Accounting Schools in Rhode Island

The accounting schools in Rhode Island offer opportunities to further your accounting career with various programs designed to fit your educational and future career needs. The programs offered include topics in general accounting as well as topics in specialty areas like taxation and corporate accounting. In addition to traditional on-campus programs, you may wish to consider an online or distance accounting degree program, as some students find these programs to be a better fit.

Quick Facts

  • There are 8 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Rhode Island.1
  • 4 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
  • Highest graduation rate*: Providence College, 84%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Roger Williams University, 29%1
  • Highest net price per year*: Roger Williams University, $36,8621
  • Lowest net price per year*: Rhode Island College, $9,0081
  • 2 schools ranked in Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2017: Bryant University (44), Providence College (61)
  • No schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.
  • 1 school ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2019 (top 100): Brown University (14 tie)

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

Continue reading to learn more about your options for accounting schools in Rhode Island, with information on popular degree programs, professional outlooks, and career tracks for graduates in the state.

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

  1. University of Rhode Island (63.0%)
  2. Bryant University (62.1%)
  3. Providence College (46.2%)
  4. Johnson & Wales University (30.0%)

There were four schools in Rhode Island that had graduates take the CPA exam for the first time (with an advanced degree) in 2015. The pass rate for these schools ranged from 30% to 63%. This compares to the national pass rate of 48.4% in 2015 for all candidates (with a bachelor’s or advanced degree). If you are weighing the options of different accounting programs, the first-time pass rate can be a good differentiator; however, the percentages may be skewed for schools with few candidates. For full details on CPA exam pass rates, 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 Rhode Island

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Rhode Island College (Providence, RI)

Rhode Island College (RIC) offers a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) degree with an optional concentration in Personal Financial Planning. This program focuses on building accounting knowledge in professional accounting and financial planning with courses such as Fundamentals of Financial Planning, Theory of Investment, Estate Planning, and Insurance Planning and Risk Management. Admission to the 30-credit hour program is open to students of all undergraduate backgrounds who have taken at least two courses in the principles of accounting. Graduates are typically eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Uniform CPA exams. The Rhode Island College School of Management, which administers the MPAc program, offers internship and scholarship opportunities to graduate students that can contribute toward the cost of tuition. US News ranks Rhode Island College #142-#187 in Regional Universities (North) for its affordable tuition, historic focus on academics, and low student-faculty ratio.

Salve Regina University (Newport, RI)

Salve Regina University offers master’s degree programs that can help students qualify for the Uniform CPA Exam and meet the Rhode Island state requirements for CPA licensure. Its Master of Business Administration (MBA) program can prepare future accounting professionals with the knowledge needed to work in accounting and finance at the management level. Courses in the 36-credit hour program include Financial Management, Managerial Accounting, Management of Cyber Opportunities and Threats, and Managing Business Operations. Students may take additional accounting courses through electives. Concentrations in areas such as Cybersecurity Issues in Business, Social Ventures, and Entrepreneurial Enterprise can help students become competitive leaders in business and accounting. Graduates also build knowledge in areas of concern to modern businesses such as environmental protection, ethics, and globalization. With a focus on small class sizes, Salve Regina helps students develop competencies beyond finance and accounting, including ethics and strategy. US News ranks Salve Regina #28 (tie) in Regional Universities (North).

University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI)

The University of Rhode Island offers a Master of Science (MS) in Accounting that focuses on recent developments in business and changes in the regulatory landscape. Students learn advanced accounting theory and practice through a curriculum designed to address their undergraduate background, with different tracks available for those who completed business majors, accounting majors, and majors in other fields. 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. The College of Business Administration, which maintains the accounting program, is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accounting program also holds a separate accreditation. US News ranks University of Rhode Island #157 (tie) in National Universities. The school is selective but affordable, and the student-faculty ratio is 17:1, ensuring small class sizes.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Rhode Island

BlumShapiro has offices in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts and specializes in serving privately-held and family-owned businesses as well as not-for-profit organizations. KLR is one of the largest accounting firms in all of New England, with offices in Boston, Newport, Providence, and Waltham. Its ongoing recruitment program seeks to bring the most talented emerging professionals to KLR. Sansiveri, Kimball & Co. LLP is another of the largest accounting firms in New England and serves companies in a variety of industries with core and specialized expertise. The firm continues to grow, leading to possible employment opportunities for recent grads.

How to Become a CPA in Rhode Island

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

  1. Complete a 150-semester hour or 225-quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
  2. Establish residency in Rhode Island.
  3. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  4. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.
  5. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  6. Apply for a license.

1. Complete a 150-semester hour or 225-quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.

Prospective Rhode Island CPAs must first complete a 150-semester hour program of education. The education completed must include a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a concentration in accounting. Candidates with a graduate degree should complete 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate 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:

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

2. Establish residency in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island maintains a residency requirement for those seeking CPA licensure. Residency may be established through living in Rhode Island or being regularly employed in the state.

3. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

The Rhode Island Board of Accountancy requires prospective CPAs to complete one year (at least 1,820 hours) of experience to qualify for a license. The experience must be supervised by a licensed CPA or public accountant. Qualifying experience should consist of the use of skills in accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting. Work in public practice, government, industry, or academia (upper division collegiate courses only) may count toward the experience requirement.

4. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

All first-time licensees 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 license requirements.

5. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Uniform CPA Exam is a requirement for CPA licensure in all 50 states. The Rhode Island Board of Accountancy uses 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 in an 18-month rolling period.

6. Apply for a license.

The Rhode Island Board of Accountancy accepts applications for new CPA licenses through its e-licensing portal. First-time visitors must register and create an account to proceed with a first-time license application. Instructions for submitting the required supporting documentation, including experience verification, will be forwarded to the applicant.

CPA licenses in Rhode Island are renewed on a triennial basis. CPAs must complete 120 hours of continuing education for each renewal period to remain current. You can find additional information at the Rhode Island Board of Accountancy website.

Rhode Island Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth


Accountants and Auditors in Rhode Island from 2016-20262

Accountants in Rhode Island can expect a competitive salary, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the average salary for accountants in the state at $79,950.3 The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job growth in the accounting and auditing fields will be strong over the next eight years, thanks to new regulations increasing the demand for educated accounting professionals and globalization contributing to the need for professionals well versed in a variety of business topics. Overall, accountant and auditor positions are projected to grow by 9.0% through 2026 in Rhode Island.2

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