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Accounting Schools in Arizona

Whether you are looking for a traditional on-campus college experience or the flexibility that online degree programs can offer, there are numerous accounting schools in Arizona that can meet your need for a quality accounting education. The colleges and universities in Arizona offer accounting degrees at various levels and in various specialties, and this page will assist you in navigating the facts about accounting schools in Arizona so that you can make the right educational choices for your accounting career.

Quick Facts:

  • There are 35 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Arizona.
  • 8 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.
  • Highest graduation rate*: Brookline College-Phoenix 65% and Everest College Phoenix-Mesa 65%1
  • Lowest undergraduate student population*: Everest College Phoenix-Mesa 3001
  • Highest net price per year*: Everest College-Phoenix $25,8691
  • Lowest net price per year*: Arizona State University $10,5991
  • Annual undergraduate tuition range for accounting programs in Arizona*: $20,596-$22,2642
  • 2 Schools in Businessweek’s Top 100 Business Undergraduate Programs in 2013: University of Arizona (50), Arizona State University (77)
  • 2 schools ranked in Forbes Top Colleges List (Top 500): University of Arizona (272), Arizona State University (305)
  • 2 schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2013 (Top 200): University of Arizona (120), Arizona State University (139)

*For 4-year colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Find out more about accounting schools in Arizona and accounting career opportunities for graduates by reading below.

Schools with Highest 2013 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

1. University of Arizona 71.4%
2. Arizona State University
3. Thunderbird School of Global Management
4. University of Phoenix
5. Grand Canyon University 16.7%

The range for all schools that had candidates take the CPA exam with an advanced degree was 16.7% to 71.4% (five schools in the state sent candidates). CPA exam pass rates can be a good indicator of the quality of the preparation by an accounting program and you may want to compare pass rates of your top school choices. Nationally, the pass rate was 54.6% for first-time candidates in 2013 according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

See the 2013 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report for more information.

Top Masters in Accounting Programs in Arizona

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University in Phoenix is recognized for its Master of Science in Accounting program, which can be completed through a range of online, evening, and satellite campus programs in as few as 23 months. The program curriculum builds theoretical as well as practical skills in accounting, preparing graduates for careers in accounting practice, research, and education through coursework in accounting, auditing, taxation, and current regulations. Required courses include Financial Research and Compliance, Advanced Managerial and Cost Accounting, and Advanced Accounting and Mergers and Acquisitions. The Ken Blanchard College of Business at Grand Canyon University which administers the program is highly regarded for its emphases on leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Grand Canyon University is selective, with a 41.3% acceptance rate and a 16:1 student-faculty ratio.

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff offers a Master’s in Business Administration – Accounting Concentration (MBA-ACC) through the W.A. Franke College of Business. The Accounting Concentration can qualify students to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination in several states. The full-time program takes 30 credit hours to complete, with 21 credit hours taken from the master’s core curriculum and a further nine credit hours from courses in the chosen area of emphasis. Typically, between 13 and 14 credit hours are taken during the fall and spring semesters and 3 credit hours are taken during the summer semester. Students in the program have opportunities for participating in executive job shadowing and annual class trips, attending guest lectures, and the possibility of meeting Warren Buffet, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. In-state tuition rates are offered to residents of Arizona as well as residents of 14 other western states. Northern Arizona University has an acceptance rate of 76.3% and a student-faculty ratio of 20:1.

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona in Phoenix offers a Master of Accounting to further students’ career choices. The 30 credit hour program can be pursued on one of two concentration tracks in Audit or Tax. Students on either track receive the benefit of specialized technical competency training as well as guidance from faculty with deep professional and scholarly experience. Courses include Accounting Theory and Institutions, Advanced Federal Taxation, Communication Skills for the Accounting Profession, and Audit Simulation. Applications for the competitive program are accepted from those who hold non-accounting undergraduate degrees as well as those who have graduated from undergraduate accounting programs. Graduate students additionally have opportunities for summer internships with well-known firms. University of Arizona is ranked #119 in National Universities by US News, and as well as being an NCAA Division I school it is a top-ranked university for research. It is a selective college with a 76.9% acceptance rate as of Fall 2012.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Arizona

Abalos & Associates, PLLC was recently named the Number 2 accounting firm in the state by The Best of Arizona Business 2011. Conveniently located in Phoenix, Abalos & Associates is a full service CPA firm with a thirty year history. National and well known firm McGladrey LLP is the largest employer of accountants in Arizona, with a staff of over 200 at its Phoenix location; nationwide, McGladrey employs over 6,500 accountants, consultants, auditors, and support staff. Henry & Horne LLP is the largest locally based accounting firm in Arizona, with clients on its roster from small businesses to multi-million dollar corporations, and offers its employees excellent flexibility as part of its team-based approach to business.

How to Become a CPA in Arizona

The Arizona State Board of Accountancy oversees the licensing of Certified Public Accountants in the state. There are five steps to complete in order to earn a CPA license in Arizona.

  1. Complete a 150 semester hour education program including 36 semester hours of accounting.
  2. Earn the required hours of experience.
  3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.
  4. Take the Uniform CPA Examination.
  5. Apply for a CPA License.

1. Complete a 150 semester hour education program including 36 semester hours of accounting.

Candidates for CPA licensure in Arizona must have completed at least 150 semester hours of college-level education, which must include at least 36 semester hours of accounting courses (with at least 30 of these hours in upper division courses) and 30 semester hours of coursework in business and accounting-related subjects such as:

  • Business administration
  • Statistics
  • Computer science, information systems, or data processing
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Business law
  • College algebra or higher mathematics
  • Advanced written communication
  • Advanced oral communication
  • Ethics
  • Marketing

Before applying for licensure, an individual must hold a baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited institution.

2. Earn the required hours of experience.

At least 2,000 hours of experience in accounting practice under the supervision of a licensed CPA, or under the supervision of an individual who has the equivalent education and experience, must be earned to qualify for CPA licensure in Arizona. The work may be performed on an unpaid or paid basis and may be earned working full or part time, but self-employment may not be counted towards the required hours. The experience may be earned before or after taking the Uniform CPA Exam.

3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

A score of 90% or higher must be obtained on the AICPA ethics exam within the two years preceding the application for a CPA license in Arizona. The course and exam are self-study. Those who plan to take the exam and apply for licensure in Arizona may order the exam through the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants.

4. Take the Uniform CPA Examination.

All candidates for CPA licensure in the US must pass the standardized Uniform CPA Exam before earning their CPA license. Candidates in Arizona should take the exam prior to applying for licensure, as verification of a passing score is required in order for the candidate’s application to be reviewed.

5. Apply for a CPA License.

The Arizona State Board of Accountancy reviews all CPA applications in the state. Applicants must provide proof of education, citizenship, and passing scores on the AICPA ethics and Uniform CPA exams with their application, along with an application fee.

Once licensed, Arizona CPAs must complete 80 hours of continuing professional education each renewal period, to include at least 16 hours of classroom instruction and 4 hours of ethics specific to practice in Arizona. Renewal periods are biennial and determined by the CPA’s date of birth.

You can find additional information at the Arizona State Board of Accountancy website.
(Source: Arizona State Board of Accountancy)

Arizona Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth

27.2%

Accountants and Auditors in Arizona from 2014-20243

Arizona is one of the top employers of accountants in the nation, with between 20,040 accountants practicing within the state. The average accountant in Arizona makes a salary of $66,540, with most accountants in the state practicing in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale metro area, where demand for financial professionals is greatest. The demand for accountants and auditors in the state is expected to increase by over 27% by 2024.3

Arizona Accounting Program Student Reviews

University of Phoenix: “My accounting degree from the University of Phoenix was one of the best choices I have made in my educational career. The online program allowed me to continue pursuing my studies despite two moves my husband and I completed during my program. My advising staff was extremely helpful, especially during my pregnancy with assisting me in taking an academic leave of absence in order to avoid the stress of school while taking care of my new baby and recovering. My one gripe about the school is the learning team requirement for bachelor’s programs. While this is federally required, there is little recourse if you have non-contributing team members, and they can still succeed from the work you do without their help.” -Rachel C., student at University of Phoenix
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References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche: https://colleges.niche.com/search/st-az/sm2-accounting/t-traditional/
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm