Washington Accounting Schools
Students in Washington can choose from a wide array of accounting programs offered by the state’s many colleges and universities. This overview will provide you with key information on accounting schools in Washington so that you can find the program that works best for you. Accounting schools offer full-time, part-time, and even online options, and students can choose from different concentrations and degree types. Read on below to find out more details about accounting degrees, program curriculum, and accounting career outlooks in Washington.
- 39 public colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Washington.1
- 10 private not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Washington.1
- 35 schools offer a certificate in accounting.*1
- 31 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.*1
- 17 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.*1
- 9 schools offer a graduate degree in accounting.*1
- 3 programs ranked in US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018.2
- 3 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
- 2 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 Washington
US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018
- University of Washington #13 tie
- Seattle University #19 tie
- Gonzaga University #30 tie
US News Best Graduate Accounting Programs 2018
- Seattle University #14 tie
- University of Washington #21 tie
- Gonzaga University #28 tie
Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016
- University of Washington (Michael G. Foster School of Business) #52
- Seattle University (Albers School of Business and Economics) #86
AACSB-Accredited Accounting Programs in Washington
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 Washington have been accredited by the AACSB:
- Gonzaga University (School of Business Administration)
- University of Washington (Michael G. Foster School of Business
- Washington State University (Carson 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 Washington in 2015 for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, with the overall average pass rate for Washington being 59.6%:
- University of Washington 67.4%
- Gonzaga University 66.4%
- Western Washington University 63.0%
- Pacific Lutheran University 58.1%
- Washington State University 55.9%
Schools in Washington with Accounting Degrees
Undergraduate Accounting Programs
At the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (BABA) with a major in Accounting. This program emphasizes a strong accounting foundation with a focus on computer applications in the accounting industry. The curriculum starts with business core classes before continuing on to major-specific courses such as Cost Accounting, Federal Income Tax, Auditing, and Controllership. Through these classes, students learn accounting fundamentals such as how to prepare financial statements, how to keep track of revenue and expenses, and how to manage and mitigate financial risk. Coursework includes an emphasis on teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. Students can take advantage of an accounting internship program, formal career counseling, and job placement services for post-graduation opportunities.
Gonzaga University’s School of Business Administration offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a major in Accounting. This program is designed for students interested in careers in professional accounting and financial services positions in corporate or other organizations. Students learn from a challenging curriculum that includes accounting fundamentals and real-world applications of these principles. The core classes teach subjects such as financial reporting, taxation, account valuation, accounting systems, and the use of accounting in business decision-making. Gonzaga emphasizes community outreach, and students can participate in local volunteer, consulting, or internship opportunities. For those interested in a CPA track, the School of Business Administration also offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) graduate program.
Saint Martin’s University
Students at Saint Martin’s University can earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Accounting. The curriculum focuses on accounting fundamentals, and courses also cover the current technologies and best practices of the industry. The BA curriculum starts with a liberal arts base before students start to study the functional areas of business and accounting. Students learn how to analyze and understand financial information as well as how to communicate it in a business or public context. Coursework includes training in industry-standard software, so students have professionally-relevant skills to add to their resumes. Saint Martin’s emphasizes undergraduate internships, and career and internship fairs are held on campus every semester. Students interested in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Saint Martin’s University can complete that degree with an additional year of study.
Graduate Accounting Programs
University of Washington Bothell
At the School of Business at the University of Washington Bothell, students can earn a Master of Science (MS) in Accounting. This program is designed for working professionals and it satisfies the fifth-year educational requirement generally necessary to pursue CPA licensure. Students can attend on a full-time or part-time basis, and the core classes are held two evenings per week. The curriculum focuses on subjects such as accounting theory, managerial accounting, analysis of financial statements, and auditing and forensic techniques. Students learn how to analyze and communicate accounting data, and the coursework also emphasizes teamwork and leadership skills.
University of Washington
The University of Washington’s Foster School of Business offers a Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) degree. Students in this program learn fundamental accounting knowledge as well as innovative thinking strategies and oral and written communication skills. The curriculum includes courses such as Data Analytics for Professional Accountants, Communications in Professional Accounting, Accounting, Audit, and Assurance Regulation, and graduates are prepared to sit for the CPA examination. These courses focus on how to apply data analysis tools and data-driven decision-making to auditing and assurance work. The program includes university-organized study groups, emphasizing team-based collaboration and support.
Online Accounting Programs
Washington State University
Washington State University offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with an Accounting major that can be completed entirely online. The Carson College of Business allows this degree to be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, and students can adjust their course load to fit with their schedule. The curriculum starts with broad core requirements before students move on to accounting specialization courses. The accounting major includes courses in financial management, auditing, business strategy, and taxation. Coursework emphasizes critical thinking and innovative problem-solving, and graduates can go on to work in public accounting, corporate accounting, government agencies, or private businesses.
Washington CPA Requirements
The Board of Accountancy for Washington State requires that CPA have at least 150 semester credit hours of education experience and have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. These 150 semester hours must include at least 24 hours in accounting and 24 semester hours in business administration subjects. Candidates must then pass the CPA examination. After passing the examination, individuals must complete 12 months, or at least 2,000 hours, of experience in public accounting. This experience must be verified by a practicing CPA. After gaining licensure, all CPAs must keep their license current by completing continuing professional education (CPE) credit every three years.
Career Opportunities for Accounting Grads in Washington
There are many opportunities for accounting graduates to pursue their career interests in Washington in different areas of the accounting field. Large companies such as Amazon, along with Boeing, Costco, and Microsoft operate out of Washington state, offering numerous positions in accounting and finance. Accounting firms in Washington with the largest number of accountants on their staff include Moss Adams, Deloitte, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Graduates may also find opportunities to work in statewide or regional business, as well as in public accounting or governmental positions. Those with accounting degrees in Washington may find many different career possibilities within the state’s accounting industry.
Washington Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Accountants & Auditors Employed||Average Annual Salary|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.
Washington Schools with Accounting Degree Programs
Central Washington University
400 E University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926
901 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
Shoreline Community College
16101 Greenwood Ave N
Shoreline, WA 98133
Student Review: “I studied accounting at Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, Washington. The program overall was good and prepared me for a future in the accounting and business administration fields. The majority of the classes that I took were online and therefore very convenient for me, as I live more than 90 minutes from the main school campus. The online classes were well executed and I received the necessary support from instructors and advisors. I liked the structure of the program and the content of the classes. I feel that they realistically prepared me for my future providing both realistic knowledge and practical skills needed.” -Student at Shoreline Community College
University of Washington
NE Columbia Rd
Seattle, WA 98105
Student Review: “UW is a state school but it is commonly refer as a ‘public Ivy League.’ I’ve never been to an Ivy League school but the courses and program were quite challenging. I think the problem is because it is such a big school so there is the nature of competition. Since it is such a big school, you do meet a lot of people which is great for networking. My peers didn’t get me jobs right away but they did give me interview tips. Landing an interview at the Big 4 or Amazon is quite common. The Beta Alpha Psi is a good club to join. It’s not all accounting students which is nice. Like any college, the 200 level classes were not that tough but intermediate accounting was a big jump. I just wish there were more online classes for accounting.” -Student at University of Washington
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164
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, Washington: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wa.htm