Mississippi prospective accountants can choose between approximately 25 accounting schools, with degree programs ranging from certificates to advanced degrees.
Among these, the University of Mississippi offers a world-class accounting program, listed as the best undergraduate program in the country by the Public Accounting Report’s 2013 survey of medium-sized schools.
The same survey ranked the University of Mississippi 4th overall for its undergraduate accounting program, 5th for its Master’s program and 8th nationwide for its doctoral accounting program.
Two accounting schools in Mississippi are ranked among the best 200 in the country by U.S. News: the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University.
Moreover, U.S. News lists six schools in the state among the 100 best regional Southern universities, while four schools made the Forbes Top 500 Colleges List. You are bound to find the perfect degree to kick-start your career among the top quality programs available in the state.
Tips for Choosing the Right Accounting Program
When entering the accounting job market as a fresh graduate, you only have one asset: your accounting degree. It is the degree that proves your skills, your motivation, your knowledge and your experience.
It is the degree that made it possible for you to acquire relevant experience and business connections before graduating.
Keep this in mind when choosing your accounting program, as this decision can influence your whole career. The ideal accounting program should be AACSB-accredited and able to prepare you for the challenging CPA exam; but at the same time, it should be rooted in the real world of accounting and rich in opportunities to gain practical experience.
To make sure you are applying for the best program, make use of all the information available: student evaluations, national rankings, faculty and student awards, CPA exam pass rates, graduate placement rates and starting salaries.
Moreover, try to find out more about life on campus. A good program should offer plenty of opportunities such as internships, volunteering programs, field trips, networking events, extra-curricular activities and professional development programs. In short, make sure that your school blends first-rate teaching and on-the-job experience to give you a head start in the accounting race.
Becoming an Pro Accountant: The Steps
Back in the day, accountants needed an eye for detail and an aptitude for math; today, accounting is much more about understanding business, making sensible decisions and providing accurate analyses. While accounting can be a rewarding career, it involves a great deal of responsibility and thus accountants need to be highly qualified.
While a four-year degree is sufficient to work in entry-level accounting-related positions, becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) requires additional coursework. You will need to earn a minimum of 150 semester hours, usually completed over five years as part of an undergraduate and higher degree. Having fulfilled the education requirement, you will have to pass the difficult four-part CPA examination.
In order to be granted a permit to practice as a CPA within your state, you will also need to pass an ethics examination and acquire one or two years of accounting experience verified by a licensed CPA.
Accountant Requirements in Mississippi
Before you can sit for the CPA examination in Mississippi, you must complete a baccalaureate or higher degree with an accounting concentration comprising at least 150 semester hours. Out of these, 48 hours must consist of accounting and business courses, with 24 hours in specific accounting courses. You must also be a resident of the state in order to take the exam in Mississippi.
In order to be granted licensure, you have to pass all four sections of the CPA exam and apply for a license within five years of passing the exam. Moreover, you must acquire one year of accounting experience under the supervision of a CPA in areas such as:
- Financial advisory
- Preparation of tax returns
CPA Salary Estimates in Mississippi
Mississippi is the fifth lowest-paying state for accountants in the country, with a mean annual accounting salary in 2013 of $58,890. The state also reports lower than average employment levels of accountants and auditors.
However, salaries can vary widely in this profession, with the lowest paid 10% of accountants in Mississippi earning $34,390 on average, while the highest paid percentile earns a mean salary of $92,620. Salaries also fluctuate between areas, from as low as $50,000 to approximately $67,000 in different regions of Mississippi.
Experience and skills can also influence the pay level of an accountant: CPAs earn significantly more than other accounting professionals. Moreover, salaries can rise by as much as 100% with 20 years of experience.
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Accounting Program Sneak Peek
The Mississippi State University is ranked 142nd best in the country by U.S. News and offers a highly regarded accounting program through its AACSB-accredited Richard C. Adkerson School of Accounting. Students can pursue a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree as well as a PhD program in Accountancy depending on their career goals.
The Bachelor of Accountancy program provides students with an overview of introductory and intermediate accounting, taxation and auditing, as well as with general courses in business and finance. Students wishing to pursue graduate studies and CPA certification can choose between the Master of Professional Accountancy and the Master of Taxation.
Both courses cover advanced taxation and accounting topics and allow students to choose six electives. The Master of Professional Accountancy provides students with an optional concentration in Systems, a valuable asset in a business world more and more driven by technology.
Through its internship program, the Tennessee Valley Authority Investment Challenge project and student organizations such as The Accounting Advocates or Beta Alpha Psi, the Mississippi State University provides accounting students with plenty of opportunities to get involved and take control of their careers long before graduation.
1000 Asu Dr, Lorman, MS 39096
1500 Peachtree St, Jackson, MS 39202
1003 W Sunflower Rd, Cleveland, MS 38733
1701 N State St, Jackson, MS 39202
200 S Capitol St, Clinton, MS 39058
114 McCool Hall – 40 Old Main, MS 39762
1100 College St, Columbus, MS 39701
14000 Highway 82 West, Itta Bena, MS 38941
312 Falkner Hall, Ms 38677
118 College Dr, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
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Mississippi Community Colleges
Scooba, MS 39358
Raymond, MS 39154-1100
900 S Court St, Ellisville, MS 39437
101 Hwy 11 N, Poplarville MS 39470
Highest Ranked Accounting Training in Mississippi
The AACSB-accredited accounting program at the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy has been consistently climbing up in accounting rankings and made the top 5 nationwide in the Public Accounting Report’s 2013 survey.
Students at this prestigious school can pursue a 124-credit Bachelor of Accountancy covering business, management, marketing, auditing, taxation and general education topics.
At the graduate level, students can pursue a Master of Accountancy or a Master of Taxation which provide in-depth knowledge of accounting, auditing and taxation through seminars and elective courses. The Patterson School also offers a highly regarded PhD program in Accountancy.
The University of Mississippi prides itself on its highly successful faculty composed exclusively of CPAs, many of whom have been recipients of prestigious awards.
Students also benefit from diverse opportunities for career development, ranging from a formal internship program that saw the participation of 86 accounting students in 2013 to the networking events organized by Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting student organization.
The highly effective program boasts the highest first-time CPA exam pass rate in the state, together with quality teaching and excellent opportunities that put accounting graduates at an advantage.
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