What Degree is Required to Teach Accounting in High School?

Accounting is a profession for those who are passionate about numbers, business processes and financial data systems. It is a career that remains in demand across various sectors with a growth rate exceeding 11 percent for the decade ending in 2024 according to reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accounting is a lucrative lifetime career for many, and a few of these accountants may consider giving back by teaching accounting courses to high school students.

Resource: Top 10 Online Accounting Degree Programs

Academic Qualifications for Teaching High School Accounting

The typical requirement for teaching high school accounting is successful completion of the requirements for a CPA license and associated certification. This is because the requirements to sit for this licensing exam are stringent. Completion of 150 hours of core accounting courses from an accredited university is required to sit for the Uniform CPA exam.

Completing 150 hours of core accountancy courses means fulfilling the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in accountancy or a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in accounting along with a master’s degree in accountancy and finance. Make sure that the accountancy school is recognized and accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The academic qualifications are stringent for a reason: The CPA license is a highly valued and respected credential that demonstrates mastery of core accounting principles and ethical practices when it comes to handling confidential and sensitive business data.

However, some high school administrations may also ask for classroom experience or teaching credentials to qualify as a high school accounting teacher. This is because classroom management is a key skill to effectively reach high school students and impart basic accounting skills that would encourage them to pursue an accounting career.

Professional Qualifications

CPA licensing requirements vary by state. Some states may ask for 120 course-hours in specific accounting and finance courses, but they would also require two or more years of verifiable and relevant work experience in the field of accounting. If you have a passion for teaching, consider taking courses in education in addition to your accounting courses. This is a particularly effective strategy for those who want to teach accounting courses to high school students because it provides sufficient background in classroom management while ensuring that you have both academic and professional credentials to teach introductory courses in accounting and finance.

Field experience in the accounting sector is important for high school teachers because real life experience adds credibility to your position in the eyes of younger learners. In addition, citing examples from real life is an excellent way to present accounting as a viable career path for high school student.

Prospects for High School Accounting Teachers

Accountants teaching high school courses may view this path as a secondary job in addition to a regular and established accounting career. For many, this may be a way of giving back to the community since this is rarely a full-time job. High school accounting courses are taken by a select batch of students as an elective that would teach them some of the fundamentals of a career in business and finance.

However, you could also leverage your high school teaching experience to move your career forward as an educator with an accounting specialization. If you can handle high school accounting, you may also be welcomed as an adjunct at community colleges or smaller campuses to teach accounting on the college level. A dual-track career in accounting and education broadens your options and ensures that you are doing your part to encourage the next generation of accountants.