Accounting Schools in Hawaii

There are many accounting schools in Hawaii for students interested in pursuing an accounting degree, and these schools can provide quality academic and professional opportunities that match your skills and career interests. Some online accounting programs may also be able to provide the opportunities you are looking for from an accounting school. This guide to accounting schools in Hawaii will supply you with further information on Hawaii colleges and universities so that you can make a knowledgeable decision.

Quick Facts

  • There are 10 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Hawaii.
  • 2 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.
  • Highest graduation rate*: University of Hawaii at Manoa, 57%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: University of Hawaii Maui College, 16%1
  • Highest net price per year*: Hawaii Pacific University, $23,8451
  • Lowest net price per year*: University of Hawaii Maui College, $6,3661
  • Annual undergraduate tuition range for accounting programs in Hawaii: $4,450-$23,9322
  • 1 school ranked in Forbes Top Colleges List (top 500): University of Hawaii-Manoa (435)
  • 2 schools ranked in US News Regional Universities (West) in 2013 (top 100): Hawaii Pacific University (81), Chaminade University of Honolulu (86)
  • 1 school ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2013 (top 200): University of Hawaii-Manoa (156)

*For 4-year not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Read on to find out more about accounting schools in Hawaii, including programs for advanced degrees and potential career tracks for accounting graduates.

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

  1. University of Hawaii at Manoa 50.0%

Just one school in Hawaii had first-time candidates for the CPA exam with an advanced degree. The national pass rate for all first-time candidates is 54.6%. The first-time CPA exam pass rate can be a good indicator of the quality of preparation provided by a school. For full statistics, check out the 2013 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Hawaii

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Chaminade University of Honolulu (Honolulu, HI)

Chaminade University of Honolulu offers a competitive Master of Business Administration–Accounting Concentration program that helps students prepare for careers as accountants. The program’s emphasis is on values-driven education for management professionals. Electives in the accounting concentration include Governmental Accounting, Not-for-Profit Accounting, Corporate and Partnership Taxation, and Advanced Accounting Theory. The degree can be pursued under full or part-time study, with each class meeting once per week during the evening hours. The program can typically be completed in 18 to 21 months taking two courses per quarter. Enrollment is open to students who hold an undergraduate degree in a wide variety of subjects from accredited universities. In addition to building business skills in accounting, management, and related areas, Chaminade University’s MBA program leads students to acquire soft skills such as leadership and ethics with an entrepreneurial mindset. US News ranks Chaminade University #80 in Regional Universities (West).

Hawaii Pacific University (Honolulu, HI)

Hawaii Pacific University offers a Master of Business Administration–Accounting Concentration program that can be pursued in a traditional on-campus cohort track or online through full- or part-time study. Full-time traditional students can complete the program in as little as twelve months through the intensive 12-month MBA program. In addition to the Accounting Concentration, students may elect to take a dual concentration in areas such as E-Business, Economics, Finance, Information Systems, and other related fields. Courses in the Accounting Concentration include Accounting for Managers, Financial Management and Strategy, Managerial Accounting, and Advanced Business Law for Accountants. All students complete a capstone in Strategic Management in which the development of a strategic plan for a specific organization is a basic course component. Hawaii Pacific is ranked #71 on US News’ rankings of Regional Universities (West), and is a private college that holds the majority of its courses with fewer than 20 students.

University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu, HI)

University of Hawaii at Manoa offers a Master of Accounting (MAcc) program through its Shidler College of Business. This 30 credit hour graduate degree builds on a bachelor’s degree to provide students with the skills and knowledge base needed to practice as a certified public accountant in business, government, and other fields. Supplementary undergraduate courses in accounting are offered to prepare for this master’s program for students who did not major in accounting for a four-year degree. Core graduate courses in the program include Advanced Financial Accounting, Law for the Accountant, Accounting Theory and Development, and Analysis and Decision Making. Students are encouraged to take a concentration in either Tax or Financial Reporting/Auditing through program electives. The Shidler College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and is the only institution in Hawaii offering a Master of Accounting program. University of Hawaii at Manoa is ranked #158 in National Universities by US News.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Hawaii

Several multinational firms have offices in Hawaii, and these are often the best places for recent graduates to begin a career. Deloitte LLP, which is regularly called one of the best places to work by Fortune and Businessweek, hires recent graduates to work in its offices in Honolulu. Ernst & Young offers graduates a world-class career experience working with established business and entrepreneurs alike. Competitive Spire Hawaii LLP is locally based with international resources.

How to Become a CPA in Hawaii

The Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy 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.

  1. Complete a 150 semester hour education program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
  2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  3. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  4. Apply for a license.

1. Complete a 150 semester hour education program of acceptable coursework in accounting.

The Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy follows the 150 hour rule, meaning that candidates for a CPA license in the state must complete a 150 semester hour program of education that includes the award of a bachelor’s degree. However, applicants in Hawaii may sit for the Uniform CPA exam once a bachelor’s degree and 18 additional semester (or 27 quarter) hours of upper division or graduate level classes have been completed. The 150 hours completed to qualify for a license must include 24 semester hours each in accounting and business-related courses, of which 18 must be upper division or graduate level. Acceptable business-related courses include:

  • Economics
  • Legal and social environment of business
  • Business law
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Organizational, group, and individual behavior
  • Quantitative applications in business
  • Communication skills
  • Business ethics
  • Globalization
  • Total quality management
  • Computer science
  • Human relations

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

Candidates for a CPA license in Hawaii must earn 1,500 experience hours in auditing that are chargeable to clients while working full-time (at least 35 hours per week) over one year, or earn 3,000 experience hours over two years in public accounting practice in private industry, government, or education. Experience hours must be verified by the candidate’s supervisors using the “Certification of Public Accountancy Experience” form found in the license application packet. All supervisors for the experience should be currently licensed as CPAs in the jurisdiction in which the work is taking place.

3. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy uses NASBA, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, to process and administer the Uniform CPA Exam. Candidates for examination should apply directly to NASBA to schedule and take the exam.

4. Apply for a license.

After the Uniform CPA Exam has been passed candidates may apply to the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy for a CPA license. The required forms are available on the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy website. Candidates must additionally apply for a Permit to Practice before beginning work as a CPA in the state.

Once a CPA license has been issued, renewals are on a biennial basis in odd-numbered years. CPAs must be sure to complete the required 80 hours of continuing education for each renewal period and renew their license before December 31 of each odd-numbered year to comply with Hawaii statutes.

You can find additional information at the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy website.

Hawaii Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth


Accountants and Auditors in Hawaii from 2010-20203

Despite its small size, Hawaii has a high concentration of accountants working within its borders. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average accountant in Hawaii makes between $64,370 and $66,440 a year, which puts the state in the 50th percentile for average accountant salaries nationwide. Most accountants in Hawaii work in Honolulu, but there are accountants on all of the Hawaiian islands. Nationally, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for accountants to grow by 16% by 2020.

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-accounting/?type=private&type=public
3. Hawaii Workforce Infonet: https://www.hiwi.org/gsipub/index.asp?docid=423