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Iowa Accounting Schools

The following page provides information about undergraduate and graduate accounting programs at colleges and universities in Iowa. Some accounting programs focus on a broad, general curriculum, while others offer students the opportunity to specialize through electives or concentrations. Graduates from schools in Iowa can go on to pursue further education, professional certification, or jobs in the accounting industry. Read on below to find out more about different types of programs and possible career outlooks for accountants in Iowa.

Quick Facts

  • 19 public colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Iowa.1
  • 22 private not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Iowa.1
  • 15 schools offer a certificate in accounting.*1
  • 16 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.*1
  • 24 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.*1
  • 8 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
  • 1 school ranked in the Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018.4
  • No 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 Iowa

The Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018

  • Iowa State University

AACSB-Accredited Accounting Programs in Iowa

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 Iowa have been accredited by the AACSB:

  • Iowa State University (College of Business)
  • University of Iowa (Tippie 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 Iowa in 2015 for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, with the overall average pass rate for Iowa being 60.7%:

  1. Northwestern College 82.6%
  2. University of Iowa 75.8%
  3. Grand View University 75.0%
  4. University of Northern Iowa 64.1%
  5. Wartburg College 63.6%

Schools in Iowa with Accounting Degrees

Undergraduate Accounting Programs

Northwestern College

At Northwestern College, students can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting. This program is designed for those interested in pursuing an advanced degree or work in public, private, or governmental accounting. Through courses such as Cost Accounting, Individual Income Tax, Non-Profit and Governmental Accounting, and Entity Tax and Law, students gain foundational accounting knowledge that can be used in many fields. Northwestern College emphasizes the practical, real-world application of accounting fundamentals, and students also learn professional communication and management strategies. The college offers credited internship opportunities as well as support for networking and professional development. Many graduates go on to complete a graduate degree and earn the CPA designation.

Wartburg College

At Wartburg College, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Accounting. Although most undergraduate programs do not fulfill the educational requirements needed for CPA licensure, many Wartburg students complete the 150 semester hours needed in four years through summer classes and additional courses during the school year. The core curriculum includes courses such as Auditing, Business Law, Cost Accounting, and Income Tax Accounting, and students also complete a Professional Business Career Preparation class. After these required classes, students can choose from numerous elective classes to focus on their career interests or pursue an additional major or minor. The program at Wartburg emphasizes leadership and management skills through hands-on projects and industry-relevant coursework. Most undergraduate students complete an internship or field experience.

Grand View University

Grand View University offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Accounting. This program can be completed through day classes or in a weekend-evening format. Core courses include Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Income Tax, Auditing Theory, and Operations Management, and students can then choose electives to match their area of interest. Coursework emphasizes fundamental accounting knowledge as well as practical and technical skills used in today’s industry. Grand View supports undergraduate internship placement through connections in Des Moines and the surrounding region, and the career center offers support in resume-building and networking opportunities. Graduates go on to pursue an advanced degree in accounting or start their careers in entry-level positions in auditing, accounting, financial advising, or business information analysis.

Graduate Accounting Programs

Iowa State University

At the Ivy College of Business at Iowa State University, students can earn a Master of Science (MS) in Accounting. The graduate program emphasizes advanced technical and theoretical knowledge in accounting as well as applicable business skills. The curriculum focuses on the background necessary to analyze, understand, and communicate financial information for management decision-making. Students learn applicable skills in public accounting, budgeting, forecasting, auditing, and consulting. Graduates meet the educational requirements for CPA licensure, and CPA examination review courses are part of the curriculum. ISU also encourages graduate students to seek out internship opportunities and build their professional network. Undergraduate accounting students already at the Ivy College of Business can choose concurrent enrollment and finish both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting in five years.

University of Northern Iowa

The College of Business Administration at the University of Northern Iowa offers a Master of Science in Accounting (MAcc) degree. Graduate students in this program can fulfill the 150-semester hour requirement for CPA licensure as well as study the graduate body of knowledge necessary to sit for the examination. Most students in this program attend on a full-time basis, and the curriculum is designed for those who want to work as accountants in public firms, business, or government. The core curriculum covers advanced accounting research, communication, and critical thinking skills, and students can then choose from electives such as Fraud Examination, Advanced Auditing, Individual Research, and Public Finance. The graduate coursework emphasizes collaboration, and students work in teams to make presentations, perform research, and analyze financial information. Students can also seek experiential learning opportunities through internships or volunteer opportunities during tax season.

Online Accounting Programs

University of Iowa

Students can earn an on-campus or online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting through the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. The online option is designed for students with an associate’s degree or existing transferable college credit, and many students in the program are employed full- or part-time. The core curriculum starts with business classes before students take specialized accounting courses like Auditing, Operations Management, Accounting Information Systems, and Valuation of Financial Claims. Coursework centers on teaching students how to understand accounting fundamentals, tax law, and business principles. UI offers an undergraduate entrepreneurial management track, and undergraduate students can also choose to apply to the Master of Accountancy (MAC) program. For post-graduation opportunities, the Career Center offers support by way of internships, networking opportunities, and professional development.

Upper Iowa University

At Upper Iowa University’s School of Business, students can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting entirely online or at the Fayette campus. Upper Iowa also offers an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in Accounting as well as a post-graduate certificate in Accounting. Undergraduate students follow a curriculum that includes courses such as Financial Accounting, Federal Taxation, Auditing, and Managerial Cost Accounting. Students learn how to prepare and analyze financial statements, understand taxation requirements, and make decisions based on accounting information. Undergraduate students are also prepared to pursue further advanced degrees and CPA licensure. Graduates from this online program go on to work in public and corporate accounting, auditing, taxation, and financial analysis.

Iowa CPA Requirements

The Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau requires that CPA candidates in Iowa hold at last a bachelor’s degree and 150 semester hours of college courses from an accredited university. Applicants must then pass the Uniform CPA Examination and a Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics test. Next, CPA candidates should complete one year, or at least 2,000 hours, of accounting work that is verified by a licensed CPA. Finally, after becoming a licensed CPA, individuals must continue to log Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours through educational courses and sessions to maintain their licensure.

Career Opportunities for Accounting Grads in Iowa

Accounting grads in Iowa can find rewarding career opportunities working for entities ranging from small firms to larger accounting groups in public, private, or government practice. Well-known public accounting firm RSM US was founded in Iowa and today has multiple office locations within the state. Honkamp Krueger & Co, P.C. is the largest non-public accounting firm in Iowa and frequently offers positions for recent accounting grads. The state government of Iowa, through the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, hires accountants and auditors to work for agencies and special projects across the state. Graduates with accounting degrees may also find opportunities to work with local or statewide businesses or open their own firms in Iowa.

Iowa Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area

Metro Area Accountants & Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
Cedar Rapids 1,130 $68,370
Des Moines-West Des Moines 3,400 $71,780
Iowa City 520 $67,130
Omaha-Council Bluffs 4,990 $68,160
Sioux City 490 $63,890

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.8

Iowa Schools with Accounting Degree Programs

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Drake University
2507 University Ave
Des Moines, IA 50311
(515) 271-2011
http://www.drake.edu/

The University of Iowa
University Heights, IA
319-335-3500
https://uiowa.edu/

Student Review: “I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2012, double majoring in accounting and finance. My experience at Iowa was tremendous. The Tippie College of Business at Iowa is one of the highest regarded schools in the country. Majoring in accounting is quite a challenging but a rewarding experience. Without the challenges I faced at Iowa, I would not have been prepared for life after graduation. The University of Iowa gave me the skills and tools to be successful in life. During college, I was surrounded with resources at my disposal. I had professors who wanted to see me succeed, classmates to work with (some who would become friends for life), advisers to help me select courses, and courses using real life practices. The course selection is diverse, allowing students to study accounting from every aspect. I was lucky enough to find some courses that satisfied both majors, saving both time and money. My experience at the University of Iowa, majoring in accounting is one I wouldn’t trade for the world.” -student at The University of Iowa stars-5

Northwestern College
101 7th St SW
Orange City, IA 51041
(712) 707-7000
https://www.nwciowa.edu/

Iowa State University
2229 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50011
(515) 294-4111
https://www.iastate.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/businessweek/graphics/2013-bs-undergrad-rankings/rankings2.html
6. AACSB-Accredited Universities and Schools, Accounting: http://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, Iowa: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ia.htm