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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 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 22 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Arizona.
  • 2 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.
  • Highest graduation rate*: University of Arizona, 64%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: N/A1
  • Highest net price per year*: University of Arizona, $15,7581
  • Lowest net price per year*: Arizona State University-West, $10,0571
  • 1 school ranked in Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2017: University of Arizona (80)
  • 2 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018: Arizona State University-Tempe (#88 in-state, #72 out-of-state), Arizona State University-West (#84 in-state, #90 out-of-state)
  • 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.

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

Not-for-Profit Schools with Highest 2015 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

  1. University of Arizona (72.5%)
  2. Northern Arizona University (69.2%)
  3. Arizona State University Thunderbird School of Global Management (64.3%)
  4. Arizona State University (61.1%)

The range of pass rates for all schools in Arizona that had candidates take the CPA exam with an advanced degree was 30.9% to 72.5% in 2015 (six 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 48.4% for all candidates in 2015 according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). See the 2015 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report for more information.

Top Masters in Accounting Programs in Arizona

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Arizona State University

Arizona State University‘s W.P. Carey School of Business offers a Master of Accountancy (MACC) program and a Master of Taxation (MTax) program for students interested in accounting. The programs were ranked #29 in US News & World Report’s Best Business Schools of 2018. The MACC program also offers a data and analytics track in partnership with KPMG, a professional accounting firm. This track focuses on data-centric audits, and students can learn from internship experiences and hands-on elective courses. Both the MACC and MTax programs prepare candidates to sit for the CPA exam and qualify them to be licensed in Arizona and California, along with other states.

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 three 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 networking with professionals in the field. 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 81% and a student-faculty ratio of 19:1.

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona in Phoenix offers a Master of Science (MS) in 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 #106 (tie) in National Universities by US News, and as well as being an NCAA Division I school it is a top-ranked university for research.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Arizona

RedW LLC is one of the Southwest’s top 10 largest accounting firms. With offices conveniently located in Albuquerque and Phoenix, RedW is a full service CPA firm with many years of experience. National and well-known firm RSM is the one of the largest employers of accountants in Arizona, with offices in Phoenix and Tempe. 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. Candidates can apply to take the exam on the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website.

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 live classroom or webinar instruction, a minimum of 40 hours in accounting, auditing, taxation, business law, or consulting services, and four 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.

Arizona Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth

19.2%

Accountants and Auditors in Arizona from 2016-20262

Arizona is one of the top states for accountants in the nation, with 19,300 accountants and auditors practicing within the state.3 On average, accountants in Arizona make a salary of $69,240 annually, with most accountants in the state practicing in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area, where demand for financial professionals is greatest.3 Positions for accountants and auditors in the state are expected to increase by over 19% through 2026.2

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): http://www.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