Accounting Schools in New Mexico

This summary of graduate-level accounting schools in New Mexico will equip you with information on school profiles and top programs in the state. New Mexico is home to several colleges and universities with online accounting degree options for students who prefer virtual study. Since there are only a few schools that offer master’s in accounting in the state, students may wish to look at online programs from around the country as well as programs in neighboring states like Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. Keep reading to learn more about these schools, how to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state, and salary and employment information for New Mexico accountants.

Quick Facts

  • There are 18 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in New Mexico.1
  • 5 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
  • 2 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
  • 2 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 New Mexico

The New Mexico Public Accountancy Board (the Board) regulates licensed accountants and oversees the process for becoming a CPA in the state. There are seven main steps to complete in order to earn a first-time CPA license in New Mexico.

  1. Complete 150 semester hours of college-level education in accounting.
  2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  3. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  4. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.
  5. Complete a criminal background check.
  6. Apply for a license.
  7. Receive a CPA license.

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

Candidates for CPA licensure in New Mexico must complete at least 150 semester hours of college education that includes the award of a bachelor’s degree. These 150 semester hours must include a minimum of 30 semester hours in accounting to qualify for a license. Three of these hours may be in business law. The 30 hours of accounting may be completed at the undergraduate or graduate level, or a combination thereof. All required hours should be completed at an appropriately accredited institution of higher education.

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

The Board requires that candidates for licensure earn at least one year of experience in accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, and/or consulting. Experience may be gained through private or public practice, government, or academia, but all experience must be verified by a currently licensed CPA.

3. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Uniform CPA Exam is a requirement for CPA licensure in all 50 states and is administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Candidates for licensure can apply to take the exam after they have a bachelor’s degree with at least 30 hours of accounting coursework even if they have not completed the 150 hours. New Mexico candidates should apply to the exam through the NASBA website. Approved examinees will receive further instructions on scheduling and taking the exam. All four sections of the exam must be passed with a score of 75 or above within an 18-month rolling period. Scores will be sent directly to the Board by CPA Examination Services.

4. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

The Board has selected the AICPA self-study ethics course and exam to fulfill ethics requirements for CPA licensure in the state. A score of 90% or higher is required and the course must be completed within one year from the date of purchase. Candidates can order all course materials through the AICPA website.

5. Complete a criminal background check.

Prospective New Mexico CPAs must complete a criminal background check prior to submitting an application for a license. As paper fingerprint forms are no longer accepted, candidates must arrange to have their fingerprints taken through GEMALTO which offers online registration for fingerprint background check scheduling.

6. Apply for a license.

Once all licensing requirements have been met, the final step is to submit the Application for a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and pay the fee. The application includes a work verification form as well as a checklist for requesting and submitting supporting documentation for the required exams and education.

7. Receive a CPA license.

Once the application packet has been approved by the Board, Uniform CPA Exam scores have been received, and the fingerprint background check has been completed, a certificate and license will be issued to applicants and they can begin practicing as CPAs. Within one year of being issued a new license, all new licensees must participate in a swearing-in ceremony, which is held twice per year.

CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information

New Mexico CPA licensees must renew their licenses on an annual basis. To renew, a CPA must complete 120 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) for each three-year rolling cycle, beginning on the last day of the licensee’s birth month. Of these 120 hours, 24 hours must not be sponsored by the CPA’s employer, four hours must be related to ethics, and 96 hours must be technical. At least 20 hours of CPE must be earned in each 12-month period. You can find additional information on the Board’s website.

New Mexico CPA Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants in New Mexico make an average annual salary of $64,770, less than the national average of $79,520.10,11 Albuquerque has the highest employment level of accountants in the state, and the average salary for accountants here is higher than other parts of the state, at $66,860 annually.10 The demand for accountants is rising across the US at 6.4%, and in New Mexico, accountant and auditor positions are expected to grow on par with the national average, at 6.7% through 2028.12

New Mexico CPA Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber Employed10Average Annual Salary10
Las Cruces340$58,390
Santa Fe780$64,300
Northern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area420$57,420
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area690$64,260

New Mexico Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison

Below we have compiled a table including information about all not-for-profit New Mexico 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. Tuition per credit is based on in-state, on-campus tuition; per-credit rates may vary for out-of-state and online students. The reported CPA Exam Pass Rate is from the 2018 test series. In 2019, NASBA paused releasing statistical Candidate Performance reports until 2025 due to a new exam and licensing structure. Check with schools for more recent data.

School NameAccreditationCPA Exam Pass Rate6Master’s in Accounting Degree(s)Acceptance Rate13Grad Rate1Online Options?Tuition per Credit
Eastern New Mexico UniversityACBSPN.Av.MBA-AccountingN.Av.N.Av.Yes$297
New Mexico Highlands UniversityACBSPN.Av.MBA-AccountingN.Av.N.Av.Yes$296
New Mexico State University-Main CampusAACSB70.0%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)N.Av.48%$329
University of New Mexico-Main CampusAACSB72.7%MBA-Accounting;
Masters of Accounting (MACCT);
Integrated BBA-MACCT*;
MACCT/JD Dual Degree*;
Individual Dual Degree
University of the SouthwestN.Av.MBA-AccountingN.Av.32%Yes$625

  • * indicates combined program.
  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Select Schools in New Mexico with Master’s in Accounting Programs

Traditional Programs

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) College of Business offers a 30-credit Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program designed to lay the foundation for advanced accounting skills. The MAcc program qualifies students to take the CPA and Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exams and allows them to fulfill the 150-hour education requirement for CPA licensure. All students are required to complete an elementary statistics course and students without an undergraduate degree in accounting must complete additional prerequisites in business foundation and accounting courses. Each student must complete 21 credits in upper-level accounting courses and nine additional elective credits. NMSU’s College of Business requires students to maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 and students to pass a comprehensive exam before receiving their degree. No thesis is required but with approval, students may elect to write one for up to six credits. The program aims to prepare graduates for careers as accountants in financial institutions, government and nonprofits, and public practice.

University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico’s (UNM) Anderson School of Management awards several accounting degrees for students to choose from. The Anderson Master of Accounting (MACCT) degree encompasses 33 semester hours of study with an optional professional concentration for those who did not major in business as an undergraduate. The MACCT program focuses on preparing students to pass the Uniform CPA Exam and is offered with four tracks: Advanced Track, Information Assurance Track, Tax Track (for undergraduate accounting majors), and Professional Track (for non-accounting undergraduate majors). Courses offered include Personal Tax Planning, Assurance Services, Law for Accountants, and International Accounting. Undergraduate students have the option of completing the Integrated BBA/MACCT degree. This program is designed for students who wish to pursue both degrees with fewer credits and reduces the cost of both degrees. Another option is the MACCT/JD degree; under this program, students can pursue their Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the School of Law and Master of Accounting from the Anderson School of Management at the same time, with each school accepting six hours of graduate credit from the other. Students who wish to create their own dual degree program may do so under the Individual Dual Degree Option. Under this program, students can combine their MACCT with another degree offered by the Anderson School of Management or any UNM college. Students who already possess a BBA with an Accounting concentration may elect to earn their MBA with an Accounting concentration. This program makes it easy for students to achieve a second concentration of information assurance with overlapping course requirements. All dual degree/concentration options require prior approval and academic advisement.

Online and Hybrid Programs

Eastern New Mexico University

Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Accounting that can be earned on campus or entirely online to prepare students for the Uniform CPA Exam and meet CPA education requirements. The curriculum includes the study of skills competency and advances knowledge based on the foundation of an undergraduate degree. Candidates who do not already hold an undergraduate degree in accounting will need to complete several prerequisite courses to prepare them to successfully complete the MBA. The 30-credit hour program is based on an interdisciplinary core because of its focus on the development of managerial generalist skills and is marketed toward the working professional since it can be started in any semester and completed in as little as 12 months. Accounting-related courses include Financial Accounting, Federal Taxation, and Attestation Services. Eastern New Mexico University offers in-state tuition for non-resident graduate students taking six or fewer credit hours per semester.

New Mexico Highlands University

New Mexico Highlands University’s (NMHU) Department of Business Administration awards a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an Accounting concentration to successful candidates. The 36-hour program can be completed on-campus or online and is designed for students with a background in business. Students without an undergraduate degree in business must take a prerequisite course, Principles of Business Administration, during their first semester; all students must demonstrate proficiency in Intermediate Accounting I and II. Through case studies and simulations, students can expect to practice utilizing managerial skills to solve problems. The program utilizes an intensive problem-solving approach through simulations and case-studies, emphasizing the integrative nature of managerial responsibilities. Required coursework includes Managerial Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis. High-speed wireless internet and networked computer facilities are available throughout campus for students to access online classes as needed.

University of the Southwest

At the University of the Southwest’s (USW) College of Business Administration in Hobbs, students can earn their Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Accounting degree entirely online. This 36-credit hour program can be completed in as little as 12 months with full-time study and is designed for all students, regardless of whether they have a background in business. No prerequisite courses are required though candidates will need to hold a bachelor’s degree before beginning their MBA. Students seeking a career in accountancy will learn about accounting concepts, methodologies, and techniques. Required accounting courses include Accounting and Auditing Research; Internal Audit Theory and Practice; Small Business Accounting; Accounting and Professional Ethics; and Organizational Design and Strategy (Capstone). USW provides students with their own laptops and tuition includes the cost of textbooks and technology fees.

Additional Resources

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in New Mexico

  • Hinkle + Landers: One of the largest accounting firm in Northern New Mexico, offering accounting and tax-related services to its clients.
  • Johnson, Miller & Co.: With an office in Hobbs, one of the largest accounting firms in New Mexico and also one of the oldest with over 80 years of experience.
  • Clifton Larson Allen: Provides top-line service to clients across the Southwest and is consistently hiring for audit, tax, and bookkeeping positions.

New Mexico Accounting Associations

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a background check requirement for CPAs in New Mexico?

Yes, every applicant must submit fingerprints and undergo a criminal history background check before becoming a CPA.

Is an ethics examination required to obtain my CPA license in New Mexico?

All candidates applying for their CPA license must pass the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Ethics Examination with a grade of at least 90%. The course may be completed online.

How much does an accountant make in New Mexico?

Accountants in New Mexico earn an average annual salary of $64,770 according to the BLS.10

How much experience do I have to have before I can apply for my CPA license in New Mexico?

Candidates must complete at least one year of experience providing service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills. It is required that a licensed CPA verify and document this experience.

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/documents/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, New Mexico: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nm.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