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Colorado Accounting Schools

This guide is designed to help you navigate accounting programs offered in the state of Colorado. In this comprehensive guide, you will find information on both undergraduate and graduate schools to help you find the program that best fits your specific area of interest and career goals. Colorado offers many options for students, including online degrees that may be more flexible than traditional on-campus programs. A variety of specializations are also offered to help you target your education to match your career goals, such as taxation and internal auditing. Colorado universities also provide students with internship and networking opportunities to help prepare you for a variety of general and specialized careers in business and accounting.

Quick Facts

  • 24 public colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Colorado.1
  • 6 private not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Colorado.1
  • 13 schools offer a certificate in accounting.*1
  • 13 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.*1
  • 10 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.*1
  • 9 schools offer a graduate degree in accounting.*1
  • No programs ranked in US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018.2
  • No programs ranked in US News Best Graduate Accounting Programs 2018.3
  • No schools ranked in the Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018.4
  • 3 schools ranked in Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016.5

*Public or private not-for-profit colleges and universities only.

Top-Ranked Accounting Schools in Colorado

Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016

  • University of Denver (Daniels College of Business) #56
  • University of Colorado Boulder (Leeds School of Business) #62
  • Colorado State University (College of Business) #90

AACSB-Accredited Accounting Programs in Colorado

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) is a globally-recognized organization that provides accreditation for undergraduate and graduate accounting programs. While over 800 business schools have been accredited by the AACSB, only 186 institutions hold AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs, having been found to meet the rigorous standards established by the AACSB.6 The following accounting programs in Colorado have been accredited by the AACSB:

  • University of Colorado Denver (Business School)
  • University of Denver (Daniels College of Business)
  • University of Northern Colorado (Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business)

Highest First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with a Bachelor’s Degree

Each year, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) releases a report including data on candidate performance on the Uniform CPA Exam. 7 The following schools had the highest first-time CPA exam pass rates in Colorado in 2015 for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, with the overall average pass rate for Colorado being 61.7%:

  1. Colorado Christian University 82.6%
  2. University of Colorado Boulder 68.1%
  3. Colorado State University 67.6%
  4. University of Denver 67.4%
  5. University of Northern Colorado 64.2%
  6. University of Colorado Denver 63.6%

Schools in Colorado with Accounting Degrees

Undergraduate Accounting Programs

University of Colorado Boulder

At the Leeds School of Business at University of Colorado Boulder, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Accounting. Ranked #62 by Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools, this program is rooted in theory to help build a comprehensive understanding of business and accounting concepts. With this foundation, students develop logical reasoning skills to prepare them to confidently solve a multitude of problems throughout their careers. Students learn how to read financial reports by building fluency in US and international accounting terms, as well as focusing on auditing practices and taxation procedures. University of Colorado Boulder also offers a concurrent BSBA and MS in Accounting program for students hoping to complete all requirements for CPA licensure.

University of Denver

The Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting that is ranked #56 by Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools. This AACSB-accredited program is cohort-based, allowing students to build a strong network with faculty and peers that will help students achieve career goals after graduation. Students in this program earn a strong business foundation, which serves as the core for advanced accounting coursework. Courses in business law, analytics, and organizational management give students a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of business accounting before they move on to specialized topics in accounting. Students may take courses such as Consolidated Financial Statements, Accounting for Foreign Operations, and Not-for-Profit Accounting. This program prepares students for careers in both the public and private sector, as well as graduate-level study. University of Denver also offers a dual BS in Accounting and Master of Accountancy that will fulfill the educational requirements for CPA certification.

University of Northern Colorado

University of Northern Colorado offers an AACSB-accredited Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting. Students who complete this program will be prepared to sit for the CPA exam in Colorado, but will need to complete an additional 30 hours of coursework after passing the exam to become licensed. This accounting program focuses on technical skills building, while also developing critical and strategic thinking. Students gain hands-on experience with different accounting software, such as ACS, ACL, and RIA’s Checkpoint. Emphasis is placed on fundamental business concepts in courses such as Accounting Ethics, Strategic Management, and Accounting Theory and Research. Internships are encouraged for undergraduate students and many have worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Western Union, and State Farm Insurance.

Graduate Accounting Programs

Regis University

Regis University offers a 30-credit Master of Science (MS) in Accounting that prepares students for CPA licensure. This program focuses on accounting ethics and not-for-profit accounting practices. Students participate in an internship that provides small businesses or community organizations with financial guidance, emphasizing social responsibility in business practices. A capstone class is also required that uses simulation to enable students to manage corporate strategy. Regis University also offers a non-traditional, flexible MS in Accounting, which can be completed online or through one day of coursework per week, allowing students to take elective courses to focus on their individual career goals. Students at Regis may take courses such as International Accounting, Forensic and Fraud Audit, and Accounting Information Systems.

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Metropolitan State University of Denver offers a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) which can be completed in as little as one year. Students take 15 credits of accounting core coursework and 15 credits of electives. This 30-credit program allows students to choose between four concentrations; Public Accounting, Fraud Examination and Forensics Accounting, Internal Auditing, and Taxation. Students develop critical reasoning and leadership skills, empowering them to solve complex business problems throughout their careers. Strong written and oral communications are also emphasized in this program, as well as various accounting technologies and research skills.

Online Accounting Programs

University of Colorado Denver

University of Colorado Denver offers an AACSB-accredited Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting that may be completed online. After completing core undergraduate courses, students learn about a wide variety of business topics, such as information systems, ethics, and economics to ensure a well-rounded education. Students then earn 21 credits in accounting, exploring courses such as Financial Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis, Accounting Systems and Data Processing, and Income Tax Accounting. This curriculum serves as a foundation for careers in auditing, taxes, and financial management in both the public and private sector and helps prepare students to sit for the CPA exam.

Colorado State University

Colorado State University offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting which provides students with a solid foundation in business and a comprehensive understanding of accounting. This program prepares students for a variety of accounting careers by focusing on building skills such as mathematical reasoning, complex problem solving, inductive and deductive reasoning, and perceptual speed. Students learn about accounting practices in the public and private sector, as well as in government and nonprofit organizations, and gain experience with auditing, financial statement analysis, and cost accounting. These skills help students secure employment in entry-level accounting positions or go on to graduate study to sit for the CPA exam. This flexible program may be completed online, while still allowing students to keep in close contact with instructors and peers from anywhere in the world. Colorado State University is ranked #90 by Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools.

Colorado CPA Requirements

To obtain a public accounting license in Colorado, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university is required. In total, 150 hours of coursework is needed, including 27 credits of advanced accounting courses and 27 credits of business courses. Students may take the Uniform CPA Exam after completing 120 hours of coursework, but will not become licensed until completing the additional 30 hours. A minimum of one year of relevant work experience is also required, but students with 45 credits of accounting courses and 36 credits of business courses may waive this requirement.

Career Opportunities for Accounting Grads in Colorado

Accounting graduates can find work opportunities at major accounting firms in Colorado including Deloitte, EKS&H, and KPMG. Many Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Colorado, such as Western Union, Dish Network, and Arrow Electronics. Top employers in the state include Lockheed Martin, CenturyLink, and Wells Fargo. Graduates, especially those with CPA certification, can choose to open their own practice or become self-employed consultants. Government positions are also an option and include positions at the state department, local municipalities, state hospitals, the IRS, and the Department of Defense. This provides recent graduates with many career opportunities throughout the state in non-profit, government, or the public or private sector.

Colorado Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area

Metro Area Accountants & Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
Boulder 2,730 $83,800
Colorado Springs 3,100 $76,940
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 22,930 $81,650
Fort Collins 1,330 $68,740
Pueblo 410 $65,100

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.8

Schools with Accounting Degree Programs in Colorado

Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(970) 491-6444
https://www.colostate.edu/

Metropolitan State University of Denver
890 Auraria Pkwy
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 556-3058
https://msudenver.edu/

University of Denver
2199 S University Blvd
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 871-2000
https://www.du.edu/

Fort Lewis College
1000 Rim Dr
Durango, CO 81301
(970) 247-7010
https://www.fortlewis.edu/

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report Best Undergraduate Accounting Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/business-accounting
3. US News & World Report Best Accounting Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/accounting-rankings
4. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges 2018 Edition. Penguin Random House, 2017.
5. Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-best-undergrad-business-schools/
6. AACSB-Accredited Universities and Schools, Accounting: https://www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/accredited-members
7. The NASBA Candidate Performance Report, 2015 University Edition: https://nasbareport.com/
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2016 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Coloradohttps://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_co.htm