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Accounting Schools in California

Also known as “the Golden State”, California is bordered by Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon. Finance, health, education, and manufacturing are some of the key economic drivers for California. Those of you who are considering a career in the state may take into account the possibility of pursuing an accounting education. According to statistics, job outlook for accountants, auditors, as well as financial analysts in California looks to have a positive growth rate.

Accounting Schools in California

There are numerous schools in California that offer educational programs to prepare students for employment in the field of accounting and finance. Ranging from certificates to degrees, students can choose from several programs and acquire the skills and knowledge that employers seek within accountants, auditors, financial analysts, and other related professionals.

In addition to traditional programs, some accounting schools in California offer online programs to enable working professionals as well as students who reside in remote locations to take classes in accounting programs without being physically present in the class.

Types of Accounting Programs

Those who are new to the field of accounting can enroll in a certificate course in accounting and learn about the basics of accounting. A certificate in accounting program may take about six months to one year to complete, but the enrollment status of students may affect this duration. The program may be suitable for those who wish to prepare for entry level positions in accounting such as bookkeepers.

Accounting programs also offer undergraduate degrees. An associate’s degree program typically takes two years of full time study, but may take longer. Those who wish to become accounting clerks or bookkeepers could enroll in this program. Bachelor’s degrees are also available, and these focus on accounting, business strategy, and general education courses. This undergraduate program provides a comprehensive training in the field of accounting; preparing students to start careers in financial planning, auditing, consulting, and technical accounting positions.

Students who want to study accounting in-depth may enroll in advanced programs such as a master’s degree program. This program is suitable for those who want to specialize in a particular area within accounting such as tax accounting or auditing. Those who want to become a certified public accountant should also pursue a master’s program.

PhD programs are also available for students who already hold a master’s degree in accounting and want to further their education.

What are the opportunities for graduates?

Accountants, bankers, auditors, financial analysts, and tax advisers generally hold degrees in accounting. These professionals work in a variety of settings including:

  • Payroll services
  • Forensics
  • Education
  • Manufacturing
  • Tax preparation

According to O*Net OnLine, there were about 151,900 accountants and auditors in the state of California in 2012. The state is expected to need over 7,000 accountants and auditors between 2012 and 2022, which shows over a 17% employment change. Career prospects for financial analysts also look positive during the projected timeline. The state is likely to need about 1,500 financial analysts (2012-2022), the data with O*Net OnLine shows.


Financial analysts in California earned a median wage of $90,900 a year in 2013, while the median annual income for accountants and auditors was $70,600 (O*Net OnLine).


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Can you tell me how to become an accountant in California?

A:To become an accountant, you will have to take the academic path that leads to a bachelor's degree in accounting or in related fields. A master's degree in accounting or in business administration concentrated on accounting will help improve your career prospects. To become a licensed accountant in California, you will have to complete the educational, experiential and government-related prerequisites required by the California Board of Accountancy. These include a bachelor's degree or higher in accountancy (120 to 150 credit hours), completion of Uniform Certified Public Accountants (CPA) exam and passing the Professional Ethics for CPAs exam. 1-2 of professional experience under a CPA with an active license is also required. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics and California Board of Accountancy)

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