Accounting Schools in Utah
This overview of accounting schools in Utah contains key information about accounting schools and degree programs so that you can make an informed choice about where to pursue an accounting degree. The options for earning an accounting degree in Utah include general accounting degrees as well as specialty accounting degrees like public and professional accounting. An online accounting degree may be a good fit for individuals who require additional flexibility.
- There are 21 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Utah.1
- 7 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
- Highest graduation rate*: Brigham Young University-Provo, 83%1
- Highest transfer-out rate*: Dixie State University, 28%1
- Highest net price per year*: Stevens-Henager College, $27,6651
- Lowest net price per year*: Utah Valley University, $6,6901
- 2 schools ranked in Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2017: Brigham Young University-Provo (18), University of Utah (105)
- 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018: University of Utah (#49 in-state, #67 out-of-state)
- 1 school ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2019 (top 100): Brigham Young University (66 tie)
*For four-year not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.
Keep reading to learn more about your options in pursuing a degree from the accounting schools in Utah, as well as information about potential careers and salary projections for graduates.
Schools with the Highest 2015 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree
- Western Governors University (90.9%)
- Brigham Young University (90.3%)
- Utah Valley University (83.3%
- Utah State University (74.0%)
- University of Utah (68.0%)
- Weber State University (67.3%)
- Southern Utah University (54.2%)
There were seven schools in Utah that had first-time CPA exam candidates (with an advanced degree) in 2015. The pass rate at these schools ranged from a low of 42.9% to a high of 90.9%. Nationally, the pass rate was 48.4% in 2015 for all candidates. The first-time pass rate provides a helpful differentiator when comparing accounting programs, although the percentage can be misleading if a school has a small number of candidates. For a comprehensive breakdown of CPA exam statistics see the 2015 Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Utah
Brigham Young University (Salt Lake City)
Brigham Young University’s Marriot School of Management offers a Masters of Accounting program that is nationally ranked and highly personalized to student career goals. Decision making is the focus at this school, which requires students to take ethics courses and abide by the school’s unique honor code. Two emphasis tracks are offered, the Professional Stem for professional accounting services and the Tax Stem for taxation specialization. On either stem, students may add tracks in Accounting Information Systems or PhD Preparation. Specialist courses offered on these degree tracks include Advanced Taxation, Advanced Professional Financial Accounting, Fraud Prevention and Detection, and Management Consulting and Projects. After completing the curriculum, students are prepared to apply their technical proficiency and understanding of advanced concepts in accounting and finance to their professional careers. The Brigham Young University Masters of Accounting program is ranked #4 in the best master’s of accounting programs in the US by US News.
University of Utah (Salt Lake City)
University of Utah offers a Master of Accounting (MAcc) program through its David Eccles School of Business. This advanced program offers multiple emphasis areas for degree customization, including audit, tax, and information systems. Those who do not meet undergraduate prerequisites in accounting and business may be interested in the MAcc intensive program, which allows students to complete all program prerequisites in one summer. Students may pursue the degree on a full-time or part-time basis, taking such courses as Cases in Auditing and Systems; Reading and Interpreting Financial Statements; Business Valuation Statement Analysis; and Business and Tax Strategies. Graduates are prepared to pass the Uniform CPA Exam in Utah. A Master of Science in Finance program is also offered through the David Eccles School of Business for students interested in careers in financial and investment management. Graduates of the accounting and finance programs benefit from the school’s recruiting relationships with world-renowned accounting firms, including the Big Four. US News ranks University of Utah #119 (tie) in National Universities.
Westminster College (Salt Lake City)
Westminster College’s Master of Accountancy program is recognized for integrating the study of accounting with the closely related study of information systems. This integration allows students to prepare for the Uniform CPA Exam and to assume leadership roles in multiple accounting environments. Students enrolled in the program also develop a firm understanding of global business processes, critical analysis of accounting and financial reporting documents, and communication in the business world. Courses in the 30-credit hour program include Internal Reporting and Business Control; Financial Reporting and Control; Executive Financial Decision Making; and Financing New Ventures. Students are typically expected to take a full-time course load during the fall and spring semesters and a part-time course load in the summer, making it possible to graduate from the program in one year. Westminster College’s competitively low student-faculty ratio allows the school to hold the majority of classes with fewer than 20 students, which is one reason why the school is ranked #20 in Regional Universities (West) by US News.
Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Utah
HintonBurdick is one of the largest accounting firms in Utah, with offices across the state. Tanner is one of the largest CPA firms in the Mountain West and is consistently growing based on its dedication to serving client needs. This firm encourages recent graduates to apply for positions that allow for career growth. Karren, Hendrix, Stagg, Allen & Company is one of the largest CPA firms in Salt Lake City, serving multiple industries through a full range of accounting and consulting services. Recent graduates are invited to apply for a challenging career.
How to Become a CPA in Utah
The Utah 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 Utah:
- Complete a 150-semester hour or 225-quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
- Accumulate the required hours of experience.
- Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.
- Pass the Utah CPA Law and Rules Examination.
- Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
- Apply for a license.
1. Complete a 150-semester hour or 225-quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
The Utah Board of Accountancy follows the 150-hour rule for prospective CPAs in the state, meaning that all applicants must complete a 150-semester hour program of college to qualify for a license. In Utah, the 150 hours must include the award of at least a bachelor’s degree and a concentration in accounting, auditing, or business. The number of semester hours in business and accounting subjects required for licensure varies according to the degree program(s) an applicant completed, but typically involve:
At least 24 semester hours in upper division accounting courses comprised of at least two semester hours in each of the following:
- Managerial or cost accounting
- Accounting information systems
- Taxation and tax subjects
At least 30 semester hours in business and related courses comprised of at least two semester hours in each of the following:
- Business law
- Statistics and quantitative methods
- Written and oral communications
- Business administration (which may include marketing, production, management, policy, and/or organizational behavior)
2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
CPA candidates in Utah must complete at least one year of experience under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA. One year of experience is considered at least 2,000 work hours. The work performed must use generally accepted skills in auditing and accounting commensurate with the education requirements and expected practice for Utah licensed CPAs.
3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.
The Utah Board of Accountancy uses the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) self-study ethics course and exam to fulfill the state ethics course requirement for licensure. Candidates may order the exam and course materials from the AICPA website.
4. Pass the Utah CPA Law and Rules Examination.
In addition to the AICPA ethics exam, candidates must complete the Utah CPA Law and Rules Examination. This exam is open book and is administered through PSI Exams. Candidates may register for the exam online and schedule the exam at the PSI testing center of their choice.
5. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
Candidates who are ready to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Utah should apply through the NASBA website. The Uniform CPA Exam is a license requirement in all 50 states and all four sections of the exam must be passed within an 18-month rolling period. Candidates who are not sure if their education qualifies to sit for the exam may request an optional pre-evaluation of transcripts through NASBA.
6. Apply for a license.
Submitting the Certified Public Accountant license application is the final step to becoming a CPA in Utah. Candidates must be sure to include all requested supporting documentation, including supervisor verification of work experience, to avoid delays in application processing.
CPAs licensed in Utah must complete 80 hours of continuing education, including at least three hours of ethics, for each two-year renewal period, which runs from January 1 of even-numbered years to December 31 of the subsequent odd-numbered year. You can find additional information on the Utah Board of Accountancy website and through the Utah Certified Public Accountant Licensing Act.
Utah Accountant Salary and Job Outlook
Projected Job Growth
Accountants and Auditors in Utah from 2016-20262
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 9,770 accountants are currently working in the state of Utah, and job growth of 32.7% within the state for these professionals is expected through 2026.2,3 This could push the average salary of Utah accountants even higher; currently, accountants here make an average of $70,640 per year.3 Not surprisingly, demand for accounting professionals is highest in metro Salt Lake City, with a concentration of 5,200 positions, but accountants find rewarding work throughout the state.3
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
Student Review: “I attended the Master’s of Accountancy program at BYU and completed my degree with an emphasis in tax. I thoroughly enjoyed attending the program at BYU. It was an extremely difficult, time-consuming program – especially during my junior year – but it was worth it. The professors are all extremely knowledgeable and teach you how to think through principles instead of just preparing generic work. This kind of teaching has greatly benefited me compared to my peers in the workforce. Before I left BYU I was highly recruited and received multiple job offers. I would recommend the accounting program at BYU to anyone.” -Student at Brigham Young University
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, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, 13-2011 Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm