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Educational and Training Requirements for Forensic Accounting Jobs

Forensic accounting jobs allow you to stop financial crime and fraud in its tracks, making for a great career path since it's in high demand. Here's how to get started.

Becoming a forensic accountant can be a really rewarding career that’s going to feature a ton of stability, as well as a fantastic salary to boot.  However, what you’re also going to find is that it can take quite a bit of an education in order for you to pursue.  But with the right type of degree, forensic accounting jobs can be easily attainable, you just have to know the right type of direction to go in.  There are a lot of requirements for the job itself, so you want to be prepared for the path before you start out, because it can be a long road to becoming a successful accountant like this.

1) What is forensic accounting?

These types of employment opportunities are mainly centered around financial theft, as well as loss prevention for corporations.  This is really the study of sifting through pages and pages of accounting numbers, and making sense of them to see where a company was bleeding money, what exactly happened, who was responsible, and how to recover any losses if possible.  Basically it’s almost a form of investigate that specifically targets accounting. 

There are a few different types of forensic accounting jobs out there as well, so you can find the type of career path that seems to suit you the best no matter what you’re looking for.  That means you want to choose amongst whether you would like to perform loss prevention for a corporation, or criminal forensic accounting.  Corporate loss prevention generally entails seeing where the company is losing money, investigating, and then seeing how the problem can be resolved for the future.  But actual criminal accounting is where you delve into bank accounts and other types of fraud accounting records to catch criminals exploiting the financial system. 

2) What sort of educational background do you need to become a forensic accountant? 

Attaining forensic accounting degrees is a necessity for any accountant that hopes to work in the field, and they have pretty specific requirements as to what is needed.  Beyond just an education in the business in general, you’re going to find that you need to take courses on accounting, criminal justice, and even finance so that you can get a more well rounded understanding of the entire industry.

Moreover, for most graduates it’s also vital to go on to get your master’s degree through some form of actual forensic accounting program.  Typically these take an additional two years, with the standard education as your prerequisite to  enter into the program. 

3) There is also some certification as a necessity to work in the field.

Another thing that you’re going to find, is that you have to get certified in most cases, in order to legally work forensic accounting jobs.  That’s so that you can be tracked and so that it’s easy to find your background information.  Unfortunately, a big part of this career path are those that are looking to exploit the industry from within, and gain the knowledge that they need to attain in order to avoid getting caught.  that’s why you have to have a public record that can be accessed easily. 

Typically this means earning CPA certification or a Criminal Fraud Examiner certification as well.  That way, you’re suited to work just about any job, and also you have another pad for the resume so that you can stand out from other applicants competing against you in the field. 

4) What are the potential forensic accounting salary potentials?

One of the more important keys of whether or not a career is viable, is long term salary.  While it’s true you do want to try and do something that you love when it comes to any career path, you also need to do something that’s going to pay the bills.  Here you can pretty well count on forensic accounting careers to get the job done for you, as they tend to pay pretty well.  Starting salaries can be a bit low, and typically fall into the $26,000 branch.  But what you’re going to find is that there is a ton of opportunity for advancement, and then the figures get into the six figure range pretty easily, epically for corporate financial experts. 

5) How hard is it to find forensic accounting employment?

The answer is, it’s really only as hard as you make it. There are plenty of places out there where you can both apply as well as look for jobs.  Throughout sites like,, as well as CareerBuilder.comyou can find all the opportunities you could ever want to make your career count.  These jobs are always in demand nationwide as well, and sometimes they are those that you can telecommute for, offering expert insight.  That gives you plenty of opportunity to really make your career work for you.

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