How to Become an Auditor

There are both internal and external auditors. An external auditor is hired by a company on a contract basis to come in and examine the books and financial health of an institution in order to provide an accurate outside perspective. In many industries (especially the financial industry) government regulation requires external audits to ensure the accuracy of financial statements.

Overview & Salaries

How Much Does an Auditor Make?

$65,470 (median salary)

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:

Auditors: +166,700

Specialization Options:
Internal, external, government, and forensic

Recommended Degrees & Certification:
The right degree for you depends on the business and industry you apply at. Those looking for an entry positions are likely to need a bachelors degree from an accredited accounting program. Those looking to get into a competitive or advance position may benefit from earning a master’s degree or specific certifications like the certified internal auditor (CIA). Learn more by clicking our “Education Required” tab up top.

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS Auditing and Accounting and Accounting Clerk pages) 

Discover the Best Places to Become an Auditor

The state of California leads the nation in employment for auditors, where 138,600 are currently working statewide, and making an annual mean wage of $77,420. Texas is second in employment, with 99,840 presently occupying various positions within the state, and earning an average yearly salary of $73,600.

According to a study from the top 10 places to work in auditing are:

New York, NY $69,830
Houston, TX $68,260
Boston, MA $69,700
Chicago, IL $70,730
Wash., DC $75,830

Employment and Salary Information by State for Auditors

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Auditing. The associated information has been gathered from the Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Employment and Information Data for Auditing

Why Become an Auditor

When it comes to a career in accounting, the auditor is tasked with understanding and examining many functions of a company from monitoring the veracity of financial statements, to making sure a business is in compliance with local and federal regulations, to having a final look at employee expense reports – the buck literally stops with the auditor.

This accounting function offers plenty of career opportunities and businesses often will pay top dollar to find the best. After all, it’s worth it alone to keep out of the IRS crosshairs.

Recommended Courses to Become an Accountant

  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Fundamentals of Corporate Finance
  • Introduction to Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Financial Modeling
  • U.S. Taxation Introduction
  • Securities Analysis
  • Mergers and Acquisitions

Degrees to Help You Become an Auditor

Often internal and external auditor’s have advanced degrees and certifications which help them obtain high level positions. Some advance titles you can earn in accounting and auditing include being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), or Certified Information Systems Auditor.

In order to work for a government agency, auditors are required to have a Certified Government Auditing Professional or Certified Fraud Examiner.

Once accounting basics have been mastered and an accountant has worked for at least two-years as an auditor, the Institute of Internal Auditors offers the Certified Internal Auditor exam. However, the road to an auditing career often begins with basic accounting courses that are offered in a variety of places.

Certificate Programs
A certificate program is designed to introduce students to basic accounting and auditing principles. Often these programs are a first step toward more advanced studies. An accounting certificate also offers an entry way into the profession.

Associate’s Degree
The associate degree is typically a two year program that provides a core foundation of accounting and auditing principles. The coursework completed here can be matriculated toward more advanced degrees such as the bachelors and graduate programs.

Bachelor’s Degree
Bachelor’s degree programs in accounting are available at colleges, universities and business schools and typically take four years to complete. These programs provide advanced career training focused on concepts and strategies of accounting.

Graduate Auditing Certificate
This program is for mature students that have already completed an undergraduate program but may not be interested in the more time-intensive MBA programs. However, the graduate certificate provides a strong basis for advanced studies.