Accounting Schools in Kentucky

Quality education in accounting is offered by many institutions of higher learning in Kentucky. The accounting schools in Kentucky can provide you with an education on the fundamentals of accounting as well as more advanced areas of study, such as quantitative finance or business taxation. Some students find that the flexibility offered by online programs are a better fit for busy schedules and career goals.

Quick Facts

  • There are 22 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Kentucky.
  • 7 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.
  • Highest graduation rate*: Transylvania University, 76%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Kentucky Wesleyan College, 50%1
  • Highest net price per year*: Transylvania University, $26,4541
  • Lowest net price per year*: Berea College, $1,6801
  • 1 school ranked in Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2017: University of Kentucky (110)
  • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018: University of Louisville (#73 in-state, #74 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.

Continue reading to learn more about what the accounting schools in Kentucky can offer students and about career prospects for graduates who are starting careers in accounting.

Schools with Highest 2015 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

  1. Northern Kentucky University (76.5%)
  2. University of Kentucky (50.0%)

The first-time CPA exam pass rate ranged from 50.0% to 76.5% for schools in Kentucky (for advanced degree candidates) in 2015. There were two schools that sent candidates with an advanced degree in the state. For comparison, the national pass rate for all CPA exam candidates was 48.4% in 2015. Prospective students can consider the first-time pass rate as an indicator of the quality of a program, although the percentage may be skewed if there were a small number of test takers. For a comprehensive breakdown of CPA exam statistics, check out the 2015 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Kentucky

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Brescia University (Owensboro, KY)

Brescia University offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program that can impart the skills and understanding needed to pass the Uniform CPA Exam and begin a career as a CPA. The structured 30-credit hour program encompasses 10 required courses in subjects such as Managerial Finance, The Legal Environment of Business, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, and Leadership and Business Ethics. Graduate courses for the MBA are completed in a cohort group, which encourages students to connect with peers in team-building and networking exercises. All courses take place either in eight-week online modules or in-person on alternating Saturdays, offering flexibility for students with off-campus commitments. Students may be required to take foundational undergraduate courses in accounting, business, and management if transcripts do not show completion of courses in these areas. US News ranks Brescia #30 (tie) in Regional Colleges (South). This small, private college is known for its quality of scholarship, in part driven by small class sizes, and most students attend with scholarship or grant aid.

Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, KY)

Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Accounting, Finance, and Information Systems collaborates with the College of Business and Technology to offer a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an Accounting Concentration program. The flexible program is designed for working professionals and offers options for full- and part-time study through traditional, online, and blended courses, with no course meeting more than one night per week. Core courses in the accounting major, such as Statistical Methods for Business, Strategic Financial Management, and Leading and Managing Organizations, prepare students for the Uniform CPA Exam and career success. All accounting major students take a capstone course in business strategy that applies functional knowledge to a real-world business scenario. US News ranks Eastern Kentucky University #76 (tie) in Regional Universities (South). The school is recognized for having the majority of its courses taught by faculty holding PhDs in their subject areas as well as its lauded Honors Program.

University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)

University of Kentucky’s Douglas J. Von Allmen School of Accountancy prepares master’s level students for leadership positions in accountancy and can be the starting point for further study for students interested in earning a PhD in accounting science. The Master of Science in Accounting (MSACC) program has an intensive focus on accounting courses, requiring that 21 of the minimum 30 credit hours to earn the degree be in accounting. The core curriculum includes courses in Advanced Topics in Taxation, Advanced Topics in Financial Reporting, Attest Function, and Legal Issues for Accountants. After completing the lock-step core, students select elective courses from the graduate schedule, at least one of which must be at the 600 level. University of Kentucky’s MSACC program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCB). University of Kentucky is ranked #147 (tie) by US News in National Universities for its broad scope of studies and quality of education.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Kentucky

Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP is a regional CPA firm headquartered in busy Louisville. The firm has been named as one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky, and its strong growth track is leading it to seek highly qualified individuals to join its team. Strothman & Company PSC is one of the largest CPA firms in Kentucky and is also based in Louisville; its clients include businesses, individuals, non-profits, and public organizations. Strothman & Company believes that its success is based on the quality of its people and is seeking recent graduates with experience working for CPAs to join its team. Kemper CPA Group has been named a Top 100 accounting firm by Accounting Today, with offices in Henderson, Morganfield, and Paducah, Kentucky. This company offers many avenues for personal and career growth.

How to Become a CPA in Kentucky

The Kentucky Board of Accountancy licenses and regulates Certified Public Accountants in the state. There are four main steps to complete in order to earn a Kentucky CPA license.

  1. Complete a 150-semester hour educational program of acceptable coursework with a major in accounting.
  2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  3. Apply for and pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  4. Apply for a license.

1. Complete a 150-semester hour educational program of acceptable coursework with a major in accounting.

The Kentucky Board of Accountancy has adopted the 150-hour rule, which requires that aspiring CPAs complete 150 semester hours of college education to qualify for a license. Candidates must have a major in accounting completed at the undergraduate and/or graduate level. An accounting major is considered to be at least 39 semester hours in business-related subjects, of which 27 semester hours are accounting subjects.

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

Prospective Kentucky CPAs must earn one year (defined as 2,000 hours in a period of not less than 12 months) of experience in accounting and/or auditing. The experience must take place after earning a bachelor’s degree and may be in public practice, academia, industry, or government. One year of experience in academia is considered teaching 24 semester hours of accounting courses for which the course participants received official transcript credit. All experience should be verified by a CPA with an active license to practice.

3. Apply to and Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

Candidates who are ready to take the Uniform CPA Exam should complete the Application for the Certified Public Accountant Examination and submit it to the Kentucky Board of Accountancy. Once the application is approved, candidates will receive authorization to schedule and take the exam through NASBA. The exam must be taken within six months of receiving authorization to test, and all four sections of the exam must be passed within a rolling 18-month period.

4. Apply for a license.

After receiving a passing score on the Uniform CPA Exam, candidates may complete the Application for Initial License as a Kentucky Certified Public Accountant. Candidates must include a photo taken no more than 90 days before the date of application with their application materials, as well as verification of experience.

CPA licenses in Kentucky are renewed biannually and expire on the first day of August in the second year following issuance. Renewal requires CPAs to complete 80 hours of continuing education during each two-year license period, and two of these hours must be in ethics. You can find additional information at the Kentucky Board of Accountancy website.

Kentucky Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth


Accountants and Auditors in Kentucky from 2016-20262

The average salary for accountants in Kentucky reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is $65,840 annually.3 Accountants working in urban and metropolitan areas typically have greater earning power; accountants in the Louisville area average $69,150 annually, while accountants in the greater Cincinnati area on the northeastern edge of the state average $70,700 annually.3 Career prospects for accountants and auditors in Kentucky are bright, as job growth for these professionals is expected to increase by 9.6% through 2026.2

Student Reviews

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
(859) 257-9000

Student Review: “When I first joined the University of Kentucky I hadn’t decided on a major and was considering three different options. When I finally settled on accounting I felt like I would change my mind later. However, I’m pleased to say that wasn’t the case. The curriculum was challenging but in a good way. At no point did I ever feel like everything was going over my head and that I couldn’t figure anything out on my own, although sometimes it took me a while to get there. If there was one thing that could be improved about the curriculum it’s that even though it’s challenging, they could make it a bit more challenging. There were times where I felt like it was too easy, and I know other students who felt the same way. To me, that’s not a great way to prepare you for life or a career after college. Since I was near the top of my class my professor helped me land an internship, and after the internship, the company hired me as a full-time employee. So my professor was a big help. Overall the experience as an accounting major at the University of Kentucky was good, but it could have been great.” – student at University of Kentucky

Student Review: “There are some things about the accounting program at the University of Kentucky that are phenomenal, but conversely there are just as many awful things about the accounting program at Kentucky. Most of the professors were very good to me, but a couple of them didn’t seem interested in what they were teaching, therefore it was hard to stay focused in class. Some of the tests and curriculum were too easy, so they didn’t really prepare me for the outside world. The great thing about one of the professors is that he helped me find an accounting job right after I graduated. Life on campus was very good, though, and the people that shared the same major as I did were the best.” -student at University of Kentucky

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