What Degree Do You Need to Be an Auditor? (Top Degrees)

Surprisingly auditors come with all sorts of degrees. It’s not just an accounting degree that will land you a job in audit. We will take a look at some of the common degrees

Top Degrees to be an auditor

What Degree Do You Need to Be an Auditor (It Depends)

It’s true, most auditors come from an accounting degree background if they are in the big 4 but it’s not necessarily true if you consider internal auditors. Internal auditors come from a much more diverse university background.

In fact, there is no requirement for an accounting background to get a job in internal or external audit. Let’s kick it off by looking at some of the top degrees for external audit.

Top Degrees for External Audit (Public Auditor)

Hands down, the most popular degree for external auditors is an accounting degree. After that, it’s pretty safe to bet that business and finance degrees come in second.

Most external auditors have aspirations to complete their CPA after going to school for accounting for 4 years. It just makes sense. In fact, many external audit firms encourage and pay for the studies. That isn’t so similar in internal audit.

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Top Degrees for Internal Audit

Internal audit is a whole different ballgame which means there aren’t even the same requirements. Degrees can be all over the place.

While accounting degrees are still popular, you are likely to see business, engineering, supply chain and a variety of degrees.

There is no right or wrong degree in internal audit since you see a wide scope of activities in a company. One day you could be looking at travel expenses and a week later you could be doing an IT audit in the company.

Having a diverse set of educational backgrounds is actually very helpful in internal audits. It is like having people that are knowledgeable in a bunch of subjects but masters of none.

What is the Most Common Degree of Auditors?

picking up audit as an elective online class

As we mentioned and if it wasn’t clear, accounting degrees are the most popular degrees to get an accounting job. They are one of the only college degrees that usually have students take audit classes unless people take general business and pick up audit as an elective.

From an accounting firm perspective, public accounting firms want people with an accounting firm so they can develop them into future partners. CPAs who are partners and directors can eventually sign off on audit engagements.

It’s not the most common that individuals without accounting degrees would go on and get their CPA.

Do You Need a CPA to be in Audit?

So, it might sound like you need a CPA to be in audit. It’s partially true. If you want to move up in public audit then it is highly advised to work towards one.

If you want to make a career out of internal audit then you never need to get a CPA. Instead, you can take the Certified Internal Auditor exam (CIA). Aside from passing a cool-sounding exam, you are setting yourself up for climbing the ladder in internal audit.

Keep in mind that you don’t need an accounting background to pass this exam. If a career in audit sounds interesting but you don’t have an accounting degree, no worries but just prioritize internal audit jobs.

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What is the Best Degree to be an Auditor?

The best degree to be an auditor, internal or external is also the most popular. That’s right , coming from a 4-year degree in accounting, you would set yourself up with the best degree to be an auditor.

While an auditor isn’t most people’s first career choice, it’s not a bad one. If you are just going through accounting classes and don’t know if you will like tax or audit then give an audit internship a try, you already have one of the best degrees to excel in audit.

What Degree Do You Need to be an Auditor? Final Thoughts

There’s not one single degree required to be an auditor. If you look at internal audit, just about any degree can work in internal audit as long as they have an understanding of the business and can challenge the processes.

Stick to an accounting degree if you want to get into the Big 4 and you’ll be off to securing a job in audit.

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