Accounting Schools in Alaska

This page about accounting schools in Alaska will supply you with the information you need to make an educated choice on the right school for you. Alaska has numerous public and private institutions of higher education that offer a high-quality education to prepare students for careers in various areas of accounting. As an alternative to traditional on-campus programs in accounting, online accounting programs offered through schools in Alaska and elsewhere afford flexible start dates and scheduling that some students find are a better match for their educational needs.

Quick Facts

  • There are 5 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Alaska.2
  • No not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
  • Highest graduation rate*: Alaska Pacific University, 53%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Alaska Pacific University, 29%1
  • Highest net price per year*: Alaska Pacific University, $17,8661
  • Lowest net price per year*: University of Alaska Fairbanks, $9,0101
  • No schools ranked in Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2017.
  • No schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.
  • No schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2019 (top 100).

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

Continue reading to find out more about top schools in Alaska and potential careers in accounting within the state for accounting graduates.

Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Alaska

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University of Alaska Anchorage

University of Alaska-Anchorage’s College of Business and Public Policy offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with an electives-based focus on accounting that can qualify students to sit for the Uniform CPA exam in Alaska. Students may pursue the 36-credit hour degree under full-time or part-time study, with as low a course load as one course per semester permitted. Classes are offered primarily during evenings and weekends, with limited morning classes available. Courses in the curriculum include Seminar in Executive Uses of Accounting, Financial Decision Making, Real Estate Investment Analysis, Multinational Financial Management, and Advanced Investment Management. Students also complete a capstone course in management and individual research or a formal thesis including an oral defense. The MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). University of Alaska Anchorage is ranked #81 (tie) in Regional Universities (West) by US News, and over half of its classes have fewer than 20 students.

Alaska Pacific University

Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage awards a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with Concentration in Finance to students who successfully complete its 36-credit hour graduate program. This degree prepares students to work as professionals in finance careers with courses such as Financial Statement Analysis, Managerial Economics, Fundamentals of Financial Instruments & Institutions, and Risk Management & Derivatives. Students also have the option of taking a two-semester Fund Management Practicum, which is a lab-based summer course in which students manage a real-life equity portfolio. Students also take a capstone course that integrates and applies skills learned throughout the curriculum in a team management simulation. Alaska Pacific University is ranked #64 (tie) in Regional Universities (West) by US News. Its rigorous Business Administration department employs faculty and staff mentors who assist students beyond graduation.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management prides itself on offering a high-quality education that prepares students for today’s business challenges following graduation from its Master of Business Administration (MBA)-Capital Markets program. This program prepares students for professional success with a competitive advantage and practical understanding of business and financial applications. The Capital Markets emphasis allows students to study finance and investment in-depth in preparation for careers in accounting and related fields. Students may attend full- or part-time, with evening courses scheduled Monday through Thursday. Courses in the program include Accounting for Managers, Quantitative Methods for Managers, Portfolio Theory and Asset Pricing, Financial Statement Analysis, and Fixed Income Securities and Markets. The school has a desirable student-faculty ratio of 8:1; this personalized experience may be one of the reasons its average freshman retention rate is 76%.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Alaska

There are many industries with a presence in Alaska that require accounting services, the majors among these including oil and gas companies, commercial fishing, and government. Swalling & Associates, with locations in Anchorage and Wasilla, is growing its accounting team to ensure it can meet its goal to help its clients succeed through a unique hands-on approach to its business relationships. BDO’s Anchorage office is the largest CPA firm in Alaska, offering professional services for local and national companies and nonprofits. Elgee Rehfeld, LLC, based in the state capital of Juneau, is the largest accounting firm in Southeast Alaska, with over 1,000 clients.

How to Become a CPA in Alaska

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

  1. Complete a 150-semester hour or 225-quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
  2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.
  4. Apply for a license.
  5. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  6. Receive your CPA license.

1. Complete a 150-semester hour or 225-quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.

Completing 150 semester hours of college education in accounting is the first step to becoming a CPA in Alaska. The 150-semester hour requirement is typically met by completing a 120-semester hour baccalaureate degree and at least a 30-semester hour master’s degree in accounting. Coursework must be completed at a college or university that holds regional accreditation or holds equivalent credentials acceptable to the Alaska Board of Public Accountancy.

The 150 semester hours must include at least 24 semester credit hours in an accounting concentration, to include:

  • Business law: three semester hours
  • Economics: three semester hours
  • Statistics, Computer Science, or Algebra, Calculus, or Mathematics: three semester hours

The remaining required semester hours for the accounting concentration may be taken in such subjects as:

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

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

To qualify to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination in Alaska, candidates with 150 qualifying education hours must first earn at least two years (four experience points) of experience in public accounting working under the supervision of a currently licensed CPA. One year is counted as either 12 months of full-time work of an average of 35 hours per week or part-time employment averaging at least 20 hours per week for a total of 2,080 hours. Private or government accounting experience may also be counted for fewer experience points. Qualifying accounting experience is not required to take place in Alaska.

3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

A passing score on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Ethics examination must be verified to the Alaska Board of Public Accountancy before a CPA license will be issued. The exam is open book and may be ordered through the AICPA website.

4. Apply for a license.

The Alaska Board of Public Accountancy recommends that candidates for a CPA license apply before taking the Uniform CPA Exam. The application can be downloaded from the Board’s website. Education, experience, and a passing score on the AICPA Ethics exam will be verified through the application.

5. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

All CPA candidates in the US are required to pass the Uniform CPA Exam to receive the CPA credential. The four sections of the exam may be taken in any order, but all four sections must be passed within an 18-month period in order to qualify.

6. Receive your CPA license.

After the Board has received your passing CPA exam score, you will be issued a CPA license.

CPA licenses in Alaska expire on December 31 of odd-numbered years. In order to renew the license, CPAs must complete at least 80 hours of continuing education, with at least 20 hours of continuing education per calendar year. Four of these continuing education hours must be in ethics. You can find additional information at the Alaska Board of Public Accountancy website.

Alaska Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth


Accountants and Auditors in Alaska from 2016-20262

Accountants in Alaska make an average annual wage of $82,040 and are primarily employed in central and southeast Alaska near active population centers.3 Southeast Alaska is the second highest-paying nonmetropolitan area in the country for accountants, with accounting professionals in this area earning an average of $84,700 annually.3

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): https://projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, 13-2011 Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm