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Arizona Accounting Schools with Course and Degree Program Info

Arizona has nearly 25 schools that offer accounting degree programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for 10 of the largest schools to make an informed education decision.

Essential Information

Accounting training programs in Arizona can be found at community colleges through undergraduate certificate and associate degree programs, which are designed to prepare students for entry to the workforce as bookkeepers or accounting clerks. A few universities in Arizona offer bachelor's- and master's-level accounting programs, and less commonly available are doctoral degrees. Master's and doctoral degree programs may offer accounting as a specialization within a larger business administration major. Some accounting programs are available entirely online.


Arizona State University

This public school is located in Tempe and is the largest school in Arizona that offers accounting degree programs. Its W.P. Carey School of Business offers degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accountancy program prepares students for eventual roles in corporate finance, assurance and consulting. Students must complete 120 hours of coursework, including 51 hours of upper-level courses. Coursework covers regulatory issues, global supply operations, leadership, internal reporting and business statistics.

The Master of Accountancy is a full-time graduate program that lasts nine months. It includes advanced accounting courses in information security, advanced auditing, advanced financial accounting, forensic accounting and non-profit accounting. The program is designed so graduates meet the CPA education requirements. A dual degree program with a Master of Legal Studies is also available.

The Master of Taxation program also requires nine months of intensive study with a focus on tax laws in the public and private sectors. Students study multi-jurisdictional taxation, property transactions, taxation for corporations and business strategy. Students who complete the program meet the necessary education requirements to become CPAs.

Finally, the school offers an accounting doctoral program that allows students and certified accountants to become research scholars in the field of accounting. The 84-semester hour program teaches students how to review, analyze and publish research that furthers theoretical work related to accounting.

Chandler - Gilbert Community College

This community college in Chandler offers an accounting certificate program as well as an associate's degree program in accounting. These programs prepare students to pursue careers as bookkeepers, accounting clerks or similar positions. The certificate program is strictly focused on business and accounting concepts, and students can expect to take courses in accounting information, managerial accounting, financial accounting and computerized accounting. The associate's degree program includes many of the same accounting courses as the certificate program but also requires the completion of general education classes and a few more credits of accounting coursework.

Glendale Community College

Located in Glendale, this community college offers two programs for students interested in careers as accounting and bookkeeping clerks. The accounting certificate program requires 23-26 total credit hours. Required courses include the study of property tax, computerized accounting, Microsoft Excel processes, ethics and computer information systems. Students can then choose one of four sequences for the remainder of this program. Areas of focus include accounting principles, accounting information, managerial accounting and financial accounting.

The associate's degree program requires between 28 and 31 credit hours in addition to general education course requirements. Courses cover topics in bookkeeping, tax accounting, computer information systems and regulatory issues in business. There are three sequences ranging from six to nine credits that students can choose from as well. This program is intended for students who plan to enter the workforce upon graduation.

Mesa Community College

This public school in Mesa offers a business associate's degree program intended for students planning to transfer to a four-year school. With the help of an advisor, students who complete the general business program can transfer into the accounting bachelor's program at ASU upon graduation. This program is offered completely online and requires 62-63 credit of coursework.

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University is found in the small city of Flagstaff and has four programs available for individuals interested in accounting. Students pursuing any major at the university can enroll in the accounting certificate program, which requires the completion of at least 18 credit hours. At the bachelor's level, students can enroll in the accountancy program that requires a total of 120 credit hours. This program covers financial and managerial accounting, accounting systems, cost accounting and auditing. Student must also complete a capstone course in addition to a junior-level writing course.

At the graduate level, the school offers a Master of Business Administration program with an accounting specialization. This option is designed to prepare students to pursue the CPA designation and can be completed in about one year. Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in accounting must talk to an advisor prior to choosing this particular specialization. The school also has a five-year accounting program that results in a bachelor's degree and a Master of Business Administration degree. This program is designed to meet the 150-hour CPA requirement.

Paradise Valley Community College

Located in Phoenix, this community college offers two options for students looking to study accounting with a specialization in paraprofessional processes. The certificate program requires between 35 and 37 credit hours, and students can expect to study accounting principles, database management, computer information systems, algebra and payroll accounting. The associate's degree program requires between 64 and 67 credit hours. Students must complete courses in computerized, managerial, tax and payroll accounting. Available electives include programming, e-commerce, business statistics and human relations.

Phoenix College

This Phoenix school has an accounting certificate program as well as an associate's degree program in the field. Students pursuing the accounting certificate must complete 23-26 credits of coursework, which covers topics like accounting principles, computerized accounting and payroll taxes. The associate's program requires from 60-65 credits and includes coursework in accounting information, managerial accounting and income tax preparation. Students who complete either program should be prepared to pursue work as accounting clerks or bookkeepers.

Pima Community College

This community college in Tucson features an associate's degree program in accounting that's intended for students who plan on entering the workforce; however, students may be able to pursue a Bachelor of Applied Science degree or other educational opportunities as well. The program requires 29 credits of core coursework, which covers governmental accounting, payroll accounting, tax accounting and practical accounting procedures. Students can also expect to take related business courses in workplace ethics, computer fundamentals and microeconomics. Classes may be available during the day, evening or on weekends.

Rio Salado College

Students at this Tempe college have the opportunity to pursue a certificate or associate's degree in accounting. These programs are available online and include courses like managerial accounting, accounting principles, tax accounting and business law. Students in the certificate program must complete 23-26 credits of coursework focused on accounting and business concepts. The associate's program requires at least 60 credits of coursework, which includes a minimum of 29 credits of required business and accounting courses.

University of Arizona

Located in Tucson, the University of Arizona offers a variety of programs through the Eller College of Management. The Bachelor of Science in Accounting program teaches students how to organize and present financial information to companies and individuals. The accounting major requires students to complete 21 credits of accounting courses, 27 professional core credits and general education coursework.

The Master of Accounting program prepares students for professional roles in financial, managerial or tax accounting. It also provides students with the education necessary to become CPAs. The curriculum in the program is divided into three different tracks of study: auditing, tax and entrepreneurship.

A Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) program is also available. This curriculum requires the completion of 30 credit hours and includes courses in financial statement analysis, accounting information systems and business law. Internships are also available.

The University of Arizona's Department of Accounting also offers a doctoral program that focuses on research methods. Core research courses in the program help students develop specialties in particular areas of accounting, such as economics, behavioral science and quantitative methods.

Career Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants typically need at least a bachelor's degree in the field, but bookkeeping or accounting clerks aren't usually required to complete a postsecondary program.

Accountants who file reports with the Securities Exchange Commission must have the CPA designation. The Arizona State Board of Accountancy requires CPA applicants to have completed at least 150 credit hours of coursework, and candidates must have taken 36 credit hours of accounting courses in addition to 30 hours of related courses. All applicants must also have at least one year of experience working in an approved accounting setting.

Accountants can take the CPA exam as long as they have a bachelor's degree and have completed 24 credit hours of accounting courses and 18 credit hours of related courses, but they must meet the other licensing requirements before they can become CPAs.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Accounting Programs Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)
Arizona State University Four-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Accountancy,
Master of Accountancy,
Master of Taxation,
Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting
$10,158 in-state; $25,458 out-of-state*
Chandler-Gilbert Community College Two-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Completion in Accounting,
Associate in Applied Science in Accounting
$2,046 in-state; $7,830 out-of-state*
Glendale Community College Two-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Completion in Accounting,
Associate in Applied Science in Accounting Paraprofessional
$2,046 in-state; $7,830 out-of-state*
Mesa Community College Two-year, public; large city Associate in Business - General Requirements $2,046 in-state; $7,830 out-of-state*
Northern Arizona University Four-year, public; small city Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting,
Bachelor of Science in Accountancy,
Master of Business Administration - Accounting
$10,358 in-state, $23,348 out-of-state*
Paradise Valley Community College Two-year, public; large city Certificate of Completion in Accounting Specialized Paraprofessional,
Associate in Applied Science in Accounting - Specialized Paraprofessional
$2,046 in-state; $7,830 out-of-state*
Phoenix College Two-year, public; large city Certificate of Completion in Accounting,
Associate in Applied Science in Accounting
$2,046 in-state; $7,830 out-of-state*
Pima Community College Two-year, public; large city Associate of Applied Science in Accounting $1,974 in-state; $8,610 out-of-state*
Rio Salado College Two-year, public; midsize city Certificate of Completion in Accounting,
Associate in Applied Science in Accounting
$2,046 in-state; $7,830 out-of-state*
University of Arizona Four-year, public; large city Bachelor of Science in Accounting,
Master of Accounting,
Master of Science in Accounting,
Doctor of Philosophy in Accounting
$11,403 in-state; $32,630 out-of-state*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.


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