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Accounting Schools in Rhode Island

This overview will provide you with detailed information about the accounting schools in Rhode Island that offer master’s degrees. Master’s degrees in accounting offer opportunities to further your accounting career and may include topics in general accounting as well as topics in specialty areas like taxation and corporate accounting. In addition to completing accounting education, aspiring Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in Rhode Island must also pass the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Uniform CPA Exam and the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam. All graduate accounting programs in Rhode Island are offered through traditional on-campus methods. Students interested in online programs may wish to consider programs in nearby states, such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.

Quick Facts

  • There are 8 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Rhode Island.1
  • 5 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
  • No schools were ranked in Forbes’ Best Business Schools 2019.2
  • 1 school was 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
  • 3 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
  • 2 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 Rhode Island
Rhode Island CPA Salary and Job Outlook
Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Rhode Island
Rhode Island Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison
Select Schools in Rhode Island with Master’s in Accounting Programs
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

Steps to Become a CPA in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Board of Accountancy (the Board) oversees the process for becoming a CPA in the state. There are six main steps to complete in order to earn a CPA license in Rhode Island.

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

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

Prospective Rhode Island CPAs must first complete 150 semester hours of college-level education, with an award of at least a bachelor’s degree, including a concentration in accounting. Candidates with a graduate degree should complete 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level or 15 semester hours in accounting at the graduate level, or an acceptable combination thereof. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree must complete at least 24 semester hours of accounting in addition to 24 semester hours in business courses outside of accounting. In all cases, the accounting curriculum must include:

  • Advanced financial accounting and reporting (three semester hours)
  • Auditing (three semester hours)
  • Fundamental accounting (six semester hours)
  • Intermediate financial accounting and reporting (six semester hours)
  • Tax accounting (three semester hours)

If business courses are used to meet the requirements, they must include at least three semester hours in both business law and economics.

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

The Board requires prospective CPAs to complete one year (equivalent to at least 1,820 hours) of experience in any of the following areas to qualify for a CPA license:

  • Accounting
  • Attest
  • Management advisory
  • Financial advisory
  • Tax
  • Consulting skills

The experience must be supervised by a licensed CPA or public accountant. Any combination of work in public practice, government, industry, or academia (upper-division collegiate courses only) may count toward the experience requirement. Further details about the Board’s experience requirements can be found on the Board website.

3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

All first-time CPA applicants in Rhode Island must complete the AICPA ethics course and exam. This self-study course can be ordered through the AICPA website. In Rhode Island, a score of at least 90% on the exam is required to satisfy licensure requirements.

4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The AICPA Uniform CPA Exam is a requirement for CPA licensure in all 50 states. In Rhode Island, a prospective CPA applicant may apply to take the Uniform CPA Exam once at least 120 semester hours of college-level education meeting the above educational requirements have been completed; however, the license will not be issued until all education and experience requirements have been met. The Board uses the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to administer the application and testing process. Candidates may apply to the exam through the NASBA website. All four sections of the exam must be passed with a grade of 75 in an 18-month rolling period.

5. Apply for a license.

An applicant can apply for a license once NASBA has sent the exam results to the Board. The Board accepts applications for new CPA licenses through its e-licensing portal or via paper forms available on the Board website. Confirmation of the applicant’s supervised experience must be sent directly to the Board by the supervising CPA using the forms provided.

6. Receive a CPA license from the Board.

The Board reviews complete applications at Board meetings held periodically throughout the year. Once approved, the candidate will be notified in writing (for paper applications) or via the online portal. Applicants cannot use the CPA designation until their application has been approved by the Board.

CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information

CPA licenses in Rhode Island are renewed on a triennial basis and expire on June 30. Renewal notices are sent via email and licenses cannot be renewed until the email is received. It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure the Board has an up-to-date email address. CPAs must complete 120 hours of continuing education during each renewal period, including at least six hours of ethics training. You can find additional information on the Board’s website.

Rhode Island CPA Salary and Job Outlook

There are currently 4,740 accountants and auditors working in Rhode Island.10 Accountants in Rhode Island can expect a competitive salary, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting the average salary for accountants and auditors in the state at $83,340.10 Most accountants and auditors are based in the Providence metro area, where the average annual salary is $83,850.10 The BLS estimates job growth in the accounting and auditing fields in Rhode Island through 2028 (5.9%) will be similar to the national average (6.4%) during the same period.11

Rhode Island CPA Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber Employed10Average Annual Salary10
Norwich-New London-Westerly630$75,120
Providence-Warwick5,190$83,850

Top-Ranked Schools with Master’s in Accounting Programs in Rhode Island

Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Accounting Majors* 2020

  • Bryant University

*With master’s in accounting programs.

Rhode Island Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison

Below we have compiled a table including information about all not-for-profit Rhode Island 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 Rate12Grad Rate1Online Options?Tuition per Credit
Bryant UniversityAACSB54.2%Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc);
Master of Professional Accountancy in Tax(MPAc-Tax);
Master of Professional Accountancy in Analytics (MPAc-Analytics)
74.2%81%$1,176
Johnson & Wales University-ProvidenceIACBE61.5%MBA-AccountingN.Av.65%$786
Providence CollegeAACSB33.3%MBA-AccountingN.Av.87%$715
Rhode Island CollegeIACBE33.3%Master of Professional Accountancy (M.P.Ac.)N.Av.49%$462
University of Rhode IslandAACSB26.7%MS-Accounting93.8%69%$940

  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Select Schools in Rhode Island with Master’s in Accounting Programs

Traditional Programs

Bryant University

At Bryant University, aspiring CPAs have the option of completing a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) with an optional concentration in either Tax (MPAc-Tax) or Analytics (MPAc-Analytics). The goals of the program are to teach students how to analyze accounting situations, research accounting issues, and develop recommendations according to accounting standards and best practices. All three versions of the degree are accredited by AACSB and require 30 credits. Examples of available courses include Individual Income Taxation; Advanced Assurance and Professional Oversight; and Multinational Accounting. Three start dates are offered each year in January, May, and September. Students can study full- or part-time and can complete the degree in as little as eight months depending on their concentration option and start date. Applicants must have completed prior coursework in accounting, including financial and managerial accounting; advanced financial accounting; taxation; accounting information systems; auditing; cost management; and two semesters of intermediate accounting. In addition, MPAc-Analytics applicants must have experience in statistics.

Johnson & Wales University

At the Providence campus of Johnson & Wales University, students interested in learning advanced accounting skills and a wider range of business functions can complete the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Accounting degree. Students will learn how to analyze and interpret business and accounting problems; communicate effectively and professionally; and apply legal and professional standards to complex situations. The degree comprises 36 semester credits, including 18 credits of core courses, 15 credits in the accounting concentration, and three credits in a capstone project. Examples of required accounting courses include Advanced Auditing, Individual Taxation, and Law for Accountants. The curriculum is designed to be applied towards the educational requirements for the Uniform CPA Exam. Applicants with diverse educational backgrounds may apply to the program; however, students without a bachelor’s degree in business or accounting may be required to complete up to 30 credits of prerequisite coursework in business and accounting foundations prior to beginning the program.

Providence College

Providence College offers an AACSB-accredited, 36-credit Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Accounting for students with a background in accounting. The curriculum focuses on the skills needed to pass the Uniform CPA Exam and work as a licensed CPA in the state while also teaching fundamental business skills and leadership. The program has a cohort structure requiring all students to take eight courses in core accounting subjects, such as Financial Management for Corporations and Analytics in Operations Management, as well as four electives. New students are admitted in the summer and begin the program by completing an MBA internship. During the program, students also learn teamwork skills and apply their learning by completing an interactive business project or case competition. Due to the cohort structure of the program, only full-time studies are permitted and students complete the program in as little as 13-14 months. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in accounting or business with a concentration in accounting prior to beginning the MBA program.

Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College (RIC) offers an IACBE-accredited Master of Professional Accountancy (M.P.Ac.) degree with an optional concentration in Personal Financial Planning. This program focuses on building accounting knowledge in tax accounting, risk management, and financial planning, such as estates and retirements. Students also learn how to create a personalized financial plan for an individual client. The degree requires 30 credits, including 21 credits of core coursework with courses such as Advanced Topics in Cost Management; Advanced Topics in Auditing and Fraud; and Controllership. Students also complete an accounting capstone project and nine additional credits of electives. Admission is open to students of all undergraduate backgrounds, although those without a concentration in accounting must complete at least six credits in accounting principles prior to beginning the program. Graduates are typically eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Uniform CPA exams depending on the courses taken.

University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island (URI) offers an AACSB-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Accounting that focuses on preparing graduates to work in complex business environments and understand changes in tax laws and accounting. Students learn advanced accounting theory and practice through a curriculum designed to align with their undergraduate background, with different tracks available for those who completed business majors, accounting majors, and majors in other fields. A full-time student with an undergraduate degree in accounting can complete the 30-credit program in as little as one year. Applicants with other educational backgrounds will be required to complete additional credits in accounting and business to meet the degree requirements. All students complete four courses in the accounting core including Accounting Theory I & II; Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders; and Financial Statement Analysis and choose from business and accounting electives. Electives offered in the program include Advanced Problems in Accounting; Seminar in Tax Research, Policy, and Planning; Directed Study in Accounting; and International Accounting. Students may also choose to undertake an internship in accounting for elective credit.

Additional Resources

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Rhode Island

  • BlumShapiro: A New England accounting and business advisory firm with an office in Cranston, Rhode Island, as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington DC.
  • KLR: With offices in Newport, Pawtucket, and Providence, KLR provides comprehensive tax and accounting services across Rhode Island.
  • Sansiveri, Kimball & Co. LLP: A full-service business and accounting firm serving industries such as construction, healthcare, and nonprofit from the Providence-based office.

Rhode Island Accounting Associations

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you become a CPA in Rhode Island?

To become a CPA in Rhode Island, you must complete 150 semester hours of college-level education including a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in accounting or equivalent. You then must complete at least 1,820 hours of supervised work experience and pass the Uniform CPA Exam and the AICPA ethics exam. The Board will review your application and issue a license once all requirements are met.

How much does a CPA earn in Rhode Island?

Salaries for accountants and auditors in Rhode Island are competitive compared to national averages. Most positions are located in the Providence metro area where the average annual salary is $83,850 compared to the national average of $79,520.10,13 The state average salary for accountants and auditors in Rhode Island is $83,340.10

How long does it take to become a CPA in Rhode Island?

The process of becoming a CPA in Rhode Island takes many years due to the education and experience requirements. First, you must complete 150 semester credits in accounting including at least a bachelor’s degree, which typically takes at least four years of full-time study. Many applicants also complete a one-year master’s degree in accounting to meet these requirements. Then, you must accumulate at least one year of accounting experience equivalent to 1,820 hours and pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam in an 18-month period as well as the AICPA ethics exam. From the start of the postsecondary degree, becoming a CPA in Rhode Island typically takes at least six years.

How many CPAs are there in Rhode Island?

According to the BLS, there are 4,740 accountants and auditors in Rhode Island.10 Most work in the Providence-Warwick metro area (5,190), which also includes accountants and auditors employed in the bordering regions of southeastern Massachusetts.10 An additional 630 accountants and auditors are employed in the Norwich, Connecticut metro area, which includes those working in southwestern Rhode Island.10

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/
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, Rhode Island: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ri.htm
11. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
12. US News & World Report Best Business Schools 2020: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools
13. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 Occupational Employment and Wages, Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm