One of the challenges of military life is maintaining a career while following a spouse who is repeatedly transferred from one location to another. Each time a couple needs to move, one spouse may lose job seniority, suffer setbacks while looking for a job, and may end up in an area where the career is not as marketable as it was in a previous location. Anticipating job inconsistency when choosing a career path may not completely solve all the challenges of maintaining a career through subsequent military moves, but it may help to minimize some of the stress. Selecting a career path with widespread application and mobility is important. One career with far-reaching potential is accounting, especially being a certified public accountant.
There are many points of entry for career paths in accounting. A two-year associate’s degree in accounting (or business with an emphasis in accounting) may provide an entry-level job through which to gain practical knowledge while advancing education through an online program. Additional opportunities exist with more advanced education. During the process of obtaining an undergraduate degree, students often participate in an internship. However, if an internship is not possible, networking in a related professional organization may open other opportunities.
The American Accounting Association (http://aaahq.org) and the National Society for Accountants (http://www.nsacct.org) offer networking opportunities at many different professional levels. The American Accounting Association also offers an online job board. For those completing the education leading to certification as a certified public accountant (CPA), the American Institute of CPA’s website (https://www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa.html) provides reliable information for professionals wanting to know more about how to become a CPA. The site also offers information related to networking for current CPA’s working in a variety of niches. This site is also great to peruse if you are interested in a niche area, like auditing or forensics, and need to know more information about possibilities.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that entry level jobs in accounting are growing at about 14% through the end of the decade. For more advanced positions requiring a bachelor’s degree growth is reported at about 16%. The BLS also reports that for professionals with the CPA certification and/or a master’s degree, job prospects may increase. As one would expect, executives earn more with a salary potential of above $100,000. There are a wide variety of applications in all sectors; virtually all businesses utilize the assistance of a CPA. For this reason, the career can be transferred from one geographic area to another. In addition, as professional interests shift over time, there is room to develop a specialized niche such as forensic accounting, auditing, budget analysis, consulting, or a wide range of other paths. For professionals looking for a career path that can evolve with changing needs and interests, a path in accounting is a great choice.
Regional employment databases, local chapters of alumni organizations and professional associations are all great resources for professionals interested in accounting to find openings and potential areas of career growth in a specific location. For the often relocating military spouse, this is key. Regional information will also provide a more accurate picture of earning potentials, thought he BLS (bls.gov) is great source for national averages. Accounting is a versatile career path with a comfortable salary; the BLS reports an average salary for many positions at between $60,000 and $80,000 for professionals with a bachelor’s degree or higher. With a variety of paths to follow, a degree in accounting can evolve with professional interests and fluctuating economic trends. While moving from one place to another may be challenging, settling on a career path that offers flexibility is one way to help maximize economic success when moving frequently.