According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the lowest-paying accounting jobs are around $40,000 per year. The highest-paying jobs are over $115,000 per year. Pursuing a Master’s degree will open more job opportunity doors and unlock better earning potential. Applying to an accounting Master’s program takes some work and preparation. Follow these tips to make the process smoother.

Resource: Top 30 Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs

Use Relevant References

Some people make the mistake of listing old references and focusing on credentials rather than relevance. It is better to use recent references who are accountants or are in a related field. For example, it would be better to list a current accounting professor as a reference than a dermatologist who was an employer 10 years ago. Online students who do not currently work in accounting may face some challenges with this. Consider seeking an internship or volunteering with an accountant to gain an additional relevant reference.

Take The GRE In Advance

Most Master’s degree programs for accounting require GRE or GMAT exam results. These tests are limited in availability and may be especially limited in some areas. Start studying for the exam immediately, and find out when and where testing sessions occur. Be prepared to pay the fees for these exams. With some online accounting Master’s degree programs, there are no requirements for the GRE or GMAT. Always find out if testing is required before planning to apply.

Make A Relevant Resume

A resume for an accounting graduate degree program should not be the same as an employment resume. First, write down an objective for the accounting graduate program and professional future. Review a copy of a current personal resume. Mark all of the details that are relevant to the new objective, and reword each part to make it agree with the objective. Work experience, internships, volunteering and any other relevant training should be included. If something is irrelevant or not angled toward the objective, simply remove it. Have an accounting professor review the resume before submitting it.

Write A Powerful Essay

Most accounting graduate degree programs require a personal statement or letter along with one or more essays. The essay criteria will typically be explained in an information packet from the school. Put plenty of effort into the essays and personal letter. Each document should show an understanding of the importance of accounting, personal goals, experience and especially what fuels personal passion in the field.

Have A Backup Option

Some accounting students know exactly where they want to go after finishing their bachelor’s degree. While it is good to have a target school in mind and work hard to be approved, it is equally important to be prepared for a rejection or waiting list. Some students plan to jump directly into a Master’s program after finishing a Bachelor’s program to avoid using up the grace period for student loan repayment. Others may have time-sensitive goals. In these situations, it is important to apply to two or more schools to have a backup plan for avoiding delays and hassles.

Careful planning is the key to successful admission into the desired online accounting Master’s degree program. Work with an adviser from the school in advance. Undergraduate students can start preparing by seeking internships, volunteer work or jobs related to accounting and establishing professional relationships with reputable accounting professionals. In addition to being beneficial for program references, this is a great way to start networking. The first step toward success is requesting information about the top online accounting Master’s degree programs.

Additional Resource: Top 10 Best Online Accounting Degree Programs