The population of Arizona is growing, at a rate that the U.S. Census estimates to be around 100,000 new residents per year. On top of that, the state's capital of Phoenix made an appearance on the Forbes list of fastest-growing U.S. cities for 2015, and personal income growth in Arizona was higher than the national average for most of 2015.
Jobs for accountants in the Grand Canyon State are on the rise as a part of all that growth, and Arizona accounting schools are here to help you prepare for one of the thousands of new positions expected to emerge over the next several years. Here's some info about Arizona accounting programs and how they might take some of the stress out of your career search.
Online Accounting Programs in Arizona
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows 25 entries on their list of Arizona accounting schools, although there's actually a considerably greater number of programs available to prospective students in Arizona. Online accounting programs are offered by a variety of institutions both in and out of state, and the increased scheduling flexibility and generally lower cost of online education can be persuasive reasons for students to give the virtual classroom a try.
It's up to each individual accounting school to set the specific curriculum requirements for their degree plans, but there are some core courses in accounting that many programs share. Here's a quick list of the type of courses that students at Arizona accounting schools can expect to take on the path to their degree:
- Fundamentals of finance
- Financial accounting
- Internal reporting
- Managerial accounting
- Business law and ethics
- Principles of auditing
- Business statistics
Depending on the institution and the focus of the program, you may also study supply chain management, organizational leadership, business project management, taxation, business process analysis, non-profit accounting or database administration.
If you're hoping to go on to take the Arizona CPA exam, bear in mind that the Arizona State Board of Accountancy requires CPA candidates to have completed at least 24 credit hours of non-redundant accounting coursework, of which at least 12 must come from the upper division. At least 18 credit hours of related courses -- subjects such as economics, finance, management, ethics, communications, business and advanced mathematics -- must also be completed before you can be cleared to test for CPA status.
What is the Job Outlook Like for Accountants in Arizona?
A report by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the mean annual salary for accountants and auditors in Arizona was reported as $64,440 in 2014, with the bottom 10 percent of earners earning up to $37,800 and the top 10 percent taking home $98,190 or more. Here are the mean annual salaries for a variety of accounting-related positions in Arizona, according to the BLS:
- Budget analyst: $68,800
- Cost estimator: $64,360
- Financial analyst: $72,600
- Personal financial advisor: $77,020
- Tax examiner/collector: $60,920
- Business teacher, postsecondary: $89,630
Data released by the Arizona Arizona Department of Administration's Office of Employment and Population Statistics (EPS) indicate that employment of accountants in the state is expected to grow by around 23 percent between 2012 and 2022. BLS projections show a national growth forecast of just 13 percent, placing Arizona's growth at 177% of the national average. More than 1,000 jobs for graduates of Arizona accounting schools are expected to be added to the workforce each year, according to EPS data, culminating in close to 25,000 total positions on the market by 2022.
Here are some employment growth figures for job categories that may be available to graduates of Arizona accounting programs, depending on their auxiliary study, work experience and other factors:
- Tax preparers: 21.9 percent
- Financial analysts: 17.9 percent
- Credit analysts: 21.1 percent
- Financial examiners: 20.5 percent
- Credit counselors: 28.9 percent
- Personal financial advisors: 37.3 percent
The majority of accountants nationwide worked at accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services firms, with in-house accounting at private companies, positions with local and state governments and work for consulting firms rounding out the top 5 industries.
What Are Accounting Specializations for Accountants in Arizona?
Students in Arizona accounting programs who want to angle their studies toward a particular career or field of practice may also be able to choose a specialty for their degree. Depending on the institution, specializations may include the following:
At the master's level, accounting degrees are often offered as accounting-specialized MBA degrees, which may be open to additional specialization at some universities. Adding intensive study of finance, business law, marketing, analytics or corporate finance to your advanced accounting degree can help prepare you to move your career to the next level.
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