Do you have an affinity for numbers and have been thinking of pursuing a degree that puts that talent to use but aren’t sure you want to spend your life in what may end up being a career where all you see is numbers and have little or no sense of adventure? You may want to consider a career in Forensic Accounting. This is an area where you can take your affinity for numbers and combine it with the legal profession to experience a sense of adventure. You could find yourself working to uncover insurance fraud, find a money-laundering ring, help a spouse get their fair share in a divorce settlement, or help uncover a criminal’s assets. The opportunities are endless.
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What Is Forensic Accounting?
Forensic Accounting is a fairly new specialization within the Accounting field that combines accounting and the law. Many people start out with a general Accounting degree and then end up with a Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting certificate. Some people stay with a Forensic Accounting degree as some opportunities are available with just it. Others continue and get a Master’s degree in Forensic Accounting. Jobs that are available with this specialization include working with the FBI to ferret out money laundering schemes or hunt down hidden assets of criminals. Insurance companies utilize this service to help find fraud and individuals hire those with certification to help in divorce settlements or get what is deserved during accident disputes. You will often be part of an investigation team and may even get on the stand in court as an expert witness.
What Can I Earn as a Forensic Accountant?
Entry-level jobs in this specialty start out at $61,100 a year. Mid-career you can expect to be earning $80,400 a year and those who stick with it can find themselves eventually earning upwards of $91,045 annually. If you become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) you can further increase these amounts.
|1||Mount St. Mary’s||Emmitsburg, Maryland|
|2||Utica College||Utica, New York|
|3||Franklin University||Columbus, Ohio|
|4||Pfeiffer University||Misenheimer, North Carolina|
|5||Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott||Prescott, Arizona|
Schools Offering Forensic Accounting Degree
(Note: Cost includes tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board for one academic year)
Mount St. Mary’s
Mount St. Mary’s is the closest of the schools to Maryland and Washington, D.C., making it the choice of those who wish to seek positions with the governments or F.B.I. The program prepares students to work in a variety of industries. Campus life is rich with clubs and organizations and there are several outdoor programs that hone leadership skills while giving students an opportunity to explore the outdoors. Located in a mountain environment, this is the school for students seeking quiet rather than the bustle of a large city.
Utica College was the first in the country to offer this BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation. This speaks volumes about the philosophy of the school to be willing to step into the future and give students an opportunity to compete in an ever-growing technical world. Their degree is offered both on-campus and online. With a multitude of scheduled events and plenty of student organizations and clubs, you will never lack things to do to give you a varied college experience.
Franklin University offers a program that will prepare you to become certified by CFE, CPA, and CIA. This is considered one of the best schools for military veterans, spouses, and their children. The school offers 115 years of tradition and is dedicated to making life the best possible for veterans. Students can even get credit for military training. Other students aren’t left out, however. This school’s main focus is on the adult student who may need to balance a family, job, and education.
Pfeiffer University offers a degree in Accounting with a Financial Fraud Concentration. Classes in the concentration include 15 credit hours covering white-collar crime and general criminal activities related to finance. The campus is located on 340 acres and includes plenty of recreational activities, including an on-campus pond, to help relieve the stress of academic life. If that isn’t enough, the campus is mere minutes away from a State Park and a National Forest.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott
A forensic accounting degree from Embry-Riddle prepares students to be certified through the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, allowing for a career in a variety of settings. Students will undertake 120 credit hours to complete the course in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination. Located in the Arizona mountain region, students have a great chance to get out and commune with nature, whether it be sailing or paragliding, hiking, or simply enjoying a day canoeing. Events on-campus are numerous and there is something for just about everyone.
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
The City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, located in New York City, offers a 54-credit undergraduate major of Fraud Examination and Financial Forensics (FEFF) leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. It also offers an undergraduate standalone certificate in forensic accounting for matriculated and non-matriculated students, as well as a graduate advanced certificate in forensic accounting, which is part of the college’s Master of Public Administration – Inspection and Oversight program. Among the relevant student organizations is the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), which is open to all ethnicities. Related undergraduate programs include separate minors in Fraud Examination and Accounting, which are each 18-credits. Scholarships and other financial aid may be available for eligible students. Graduates of the undergraduate (and graduate) programs work in the public, private, and independent (non-profit) sectors. John Jay College is a Hispanic- and Minority-Serving Institution that proudly includes hundreds of veterans among its students.
How We Chose
Being a fairly new discipline, there aren’t a lot of choices available out there. These schools have established programs that meet or exceed the requirements for certification and entry into a Master’s program should you wish to continue. While program cost was a factor, school size and accreditation, as well as student/teacher ratio, were also considered. Finally, the graduate job placement rate was taken into account. If you are a school that offers this program and would like to be considered for updated lists in the future, we would be glad to receive your information. If you are included on this list and find any errors, please let us know so we can correct them.
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