If you find the fields of accounting and law interesting and want to pursue a career in one or both sectors, you probably want to know whether you can combine an accounting degree with a law degree. Having in-depth knowledge of two career fields will make you stand out to employers as you enter the job market, and can only increase your chances of working in a variety of settings doing something you enjoy.
Accounting and Law Degrees: A Brief Overview
An accounting degree offers introductory, intermediate, and advanced-level accounting classes. Many of these classes will incorporate the study of taxation and auditing. The accounting degree will also incorporate general management and business courses. For information on online accounting degrees, check out 10 Best Online Accounting Schools. An accounting degree (bachelor’s or master’s) provides knowledge and background in accounting, but it differs from a Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.) license, which entitles the holder to practice as an accountant and file taxes to the I.R.S.
A Juris Doctor (J.D.) is the graduate law degree required for an individual to practice law in the U.S. Individuals who wish to earn the degree must first obtain a Bachelor’s degree in the major of their choice. While law students universally take prerequisite courses, they often specialize in a particular aspect of the law, such as tax law. Like C.P.A.s, attorneys are authorized to file taxes to the I.R.S.
Combining an Accounting and Law Degree: How to Do It
Individuals who are interested in attaining education in both accounting and law should note that there are several ways to accomplish this objective. One of the most practical options is to earn a Bachelor’s degree in accounting as the prerequisite for entry into law school. It provides you with substantive education and experience in the field of accounting. It also affords you the opportunity to attain your law degree and specialize in legal matters that pertain to the management of a company’s finances. While in law school, once you’ve taken your basic courses, you can select classes that will help build upon your accounting knowledge, such as business or economics courses.
Another way to combine accounting with law is to look into a joint degree program, such as a J.D. and Master’s of Accounting double major offered by some law schools. A student with a bachelor’s degree (preferably, but not necessarily, in accounting or business) enrolls in a program that will result in a J.D. but takes courses from the Master’s in Accounting program as well. Law degrees typically take three years to complete– although the joint degree program may take a bit longer. As a result of these combined studies, the student would emerge a J.D. with a Master’s in Accounting. According to U.S. News, obtaining a dual degree will help to reduce time and money spent, because in many cases, courses overlap in both departments. A student in a joint degree program would, in theory, take one course but apply the credit toward two degrees!.
With a joint degree, your options are vast. An accountant with knowledge of the law can most efficiently handle complex tax issues. An attorney with accountancy expertise would be an asset to any firm looking to offer its clients all possible services. If you are thinking about pursuing a career in either accounting or law, combining the two degrees is perhaps the best way to help optimize your vocational opportunities.