes whether the Masters will increase one’s job prospects, career growth, and future income. Given the pipeline crisis in the accounting industry, most accounting firms don’t factor in or reward a masters degree. So long as a candidate has earned their CPA license, they don’t care what the background education was. It is for this reason that so many students seek alternative – fastest and cheaper – options when pursuing their CPA.

It is crucial for aspiring CPAs to weigh all these factors against their career goals and aspirations to make an informed decision that aligns with their individual circumstances and ambitions.