A State By State Accounting Guide

Accounting School Programs By State

Each state gives authority for the licensing of certified public accountants to its own state-specific Board of Accountancy. The introduction of the Uniform Accountancy Act has resulted in a great deal of uniformity between states with regard to the requirements that CPA candidates must fulfill in order to be eligible for licensure. Under the Act, all state Boards of Accountancy require candidates to hold a bachelor's degree at minimum, and to have completed 150 semester hours of college credit, 30 semester hours beyond what is included in a standard bachelor's program.

Despite this general uniformity, each state Board has different requirements for how credits are distributed among courses in financial and managerial accounting, auditing, taxation, business, business law and ethics. Each state's Board of Accountancy also acts autonomously when approving schools that offer accounting programs the board deems suitable for preparing candidates for the Uniform CPA Exam, and ultimately for the challenge of the career that awaits them.

Through a review process, each state's Board of Accountancy is tasked with selecting the regional or national accreditation agencies responsible for reviewing the curriculum of accounting programs offered at the baccalaureate and graduate levels. After final review and approval of the program, the Board will defer to the accreditation agency as the body that determines a program's ongoing adherence to the Board's standards. In this way, state Boards of Accountancy can remain impartial and avoid a potential conflict of interest by declaring their general acceptance of all programs accredited by a selected accreditation agency, rather than actually endorsing a specific school and it's accounting program.

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The Uniform Accountancy Act includes provisions that support licensing reciprocity between states in an effort to allow CPAs greater mobility, and the freedom to work with clients from different states. This means that state Boards of Accountancy routinely approve accounting programs from schools in different states, as well as online programs.