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Tennessee Accounting Schools

The following overview of accounting schools in Tennessee provides information for those interested in an undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting. Tennessee’s colleges and universities offer a variety of degree programs that range from full-time and part-time formats to fully online options. Those interested in a degree in accounting may choose between programs offering different curricula and concentrations. Read on below to find out more about degree options, school rankings, and career outlooks for accounting in Tennessee.

Quick Facts

  • 14 public colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Tennessee.1
  • 19 private not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Tennessee.1
  • 5 schools offer a certificate in accounting.*1
  • 5 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.*1
  • 25 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.*1
  • 13 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 Tennessee

Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016

  • Lipscomb University (College of Business) #77
  • University of Tennessee (Haslam College of Business) #83
  • Belmont University (Jack C. Massey College of Business) #103

AACSB-Accredited Accounting Programs in Tennessee

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 Tennessee have been accredited by the AACSB:

  • Belmont University (Jack C. Massey College of Business)
  • East Tennessee State University (College of Business and Technology)
  • Middle Tennessee State University (Jennings A. Jones College of Business)
  • Tennessee Technological University (College of Business)
  • University of Memphis (Fogelman College of Business and Economics)
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (College of Business)
  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville (Haslam 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 Tennessee in 2015 for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, with the overall average pass rate for Tennessee being 58.7%:

  1. University of Tennessee Knoxville 79.5%
  2. Vanderbilt University 78.7%
  3. Lee University 73.7%
  4. Rhodes College 70.0%
  5. Belmont University 69.1%
  6. Carson Newman College 68.8%

Schools in Tennessee with Accounting Degrees

Undergraduate Accounting Programs

Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University’s College of Business offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a major in accounting. Students learn fundamental accounting skills, such as financial reporting and analysis, in order to interpret information and make business decisions in organizations. The curriculum starts with accounting core classes, such as Intermediate Accounting, Federal Income Taxation, and Principles of Auditing. Students can then choose a concentration in areas such as Data Science, Entrepreneurship, Finance, or Law and Politics, depending on their career interests. Undergraduate students can also pursue the Certificate of Accountancy Program (CAP), which covers 18 credit hours of upper-level accounting courses to ensure students fulfill the 150 credit hours required for CPA licensure. Lipscomb also maintains partnerships with local and national accounting firms, enabling networking and career opportunities for students and graduates.

University of Tennessee Knoxville

Students at the Haslam College of Business at University of Tennessee Knoxville can earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with an accounting major. This program emphasizes both the conceptual and real-world application of business and accounting knowledge. BSBA students learn how to analyze and understand financial information for companies, clients, and government organizations, and how to make business decisions based on this accounting data. Students can choose a concentration in International Business or complete this degree through the Integrated Business and Engineering Program. UT also offers a full-time, 11-month Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree that prepares graduates to sit for the CPA examination.

Freed-Hardeman University

Freed-Hardeman University offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting. This degree is ideal for those interested in careers in tax, auditing, or management or forensic accounting. The curriculum also provides a foundation for leadership or management positions in business firms. Students first complete liberal arts requirements before beginning the core BBA classes. Accounting majors take courses such as Cost Accounting, Principles of Taxation, and Principles of Auditing. Undergraduate students can also pursue an accelerated dual-degree program that combines the BBA curriculum with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Graduate Accounting Programs

Belmont University

At the Jack C. Massey College of Business at Belmont University, students can earn a Master of Accountancy (MAcc). Those without an undergraduate accounting background can either independently complete the 18 hours of prerequisite credit hours or attend the Summer Accounting Institute (SAI), an intensive 10-week immersion in accounting fundamentals. All courses are available during the evening, offering flexibility for working professionals. This degree can be completed in as few as 12 months, although part-time students can take up to three years to finish the curriculum. Courses vary in structure, and students learn functional accounting knowledge as well as applicable business skills. Work experience is preferred but not required.

East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree, ideal for those seeking careers in public accounting, industry, or government. Students must complete some prerequisite courses before beginning graduate courses in financial and managerial accounting, auditing, taxation, and consulting. The curriculum emphasizes foundational business knowledge as well as professional development skills in communication and problem-solving. Students choose from one of four concentrations: Taxation, Audit, Controllership, and Generalist. Undergraduate students at ETSU can complete their Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting and MAcc on an accelerated timeline.

Online Accounting Programs

University of Memphis

Students can earn an online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with major in accounting through the University of Memphis. The curriculum focuses on foundational accounting knowledge and the technical skills needed in the field. Students learn how to apply financial analysis to business decision-making with an emphasis on the global business environment. Classes also teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as written and oral communication. This 120-credit hour undergraduate program can be completed entirely online, and students with previously completed undergraduate level classes may be able to transfer and apply for some credits.

Tennessee Technological University

At Tennessee Tech, students can earn a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree almost entirely online through the College of Business. This program is designed for working professionals. Most of the curriculum is delivered through online classes and focuses on the knowledge needed to prepare for the CPA examination. Students also complete two weekend residencies on campus over the course of the program, studying professional development skills and the application of course content as well as networking with peers and exploring post-graduation opportunities. Tennessee Tech emphasizes professional certification, and the curriculum includes courses that prepare students for CPA licensure. Many students complete all four parts of the CPA examination over the course of the MAcc program.

Tennessee CPA Requirements

The Tennessee State Board of Accountancy requires CPA candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Candidates also must have completed at least 150 semester hours, at least 30 in accounting and 24 in general business subjects. Then, individuals must pass all four sections of the CPA examination. After passing the examination, candidates must complete a minimum of 2,000 hours in public accounting that should also be verified by a CPA. Finally, after receiving the CPA designation, individuals must maintain their status by completing Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements, such as ethics courses or professional development activities.

Career Opportunities for Accounting Program Grads in Tennessee

Tennessee accounting program graduates will find many opportunities in the accounting field whether they seek employment in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors. The local branches of the Internal Revenue Service offer many jobs for accounting and tax specialists. There are several national corporations in Tennessee that employ accounting professionals including Covenant Transport, Auto Zone, and Cumberland Pharmaceuticals. Tax preparation firms throughout the state hire public accounting experts regularly and CPA holders may wish to start their own accounting or tax preparation business. Graduates with accounting degrees may also find positions in the state’s numerous local and regional businesses in financial management or leadership roles.

Tennessee Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area

Metro Area Accountants & Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
Chattanooga 1,240 $66,580
Jackson 240 $57,660
Johnson City 360 $58,040
Memphis 3,270 $71,230

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.8

Schools with Accounting Degree Programs in Tennessee

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.

Eastern Tennessee State University
807 University Pkwy
Johnson City, TN 37604
(423) 439-1000
https://www.etsu.edu/ehome/

Middle Tennessee State University
1301 E Main St
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
(615) 898-2300
http://www.mtsu.edu/

Student Review: “I went through the accounting program with the Jones College of Business path. Overall it was decent at best, I had a good amount of professional and helpful teachers, and then of course there are some that are always “too busy” to help out. MTSU also had a free tutoring lab for accounting classes which helped me when I got stuck. The thing that annoyed me most about my major was in the beginning at Acct 1010 (Principles of Accounting). I struggled a lot because they standardized the test, it was as if I was taking an ACT, and my tests were loosely based on what my instructor taught me because all the instructors from the department made the test together. Besides that, I struggled and had difficulties here and there like every other student. To me college was all about getting through it, and I’m happy to say that I finally have.” -student at Middle Tennessee State University
stars-3

University of Memphis
101 John Wilder Tower
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-2000
http://www.memphis.edu/

Student Review: “I have been going to the University of Memphis since I lost my job as a college instructor. It is good that the times and classes have a good selection. I am able to work and do my schoolwork. They are good at teaching you with computer technology. I use the programs on Connect Plus and Cengage to really learn the material well. I have been making pretty good grades and it is a result of having good teachers. I think the computer-aided learning, along with the great instruction I received, has helped me to do well. I am now a junior and the upper level classes seem to be going well with good teachers.” -student at University of Memphis
stars-3

University of Tennessee
Circle Park
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
(865) 974-1000
https://www.utk.edu/

Student Review: “I transferred to the University of Tennessee from a community college in order to pursue my four-year accounting degree. I’m not sure whether I had become accustomed to the ease of the community college courses or whether the accounting classes at UT were just that difficult, but the challenge was overwhelming. I had many resources available (like teachers, grad students, tutors) to help with anything that I had difficulties with, and I took full advantage of all. The accounting classes at UT were the most difficult college courses I took during my college career. However, the payoff will be more than worth it when I find employment. The professors at UT taught me that the things in life that are difficult are worth attempting to obtain. I had a hard time my first semester or two trying to adjust to the rigorous curriculum of the UT accounting program, but the hard work and endurance made the sense of accomplishment that much sweeter.” -Derrick S., student at University of Tennessee
stars-4

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
615 McCallie Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 425-4501
https://www.utc.edu/

Student Review: “The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s accounting program was quite a challenging one. There were many difficult courses that made me work hard and test myself on a daily basis. I am graduating this spring with my bachelor’s degree and don’t regret that decision at all. The professors were very well informed and prepared for classes. The online system (Blackboard) was used by all of my accounting teachers/professors in a way that encourages participation. Syllabus, assignments, and feedback were all available on the Blackboard website. The reason I rate the school with a 4 out of 5 is because of the advising system in place. The school of business has one advisor that meets with every student within the school of business (not only accounting students) once per year to keep the student on track for graduation; an excellent service no doubt that would be better with a more online advising system. The only other item that could be improved is a fully-online accounting program. The school provided many opportunities to hear speakers in the field and meet companies during the “Meet the Firms” event held annually. I learned a lot and would recommend this state school over ivy-league.” -Timothy M., student at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
stars-4

University of Tennessee – Knoxville
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
(865) 974-1000
https://www.utk.edu/

Student Review: “I personally believe that the accounting program here at the University of Tennessee is one of the best in the country. In recent years, the university has invested a lot of time and resources into improving many areas of the College of Business Administration. For example, the new and improved Haslam Business Building provides state of the art facilities and resources for students, and the current faculty all are experienced individuals who provide a meaningful education. The accounting courses at UT are challenging, but at the end of the day the effort is worth it for what you gain from the classes.” -Garrett H., student at University of Tennessee – Knoxville
stars-5

Vanderbilt University
2201 West End Ave
Nashville, TN 37235
(615) 322-7311
https://www.vanderbilt.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, Tennessee: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tn.htm