Accounting Schools in Texas
Accounting schools in Texas offer diverse educational opportunities for those interested in earning a degree to support a career in accounting. The accounting programs available include specialized topics such as forensic accounting, accounting technology, and corporate accounting, as well as many other programs you may find to be a match for your career aspirations. As an alternative to traditional on-campus programs, you may wish to consider an online degree, which may provide greater scheduling flexibility.
- There are 101 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Texas.1
- 42 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
- Highest graduation rate*: Rice University, 91%1
- Highest transfer-out rate*: University of Houston-Victoria, 60%1
- Highest net price per year*: Baylor University, $37,7451
- Lowest net price per year*: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, $4,0951
- 5 schools ranked in Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2017: University of Texas at Austin (6), Southern Methodist University (21), Texas Christian University (24), University of Texas at Dallas (88), University of Texas at San Antonio (113)
- 4 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018: Texas A&M University (#24 in-state, #64 out-of-state), University of Texas at Austin (#8 in-state, #29 out-of-state), University of Texas at Dallas (#41 in-state, #54 out-of-state), University of Houston (#89 in-state, #91 out-of-state)
- 6 schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2019 (top 100): Rice University (16), University of Texas at Austin (49), Southern Methodist University (59), Texas A&M University-College Station (66), Baylor University (78), Texas Christian University (80)
*For four-year not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.
Continue reading to find profiles of popular accounting programs and accounting schools in Texas as well as information about where a degree in accounting can take your career.
Schools with the Highest 2015 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree
- University of Texas at Austin (79.3%)
- Texas A&M University (78.6%)
- Texas Christian University (75%)
- Baylor University (73.9%)
- Trinity University (71.9%)
- University of Texas at Arlington (69%)
- University of Texas at San Antonio (66.3%)
There were 42 schools in Texas that had first-time candidates for the CPA exam (with an advanced degree) in 2015. The range for the pass rate for these schools varied from 0% to 79.3%. For comparison, the national pass rate for all candidates was 48.4% in 2015. When weighing options for an accounting program, first-time pass rate can be a helpful indicator although it may be skewed for schools with a small number of candidates. For a comprehensive look at the CPA exam statistics the 2015 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Texas
Texas State University-San Marcos (San Marcos, TX)
Texas State University-San Marcos offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcy) program that provides a broad education in the principles and practices of accounting. In addition to fundamental accounting concepts, students study the social and environmental effects of accounting information, emerging with a well-rounded understanding of accounting in the modern world. With an undergraduate degree in accounting, this program can qualify students to meet the 150-hour requirement to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. Core courses in the curriculum include Advanced Tax Concepts, External Auditing, and Accounting Ethics and Professionalism. The curriculum also includes a professional research course in either professional accounting or tax. Students may optionally complete internships for course credit, which may increase competitiveness in the job market upon graduation. The MAcy program at Texas State holds accounting accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Financial aid programs, including grants and graduate assistantships, are available to qualified students.
St. Edward’s University (Austin, TX)
St. Edward’s University’s Master of Accounting (MAcc) program qualifies students to take the Uniform CPA exam and take on leadership roles in business. Most classes are taken in the evening and on weekends, with each course meeting once per week. Students complete the 30 credit hour program within two years on average, taking two courses per semester. Graduates are qualified to work in public, private, government, and non-profit accounting as well as in financial services positions. Courses in the program include Advanced Federal Taxation, Advanced Accounting Problems, Fraud and Forensic Accounting, and Special Topics in Accounting. An optional internship for course credit provides real-world learning opportunities. Students and alumni receive support from the school’s Career and Professional Development department, which offers career counseling, networking, and other professional assistance. St. Edward’s University is ranked #12 in Regional Universities (West) by US News based in part on its selectivity, reputation for academic quality, and small average class sizes.
Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)
Texas A&M University offers a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) through its Mays Business School that focuses on developing technical and qualitative expertise in accounting and related fields of professional knowledge. This non-thesis program requires 37 to 39 credit hours to complete and offers two tracks of specialization in Assurance Services/Information Management or in Tax Consulting/Financial Planning. Student degree plans include such courses as Corporate Tax, Development of Accounting Thought, and Financial Management, as well as a Graduate Professional Accounting Seminar. Admission to the program is competitive and based on students’ academic and extracurricular activities as well as any applicable work experience. The Mays Business School also offers a Master of Science in Finance that may be of interest to future financial services professionals, as well as a specialist certificate in Energy Accounting. The rigorous program attracts recruiting managers from the Big 4, who frequently hire graduates from the program. US News ranks Texas A&M #66 in National Universities.
University of Texas (Austin, TX)
The University of Texas McCombs Business School offers a Master’s of Public Accounting (MPA) program that offers hands-on experience through internships and workshops, as well as study abroad opportunities. Admission is open to students of all undergraduate disciplines. The MPA typically requires 36 to 42 credit hours to complete depending on previous coursework. Graduate courses in the program include Managerial Accounting; Legal Environment of Business for MPAs; Financial Accounting Standards and Analysis; and Information Technology for Accounting and Control. Students may also elect to join the school’s Graduate Student Instructor Program, which provides personal and professional development as well as assistantship stipends. Other financial assistance, such as merit-based scholarships, is available. Students interested in teaching accounting may also be interested in the doctoral accounting program at the University of Texas. The University of Texas has the #1 ranked accounting master’s program in the nation according to US News, and the average base salary of McCombs Business School graduates is $116,403.
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Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Texas
Maxwell Locke & Ritter is the largest locally-owned and managed accounting firm in the Austin metro area. The firm takes pride in helping its staff further develop their skills and career opportunities through mentorship and is frequently hiring. McKinnon Patten & Associates is a long-running local accounting firm based in Dallas specializing in tax services and wealth management, and they may offer career opportunities to licensed CPAs and accounting graduates.
How to Become a CPA in Texas
The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy oversees the process for becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state. There are seven main steps to complete in order to earn a CPA license in Texas.
- Complete a 150 semester hour or 225 quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
- Submit the Application of Intent – CPA Examination.
- Complete the FAST fingerprint background check.
- Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
- Accumulate the required hours of experience.
- Complete the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct Exam.
- Apply for a license.
1. Complete a 150 semester hour or 225 quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
Completing 150 semester hours of college education is the first step to obtaining a Texas CPA license. The 150 semester hours must include the award of a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree, such as a master’s. The 150 hours must include 24 semester hours of upper level business courses as well as 30 semester hours of upper level accounting courses, at least 15 hours of which are in a face-to-face instruction format. The accounting courses may include:
- Financial accounting
- Intermediate accounting (for a maximum of 9 semester hours)
- Advanced accounting
- Accounting theory
- Managerial or cost accounting beyond the introductory level
- Auditing and attestation services
- Internal accounting control and risk assessment
- Accounting research and analysis
- Financial statement analysis
- Taxation (for a maximum of 12 semester hours)
- Financial accounting for government or not-for-profits
- Accounting information systems (for a maximum of 12 semester hours)
- Fraud examination
- International accounting and financial reporting
At least two semester hours of tax research and analysis and/or taxation are required. Students must also complete at least two semester hours in accounting or business communications. In addition, students must take at least four semester hours of ethics in a course approved by the Board.
2. Submit the Application of Intent – CPA Examination.
Once the requisite education has been completed, candidates should submit the Application of Intent Package to obtain approval to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Texas. Approved applicants will receive further instructions on scheduling the Uniform CPA Exam. Note that candidates must sit for at least one section of the Uniform CPA Exam within two years of submitting this application.
3. Complete the FAST fingerprint background check.
All initial applicants for the Uniform CPA Exam must complete the Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) Program fingerprint background check to support the Application of Intent. State and national background checks will be performed to qualify candidates for licensure. Only fingerprints completed through IdentoGo will be accepted for in-state applicants. Appointments for fingerprinting at facilities throughout the state can be made online through IdentoGo’s website.
4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
CPA candidates in all 50 states must take and pass the Uniform CPA Exam to qualify for a license. Texas candidates will receive information on scheduling and taking the exam after approval of their Application of Intent. All four sections of the exam must be passed within an 18-month rolling period from the date that the first section was passed.
5. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
All candidates for CPA licensure in Texas must complete required experience to qualify for a license. Candidates who hold a master’s degree typically must complete one year of full-time experience, which is no fewer than 2,000 hours. Applicants also have the option to complete their hours part-time on a timeline between one and three years. In all cases, experience must be performed under the supervision of a CPA who has experience in the non-routine accounting area where the candidate is working. Experience hours may only be counted in specific roles and areas, and details can be found on the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy website.
6. Complete the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct Exam.
The Texas State Board of Accountancy uses a take-home ethics exam that is required of all CPA applicants, the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct Exam. Those who successfully pass the Uniform CPA Exam will automatically be mailed a copy of this exam along with the rules of professional conduct to study. Note that this exam is in lieu of the AICPA exam required in many other states.
7. Apply for a license.
Once the Texas State Board of Accountancy receives notification from NASBA that a candidate has passed all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam, the Board will send the successful candidate an application packet for a license. All forms within the packet must be completed and returned to the Texas State Board of Accountancy in order to receive a CPA license.
Once licensed, Texas CPAs must complete at least 120 hours of continuing education during each three year period, with a minimum of 20 hours occurring during each calendar year. You can find additional information on the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy website.
Texas Accountant Salary and Job Outlook
Projected Job Growth
Accountants and Auditors in Texas from 2016-20262
Texas is one of the top states for beginning CPAs to find employment, as over 116,000 accountants and auditors are currently working within the state.3,4 This makes Texas the state with the second-highest employment rate in this field.3,4 The competition for top applicants leads to higher salaries, as the average accountant in Texas makes $81,330 per year.3 However, this is often higher in urban areas, and Texas has four major metro areas: Dallas, where the average accountant salary is $82,970; Austin, where the average is $73,520; San Antonio, where the average is $75,690; and Houston, where the average is $89,270.5,6,7,8.
Sam Houston State University
1905 University Ave
Huntsville, TX 77340
Student Review: “My college experience at Sam Houston State University was great, however, the Accounting department at the College of Business Administration (COBA) was horrible. The Dean of the college had a “sink or swim” mentality and didn’t offer much in the way of tutoring or help. I visited him on several occasions and his attitude seemed to be “figure it out or change majors.” I took several courses from different professors while earning my degree. Only one of them was exceptional and took the time to make sure his students understood the material before proceeding. If you have a firm understanding of accounting principles, or you have access to a great tutor, then this is the accounting program for you. Otherwise, you will probably find yourself struggling through the courses without guidance. Proceed with caution!” -Jennifer B., student at Sam Houston State University
Texas A&M University
400 Bizzell St
College Station, TX 77843
Student Review: “I was a little hesitant on attending Texas A&M because I had been a lifelong Sooner fan. But after attending the school, I can definitely say I made the right choice. The campus is amazing and full of hospitality and tradition. The accounting program is located out on west campus and has a very nice building called Wehner. It is state of the art and really makes you feel as if you are in the business world. The professors are super helpful and willing to go the extra mile for their students. They make even the boring aspects very interesting. Overall, I am very glad I chose the Accounting program at Texas A&M.” -Ryan W., student at Texas A&M University
Student Review: “The Texas A&M Professional Program in Accounting provided me with an opportunity to graduate with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in just 4.5 years. The rigorous program balanced the need to understand accounting concepts and theory with real-world applications. Many of the professors in the program integrate fundamental concepts required to pass the CPA exam, and the entire program seeks to mold you into an educated, thoughtful citizen ready for a career in accounting. There is fantastic interaction with Big 4 and middle market accounting firms as they host mixers, career fairs, and fun events (golf outings, crawfish boils, paintball) in an effort to get to know students and as part of the recruiting process. I received a number of internship offers and ultimately selected the Dallas office of a top 25 firm.” -student at Texas A&M University
Texas State University
601 University Dr
San Marcos, TX 78666
Student Review: “I had a wonderful experience during my time at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. However, I went down a different path than most students. I went there at 18 years old, like a normal student. However, I found partying to be more important than school. I was put under a two-year suspension and had to move and work full time. I took a job that ended up being a great opportunity. At 24 years old, I decided to go back and finish up school. The school has a great program for working adults. They offer great programs for working adults and I was able to take night classes and took independent study for courses that were not offered at night. This allowed me to keep my full-time job and work on school when I was able to. I joined the “Non-Traditional Student Organization”, where I met my new, current boss. I was able to network with other adults from all over the state who were in situations similar to myself.” – student at Texas State University
University of Houston-Clear Lake
2700 Bay Area Blvd
Houston, TX 77058
Student Review: “I attended the University of Houston – Clear Lake. The experience of pursuing my accounting degree was fantastic, and I am proud to be a part of this accredited university. The program started off challenging. It was as if the faculty of the introductory accounting courses was determined to make absolutely sure that the students were, in fact, pursuing the correct field for them before they got too far into the program and may regret their degree choice. Though difficult, my professors were always willing to lend a helping hand to those of us in need. They were always available and I could contact them during office hours and while they were out of school. My professors expressed great knowledge to their students from their experiences in the workforce as well as their constant studies in order to stay up to date with the changing concepts and guidelines. Even though I am not going to participate in an internship program, I know that I have received the best education and am confident to know that I will have no problems obtaining an entry-level position.” -Veronica A., student at University of Houston-Clear Lake
University of Texas at Dallas
800 W Campbell Rd
Richardson, TX 75080
Student Review: “The accounting program at the University of Texas at Dallas was the perfect program for adults returning back to school, such as myself. The class schedule was completely flexible with several evening classes offered as well as classes on the weekends. The professors were challenging and had high expectations of the students, which was appreciated. The night classes I attended were comprised primarily of adults, which made the environment a focused and serious one, allowing for the optimal learning environment. The professors also brought in a plethora of real-world knowledge that was successfully transferred into the classroom. I really appreciated the use of computers & technology in the classroom. This allowed for the working students to be able to access the course material and have correspondence with the professors from anywhere.” – Student at University of Texas at Dallas
University of Texas at San Antonio
1 UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249
Student Review: “I felt earning my degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio was pretty rough. Most of the teachers were hard to approach and made it seem like we should already understand this information with ease. However, I did have a couple professors who I thought were great as they gave us the necessary supplements to pass our standardized tests. There were a lot of people who dropped out of my classes and ended up switching majors, which was a little discouraging. UTSA actually ended up making a standardized test that students had to take before getting into Intermediate Accounting I to help filter some of the students. What made these courses easier was having online communication so all the students in classes could get together and converse. Students would get together and work multiple problems as a group. As most people say, the best way to learn is to practice problems over and over again. This method worked for me as well as many of my other classmates. I don’t think I’ve ever been so worried about any of my exam grades until it came to accounting.” -Andrew D., student at University of Texas at San Antonio
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): http://www.projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Texas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tx.htm
4. 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
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_19100.htm
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Austin-Round Rock, TX: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_12420.htm
7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_41700.htm
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_26420.htm