How To Be an Accounting Professor

How To Be an Accounting Professor | Accounting Smarts
Charles Hall

Last updated by

Charles Hall


June 10, 2022

In this article, you'll learn everything there is to know about becoming an accounting professor.

Teaching is one of the most prestigious - and, from time to time, better-paid - jobs someone with a degree can get. When it comes to accountants, it's no different - especially if you're talking about college professors. In this article, you'll learn everything there is to know about becoming an accounting professor.

Before you consider this type of career, you need to make sure you have a passion for accounting, a love for teaching, patience to deal with students, and, of course, the right education to do so. The right experience doesn't hurt either.

If you want to become an accounting professor, the first thing you need is a Ph.D. You should also have a few years' worth of experience working as an accountant. Once you have both, you can apply for the position - and wait until you get the call to start working!

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Table of contents

Before you consider this position, make sure it's the right one for you

Working as an accounting professor is a unique thing. It's not like your regular accountant job - and it's somewhat different from other teaching positions. It's definitely not like teaching math in high school!

Keep in mind getting this job takes more than walking up to a college door and asking for a classroom. You'll have to study for a few years and work as an accountant for quite some time before you can get a good job teaching accounting.

If you're unsure about being a professor (and you already have a bachelor's in accounting) you can do a trial run in a small community college or high school. That way, you'll know if the professor lifestyle is the one for you - or if you're better working elsewhere else.

You need to be the right man for the job - your students are counting on it!

Truth be told, some people are cut out to be professors and some people aren't made for such a position.

Being a professor is more than stating facts in front of a blackboard. You need to relate to your students, explain complex things in simple terms, and have the patience to deal with class-related setbacks.

Other than that, you need to be able to stand in front of a crowd and speak clearly. Shy people may need to deal with their issues before becoming an accounting professor.

If you meet the criteria, you can begin working towards being an accounting professor!

What do you need to study to become an accounting professor?

More likely than not, you'll need to get a Ph.D. to become an accounting professor. Depending on where you're living right now (and where you want to teach), you may need an MBA instead of a Ph.D. Nevertheless, most college positions have a Ph.D. requirement.

If you want to teach high school, you may be eligible for a teaching position without having an MBA or Ph.D. Bear in mind this isn't the road to becoming an accounting professor but a teacher instead.

Some colleges ask for more than a Ph.D. You may need a certain number of years working as an accountant before you can apply for this job. The most prestigious institutions also ask for professionals who have done research jobs and published their findings.

What's the future for accounting professors?

Most studies claim that accounting professors, as a career, will see sustainable growth in the next 10 years.

It's not hard to see why this will happen: as long as the economy keeps growing, businesses will need more accountants to run their numbers - and students will need professors to help them learn about accounting.

At this rate, any soon-to-be accounting professor won't have a hard time getting a job.

The average salary for an accounting professor is $85,730

If you're interested in becoming an accounting professor, you probably want to know about the money side of things. The average salary for an accounting professor in America is over $85,000.

That doesn't mean you'll earn that amount right when you start. The minimum registered salary for an accounting professor is somewhere along the lines of $35.000. The highest one is over $150.000!

Keep in mind your salary will vary from state to state and from college to college.

How can you start a career as an accounting professor?

Before you take over a classroom and start teaching, you need to make sure you meet the right criteria to become an accounting professor. If you're looking to start walking down this path, you should:

  • Get as many credentials as you can: Before you start thinking about a Ph.D., you should get an MBA. A CPA certificate will be a great addition to your resume - and most college deans will choose a CPA over a non-CPA accountant every time.
  • Get a notion of what teaching really is: You can read about it in different journals, ask professors about their experience, and teach on your own. A semester or two teaching in high school or a small community college will help you understand this job better.
  • Know what you want out of this job: Accounting professors come in different ways. You can be non-tenured faculty and tenured faculty; there are huge differences between them - and these differences will affect your work environment!
  • Network, network, and network: The most important thing after having the right education is networking the right way. You have a higher chance of getting a professor position if you know other professors than if you're a complete stranger for most college faculty.

Can you be an accounting professor and an accountant at the same time?

Of course, you can be both an accounting professor and an accountant! As long as you can manage to do two jobs without hurting your quality of work, there's no reason why not to do both things.

Keep in mind that working two jobs will feel a lot like juggling. Sometimes, you're going to have to let one drop to save the other. If you get to that point, it'll be better to consider quitting either one of them.

Choose the one you love doing the most and you'll do great.