Average Accountant Salary: Is It Worth the Student Debt?

Accountants play a necessary function in holding the funds of companies and people operating easily. The group, evaluation and upkeep of economic data are key duties. As an accountant, you may additionally assist firms adjust to authorized monetary necessities and handle funds successfully.

The sphere of accounting is predicted to develop at a mean price in comparison with different careers, with 4% progress projected from 2019 to 2029, in line with the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) knowledge. Accountants and auditors make a median yearly wage of $71,550 as of Might 2019.

Accountant schooling necessities and common pupil debt

Accountants want a bachelor’s diploma, which frequently means taking up pupil mortgage debt. The typical pupil mortgage debt for a bachelor’s diploma for 2019 graduates was $28,950.

There are methods to mitigate the price of getting your bachelor’s diploma, like selecting an affordable faculty, for instance.

The typical undergraduate pupil debt is nicely beneath the $71,550 median annual wage for an accountant. Many accountants can repay their full pupil mortgage stability in a short while.

If you wish to open up extra alternatives, chances are you’ll want to pursue your credential as a Licensed Public Accountant (CPA). State boards of accountancy influence the principles and pointers for changing into a CPA, however right here’s a common thought of what’s concerned:

  • Training. CPAs should have no less than a bachelor’s diploma and no less than 150 credit score hours.
  • Examination. A passing rating on the Uniform CPA Examination is required.
  • Expertise. Not less than one 12 months of expertise whereas beneath the supervision of a licensed CPA.

The Minnesota Society of Licensed Public Accountants says that somebody who takes a self-guided evaluate course would possibly count on to spend about $1,500 complete to acquire the certification. That quantity might not embody evaluate programs, registration charges for the examination and different charges. Plus, you’ll spend extra to succeed in 150 semester hours to qualify.

How a lot do accountants make?

Is the typical accountant wage is definitely worth the quantity of pupil debt required to qualify for an accountant place? Though some careers come at extraordinarily excessive academic prices relative to the potential ensuing wage, accounting is pretty affordable.

Though the median wage for accountants is $71,550, this implies half of accountants earn lower than this determine. The BLS famous that the highest 10% of accountants earned over $124,550 per 12 months, whereas the underside 10% earned beneath $44,480. Employees on this career can count on median weekly earnings of $1,416.

As with many roles, accounting tends to pay higher as you achieve extra expertise.

Accounting as a profession pays pretty nicely, however should you graduated with higher-than-average pupil mortgage debt, paying off pupil loans will probably be harder. Ideally, you’d be on the low finish of the scholar mortgage vary and the excessive finish of the accountant wage vary.

CPAs might be able to command increased salaries, however getting your CPA licensure means extra prices.


As an accountant you’re conscious that your gross wage is diminished by revenue tax. For instance, a single individual submitting taxes in 2020 beginning out with a $60,000 annual wage would pay about $6,268 in taxes to the federal authorities.


The curiosity in your pupil mortgage stability makes an enormous distinction in your fee complete. At present, the non permanent rate of interest is zero % on all federal pupil loans. This forbearance will expire after January 31, 2022. The extra shortly you’ll be able to repay your pupil loans, the much less curiosity you’ll pay over the mortgage time period.

Delayed investments

Many who tackle pupil debt discover themselves pushing aside essential life moments, resembling shopping for their first house or investing in a 401(okay). With a mean accountant wage, it’s essential to know whether or not your pupil mortgage debt will delay these different monetary investments.

Accountant pupil mortgage reimbursement choices

For accountants who wish to repay their pupil loans shortly, there are just a few choices. If you find yourself at a lower-paying job, you would possibly want to check income-driven reimbursement or different reimbursement methods, like refinancing.

Let’s say you’ve $30,000 in pupil mortgage debt at 6% and a beginning accountant wage of $75,000 per 12 months. Right here’s how totally different reimbursement choices would shake out beneath REPAYE, PAYE, the previous IBR plan, and different choices.

Primarily based on the calculation and chart above, a personal pupil mortgage refinance is the most suitable choice. Your month-to-month funds are decrease in addition to the full quantity paid.

If refinancing isn’t a chance, REPAYE is the following finest different, based mostly in your complete reimbursement quantity. This feature, nonetheless, stretches month-to-month funds. PSLF and an ordinary 10-year reimbursement are almost equal in complete price, with decrease month-to-month funds than the REPAYE program.

Larger pupil mortgage balances change the dialogue

Now, should you’re a graduate with a better debt stability of $45,000 to your bachelor’s and a decrease beginning wage of $60,000, debt payoff is tougher.
In a case with increased debt in comparison with revenue, PSLF is worth it because you’d pay a lot lower than your authentic debt. Personal refinancing is the next-best selection should you don’t work for a nonprofit, including $8,398 in curiosity costs.

Is an accountant wage definitely worth the debt?

Take a look at how a lot accountants make when deciding whether or not pupil debt is value it. Three main elements affect this resolution:

  1. Value of bachelor’s diploma
  2. Location of employment
  3. Kind of accounting job

Value of diploma

A bachelor’s diploma in accounting or a associated area is a prerequisite for accountants. Your finest guess of making certain wage is definitely worth the debt is to attenuate your debt from the beginning.

Right here’s an estimated price per 12 months at three essential kinds of establishments:

  • Public, in-state faculty: $9,687
  • Public, out-of-state faculty: $21,184
  • Personal faculty: $35,087

Clearly, public colleges in your house state are the most cost effective possibility for a level.

To achieve the designation of Licensed Public Accountant, or CPA, you additionally want a minimal of 150 semester hours, which means you’ll full additional coursework past your bachelor’s to be eligible.

Some universities have a five-year program combining your undergraduate and graduate diploma to ease the method of getting sufficient hours for CPA licensure. Nonetheless you pursue this, these extra hours will price you the equal of an additional 12 months of faculty.

Apart from the semester hours requirement, the charges for evaluate programs and examination registration charges may complete no less than $1,500 (extra should you require a number of retakes of examination sections).

Superior levels can also be required for some administration positions. A grasp’s diploma in enterprise administration (MBA) or accounting-related area may very well be helpful, otherwise you would possibly take into account a specialty resembling taxation, public administration, or forensic accounting.

The price of the MBA program can simply be above $100,000 (the Wharton College MBA program for the category of 2021 prices $161,810!) You would possibly want to maintain off on that till your profession path turns into clearer and also you’ve paid off your undergraduate loans.

Location of labor

The geographical location of your job impacts how a lot cash you can also make as an accountant. Dwelling in a state that rewards accountants extra lucratively may assist you to repay your pupil loans years quicker, and attain your revenue targets extra shortly.

The highest 5 states for common accountant wage are:

  • The District of Columbia ($110,140)
  • New York ($101,440)
  • New Jersey ($96,260)
  • Massachusetts ($88,830)
  • California ($88,130)

Take into account that a better price of dwelling typically accompanies increased regional salaries. Dwelling in a big metropolis or metro space will price extra day-to-day than a small city or rural space. Working remotely may additionally be an possibility that will help you reduce housing and different bills.

Kind of labor

Nearly each enterprise and group wants some stage of accounting to handle their monetary statements and different monetary features.

Widespread industries for accountants embody:

  • Finance and insurance coverage
  • Administration of firms and enterprises
  • Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll
  • Authorities

A CPA profession path qualifies you for a lot of extra accounting positions, with probably increased salaries. The upper requirements of a CPA open up doorways for profession development.

All publicly traded firms are required to have a CPA log off on all monetary paperwork with the Securities and Alternate Fee, which is one motive your CPA license may very well be helpful.

Accountant plan for pupil mortgage reimbursement

Accountants ought to take into account the price of a level in comparison with the typical wage for accountants. You might be able to qualify for a well-paying job with a bachelor’s diploma and minimal pupil mortgage debt. However do not forget that extra levels or CPA certification provides to your debt.

Accountants who’ve a excessive debt-to-income ratio and are involved about pupil mortgage payoff can guide a session with Scholar Mortgage Planner®’s consultants. We analyze your mortgage scenario and assist you provide you with the perfect pupil mortgage reimbursement resolution.

Refinance pupil loans, get a bonus in 2021

 1 Disclosures
$1,050 BONUS1 For 100k+. $300 bonus for 50k to 99k.1
VISIT LAUREL ROAD Variable 1.64-5.65percent1 Mounted 2.25-5.75percent1

2 Disclosures
$1,050 BONUS2 For 100k+. $300 bonus for 50k to 99k.2
VISIT COMMONBOND Variable 2.49-6.84%%2 Mounted 2.59-6.74percent2

3 Disclosures
$1,000 BONUS3  For 100k or extra. $200 for 50k to $99,9993
VISIT EARNEST Variable 1.88-5.64percent3 Mounted 2.44-5.79percent3

4 Disclosures
$1,000 BONUS4 For 100k+. $300 bonus for 50k to 99k.4
VISIT SPLASH Variable 1.88-6.15percent4 Mounted 2.44-6.62percent4

5 Disclosures
$1,275 BONUS5  For 150k+. Tiered 300 to 575 bonus for 50k to 149k.5
VISIT ELF Variable 2.39-6.01percent5 Mounted 2.47-5.99percent5

6 Disclosures
$1,000 BONUS6 For $100k or extra. $200 for $50k to $99,9996
VISIT SOFI Variable 2.25-6.59percent6 Mounted 2.49-6.94percent6

7 Disclosures
$1,250 BONUS7  $350 for 50k to 100k7
VISIT CREDIBLE Variable 1.80-8.90percent7 Mounted 2.15-9.15percent7

Undecided what to do along with your pupil loans?

Take our 11 query quiz to get a personalised suggestion of whether or not you need to pursue PSLF, IDR forgiveness, or refinancing (together with the one lender we predict may provide the finest price).

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