Earning an Online MST to Transition Into a Tax Education Career

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How do you know if a career as a professor of tax law is right for you?

The higher education job outlook shows a growing demand for knowledgeable professors of taxation.


To be an effective full-time professor of tax law, you not only need to know your subject matter inside and out, but you must also be equipped with the skills to conduct original research and be able to convey concepts to students in a succinct and straightforward manner.

You must be enthusiastic about the subject of taxation to fulfill the often-rigorous research obligations of a professorship. Likewise, you will need some experience managing learning systems and administering educational materials. As a professor, you will not only be expected to teach students, but also to guide their thinking and be available when they seek advice.

To become a professor, you will need at least a master’s degree, though some institutions may require a doctorate. A master’s in taxation will give you the educational background to become an academic leader.

If you’re still on the fence about the next step in your career, consider these reasons why people choose to become university professors:


  • Shape the next generation: As a university professor specializing in tax law, you can help adult learners to become experts in taxation. Importantly, you’ll be able to shape curriculum and lessons to meet the evolving needs of this field.
  • An engaging work environment: If you’re growing tired of office life, a career in academia can provide you with a more dynamic work environment. Rather than sitting in a cubicle all day, you can engage with your students and other fellow academics. As a professor, you also have the opportunity to participate in research and other more involved tasks with like-minded individuals. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to take the summers off, giving you a better work-life balance.
  • The opportunity to learn for life: As an active member of academia, you’ll never stop learning. As the U.S. tax code continues to evolve and expand, you’ll be at the forefront of the industry surrounding tax regulation, with the opportunity to analyze the broader impacts of these regulation changes on the economy.
  • Meaningful connections: On campus, you’ll have access to students and faculty who are passionate about tax law as well as other subjects. Professors often dedicate their extracurricular time to student-led interest groups or other initiatives. In this way, you can develop professional and social networks of people who share the same interests. This can further both your personal and career growth in ways other than climbing a corporate ladder.
  • A wide selection of employers: As a professor of taxation, you’ll have your choice of employers across the U.S. and beyond. From local community colleges to state-sponsored institutions, you can choose a work environment that best suits your needs. Plus, if you ever want to move to another state, you can be sure your skills and experience will translate. In fact, your peers will recognize you as an authority in the subject of taxation. This can help you find even more professional opportunities as you accrue experience and deep knowledge of the subject.
  • The ability to take a sabbatical: Oftentimes, it’s hard to schedule extended periods of leave in a corporate setting. You often need to accrue paid time off and even then it can be difficult to get away for a significant amount of time. Many professors have the opportunity to take a sabbatical to travel, study, and explore their goals for the future.


What’s the career outlook for university professors?

As the U.S. economy continues to evolve away from a labor-focused market, more people are likely to need a college degree to fulfill their career goals. That means the need for professors will grow. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for post secondary teachers will grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026, adding nearly 200,000 positions.

Currently, the median compensation for a university professor is $78,470. Teachers who possess a higher level of education themselves—such as a doctorate—may be able to earn even more. Positions at prestigious institutions can offer better compensation packages.


What can I learn in an Online MST program?

In a fully online master’s in taxation program, you can build upon your professional experience to gain deep knowledge of the U.S. tax code and its implications for individuals and corporations. If you’re a working professional, these courses can also serve as a refresher on concepts that you may not touch in your day-to-day work. Here are a few examples of what you can study:


  • Advanced Flow Through Entities: This course can help you take your existing tax knowledge to the next level by examining the consequences of businesses formed as flow through entities.
  • Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates: This course covers the complex tax issues around estate planning—a key topic for industry experts.
  • Financial Planning for Insurance: A niche subject for beginning tax professionals, this course explores the relationship between financial planning, insurance, and taxes. It covers health, life, accident, auto, and other forms of insurance, providing you with insightful discussions on each type.


Through the Online Master of Science in Taxation program at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, you can develop the knowledge necessary to become an authority in the field. To learn more about how this program can help you reach your career goals without taking too much time away from your current job, check out the curriculum page today.


Recommended Readings

A Look at a Career in Tax Accounting

How The Online Master of Taxation Is Ideal for Working Professionals

Northeastern University Online Master of Taxation Program



U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics