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Cost Accountant Careers

The cost accountant is responsible for analyzing ongoing process constraints, costing projects, analyzing profit margins, and linking costs to activities. They build and manage data accumulation systems to provide costing information to management. They also plan budgets and prepare reports for the company and its various departments. Asides from this, they prepare periodic cost forecasts for operational schedules. Additionally, they analyze periodic financial reports to identify and recommend cost-effective strategies for improvements.

Generally, cost accountants have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or a related field, with at least two years of related experience. Applicants must be familiar with accounting software, such as FreshBooks and QuickBooks. You must also know about the generally accepted accounting principles. Not just this, but you must possess analytical, time management, collaboration, and computer skills. Cost accountants can either practice independently or work with a firm. The average salary that a cost accountant earns is $60,051. It varies from $54,000 to $81,000.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a cost accountant. For example, did you know that they make an average of $25.91 an hour? That's $53,896 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 90,700 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Cost Accountant Do

There are certain skills that many cost accountants have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed organizational skills, analytical skills and communication skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a cost accountant, we found that a lot of resumes listed 10.9% of cost accountants included financial statements, while 7.6% of resumes included general ledger accounts, and 7.0% of resumes included variance analysis. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the cost accountant job title. But what industry to start with? Most cost accountants actually find jobs in the manufacturing and retail industries.

How To Become a Cost Accountant

If you're interested in becoming a cost accountant, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 60.6% of cost accountants have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 26.7% of cost accountants have master's degrees. Even though most cost accountants have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a cost accountant. When we researched the most common majors for a cost accountant, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on cost accountant resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a cost accountant. In fact, many cost accountant jobs require experience in a role such as accountant. Meanwhile, many cost accountants also have previous career experience in roles such as staff accountant or senior accountant.

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Average Salary
$53,896
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
17,436
Job Openings

Cost Accountant Career Paths

Top Careers Before Cost Accountant

Top Careers After Cost Accountant

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Cost Accountant

Cost Accountants in America make an average salary of $53,896 per year or $26 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $67,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $42,000 per year.
Average Salary
$53,896

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Seattle, WA
Salary Range55k - 81k$67k$67,392
New York, NY
Salary Range54k - 79k$66k$65,857
Edison, NJ
Salary Range54k - 79k$66k$65,715
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range50k - 76k$62k$62,088
Charlotte, NC
Salary Range51k - 73k$61k$61,290
Atlanta, GA
Salary Range48k - 69k$58k$58,374
$39k
$81k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Cost Accountant
Cost Accountant
Employ-Temps
Employ-Temps
03/30/2021
03/30/2021
$44,87103/30/2021
$44,871
Cost Accountant
Cost Accountant
Job Juncture
Job Juncture
03/29/2021
03/29/2021
$65,00003/29/2021
$65,000
Accountant/Cost Accounting
Accountant/Cost Accounting
Austin Allen Company, LLC 5093
Austin Allen Company, LLC 5093
03/29/2021
03/29/2021
$65,00003/29/2021
$65,000
General & Cost Accountant
General & Cost Accountant
Spotnails
Spotnails
03/27/2021
03/27/2021
$70,00003/27/2021
$70,000
Cost Accountant
Cost Accountant
Robert Half
Robert Half
03/26/2021
03/26/2021
$75,00003/26/2021
$75,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Cost Accountant Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Cost Accountant. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Cost Accountant Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Cost Accountant resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Cost Accountant Demographics

Gender

male

50.1 %

female

45.4 %

unknown

4.5 %

Ethnicity

White

66.5 %

Asian

11.5 %

Hispanic or Latino

10.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.7 %

Chinese

7.8 %

French

6.7 %
See More Demographics

Cost Accountant Education

Majors

Business
26.3 %
Finance
8.4 %

Degrees

Bachelors

73.6 %

Associate

10.1 %

Masters

9.7 %

Top Colleges for Cost Accountants

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

5. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

6. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

7. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

9. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407

10. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Cost Accountant

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.9% of cost accountants listed financial statements on their resume, but soft skills such as organizational skills and analytical skills are important as well.

  • Financial Statements, 10.9%
  • General Ledger Accounts, 7.6%
  • Variance Analysis, 7.0%
  • Raw Materials, 5.5%
  • Special Projects, 4.5%
  • Other Skills, 64.5%
  • See All Cost Accountant Skills

Best States For a Cost Accountant

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a cost accountant. The best states for people in this position are Washington, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Cost accountants make the most in Washington with an average salary of $66,612. Whereas in New York and New Jersey, they would average $65,624 and $65,595, respectively. While cost accountants would only make an average of $64,780 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Cost Accountant Jobs:
262
Highest 10% Earn:
$99,000
Location Quotient:
2.19
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Connecticut

Total Cost Accountant Jobs:
304
Highest 10% Earn:
$89,000
Location Quotient:
1.29
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Cost Accountant Jobs:
685
Highest 10% Earn:
$91,000
Location Quotient:
1.05
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Cost Accountant Employers

1. Robert Half International
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$53,800
Cost Accountants Hired: 
340+
2. Randstad USA
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$57,300
Cost Accountants Hired: 
69+
3. Boeing
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$60,111
Cost Accountants Hired: 
61+
4. IBM
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$56,820
Cost Accountants Hired: 
40+
5. Tyson Foods
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$51,716
Cost Accountants Hired: 
38+
6. Georgia-Pacific
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$55,644
Cost Accountants Hired: 
32+

Cost Accountant Videos

Updated October 2, 2020