Accounting Schools in Florida
Those considering higher education with an accounting focus have numerous accounting schools in Florida from which to choose. The accounting programs available from Florida universities and colleges encompass general accounting skills and knowledge as well as more specialized areas of practice like taxation and corporate accounting. This overview of accounting schools in Florida will provide you with the information you need to compare schools to make the right choice for your career, including information on online and distance education programs.
- There are 115 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Florida.
- 22 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.
- Highest graduation rate*: College of Business and Technology-Kendall 96%1
- Highest transfer-out rate*: Barry University 52%1
- Highest net price per year*: Florida Career College-Miami $36,0581
- Lowest net price per year*: Indian River State College $1,4401
- Annual undergraduate tuition range for accounting programs in Florida*: $5,232-$36,1882
- 2 Schools in the Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2013: University of Florida (37), University of Miami (70)
- 6 Schools in the Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2013: University of Florida (3), New College of Florida (7), Florida State University (26), University of Central Florida (42), University of South Florida (57), University of North Florida (64)
- 3 Schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2013 (top 100): University of Miami (44), University of Florida (54), Florida State University (97)
*For 4-year colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.
Continue reading this page for in-depth information on select Florida accounting schools and career information.
Schools with Highest 2013 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree
- University of South Florida 80.0%
- University of Central Florida
- University of Florida
- University of Miami
- Florida State University
- Florida Atlantic University
- University of Tampa
The first-time CPA exam pass rate with an advanced degree for schools in Florida ranged from 8.3% to 80.0% (out of 11 schools). For comparison, the national pass rate was 54.6% for all first-time candidates. The first-time CPA exam pass rate is a helpful metric when evaluating accounting programs, although the percentage can be skewed if there were a small number of test takers at a given school. For extensive statistics for all schools, see the 2013 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
Top Masters in Accounting Programs in Florida
Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL)
Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business offers a Master of Accounting degree that prepares students for the Uniform CPA exam and careers beyond. The program is designed for students interested in public accounting careers in industry and government, with a focus on skills learning and diversity. Four master’s degree specializations are offered in Forensic Accounting, Business Valuation, Accounting Information Systems, and Tax. Classes are typically held on weekday evenings and many of the program courses can be completed online, allowing students additional flexibility for degree completion. Admission is open to students who do not have an undergraduate degree in accounting or business, though these students may need to complete foundation courses in these subjects in addition to the 30 credit hours ordinarily required for this degree. Florida Atlantic is a selective school, admitting 39% of applicants each year. Most classes have fewer than 50 students, and accounting is one of the most popular majors for graduates.
Florida Gulf Coast University (Fort Myers, FL)
Florida Gulf Coast University offers an academically rigorous Master of Science in Accounting and Taxation program that prepares students for careers as CPAs through advanced technical study, development of communication skills, and an emphasis on professional integrity. The focus of the program is on advanced technical competence and the effective use of accounting technologies in research and practice. Students enrolled in the program select either the accounting track or tax track for specialization within the accounting field. All students complete core courses in Accounting Theory, Global Reporting and Audit, Flow Through Entities, and Tax Research and Planning. Students on either track also complete nine credit hours of business electives for a well-rounded accounting education. The 30 credit hour program may be pursued through full or part-time study, with a seven-year period from the time of admission granted for completion of all degree requirements. US News ranks Florida Gulf Coast #79 in Regional Universities (South). The majority of classes have fewer than 50 students.
Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
Florida State University’s College of Business offers a Master of Accounting program that is designed to build advanced understanding in accounting through quantitative, analytical, and research skills. The challenging curriculum emphasizes rigorous instruction and exposure to advanced accounting theories and topics. Students choose from one of four concentration areas in Accounting Information Systems, Assurance Services, Corporate Accounting, or Taxation. Master’s level courses for the degree include Emerging Technologies in Accounting and Auditing, Challenges in Professional Accounting, Business Conditions Analysis, and Financial Statement Analysis. For students with an undergraduate degree in accounting or business, the program typically completes the requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Florida. Program graduates have a historically high pass rate on the exam. Florida State University is ranked #91 in National Universities by US News. The school offers a wealth of student activities outside of class, including the Outdoor Pursuits program, study abroad opportunities, and NCAA Division I sports.
Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Florida
Kaufman, Rossin & Company is one of the largest accounting firms in Florida, with a unique approach to business that puts the focus on employee satisfaction in order to provide the best possible service to clients. The firm was recently named the #1 Accounting Firm to Work For by Accounting Today. Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLP (MBAF) was ranked #1 in Top Accounting Firms by South Florida Billings by the South Florida Business Journal in 2008, and is the 36th largest independent public accounting firm nationwide. BDO is consistently counted among the Top 100 Accounting Firms for accounting and business consulting services; though headquartered in Pennsylvania, the firm maintains offices in West Palm Beach, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
How to Become a CPA in Florida
The Florida Division of Certified Public Accounting oversees the process for becoming a Certified Public Accountant in the state. There are four main steps to complete in order to earn a CPA license.
- Complete a 150 semester hour or 200 quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
- Accumulate the required hours of experience.
- Apply for and to take the Uniform CPA Examination.
- Apply for a license.
1. Complete a 150 semester hour or 200 quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
The first step to becoming a CPA in Florida is to complete a 150-semester hour (200 quarter hour) education program which includes a baccalaureate degree or higher. Qualifying education must include at least 36 semester hours of upper division accounting, which must include Taxation, Auditing, Financial Accounting, Cost/Managerial Accounting, and Accounting Information Systems. The education program must also include 39 semester hours of upper division courses in general business.
2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
Experience hours for the Florida experience requirement must be completed after all requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam have been met, though experience earned once requirements to sit for the exam are met but before the exam is taken will be counted. A total of one year of work experience with at least twenty hours per week worked must be accumulated and verified by a currently licensed CPA or approved chartered accountant. The experience may be gained in public, private, or government practice or in academia.
3. Apply for and to take the Uniform CPA Examination.
The accounting boards of all 50 states require that CPAs take the Uniform CPA Exam to earn certification and to practice as a CPA. In Florida, once the required education has been completed CPA candidates must apply to the Florida Board of Accountancy for authorization to take the Uniform CPA Exam. One authorization has been granted, candidates may apply online with NASBA to schedule and take the exam. All four parts of the exam must be passed within a rolling 18 month period.
4. Apply for a license.
CPA candidates in Florida should apply for a license after all requirements have been met and all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam have been passed. The license must be applied for within three years from passing the exam. Applicants may apply through the online portal or by printable application form.
For CPA license renewals, the Florida Division of Certified Public Accounting requires all CPAs to complete 80 hours of continuing education every two years, with at least 20 of these hours in accounting and auditing and 4 hours in an ethics course approved by the board.
Florida Accountant Salary and Job Outlook
Projected Job Growth
Accountants and Auditors in Florida from 2010-20203
Florida is one of the top states for accountants to find employment, with 71,420 accountants currently practicing within the state’s borders. The average annual salary for accountants in Florida is between $64,370 and $66,440, though this average may be higher or lower according to the area of practice. The highest concentration of accounting positions in Florida is the Tallahassee metro area, which currently employs 2,750 individuals in the accounting and auditing field at an average salary of $51,880. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects demand for accountants and auditors to grow over the next few years, so these concentrated areas of accounting activity should remain strong job markets for aspiring CPAs.
Florida Accounting Program Student Reviews
Daytona State College:
“In my personal experience, I thought the accounting program at Daytona State was above average. The professors I had all would help you out if you just put in the effort. They really expect a lot out of you though. You must be able to work outside of class and do things on your own in order to succeed. There are a lot of resources though if you need them. Office hours are very flexible with most professors and people in your class are definitely open to helping you. Also, there is a wide selection of tutors for you to choose from. In conclusion, the classes are tough but if you put in work outside of class and search for help when you need it, it is possible to succeed.” -Student at Daytona State College
“The accounting program at Flagler College is one of the best such programs in the state of Florida. There are only a few teachers in the department but the ones that are there are very knowledgeable and willing to help. I learned a good amount about a vast array of accounting topics while at Flagler College. I have good knowledge of the basics of the profession and have a more advanced knowledge of certain accounting topics such as cost accounting. I very much liked the personal attention I received while at Flagler College. The one thing this program did not do very well was prepare me for was how to translate my skills from in the classroom to the job site. Overall my experience with the Flagler College accounting department was a positive one.” -Tyler V., Student at Flagler College
Florida Atlantic University:
“Florida Atlantic University has one of the best accounting programs in the country. The professors are exceptionally accommodating. If you need help, they truly make an effort to be available even if that means meeting you outside of their office hours. Most of the courses required were relevant to becoming an accountant. However, some of the courses were just to get to the 120 credits needed which I found to be quite annoying. In addition to this, the school offers some help in preparing for the CPA exam which was quite useful because you need 120 credit hours to sit for the exam. Overall, I would rate my experience with this program at Florida Atlantic University as highly positive. The campus is beautiful, the South Florida weather is the best in the world and the accounting program is nearly the best in the country.” -Student at Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University:
“The accounting program at Florida Atlantic University is a great way to launch your career. FAU has one of the best accounting programs in the country and they have plenty of resources to help graduating students start their career. The program itself will give students the proper foundation they need to excel in their chosen career path. The school constantly brings alumni speakers in that discuss their experiences during and after their schooling. That helps current students make decisions about their career. FAU also has several career fairs throughout the academic year, and all of the top accounting firms participate in the career fair and actively recruit students. It is fairly common for an FAU student studying in the accounting program to have an entry level position ready with one of the main accounting firms upon their graduation. The only thing I would change about the program if I could would be the amount of students in some of the entry level accounting courses. Some classes has as many as 300 students so face time with a professor was next to impossible. Overall the accounting program at FAU does a great job in preparing the students for their career.” -Student at Florida Atlantic University
Florida Institute of Technology:
“Florida Institute of Technology was challenging. I had one great professor who constantly challenged us to excel. We would get one problem done that we had sweated out and then he would say, ‘Yes, but what if we change the assumptions to this?’ and off we would go again to find the answer. It was tough. The majority of the tests were multiple-choice. The problem was there were never any clear answers. Many of the answers were not specifically covered in the text or in the lectures. The differences in the answers provided made finding the right answers hit or miss. The school put a great deal of emphasis on teams. Most teams I was a part of were AWOL. On the majority of the teams, I ended up doing all the work. Some of the team members would hand in unprofessional work in the name of the team and my overall grade would suffer because I could not be in control of what was turned in. The classes without teams were challenging and great learning experiences. If I could do the program completely without teamwork, it would have been a perfect school.” -David M., student at Florida Institute of Technology
“Kaplan University may not be a traditional school, but I have had a great experience in the accounting program. The instructors are really knowledgeable about their stuff. Most of them teach in traditional universities and have worked in the field. I love the fact that it is very interactive. Because of technology, I can simulate a real life experience like auditing, bookkeeping and tax evaluation. I have had a few really nice job offers, including some of the top accounting firms, which goes to show most employers don’t care where you got your education, they are more focused on your abilities to perform. Overall, I really love my school’s accounting program and recommend it to everyone.” -Christopher J., student at Kaplan University
University of Miami:
“The accounting program as I experienced it, aside from having all the great learning benefits that most schools enjoy also stood out with some unique advantages. For example, the classrooms were state of the art, with all the latest projection, acoustics and on-site IT support one would need. They also averaged between 25 to 30 students, which enables the professor to zoom into the details most relevant to that specific set of students. The professors themselves were always more than available for walk-in office hours, and all of them had at least 2-3 pre-announced, specific times per week when they would always be in their office. Their Beta Alpha Psi Accounting Society is also very active and schedules monthly meet and greets with high networking targets. Most if not all professors are also past or even current industry experienced workers, coming from companies like Deloitte and KPMG to name a few.” -Maria F., student at University of Miami
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche: https://colleges.niche.com/search/t-traditional/sm2-accounting/st-fl/
3. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity: http://www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/data-center/statistical-programs/employment-projections