Accounting majors with active membership in professional organizations encounter exciting opportunities investing in their career paths toward obtaining degrees, mastering exams, gaining certifications and building healthy portfolios to pitch come time to launch their respective careers. Internship opportunities, scholarships, tutoring assistance, access to resources like conferences and networking with local professionals in field are benefits of student membership these five professional organizations offer.

1. American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

AICPA offers free student affiliate memberships for high school, college and university students. Student resources include study tools to help you prepare for the CPA Exam; career tools to keep you informed on current trends in job markets; scholarship eligibility; and access to online information such as links to geo-specific requirements for different accounting-related exams and certifications in the United States.

2. Institute of Management Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business 

Earning your CMA can mean a 31 percent increase in income over non-certified professionals. This represents potential earnings of $500,000 more over a lifetime for a young twenty-something starting out. IMANET has resources to help reach career goals.

This organization helps high school and college level accounting majors explore career options and offers reduced CMA certification entrance and exam fees. Start professional networking as you learn about accounting practices for different fields. Student membership fee is $39 and can be held a maximum of six years. Eligible students must be enrolled in at least six undergraduate or graduate credit hours or the equivalent per semester.

3. Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance

AFWA has scholarships, resources for students, internship opportunities, and is piloting a student chapter program to establish student chapters on college campuses. This group stays on top of current trends and developments in the profession as they relate to women in all fields of accounting and finance. Accounting majors in the home stretch of earning their degrees especially need practical, hands-on opportunities with other experts to gain wisdom and insights from accounting and finance professionals with technical expertise.

4. Social Media Club

Accounting and finance professionals, like all professionals, need to gain and maintain social media literacy about social media marketing trends within their fields and related business fields. Student membership in professional organizations for accounting majors usually are free or at reduced rates for access to resources. Their intense focus on specific goals that support their individual missions is only part of their passion as they work toward building a strong network with experts in their communities. Social Media Club can facilitate making that community a global one.

5. Entrepreneurs’ Organization 

College accounting major entrepreneurs or those considering self-employment can benefit from a professional organization whose focus is on helping them learn to build a successful business. Peer-to-peer learning, making connections with global thought leaders and growing their practice are as important to the entrepreneurial spirit as are the education, exams and certifications ahead. Student membership in this organization comes only to recipients of The Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), a global competition for student entrepreneurs actively running businesses.

Make the most of opportunities to build lifelong professional relationships with others in the field. Stay abreast of current accounting laws, policies, best practices and ever-changing business trends. Professional organizations for accounting majors polish students into mature, savvy, well-rounded business professionals ready to step into the roles they are pursuing today.

Related Resource: 25 Most Affordable Top Ranked Schools for an Online Master’s in Accounting Degree 2016