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Best MSA Programs in Texas in 2021

September 21, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Top MSA Programs in Texas

Usually, the next logical step for undergraduate accounting degree holders would be to pursue a master’s degree. However, students and working professionals without an accounting background can also apply for a graduate degree in accounting to broaden their career options (for students), advance existing career opportunities, and boost earning potentials. Some may even begin by earning an associate degree in accounting before furthering their studies. 

Besides earning generous accounting salaries, pursuing a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) degree is also a good choice for accounting students who want to sit and pass the CPA exam.  That’s because the graduate degree program’s coursework meets the requirement for obtaining a CPA certification, which is usually 150 semester hours of accounting education in many states and jurisdictions. 

An advanced accounting degree does not only enable students to meet the requirements for a CPA license or becoming Certified Public Accountant. It also helps students to reach their professional career goals. In a nutshell, earning an MSA degree has a high return on investment in terms of job security and satisfaction, significantly better career growth potential, and improved salary.

Typically, full-time students complete the MSA accounting degree program in 18 months. Thanks to the program’s flexibility, individuals and working professionals can extend the program or choose a completion schedule that suits them best.

If you live in Texas and want to get your MSA there, this article will show you everything you need to know about the various options available in the Lone Star State.

Typical Career Path of Someone with an MSA degree

The textbook master’s degree definition would be a specialized or advanced graduate degree that usually develops an individual’s leadership and managerial skills. Baccalaureate degree holders can choose to pursue a graduate accounting degree from a couple of options, including Master of Science in Accounting (MSA), Master of Accountancy (MAcc), and Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcy or MPAcc). 

A MAcc program does not differ substantially from an MSA or MPAcy, as all the programs are designed to prepare students to sit for the CPA exam and equip them for professional accounting roles.

Alternatively, those with non-accounting undergraduate degrees can opt for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Students and working adults can choose an MBA program with a focus on accounting to gain the leadership skills needed to fill senior accounting positions. 

Whichever accounting master’s path suits you (MSA, MAcc, or MBA), completing a graduate program offers better job prospects. Interestingly, pursuing any of these degrees is not limited to attending on-campus classes. Online master programs are available in many of the best universities in Texas.

What Can You Do With an MSA degree?

Higher education, especially at the graduate level, is highly recommended. However, you can become better motivated if you have a clearer understanding of someone’s career prospects with an MSA degree. 

For starters, MSA graduates are highly sought-after in many areas because of their specialized accounting knowledge and skills. Most MSA graduates are well equipped to take on the accounting profession’s challenges in different fields, such as consulting, taxation, assurance, and forensic accounting. 

If you are considering an MSA degree, here are some of the typical careers with promising upward trajectories:

  1. Chief Financial Officer (CFO): CFOs are senior executives who oversee the financial operations of their companies. They also ensure that finance and accounting departments comply with company policies, applicable laws and operate efficiently. The salary for a Chief Financial Officer in Texas is in the range of $295,920 to $494,102 per year, depending on the company.
  1. Accounting Consultant: Professionals in this position are saddled with the responsibility of programming, implementing, and handling their company’s accounting processes. Typical duties include analyzing financial data, preparing end-of-year financial statements, and providing guidance on regulatory compliance issues. The annual salary for an Accounting Consultant in Texas falls between $76,573 and $92,213.
  1. External Auditor: The accounting experts review organizations’ financial information and prepare comprehensive reports on their audit findings. Typical responsibilities include inspecting or investigating financial statements for fraud, errors, and misstatements. They also recommend improvements. The median salary for External Auditor in Texas is $71,376 a year.
  2. Not-for-Profit Accountant: Not-for-Profit Accountants manage the finances of non-profit organizations. Typical duties include overseeing employee payroll, managing accounts receivable and accounts payable, and completing tax documents. The average salary for a Non-Profit Accountant in Texas is $60,617 per year.
  1. Staff Accountant: Staff Accountants work in accounting firms or accounting departments of a company. Their duties involve analyzing data from departments and general ledger systems, preparing consolidated internal and external financial statements, and maintaining automated, consolidated systems. They provide professional advice on general financial matters. The average salary for Staff Accountants in Texas is $57,864 per year.
  1. Tax Partner: Tax partners have the responsibilities of managing all tax engagements, ensuring that staff complies with guidelines and policies. They also prepare and review corporate, partnership, and individual tax returns. Tax Partners in Texas can make between $183,021 and $197,235 per year, depending on the organization they work for.
  1. Controller: A controller is a senior accounting position in a company responsible for overseeing all the organization’s accounting operations. Typical duties include creating financial reports, managing accounting records, and preparing internal and external financial statements. The salary for a Controller in Texas falls between $183,298 and $255,837 per year.
  1. Lead Tax Accountant: Lead Tax Accountants are responsible for preparing tax provisions, recommending tax strategies, and maintaining legislative materials to implement current tax laws. Lead Tax Accountants in Texas can earn salaries ranging from $61,193 to $93,458 per year, depending on the company. 
  1. Internal Auditor: Internal auditors play vital roles in any organization. Some of their major duties include objectively review a company’s business process, protect the organization’s assets from fraud and theft, and evaluating the efficiency of a company’s risk management procedures. Internal Auditors in Texas earn an average salary of $80,335 per year.
  1. Government Accountant: These accounting professionals work in government establishments, manage public funds, carry out research on emerging accounting issues, and prepare financial statement audits. They also investigate white-collar frauds. Government Accountants in Texas earn salaries between $51,244 and $69,346 per year, but the average annual salary is $59,337.

Why Should You Consider Getting an MSA Degree in Texas?

Texas is a force to reckon with in terms of global commerce, thanks to big business and industry concentration. The state is expected to have an 18.9% increase in accounting jobs between 2016 and 2026. This projection is almost twice the national average, but that is not surprising considering the sheer number of public, private, government, and non-government organizations in the state. 

Texas’ thriving sectors, such as the oil and gas exploration and extraction and the booming tech sector, provide massive opportunities for accounting graduates with the right type of skills companies want. 

Texas ranks second in the US when it comes to the total number of accounting jobs available.  The salaries are generous, too, with the top 10% earning an annual pay of about $122,810 while the average salary is in the vicinity of $80,200 per year.

Accountants with the right type of chops and who understand International Financial Reporting Standards are in high demand, especially in globally recognized companies found in Texas. 

These professionals are needed to facilitate international trades. This is why earning a Master of Science in Accounting gives you an edge when looking for jobs in a place with so many industrial and corporate job opportunities like Texas. 

Some of the notable places MSA graduates can work in Texas include:

  • Shell Oil Company (Houston, Galena Park, Kermit)
  • Hewlett Packard (Spring, Plano)
  • AlliantGroup (Houston)
  • URS Corporation (Houston, Austin)
  • Marathon Oil Corporation (Houston, Texas City, Kenedy)
  • Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (Houston) 
  • BB&T (Austin, College Station, Bryan)
  • Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors (Dallas, San Antonio, Houston) 

Hundreds of accounting jobs are available in almost all metropolitan areas of Texas. MSA graduates can find placement as Senior Revenue Accountant, Senior Staff Accountant, Lead Tax Accountant, Financial Analyst, and more.

Benefits of Earning Your MSA in Texas

Besides the high chance of placement, choosing your degree in Texas comes with other benefits, such as access to first-rate accounting education and financial aid opportunities both from the federal government and private lenders.

Universities, such as the Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University, are known for their high-quality Business, Marketing, Management, and other accounting-related curricula. Earning an MSA in Texas means graduating with a world-class qualification tailored to put you in leadership positions.

Financial Aid Available for People Earning their MSA in Texas

An undergraduate degree in accounting is a good first step in pursuing an accounting career. But accounting goes beyond crunching numbers and balancing books. Getting a master’s degree in the field earns you the career capital to produce remarkable economic value in any organization where you work. 

Master’s degree holders can fill higher-level job roles in their companies. Business leaders typically consult with accountants on financial decisions to get their professional accounting insights and expertise. 

However, paying for an accounting degree is not particularly cheap, regardless of whether it is a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. For this reason, it is usually a good idea for students to seek financial assistance through financial aid opportunities to pay for their graduate-level education. 

The Federal student loan is one of the common forms of support students can get. This financial aid is available for a student who is a US citizen. A student who is an eligible noncitizen can also apply for a federal student loan. 

A prospective student who is registered with selective service may also qualify for a federal student loan. In any case, individuals seeking financial aid need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form electronically to know if they qualify. 

A degree-seeking graduate student who does not eligible for the federal student loan can apply to a private educational lender for a Private Educational Loan. A student pursuing an accounting master’s degree in Texas can find several private-based loans offered based on the student’s creditworthiness. 

Other financial aid opportunities include:

  • Texas Aggie Graduate Grant: This is a need-based award for residents of Texas. Eligible students can receive up to $3,000 per year or $750 in the summer and up to $1,500 per semester in fall and spring. 
  • MS Accounting Scholarships: MS accounting students can apply for the MS Accounting Scholarships. These scholarships are highly competitive. 
  • Fifth Year Accounting Student Scholarship Program: Each year, students in their fifth year of study who want to write the CPA exam in Texas can apply for this scholarship. The scholarship is provided by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. 

Coursework Required for an MSA in Texas

Typically, students are likely to have completed business leveling course requirements if they get into an MSA program with an accounting or business undergraduate degree from an accredited school. Those without a business-related undergraduate degree will take more prerequisite courses. 

Core and elective courses are designed to meet the CPA requirements for a CPA license. Some of the common MSA course topics include:

  • Advanced Accounting – Acct 7340
  • Advanced Auditing – Acct 6375
  • Accounting Information Systems – Acct 5350
  • Financial Statement Analysis – Acct 6330
  • Auditing – Acct 5375
  • Introduction to Taxation – Acct 5330
  • Entity Taxation – Acct 6340
  • Accounting Research Methods – Acct 8380
  • Intermediate Financial Accounting II (Acct 5326)
  • Cost Accounting – Acct 7320

In addition to the graduate-level courses, students can choose to focus on specific aspects that suit their individual career goals. Areas of specialization usually include:

  1. Forensic Accounting
  2. Accounting Information Systems
  3. Taxation
  4. Corporate Accounting / Financial Reporting
  5. Auditing
  6. Government Accounting

In terms of time commitment, students can expect to complete a minimum of 30 semester hours or more, as the credit hours vary slightly between schools. Some hours of elective courses from 400-level coursework may also count toward a Master of Science in Accounting degree requirement.

An MSA program’s total duration is between 18 months and two years for the typical working professional who attends at least two classes in a semester. However, the program length can be affected by some factors, such as the accelerated options available, internship requirements, and enrollment status. Candidates can take the course in an online format or opt for on-campus classes.

What Are the Main Internship Requirements for an MSA in Texas?

Internships allow students to gain experience while completing their Master of Science in Accounting program. Students receive hands-on experience in real-world accounting settings that can enrich their resume. Candidates can receive up to 3 or 6 hours of course credit for an internship that counts toward their degree.

The requirement for an MSA internship may differ between schools, but it typically includes:

  • Complete a pre-screening form for approval 
  • Complete and sign a learning contract 
  • Submit the pre-screening form and signed learning contract 
  • After approval is granted, submit monthly timesheets of fieldwork activities
  • Write papers on any issues during the internship fieldwork
  • Enroll for the appropriate course to internship receive course credit

What Is Needed to Become a CPA in Texas?

While earning a bachelor’s degree is a viable option, pursuing an MSA is the preferred path for those looking to become CPAs and go into the field of public accounting. To become a Certified Public Accountant, candidates need to earn 150 semester hours. Thankfully, completing an MSA program already fulfills that requirement. 

What to Look for in an MSA Program in Texas

It is important to choose an MSA program with recognized accreditation. Fortunately, many business schools in Texas are accredited by national or international accrediting bodies, including:

  1. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  2. Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  3. International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)

MSA Programs in Texas

Whether or not you have an undergraduate degree in accounting, you can pursue a Master of Science in Accounting in many Texas universities. Here are some of the best graduate Texas accounting programs you can attend. 

1.  Texas A&M University – Mays Business School

The James Benjamin Department of Accounting runs the MS Accounting program in Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. The accounting program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). 

The following are the requirements for applying to the MS-Accounting program at the Texas A&M University:

  • Undergraduate academic performance (an average of 3.5 undergraduate GPA)
  • GRE (302), GMAT (550), TEOFL (100) scores 
  • Demonstration of leadership potential 
  • Letters of reference

2. Texas Tech University – Rawls College of Business

The Rawls College of Business at the Texas Tech University offers a comprehensive MSA program for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in an accounting-related course from the school or other schools. The program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

The application requirements for the MSA program at the Texas Tech University include:

  • Application essay on one or more prescribed topics
  • Recommendation letters (one of the letters should be written by someone who knows the student in an academic capacity)
  • GMAT scores are required for undergraduate students from other schools besides Texas Tech and international students

3. University of Dallas – Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business 

The Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business is another excellent option for students and working professionals in Texas looking to earn a master’s degree in accounting. The AACSB-accredited business school offers Graduate Certificate programs and a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in addition to a Master of Science program and part-time MBA program.

Students looking to get into the MSA program need to submit the following application requirements:

  • Complete and submit an application online
  • Pay the non-refundable application fee
  • Submit current resume to the online graduate application
  • Submit unofficial undergraduate degree transcript (an official transcript will be required if granted admission)
  • GRE or GMAT score (optional)

4. University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) – H-E-B School of Business and Administration 

The H-E-B School of Business and Administration at the UIW is accredited by The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The school’s MSA curriculum enables students to obtain the necessary credentials to sit for the CPA exam, as required by the Texas Board of Public Accountancy. 

There are two ways candidates can get into the Master of Science in Accounting program at H-E-B School of Business and Administration. First, students with an undergraduate degree (accounting major or concentration) can be admitted, provided they have a 3.0 GPA in the accounting courses at the undergraduate level. 

The prerequisite accounting courses include:

  • Business Law (3 hours)
  • Microeconomics (3 hours)
  • Macroeconomics (3 hours)
  • Intermediate Accounting I and II (3 hours)
  • Auditing (3 hours)
  • Statistics or Quantitative Methods (3 hours)
  • Principles of Management (3 hours)
  • Principles of Finance (3 hours)
  • Principles of Marketing (3 hours)
  • Federal Tax I (Individual) or Taxation of Entities (3 hours)

Prospective students who do not meet the minimum accounting course requirements may still get into the MSA program on probationary status. However, before the graduate study’s final exam, students are expected to complete the undergraduate accounting course deficiencies. 

The second path is for students with a bachelor’s degree in non-accounting or non-business-related fields.  These applicants may be admitted on a probationary basis.

In any case, all applicants must present the following requirements for admission to the MSA program:

  • Submit an application essay or statement detailing the reasons for pursuing an MSA
  • Undergraduate GPA
  • Transcripts
  • Prior work experience (for working adults)

5. Sam Houston State University – College of Business Administration

The College of Business Administration at the Sam Houston State University offers a Master of Science in Accounting program designed to prepare students to sit for the CPA exam. It also equips candidates with the skills and knowledge for leadership positions in the accounting profession. 

To apply for admission to the MSA program, prospective graduate students need to submit the following materials:

  • Graduate admissions application 
  • Application fee
  • Official baccalaureate degree transcript 
  • Any other additional documentation that may be required 

Keep the following in mind if you choose to apply to the College of Business Administration. 

  • If your Baccalaureate degree in accounting is not from an AACBS accredited university, you will need to take extra STEM courses before gaining admission to the Master of Science in Accounting program. 
  • Your accounting or business undergraduate degree would be deemed a non-business degree if you earned it from a foreign university that is not AACSB accredited.

6. The University of Texas at Dallas

The Naveen Jindal School of Management offers a Master of Science in Accounting degree at the University of Texas at Dallas. The school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Application requirements for the Master of Science in Accounting program include:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA in core and aggregate courses
  • Less than five years GMAT or GRE test score (international applicants are required to submit a TOEFL score with a minimum of 80 points and not more than two years old)
  • Current resume outlining academic and work experience (if any)
  • A minimum of one letter of recommendation from someone who knows the candidate professionally or in an academic capacity
  • A personal essay detailing academic goals and interests

7. University of North Texas

The G. Brint Ryan College of Business at the University of North Texas is a great choice for candidates who want to pursue an MSA degree with a concentration in Corporate Accounting or Audit and Assurance.

Graduate students have the opportunity to work with faculty members and industry experts to assist in conducting research work for the Institute of Petroleum Accounting. To apply for the MSA program, students need to submit the following materials:

  • Current resume detailing academic experience and work experience (if any) 
  • An application essay (between 600 to 700 words) 
  • Transcript of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution 
  • A 3.0 GPA in undergraduate courses is required
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official GMAT scores

8. Lamar University

The College of Business at Lamar University offers a Master of Science in Accounting program for candidates looking to broaden their professional accounting knowledge and skills. Like other top MSA programs, it equips students for the CPA exam.

Admission requirements include:

  • Completing an online admissions application 
  • Submitting official transcripts 
  • GMAT scores of not more than five years old

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