Should I Earn a Taxation Degree?

Taxation Degree Overview

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What Is Taxation?

Taxation is the act of taxing people. The taxation field of study usually focuses on state and federal taxation. However, some education programs also incorporate local, city, and international taxation into course instruction. 

Taxation Degree Options

Taxation degrees are awarded to students who complete a post-secondary program with a focus on taxation. A taxation degree can be earned from a college, university, or business school.

Some vocational/career schools also award taxation degrees.

  • Associate Degree in Taxation - Taxation degrees are not that common at the associate's level. However, there are some community colleges and online schools that make this program available to undergraduate students. In many cases, the programs combine lessons in taxation with accounting instruction. Associate's programs can be completed in two years.
  • Bachelor Degree in Taxation - As with associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees in taxation often incorporate accounting instruction. Programs may even result in a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree with a specialization in taxation. In general, bachelor's degrees take four years of full-time study to complete.
  • Master Degree in Taxation - Many students study taxation at the master's level. They may complete a specialized master's program or an MBA program with a specialization in taxation. The average master's program takes one to two years of full-time study to complete.  
  • PhD in Taxation - A PhD is the highest degree that can be earned in the taxation field. Students may study taxation exclusively or earn a PhD in Business Administration with a specialization in taxation. Students should expect to spend at least four years in a PhD program.

Taxation certificates and diplomas may also be available at the undergraduate and graduate level.

These programs are available through accounting firms and education providers and are typically designed for accounting or business students who want to improve their knowledge of small business or corporate taxation. However, some programs are designed specifically for students who want to learn how to complete individual tax returns.

What Will I Study in a Taxation Program?

Specific courses in a taxation program are dependent on the school you attend and the level at which you are studying. However, most programs include instruction in general taxes, business taxes, tax policy, estate planning, tax filing, tax law, and ethics. Some programs also include advanced topics such as international taxation. See a sample taxation degree curriculum offered through the Law Center at Georgetown University.  

What Can I Do With a Taxation Degree?

Students who earn a taxation degree typically go on to work in taxation or accounting. They may work as tax accountants or tax advisors who professionally prepare federal, state, or local tax returns for individuals or organizations. Opportunities also exist on the collection and examination side of taxation with organizations like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Many taxation professionals choose to focus on a particular area of taxes, such as corporate taxation or individual taxes, but it is not unheard of for professionals to work in more than one area.

Taxation Certifications

There are several certifications that tax professionals can earn. These certifications are not necessarily required to work in the field, but they do help you demonstrate your level of knowledge, build credibility, and distinguish yourself among other job applicants. A certification worth considering is the nationally recognized NACPB Tax Certification. Taxation professionals may also want to apply for Enrolled Agent status, the highest credential awarded by the IRS. Enrolled agents are allowed to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service.

Learn More about Taxation Degrees, Training, and Careers

Click on the links below to learn more about majoring or working in the taxation field.

  • NACPB - The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) provides a lot of information that would be of interest to taxation students and professionals, including information on certification and licensing, education, training, and new technology.
  • About Taxes - This site offers a wealth of information about tax planning in the United States. Site visitors can learn about tax filing, tax planning, tax debts, business taxes, and more. 
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Your Citation
Schweitzer, Karen. "Should I Earn a Taxation Degree?" ThoughtCo, Dec. 31, 2016, Schweitzer, Karen. (2016, December 31). Should I Earn a Taxation Degree? Retrieved from Schweitzer, Karen. "Should I Earn a Taxation Degree?" ThoughtCo. (accessed March 20, 2018).