- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- Why Major in Accounting?, California State University Long Beach, Accessed August 2017, http://web.csulb.edu/colleges/cba/accountancy/major/
- 50 Highest Paying College Majors, GlassDoor, Accessed August 2017, https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/50-highest-paying-college-majors/
- Fargo Campus, Rasmussen College, Accessed August 2017, http://www.rasmussen.edu/locations/north-dakota/fargo/
- St. Cloud Campus, Rasmussen College, Accessed August 2017, http://www.rasmussen.edu/locations/minnesota/st-cloud/
- BBA Accounting Major Requirements, Baruch College, Accessed August 2017, http://zicklin.baruch.cuny.edu/programs/undergrad/degrees/accountancy
- Accounting Major, Truman State University, Accessed August 2017, http://www.truman.edu/majors-programs/majors-minors/accounting-major/
- Albuquerque, New Mexico, National American University, August 2017, http://www.national.edu/locations/campuses/albuquerque/
- Accounting, Florida National University, Accessed August 2017, http://www.fnu.edu/prospective-students/our-programs/select-a-program/bachelor-of-science-degree-programs/accounting-ac/
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota, National American University, Accessed August 2017, http://www.national.edu/locations/campuses/sioux-falls/
- Accounting, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, Accessed August 2017, http://www.uww.edu/cobe/accounting
- Degree Programs, University of the Potomac, Accessed August 2017, https://potomac.edu/degree-programs/
- Accounting Learning Outcomes, Fayetteville State University, Accessed August 2017, http://catalog.uncfsu.edu/undergraduate/school-of-business-and-economics/acct/learning-outcomes.htm
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
For those who like to work with numbers, accounting degree programs can lead to careers that are both lucrative and personally rewarding. Workers with accounting skills are needed in companies across all industries, and knowledge of the field is vital for entrepreneurs and other business professionals.
According to a 2016 GlassDoor.com survey, accounting was one of the 15 highest paying college majors. However, good income potential is only one reason to pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting. The option for multiple career paths and the opportunity for advancement are other factors that make this field appealing.
In addition to traditional campus programs, online accounting degrees are available. These programs make it easier for busy adults to further their education or train for a new profession. At some schools, online degrees for accounting may be hybrid programs combining both online and on-campus coursework.
Best Colleges for Accounting Degree Programs
You'll find accounting degree programs at numerous colleges and universities nationwide. To help narrow the choices, we've analyzed schools using a methodology that considers program size, support services and tuition costs. Once the numbers were crunched, the following ten names rose to the top as the best schools for accounting.
Rasmussen College operates a network of campus locations nationwide. However, we analyzed each state within the system separately since they can vary in their services and outcomes. Once the results were tabulated, Rasmussen College nabbed the top three spots in our ranking of best schools for accounting.
North Dakota, with its campus in Fargo, came in first. Students benefit from relatively affordable tuition and an open admissions policy that lets them get started on their degree right away. Academic advising, career placement and tuition plans are also available.
Withing the School of Business, Rasmussen College - North Dakota offers an accelerated accounting program. It can be pursued on-campus, online or through a blend of the two learning formats. Graduates can walk away with a certificate in as few as nine months or an associate degree in 18 months. There is also a bachelor's degree completion program that can be finished in 18 months.
In the second spot is Rasmussen College - Wisconsin. Like its counterpart in North Dakota, the Wisconsin campuses feature open admissions and support services although the accounting program here is not as large. The state's locations include Green Bay and Wausau.
Students enrolled in Wisconsin on-campus and online accounting degree programs learn both standard and advanced skills. In addition, they are taught how to use industry software and troubleshoot issues that might arise in the workplace.
Certificate, associate degree and bachelor's degree options are available. Students can study online, enroll in night and weekend classes or choose the Flex Choice program that utilizes competency-based education and self-guided assessments.
Ranking third among the best colleges for accounting degree programs, Rasmussen College - Minnesota offers many of the same benefits as the school's other locations. With a history dating back to 1900, the college has a long track record of educating students.
The accounting program at the Minnesota division awards more degrees than the other Rasmussen College entries on this list. It is also has the best graduation rate among the three states included here. Students can choose from certificate, associate degree and bachelor's degree programs.
Rasmussen College - Minnesota has campuses in Mankato, St. Cloud and Moorhead. There are also five locations within the Twin Cities metro area.
As part of The City University of New York, Bernard M. Baruch College - known to many simply as Baruch College - is the largest urban public university in the country. Its location near Wall Street and Midtown make it an ideal place for business students to both learn and network.
At its Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting. For those who would like to become Certified Public Accountants, there is an integrated BBA/Master of Science in Accountancy option that prepares students for that career path.
Baruch College is the most selective school on this list, but it also ranks as having the most affordable tuition among these ten best schools for accounting.
Truman State University is another school that ranks high for affordable tuition. It also offers a number of support services - from academic advising to career placement assistance - to help students succeed.
The School of Business at Truman State University is one of only 180 nationwide which has both business and accounting accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Students on its Kirksville, Missouri campus benefit from small classes and can join student organizations such as Beta Alpha Psi and the National Association of Black Accountants. Approximately three-fourths of students take part in an internship or gain real-world experience prior to graduation.
Undergraduate students at Truman can earn a Bachelor of Science in accounting while graduate students can pursue a Master of Accountancy.
The Albuquerque campus is the first of two locations within the National American University to make the list of best colleges for accounting degree programs. NAU was originally founded in South Dakota in 1941. It has since expanded to offer both on-campus and online degrees across the nation with a particular focus on teaching practical skills for the workforce.
Through its Albuquerque campus, National American University confers both associate and bachelor's degrees in accounting. There is also the option to take distance education courses which can result in obtaining an accounting degree online.
Students enrolled in National American University - Albuquerque get access to student support services including academic advising and career placement assistance upon graduation. The school has an open admissions policy, and a 16-1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Florida National University has been serving students since 1982. Its main campus is in Hialeah while a south campus can be found in Miami. The university also has an online learning division that includes online accounting degrees among other programs.
The accounting programs at FNU include two associate degrees and one bachelor's degree. The associate degrees are designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in the field or the option to transfer credits toward a four-year degree. The bachelor's degree offers a firm foundation in accounting that is sufficient for many careers although doesn't fulfill all the requirements needed to become a Certified Public Accountant.
Florida National University has the best graduation rate among the schools included in these rankings.
National American University garnered a second entry on this list of best schools for accounting thanks to its Sioux Falls campus. The university considers Sioux Falls one of its most successful locations, and it has been in operation since 1974.
Accounting degrees are offered within the NAU College of Business, Accounting and Technology. There are both on-campus and online degrees for accounting that result in an Associate of Applied Science in accounting or a Bachelor of Science in accounting.
With a 13-1 student-to-faculty ratio, National American University - Sioux Falls offers an atmosphere of personalized learning. There are also student support services and night and weekend classes available.
Located in a city bearing the same name, the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater is another of the best colleges for accounting degree programs. The school was founded in 1868 and joined the University of Wisconsin System in 1971.
Accounting students can earn a Bachelor in Business Administration with an accounting major. There is also a double major available that meets the education requirements for Certified Public Accountants. The UW-Whitewater College of Business and Economics is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Active student organizations in the field of accounting include Beta Alpha Psi, Institute of Management Accountants and National Association of Black Accountants.
The University of Wisconsin - Whitewater ranks high for being an affordable option for higher education. While it doesn't have open admissions, it does admit the majority of applicants.
The Washington DC campus of the University of the Potomac is the final institution to make this list of best schools for accounting. The university also has a Virginia campus and administers online accounting degree programs.
Accounting students can choose from a number of education options. There is both an associate and bachelor's degree in accounting. What's more, there is a general certificate in accounting clinical support and an advanced certificate in business accounting available.
The University of the Potomac - Washington DC gets high marks not only for the diversity of its programs but also their prominence at the school. Plus, at a 10-1 student-to-faculty ratio, the university has the best student-to-faculty ratio of any institution on this list.
Accounting Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
Regardless of whether students enroll in on-campus or online accounting degree programs, they should have several career options upon graduation. While some entry-level jobs for bookkeepers and clerks require only an associate degree and others, such as that of a Certified Public Accountant, need more than a four-year degree, a bachelor's degree is sufficient for a number of career paths.
Career Outlook for Accounting Majors
Although not every occupation related to accounting has the same growth potential, many professions in the field are in demand. Here's a look at how they stack up and what type of job opportunities graduates from accounting degree programs might expect to see.
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
|Accountants and Auditors||$78,820||1,259,930||10%|
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Accounting Degree Programs
There is no shortage of scholarships available to students planning to pursue a career in accounting. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting and the National Society of Accountants are among the organizations affiliated with private scholarship programs for accounting majors.
Renewable for up to four years.
Renewable if recipient maintains minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.
Renewable if recipient maintains minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.
Based on continued positive academic performance
Q&A with an expert
What would have been helpful to know about the value of accounting when you were looking into your own education?
Most of all, the job prospects. Because public accounting firms recruit directly from graduate accounting programs at top universities, students at these institutions have a nearly 100% chance of receiving a full-time job offer before they graduate.
How much education is typically necessary to get started?
Most firms favor students with a Master of Accounting degree over those with undergraduate accounting degrees. In order to sit for the CPA exam, you typically need more education credits than you'd receive in an undergraduate program.
What's some advice you would have for a student who's just starting out on the path to an accounting degree?
- Pursue internships at accounting firms. These are an excellent way to test the waters.
- Take on a variety of leadership roles in your academic and extra-curricular circles. Firms and corporations are looking for leadership qualities above all else.
- Choose a program carefully. The top-ranked universities tend to be preferred recruitment schools for the big firms, which greatly increases your chance of securing a great job while you are in school.
To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.
- Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
- Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.
Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.
- In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
- Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
- Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
- Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
- Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
- Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
- Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
- Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015