Accounting Programs for International Students

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By Sakina Taher
Published on August 24, 2023

Learn all about the top degree programs in accounting, develop in-demand skills, and kickstart your career in accounting with Shorelight universities.

Accounting is the process of recording, summarizing, and analyzing important financial data to make informed decisions. It plays a major role in all kinds of businesses, from startups to multinational corporations. With an increase in demand for accounting professionals with expertise in financial management, especially those who understand international accounting standards, pursuing an accounting degree can equip you with key skills and knowledge that stand out to employers.

Read on to learn more about the dynamic world of accounting, what you will learn in an accounting degree program, and the career opportunities available in the accounting field.

What Is an Accounting Degree?

Accounting majors learn to analyze and understand financial information, helping clients and businesses make important financial decisions. By pursuing an accounting degree, you can build a solid foundation of general business knowledge, since accountants also act as business and tax consultants (depending on the role). 

Students who major in accounting usually pursue a bachelor of science degree, since many classes focus specifically on mathematical topics including financial reporting, international accounting standards, the golden rules of accounting, finance concepts, economics, and more. 

As you learn about the fundamentals and core principles of accounting, you can also choose a concentration to further enhance your learning and help you work toward becoming a specialized accounting professional. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of accounting specializations. 

Types of Accounting Specializations

By choosing a specialization, accounting majors can tailor their educational journey to gain in-depth knowledge, skills, and expertise in their desired field. Accounting specializations can include: 

  • Auditing — Auditing is one of the more traditional careers in accounting. As an auditor, you inspect a company’s financial records to make sure they are correct and in order. The responsibilities of an auditor vary based on their job role, with internal auditors primarily working on the company’s internal processes while external auditors are unaffiliated with the companies they assess. 

  • Financial controlling — Financial controllers supervise the accounting department of an organization and prepare financial statements, budgets, and business forecasts. 

  • Management accounting — Management accountants provide important information used to make decisions to improve business performance. They analyze costs, profits, and financial information to help make strategic decisions.

  • Financial analysis — Financial analysts specialize in assessing investment opportunities by analyzing risks and rewards. They evaluate both financial and market data to help make good investment decisions.

  • Forensic Accounting — Forensic accounting combines financial expertise with investigative skills to uncover and analyze fraud. This specialization uses auditing and other accounting techniques to provide an expert opinion in courts and share financial evidence.

One effective way you can specialize as an accounting professional is by pursuing professional accounting certifications along with your degrees. Certifications can vary between different regions, and some countries require accountants to have a specific certification to apply for particular job roles. 

Here are seven well-recognized certifications for accountants:

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) — The CPA is the gold standard certification for accountants in the US. It is issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and accountants are often required to earn it in order to practice as an accountant at US-based companies and organizations.

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) — A globally recognized accounting certification based in the UK, the ACCA membership certifies an accountant’s knowledge of a wide range of subjects including financial reporting, management accounting, taxation, auditing, and financial management.

  • Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) — Issued by the CFA Institute, this qualification is required by many investment companies as it certifies an accounting professional’s understanding of managing portfolios, professional and ethical standards, and investment analysis.

  • Chartered Accountant (CA) — Regulated and issued by the chief accounting body of the country where you choose to pursue this qualification, the CA qualification certifies an accountant’s skill across a wide range of financial subjects.

  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA) — The CMA certification verifies an accounting professional’s skills in cost management, decision analysis, forecasting, and internal control auditing. Most CPA qualified accountants take the CMA exam as well.

  • Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) The CGMA certification is a global certification that verifies an accountant’s skill in management accounting and business strategy.

  • Enrolled Agent (EA) — Enrolled Agents are accountants qualified to represent taxpayers in the US to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS issues this certification.

With an accounting specialization, you can explore opportunities for global job roles as you gain in-demand and highly transferable skills during your program. Let’s take a look at some potential career opportunities you may qualify for with your degree. 

Career Opportunities with an Accounting Degree

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who major in accounting earn approximately $78,000 in the US — nearly twice the median salary of other occupations. This highlights how careers in accounting can be lucrative, with opportunities to pursue different roles across a variety of industries as you build key transferable skills. 

Here are some roles that accounting graduates can consider, as well as their average annual salaries in the US, India, China, and Brazil:


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Financial controller

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Financial Analyst

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Source: Payscale

Whether you dream of working at a multinational corporation or want to be an independent accountant, pursuing an accounting degree can lead to a rewarding and dynamic career. By earning your degree from a Shorelight university, you can work toward a career in accounting by developing in-demand skills and knowledge while you leverage opportunities to develop practical experience and learn from experts in a supportive environment.

Shorelight Universities with Undergraduate Accounting Programs 

Shorelight universities offer comprehensive programs in accounting to prepare students for lucrative careers. Let’s take a look at several US universities where international students can pursue an undergraduate accounting degree. 

Austin College

Located in Sherman, Texas, Austin College is ranked #46 among Best Value Schools in the US (U.S. News & World Report). Austin’s business finance degree with a minor in accounting covers money management, banking, accounting and investment, and gives you a solid foundation to start your career in finance and accounting.

You can also apply your skills to real-world situations via opportunities like the Student Managed Investment Fund and gain a competitive advantage during internships and postgraduate programs. 

Bellarmine University

Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, offers a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting. Coursework covers international accounting standards as well as business expertise, communication skills, and ethical awareness; supplementary minors include business administration and business analytics. Bellarmine graduates also boast a high CPA exam pass rate.

Blackburn College

Ranked as one of the Top Liberal Arts Colleges for Social Mobility by U.S. News & World Report, Blackburn College in Illinois features a major in accounting as part of its business program. The curriculum provides in-depth knowledge in financial reporting, management and cost accounting, federal taxation, auditing, and account information systems while familiarizing students with practical skills such as using spreadsheets and accounting software. 

Edgewood College

Listed as one of the Best National Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, offers several accounting degrees with additional concentrations in finance, management, and marketing. Students also get opportunities to explore the practical side of accounting by attending workshops with accounting professionals, completing hands-on projects using accounting software, and engaging in specialized accounting internships. 

Fairfield University

Fairfield University, ranked in the Top 1% for Long-Term Return on Investment by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce, offers its accounting degrees through the Charles F. Dolan School of Business. The program focuses on helping students develop both technical and conceptual skills, and the university’s proximity to several Fortune 500 companies and financial centers in New York City gives students the chance to discover internships where they can apply those skills in the real world.

Through versatile curricula, state-of-the-art facilities, and specialized internship opportunities, Shorelight universities provide you with the support you need to thrive both academically and professionally. 

Shorelight advisors can help you choose your best-fit accounting program and support your educational journey from application to graduation. Work toward a successful career in the dynamic world of business and finance by pursuing an accounting degree.

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