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Accounting Schools in Alaska

This page to graduate accounting schools in Alaska will supply you with the information you need to make an educated choice on the right school for you. Since no Alaska schools offer accounting-specific master’s-level programs students in the state may be interested in online accounting programs and those based in other states in the Pacific Northwest such as Oregon and Washington. On this page, you can also learn about the process of becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Alaska, including data on employment and salaries for accounting professionals. We have also included some profiles of select Alaska graduate-level programs related to accounting in Alaska, such as Master of Business Administration (MBA) and graduate certificate programs that may be of interest to prospective CPAs in the state.

Quick Facts

  • There are 5 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Alaska.1
  • 2 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
  • No schools were ranked in Forbes’ Best Business Schools 2019.2
  • No schools were ranked in the Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2020.3
  • No schools were ranked in Public Accounting Report’s Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs 2019.4
  • No schools were ranked in US News & World Report’s Best MBA Accounting Programs 2020.5
  • No schools had a 2018 CPA exam pass rate at or above the national average of 51.9%.6
  • 2 universities and business schools are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.7
  • No schools are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).8
  • No schools are accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).9

For not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Table of Contents
Steps to Become a CPA in Alaska
Alaska CPA Salary and Job Outlook
Alaska Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison
Select Schools in Alaska with Master’s in Accounting Programs
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

Steps to Become a CPA in Alaska

The Alaska Board of Public Accountancy (the Board) oversees the process for becoming a CPA in Alaska. There are six main steps to complete in order to earn a CPA license.

  1. Complete 150 semester hours acceptable coursework in accounting.
  2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.
  4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  5. Apply for a license.
  6. Receive your CPA license.

1. Complete 150 semester hours of college-level coursework in accounting.

Alaska requires CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of education to qualify for a license. The education must include the completion of a bachelor’s degree and a concentration in accounting. The Board defines an accounting concentration as at least nine semester hours of business law, economics, and statistics or qualifying math courses.

The remaining coursework must include at least 24 semester hours in subjects such as:

  • Accounting principles
  • Accounting theory
  • Advanced accounting
  • Auditing
  • Cost accounting
  • Detection of fraud
  • Governmental accounting
  • Income tax
  • Intermediate accounting

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

To meet the qualifications for licensure, candidates must complete two years, or 4,000 hours, of professional accounting experience. One year of experience equals 2,000 hours of employment. The experience may be gained in academia, government, industry, or public practice but must include service or advice in any of the following areas:

  • Accounting
  • Attest
  • Compilation
  • Consulting Skills
  • Financial Advisory
  • Management Advisory
  • Tax
  • Related Services

The experience must be completed within four years and be verified by a currently licensed CPA.

3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

An ethics exam is required for CPA licensure in Alaska. The Board uses the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) self-study course and exam, Professional Ethics, to fulfill this requirement. Candidates must complete the course’s open book exam with a score of 90% or better to pass. Professional Ethics is available through AICPA’s website. The Board will waive the AICPA exam for candidates who can provide documentation of passing an exam that the Board deems equivalent.

4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

Candidates who have completed a bachelor’s degree and any of the following: an accounting concentration; 15 semester hours of accounting coursework; or one year of the experience requirement; or candidates who are within 18 semester hours of meeting the education requirement and have 15 hours of accounting coursework may apply to sit for AICPA’s Uniform CPA Exam. The application can be downloaded from the Board’s website. The exam is proctored by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The four sections of the exam may be taken in any order, but all four sections must be passed within a rolling 18-month period with a score of at least 75 in order to qualify.

5. Apply for a license.

Once candidates have completed the above requirements, they should submit an application for licensure along with all necessary fees to the Board. The application can be downloaded from the Board’s website. Education, experience, and a passing score on the AICPA Ethics and Uniform CPA exams will be verified through the application.

6. Receive your CPA license.

The Board may take several weeks to review and issue a license. At this point, the applicant may begin practice as a CPA.

CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information

CPA licenses in Alaska expire on December 31 of odd-numbered years. In order to renew a license, CPAs must complete at least 80 hours of continuing education (CE), with at least four hours of CE in ethics. Twenty hours of continuing education are required for each calendar year. No more than 16 hours of the 80 hours of CE may be from courses defined as non-academic.

Alaska CPA Salary and Job Outlook

Accountants and auditors in Alaska make an average annual salary of $79,300, with the highest average salary found in the Fairbanks metro area at $83,820 per year.10 Of the 2,180 accounting professionals in the state, the majority are employed in the Anchorage area, where 1,280 accountants currently work.10 Alaska is the third-highest paying nonmetropolitan area for accountants in the country, with accounting professionals in these areas earning an average of $77,620 annually.11 Projections Central forecasts accountant and auditor jobs in Alaska to grow by 6.2% by 2028, a rate very near the expected national average growth of 6.4%12

Alaska CPA Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber Employed10Average Annual Salary10
Anchorage1,280$79,620
Fairbanks170$83,820
Alaska nonmetropolitan area720$77,620

Alaska Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison

Below we have compiled a table including information about all not-for-profit Alaska colleges and universities offering a master’s degree in accounting. The graduation rate is for first-time undergraduates seeking a bachelor’s degree, but since it is widely considered to be an indicator of a school’s overall success, we have included it for comparison. Also please note that tuition per credit is based on in-state, on-campus tuition; per-credit rates may vary for out-of-state and online students.

School NameAccreditationCPA Exam Pass Rate6Master’s in Accounting Degree(s)Acceptance Rate13Grad Rate1Online Options?Tuition per Credit
University of Alaska-AnchorageAACSBN.Av.MBA-Custom EmphasisN.Av.29%$513
University of Alaska-FairbanksAACSBN.Av.MBA;
PGCT-Accounting
N.Av.35%Yes$616

  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Select Schools in Alaska with Master’s in Accounting Programs

Traditional Programs

University of Alaska-Anchorage

The University of Alaska Anchorage’s (UAA) College of Business and Public Policy offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a custom emphasis in Accounting that can help students qualify to sit for the Uniform CPA exam in Alaska. Students may pursue the 36-credit hour MBA under full-time or part-time study, with at least one course per semester required to maintain enrollment in the program. The MBA requires the completion of nine credits of foundation courses, 21 credits of core courses, three hours of electives, and a three-credit capstone. Courses that can help advance a student’s accounting knowledge include Seminar in Executive Uses of Accounting; Financial Decision Making; Economics and Public Policy; and Advanced Business Data Analysis. Enrollment in the program requires an undergraduate degree and either a GPA of at least 3.25 or a GMAT score of 525 or above.

University of Alaska-Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) hosts a Master of Business Administration (MBA) through its School of Management that offers students concentrations in either General Management or STEM. The 30-credit hour program prepares students for professional success with a practical understanding of business and financial applications. Full-time students should be able to complete the degree in as little as a year. The curriculum is split between five core classes and five electives. Core courses cover topics such as Corporate Strategy, Marketing Management, and Organization Theory for Managers. UAF offers students without previous business coursework pre-MBA modules to complete the foundational education needed for enrollment. All applicants to the MBA program must have a bachelor’s degree, and applicants without a sufficient undergraduate GPA will need to pass the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Exam with a score of 25 or better. A GMAT score is required for students without at least a 2.75 undergraduate GPA. UAF students interested in accounting careers will have access to networking and career development events such as the annual Accounting Recruitment Weeks and the KPMG Spring Etiquette Seminar and Dinner.

Online and Hybrid Programs

University of Alaska-Fairbanks

The UAF School of Management also offers a Post-Graduate Certificate (PBCT) in Accounting that can be completed in-person or online and can help prepare students without a bachelor’s degree in accounting to take the Uniform CPA Exam. The program is designed to help students from non-accounting careers transition into the accounting profession. PBCT in Accounting students take 30 credit hours, including 18 credits of required courses and 12 elective credits. Required courses include Managerial Cost Accounting, Accounting Information Systems, and Income Tax. Enrollment in the PBCT in Accounting requires a bachelor’s degree and the completion of two prerequisite accounting courses or their equivalents. A “C-” or better must be earned in each class to complete the PBCT. Incoming students can apply transfer credits to the certificate, provided that at least nine credit hours are taken at UAF. Completing the certificate will help students with the appropriate undergraduate courses to meet the 150-semester hour requirement for CPA licensure.

Additional Resources

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Alaska

  • Swalling & Associates P.C.: With locations in Anchorage and Wasilla, the firm concentrates on offering accounting and financial services to Alaskan businesses and business owners.
  • BDO: BDO’s Anchorage office is the largest CPA firm in Alaska, offering professional services for local and national companies, government, and nonprofits.
  • Elgee Rehfeld, LLC: Based in the state capital of Juneau, Elgee offers accounting and tax services to clients in southeast and central Alaska.

Alaska Accounting Associations

  • Alaska Society of CPAs (AKCPA): The AKCPA offers members opportunities for CPE, networking, and professional growth, and provides the public with information about the accounting profession as well as a database of licensed CPAs in Alaska.
  • Alaska Society of Independent Accountants (ASIA): With a goal of promoting the accounting profession, ASIA works to promote professional ethics and standards through education and advocacy for accountants.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a CPA in Alaska?

An Alaska CPA license requires 150 semester hours of education with a bachelor’s degree and a concentration in accounting. In addition to the education requirement, Alaska requires you to complete two years of professional accounting experience and pass both the AICPA ethics course and the Uniform CPA Exam. After completing these requirements, you can apply to the Board for a license.

How much does a CPA in Alaska make?

According to the BLS, the average annual salary for accounting professionals in Alaska is $79,300, nearly the same as the national average of $79,520.10,11 Accountants and auditors in the Fairbanks area earn the highest average annual salary in the state at $83,820.10

How much CE do CPAs in Alaska need?

CPAs in Alaska must complete 80 hours of CE for every biennial renewal period. CE must include four hours of ethics training for every two years and no less than 20 hours of CE within any given year.

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Forbes Best Business Schools 2019: https://www.forbes.com/business-schools/list/2/
3. The Princeton Review. The Best 385 Colleges, 2020 Edition. The Princeton Review, 2019.
4. Public Accounting Report 2019 Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs: https://wpcarey.asu.edu/sites/default/files/par-grad-2019.pdf
5. US News & World Report Best Accounting Programs 2020: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/accounting-rankings
6. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. The NASBA Report on the CPA Exam: Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination, 2018 Edition. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, Inc., 2019.
7. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International: https://www.aacsb.edu/about
8. Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP): https://acbsp.org/
9. International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE): https://iacbe.org/
10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Alaska: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm
11. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 Occupational Employment and Wages, Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm
12. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
13. US News & World Report Best Business Schools 2020: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools