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Accounting Schools in North Dakota

This summary of graduate-level accounting schools in North Dakota will provide you with information on schools and top programs in the state to support your career goals, skills, and interests. Since there are only a few schools that offer master’s in accounting degrees in the state, students may wish to look at online programs from around the country as well as programs in neighboring states like Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, and Nebraska. Keep reading to learn more about accounting schools in North Dakota, how to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state, and salary and employment information for North Dakota accountants.

Quick Facts

  • There are 9 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in North Dakota.1
  • 2 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
  • No 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
  • No 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 North Dakota
North Dakota CPA Salary and Job Outlook
North Dakota Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison
Select Schools in North Dakota with Master’s in Accounting Programs
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

Steps to Become a CPA in North Dakota

The North Dakota State Board of Accountancy (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 North Dakota CPA license.

  1. Complete 150 semester hours of college-level education in accounting.
  2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.
  4. Apply to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination.
  5. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  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 North Dakota must complete at least 150 semester hours of college education that includes the award of a bachelor’s degree and that is concentrated in accounting. Courses that count towards an accounting concentration in North Dakota are typically those that include accounting, auditing, or tax rubric. In addition to a 24-hour accounting concentration, candidates must also complete at least 24 semester hours in related general business subjects. Up to three business subject credits may be earned in economics.

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

Candidates for a North Dakota CPA license must earn at least 2,000 hours of experience gained in not less than one calendar year and not more than four calendar years. The majority of the experience must involve the use of skills in accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting. Experience may be earned in public accounting, industry, government, or academia and must be verified by a supervisor.

3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

The Board requires candidates for licensure to take the AICPA self-study course and exam in professional ethics. A score of 90% or higher is required and the course must be completed within one year from the date of purchase. The course materials can be ordered directly from North Dakota CPA Society’s website.

4. Apply to sit for 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). The Board provides the CPA Exam Application for candidates who are ready to take the Uniform CPA Exam. Candidates should apply 30 days in advance of the desired exam date; however, the Board may allow a candidate who does not yet meet the educational requirements to take the exam provided they complete the requirements within six months of application. The application packet includes three separate reference forms, college transcripts, an affidavit of good moral character, a recent photograph, and payment in the form of a check or money order. Candidates may pay via credit card separately but their application will not be reviewed until the invoice is paid.

5. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

Candidates may sit for the exam within the first 60 days of any quarter (e.g., April or May). Sections can be taken individually or all at once. All four sections of the exam must be passed within an 18-month rolling period with a minimum score of 75.

6. Apply for a license.

Candidates who have met the education, experience, and exam requirements are ready to apply for a North Dakota CPA license. Candidates must contact the Board to request an Initial CPA Certificate application packet. The application must include a Certificate of Experience to verify qualifying work experience detailed in step 2 above.

7. Receive a CPA license.

Once the application packet has been approved by the Board and Uniform CPA Exam scores have been reviewed, a license will be issued to applicants and they can begin practicing as CPAs.

CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Licensed North Dakota CPAs must earn 120 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) for each three-year renewal period, with no fewer than 20 hours occurring per year. Six of these hours must be in ethics. Note that CPE rules will change in 2022; more information can be found on the Board’s website.

North Dakota CPA Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants in North Dakota earn an average annual salary of $64,260, significantly less than the national average of $79,520.10,11 This salary is higher in metro areas like Bismarck, where annual salaries for accountants fall closer to $67,460, on average.10 Across North Dakota, demand for accountants and auditors is projected to grow by 8% through 2028, faster than the national average of 6.4%.12

North Dakota CPA Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber Employed10Average Annual Salary10
Bismarck810$68,830
Fargo, ND-MN1,300$65,670
Grand Forks, ND-MN310$67,880
West North Dakota nonmetropolitan area900$64,270
East North Dakota nonmetropolitan area590$52,380

North Dakota Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison

Below we have compiled a table including information about all not-for-profit North Dakota 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. Also please note that tuition per credit is based on in-state, on-campus tuition; per-credit rates may vary for out-of-state and online students.

School NameAccreditationCPA Exam Pass Rate6Master’s in Accounting Degree(s)Acceptance Rate13Grad Rate1Online Options?Tuition per Credit
North Dakota State UniversityAACSBN.Av.Master of Accountancy (MAcc)100%60%$647
University of North DakotaAACSBN.Av.Master of Accountancy (MAcc);
Combined or Accelerated BAcc/MAcc*
N.Av.61%Yes$469

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

Select Schools in North Dakota with Master’s in Accounting Programs

Traditional Programs

North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University’s AACSB-accredited College of Business offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program best suited to students with undergraduate degrees in accounting, although students who majored in other subjects may enter the program and supplement their education with additional foundational courses within the master’s program. The non-thesis program provides students with the skills and knowledge base needed to advance their careers in public, corporate, or government accounting and achieve certification by passing the Uniform CPA Exam. An emphasis on interactivity between peers, faculty, and accounting leaders provides learning and networking opportunities. Electives in the 30-credit hour program include Fraud Examination, Management Control Systems, and Financial Statement Analysis. The program can be completed in as little as 11 months, but students also have the option of completing the program at their own pace on a part-time basis. Graduate assistantships are available on a limited basis to qualified students.

Online and Hybrid Programs

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota (UND) runs an AACSB-accredited Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program that prepares future accountants for successful careers. The flexible program can be completed in as little as a year and can be pursued on three tracks. Both the Professional Accountancy Track and Practitioner Track are designed for undergraduates who hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting while the Accounting Fundamentals Track targets undergraduates with a degree outside of accounting. The Practitioner Track and Accounting Fundamentals track can both be completed entirely online and all three tracks consist of 30 credit hours. A combined program can be completed in four to five years for students who seek to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting. Up to 12 credit hours in graduate-level accounting courses may count toward both degrees simultaneously. All MAcc options require six credit hours of the MAcc core, which includes Seminar in Accounting Issues and Advanced Financial Accounting, and students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses.

Additional Resources

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in North Dakota

  • EideBailly: One of the largest accounting firms in the US, EideBailly has offices in Bismarck and Fargo that serve clients from across the northern Midwest.
  • Brady, Martz & Associates: This firm offers a range of services with offices across North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • Krumm & Associates: This highly selective firm works with clients in various industries.

North Dakota Accounting Associations

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an ethics examination required to obtain my CPA license in North Dakota?

Yes, all candidates applying for their CPA license in North Dakota 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 do CPAs make in North Dakota?

Accountants in North Dakota earn an average annual salary of $64,260 according to the BLS.10

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

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

What is the education requirement for CPA licensure in North Dakota?

Candidates for CPA licensure in North Dakota must complete at least 150 semester hours of college education that includes the award of a bachelor’s degree. The degree must be concentrated in accounting and include courses that have an accounting, auditing, or tax rubric. An additional 24 hours in business subjects are also required, inclduing up to three credits in economics.

References:
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/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, North Dakota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nd.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