People who acquire Ph.D.s, or doctor of philosophy degrees, in accounting normally work in academia, such as becoming professors or other faculty members at colleges and universities. Although a Ph.D. in accounting may aid a person in a career as an accountant, pursuing a master’s degree -- in the form of an MBA (master of business administration) degree -- generally is the path taken by professional accountants seeking advanced degrees.
Education and Training
Accounting Ph.D. programs at most schools that offer such a degree are not mere extensions of MBA or other advanced-degree programs. As a matter of fact, most programs don’t require you to have a degree beyond the undergraduate level to be admitted. Most Ph.D. business schools offer specialization in numerous disciplines, such as accounting, finance, marketing and taxation. Four to six years is a typical time period to complete an accounting Ph.D. program, with extensive research required and teaching duties included as part of the curriculum. Most accounting Ph.D. programs are designed with an eye toward academic life, both teaching and research.
The median salary of an accounting professor in the United States, according to Salary.com data from May 2011, is $107,087. The middle 50th percentile pay range is $81,925 to $170,863 a year, with a bottom 10th percentile salary of $59,017 and an upper-end salary figure of $228,928. According to The Professor’s Paycheck, business-school professors at accredited institutions earn a mean salary of $112,100; those at nonaccredited schools make $78,800 a year; professors at public colleges and universities earn a median salary of $102,200; and private-school professors make $125,100 a year.
According to Salary.com data from May 2011, the median salary of an associate professor of accounting is $91,158, with a 25th to 75th percentile salary range of $69,935 to $144,500. The bottom 10th percentile salary is $50,612 and the top 10th percentile figure is $193,064. The Professor’s Paycheck reports a median salary for accounting/taxation associate professors of $109,000.
Assistant professors of accounting make a median salary of $83,977, according to Salary.com figures from May 2011. The low-end salary is $49,708 and the top 10th percentile salary is $161,454. Assistant professors at business schools, according to The Professor’s Paycheck, earn $87,500 at accredited schools; $63,200 at nonaccredited colleges and universities; $81,500 at public schools; and $90,200 at private institutions.
Faculty Salary Comparisons
A report by the American Association of University Professors, as reported in Inside Higher Ed in April 2008, shows that full professors with Ph.D.s earn an average salary of $109,569 at public schools and $144,256 at private institutions. Associate professors with Ph.D.s make $77,033 annually at public schools and $92,148 a year at private schools. Assistant professors with Ph.D.s make annual salaries of $65,416 at public schools and $78,840 per year at private schools. Instructors who possess Ph.D.s earn $44,116 a year at public colleges and universities, and $55,982 annually at private schools; Ph.D. lecturers make $49,079 and $59,153 a year, respectively.