online accounting schools in california

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

There are many reputable accounting schools in California that provide students with a valuable and for those considering an accounting career, a new beginning. It is important to note that each school has its own course offerings, campus environment, programs for students in the military and other factors to consider. The most common types of degree programs one can expect to find are bachelor’s degrees in accounting and master’s degrees in accounting or business finance. However, there are other advanced degrees like doctorates in accountancy and business administration with an accounting concentration.

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13 best Accounting Schools in California | 2022 World Scholarship Forum

There are a number of online accounting degrees in California. Selecting which of them is the best fit for any one person takes a bit of doing. The information below is directed to making that choice a little bit easier.

California provides a vast amount of higher education opportunities for accounting jobs, being able to satisfy any student that is looking for an on-campus or virtual classroom experience.

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Many students who graduate with an accounting degree enter the working world for a few years then decide they want to further their credentials. The master of accounting degree gives students the potential for career growth, a boost in salary, job security, and job satisfaction. Most graduate accounting programs are one year but some are two years. Students can choose between a full-time or part-time program depending on their personal situation. 

Many of the programs are open to students with any bachelor’s degree. Although it may take longer for those without an accounting or business background. The job growth for accountants and auditors is projected to be 11% from 2014-2024 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

To create our ranking of the best accounting programs in California, we gathered information from Public Accounting Report, Tax Talent and U.S. News and World Report. All the schools listed are accredited by the prestigious AACSB. We have included in state tuition rates, but this only an estimate. Please contact the school for more information about their rates and program details.

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Online Masters Degrees

Advanced College

Advanced College was founded in 1999 in South Gate near Los Angeles and seeks to offer training for associates degrees and certificate programs in the information systems, business and healthcare fields. The institution has an articulation agreement with Kaplan University, which offers a 10% tuition discount to students who enter its programs from having completed degrees at Advanced College. The school is accredited through the Council on Occupational Education and the Commission of International and Trans-Regional Accreditation. Its physical campus was designed by award-winning Westgroup Designs, and it offers visa sponsorship for some international students.

Associate of Science in Accounting

Advanced College offers an AS in Accounting meant to prepare students for entry-level accounting positions. Its online offerings serve to offer current professionals the ability to improve their knowledge and skills while maintaining employment. The degree requires 94 credit units for completion; required courses are two classes on composition and rhetoric, one in principles of psychology, one in American literature, an introduction to psychology, a course in critical thinking, three levels of computer skills classes, an introduction to computer networking, database management, principles of economics, introduction to and special topics in business, business communications, two courses in bookkeeping, two in principles of accounting, intermediate accounting, accounting software and managerial accounting. Courses cost $300 per unit, with a $100 registration fee, an $11.50 fund contribution and an estimated $4,280 in materials for an approximate program cost of nearly $23,300. No distinction is made between online and traditional classes in terms of cost or requirements.

13180 Paramount Blvd.
South Gate, CA 90280-7956
[email protected]

California College – San Diego

California College – San Diego traces its history to 1971 with the Scottsdale Education Center in Arizona. As a private, non-profit college, it is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, and offers degrees at the associate, baccalaureate and master levels in healthcare, business, information technology and graphic arts. Physical locations are in San Diego and San Marcos, with a satellite campus in National City and extensive online offerings through affiliate Stevens-Henager College Salt Lake City/Murray; the San Diego location offers an auditorium, lounges, wireless internet and a recently expanded library to facilitate student success.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

California College – San Diego offers a BS in Accounting meant to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue entry-level accounting positions successfully. Offered online and at all physical locations, the degree requires a fairly high 175 credits in 45 courses. Classes include introductory accounting, payroll accounting, computerized accounting, spreadsheets, accounting principles, managerial accounting, income taxes, two classes each in intermediate and federal tax accounting, principles of auditing, intermediate cost and computerized accounting, three classes in advanced accounting, computer uses, databases, motivational psychology, economics and economic principles, twelve credits in writing and communication, finance principles, US history and civilization, management principles, business practice, marketing entrepreneurship, investment, online commerce, business law, operations management, college algebra, critical thinking, solutions concepts, professional development, biological psychology, sociology of aging and statistics. Completion is expected in 30 to 36 months, assuming no prior coursework; transfer rates are not indicated.

6602 Convoy Ct.
Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92111

Carrington College California

Carrington College California is the successor of the Northwest College of Medical Assistants and Dental Assistants (founded in 1967) and of Western Career College and offers certificates and degrees at the associate level, primarily in health care fields, although its program offerings are expanding and now include criminal justice. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It also operates under the aegis of the DeVry Education Group, suggesting that its credits will transfer to other DeVry schools with minimal trouble, depending on the programs in question.

Associate of Science in Medical Billing & Coding

Carrington College California offers an Associate of Science in Medical Billing & Coding meant to prepare graduates to take entry-level positions in the vital role of coordinating the treatments and costs involved in health care. Completion of the degree is expected to take some 72 weeks of instruction (which does not count breaks between terms of instruction) and requires 60 semester credit hours. Twenty-four are general education courses, including English Writing and Composition, Principles of Mathematics, College Algebra, Introduction to Humanities, Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, Environmental Science and Computer Literacy. The remaining 36 are specific to the program, including Health Information Technology Theory 1-5, Applications 1-5, a career development seminar and an externship that allows students to gain practical experience in the field. While not strictly an accounting degree, the billing component touches upon accounting and will likely position graduates to transfer into formalized accounting study at other institutions.

Carrington College California
7801 Folsom Blvd.
Suite 210
Sacramento, CA 95826

Pacific Oaks College

San Jose, California

Student to Faculty Ratio: 2:1
Points: 10
Recognized as a Hispanic-serving institution by the U.S. Department of Education, Pacific Oaks College is also one of the leading low-cost online colleges in California. The school offers highly customizable online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Bachelor’s degree offerings include a BA in Early Childhood Education with concentrations in Trauma Studies, Elementary Education, and Elementary Education and Special Education; a BA in Human Development with concentrations in Early Childhood Education and Development, Active Learning Across the Lifespan, Elementary Education, and Social Change; a BA in Community Psychology; and a BA in Advocacy and Social Justice. Many of these same subjects can be studied at the master’s level. Other online master’s offerings include an MA in Organizational Leadership and Change and an MA in Human Development with concentrations in Leadership in Education and Human Services and Ecological Perspectives of Lifespan Development among others. Online teacher credentialing programs are also available. Pacific Oaks College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Net Price: $13,688

DeVry University – California

DeVry University has sixteen physical locations in California in addition to offering a slate of classes online. It emphasizes the flexibility and self-paced nature of online coursework with classes that start every eight weeks, and it makes available a number of financial aid options to its students. Too, it is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It reports that its online bachelor’s degrees were rated highly by the US News & World Report rankings, as well, and it an official provider of educational services to US Olympic athletes.

Master of Accounting and Financial Management

DeVry University offers an online Master of Accounting & Financial Management degree that integrates the Becker’s CPA Exam Review into its course sequence. Three emphases are available within the degree: Finance, Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner. Each requires 45 credit hours of coursework, of which 18 are core program requirements: Accounting and Finance: Managerial Use and Analysis; Managerial Accounting; Intermediate Accounting I, II and III and Federal Taxes and Management. Each also requires a set number of elective credits (3 for the CPA emphasis, 12 for the other two) and 15 credit hours in the emphasis; required courses will vary. Nine of the credit hours in the CPA emphasis are explicitly devoted to preparation for the CPA exam. Degrees can be completed in as short a time as 30 months; each three-credit-hour course costs $2,298, with anticipated materials expenses of $2,100 to $2,625. Other fees may apply.

DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management
Administrative Offices
Highland Landmark V
3005 Highland Parkway
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Golden Gate University – San Francisco

Golden Gate University in San Francisco was founded in 1901 and focuses on offering instruction to adult learners. It is a private, non-profit institution accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and awards certificates and degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and professional doctoral levels—including law. Current enrollment at the physical campus is in excess of 4,700 students, with approximately four-fifths attending part-time. Online enrollment exceeds 5,000 (excluding hybrid classes). On offer are tutoring and advising services as well as healthy student life, career services assistance, a general library and a law library.

Master of Accountancy

Golden Gate University offers a Master of Accountancy meant to facilitate career changes and improve the skills and knowledge of those already in the field. It will frequently satisfy requirements for the Certified Public Accountant or Certified Managerial Accountant exams, with review courses for them counting as electives toward the degree. The degree may be completed in twelve months as part of an intensely focused cohort. Required coursework comprises some 45 units of classes, of which nine are foundational requirements: Financial Accounting for Accounting Majors and Intermediate Accounting I and II. Program core courses account for another 21 units, including work in economics, finance, international business, law and ethics, research and communication, and more advanced coursework. Three concentrations are available—general accountancy, forensic accounting and taxation—and concentration coursework varies. Tuition for accounting courses is $2,610 per three-unit course, with other types of courses varying in rates and variable fees.

536 Mission Street
5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
[email protected]

Humboldt State University Arcata, California

Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Points: 8
Founded as a teacher’s college in 1913, Humboldt State University is now one of the best low-cost online colleges in California. Part of the California State University system, the school offers fully online degree and certificate programs through its College of Extended Education and Global Engagement. Undergraduate students have the option of pursuing an online bachelor’s degree completion program in Leadership Studies while graduate students can seek a Master of Social Work or Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Anthropology. Online certificate programs include the New Designs for Fundraising program, the Geospatial Certificate, the Faculty Preparation Program in Teaching in Higher Education, and more. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 30 best colleges for veterans and the top 15 public schools in the nation.
Net Price: $14,140

San Jose State University

San Jose, California

Student to Faculty Ratio: 27:1
Points: 8

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Founded in 1857, San Jose State University is one of the top affordable online colleges in California and serves the Silicon Valley area. The school offers high-quality online graduate programs, including three master’s degree programs: a Master of Library and Information Science, MS in Criminology with an emphasis in Global Criminology, and Master’s in Archives and Records Administration. An online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is also available. Students interested in a hybrid program have even more options, including an MA in Music Education, MS in Medical Product Development Management, Master of Social Work, and an MS in Software Engineering, for example. U.S. News & World Report has ranked San Jose State among the top 35 regional universities in the West, the top 20 best colleges for veterans, and the top 5 public schools in the country.
Net Price: $13,906

Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Los Angeles Trade Technical College was founded as the Frank Wiggins Trade School in 1925 and is the most senior two-year college in the Los Angeles Community College District. A public institution it is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and employs nearly 750 faculty, staff and administration. Tuition is $20 per unit for California residents; nonresidents pay nearly ten times as much. Fees are extra. The campus covers some 25 acres two miles south of the Central Business District of Los Angeles, offering easy access to the community.

Associate of Arts in Accounting

Los Angeles Trade Technical College offers an Associate of Arts degree in Accounting meant to equip students to work in general and corporate accounting or to continue formal education in a four-year program. The degree requires 60 units of coursework, including general education requirements. Program-specific requirements comprise 47 units of coursework to be taken over four semesters; courses are Introduction to Business, either Business Communications or Technical Report Writing, Microcomputer Software Survey in the Office, Oral Communications, Introductory Accounting I and II , Computerized Accounting Methods and Procedures, Principles of Economics II (Macro), Office Machines, Business Law I, Spreadsheet Analysis, Intermediate Accounting, Cost Accounting and either Tax Accounting or Computerized Payroll Accounting. Some courses are only offered in the Fall or Spring term of each year, so students will need to plan their curricula carefully to be able to meet program requirements in a timely manner.

Ms. Paulette Bailey, Chair, Business Administration / Computer Applications & Office Technologies
Los Angeles Trade Technical College
400 West Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
[email protected]

National University

National University is based in San Diego. Founded in 1971, it is currently the second largest private, nonprofit college in California and twelfth-largest in the US. It offers online curricula and physical programs at more than 45 locations throughout the southern United States. National University makes a point of minority outreach having been cited by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as awarding more master’s degrees to Hispanic and African American students than any other California college; it also stands as one of the top ten schools in granting master’s degrees to women. The institution is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Bachelor of Science in Accountancy

National University offers a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy that seeks to prepare students for many accounting and related careers; it can be taken entirely online or at any of nine physical locations. The degree requires 180 quarter units, including general education requirements, 45 units in residence at National University and 76.5 at the upper-division level. Program-specific requirements include 18 quarter units of preparation for the major, 22.5 of core business courses and 54 of accounting coursework. The first includes an introduction to quantitative methods, principles of micro- and macroeconomics, and financial accounting funds. Business core courses cover legal aspects of business, information management in organizations, principles of management and organization, business finance and one of the following: global business, marketing fundamentals or management science. Accounting courses include Applied Technology for Accountants, Government and Nonprofit Accounting, Managerial Accounting I and II, Intermediate Accounting I-III, Advanced Accounting, Taxation (Individual and Business) and Auditing I and II.

Accountancy (Master of Accountancy)

National University offers a Master of Accountancy degree designed to meet the needs of those who have no previous accounting experience (the program is specifically described as “not appropriate for students with an undergraduate degree in accounting”) and which aligns with the Uniform CPA Exam. Courses may be taken online or at any of three physical locations. The degree requires 63 quarter units of coursework at the graduate level, of which 13.5 may be transferred from other institutions under certain circumstances. The curriculum is narrowly structured, with fourteen courses required: Foundations of Financial Accounting; Accounting Information Systems; Financial Accounting I, II and III; Advanced Financial Accounting; Taxation of Individuals; Taxation of Businesses & Other Entities; Cost Accounting; Advanced Managerial Accounting; Accounting for Government & Not-for-Profit Entities; Auditing Principles; Auditing Procedures and Cases in Accounting & Auditing.

National University Academic Headquarters
11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037
BS: 916-855-4137
MAcc: 619-563-7293
BS: [email protected]
MAcc: [email protected]

Mount Saint Mary’s University

Los Angeles, California

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Los Angeles, CA

Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Points: 5
Founded in 1925, Mount Saint Mary’s University is currently among the best affordable online colleges in California. An independent Catholic liberal arts university, the school offers online degree programs for both undergraduates and graduates. Students interested in pursuing an associate degree can choose from programs in business administration, pre-health science, and computer science. For bachelor’s degree seeking students, there is a BA in Liberal Arts, BS in Business Administration, and Bachelor’s in Criminology. A single graduate degree is also available online: the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. In addition, students can choose to pursue an online certificate program in entrepreneurship. Mount Saint Mary’s University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges to award these degrees. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 20 regional universities in the West and among the top 35 best value schools.
Net Price: $28,910

Hope International University

Fullerton, California

Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Points: 5
Hope International University was founded in 1928 and is now one of the best low-cost online colleges in California. A nondenominational private Christian university, the school offers fully online degree programs for undergraduates. This includes an online Associate of Arts, BA programs in Liberal Studies and Criminal Justice, and BS options in Human Development, Christian Ministry, and Business Administration. Hope International University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges to award these degrees online. It is also a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 100 regional universities in the West and placed its online bachelor’s degree programs among the best in the nation.
Net Price: $25,150

Saddleback College

Founded in 1968, Saddleback College offers certificates, occupational skills awards and associate degrees in nearly 200 program areas; many of its programs guarantee transfer to schools in the University of California System. Enrollment in the 2012-2013 academic year exceeded 40,000. California residents pay $46 per unit in tuition; non-residents pay $190, and foreign students $269. Fees are extra in all cases. Saddleback College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It offers athletics programs for men and women; the mascot is the Gauchos.

Associate in Science- Accounting

Saddleback College offers an Associate in Science in Accounting that proceeds from one of the three accounting certifications offered (general accounting, computerized accounting specialist and tax preparation) and largely aligns with the continuing education requirements for the California Certified Public Accountant Exam; it is not intended primarily for those who seek to transfer an associate’s degree to a four-year institution. The degree requires the completion of 60 hours of coursework, including general education classes and others that vary by certification. The general accounting track requires Financial Accounting, either Managerial or Cost Accounting, Intermediate Accounting I and II, Individual Income Tax, Partnership and Corporate Taxation, Auditing and either Business Law or Legal Environment of Business. The computerized accounting track requires Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Individual Income Tax, Spreadsheets: Excel, Computerized Accounting: QuickBooks—Advanced and an elective. The tax preparation track requires Financial Accounting, Individual Income Tax, Partnership an Corporate Taxation, either Business Law or Legal Environment of Business, Spreadsheets: Excel and Computerized Accounting: QuickBooks (either Beginning or Advanced).

28000 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
[email protected]

University of Phoenix – Southern California Campus

The University of Phoenix offers classes at more than 100 physical locations and online, awarding degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. While the institution is currently accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, it is formally on Notice and must correct the problems identified or risk loss of its accreditation. The Southern California Campus in Costa Mesa offers 23 classrooms, 20 computer stations, copy services, study rooms and workshops. Campus hours are Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Associate of Arts with a Concentration in Accounting

University of Phoenix offers an Associate of Arts with a concentration in Accounting that provides students with foundational knowledge in general education and a focus on the role of accounting in the business world. Courses are offered in reinforcing pairs in nine-week sessions, and the degree requires a total of 60 credits. Courses for the degree include a survey of accounting, a course in ethics, an introduction to finance, financial reporting, an introduction to college algebra and the course itself, a success seminar, an introduction to personal finance, another to health and wellness, yet another to life sciences (including a lab), basic chemistry, critical and creative thinking, media studies, cultural diversity in the US (including race, ethnicity and gender), psychology, contemporary US history and two courses in composition and communication. Tuition is $395 per credit hour with an added $90 materials fee per course.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

University of Phoenix offers a Bachelor of Science in Accounting both online and at its Southern California location. The degree is designed to offer graduates broad experience in the concerns of business and management while allowing them to focus on developing the knowledge and skills to successfully enter into an accounting career. Tuition and fees for courses are $395 per credit for lower division courses, $585 per credit for upper division, and $95 for materials for each course. The degree requires 120 credits of coursework, including a general education core, a slate of electives and seventy-two credits of major courses that cover such fields as business communication, computer use, management theory, accounting principles, accounting ethics, business law, economics, finance, marketing, quantitative analysis, organizational development, corporate taxation, individual and estate taxation, government and non-profit accounting, cost accounting, auditing, research and special accounting topics that will vary by term.

Bachelor of Science in Business

University of Phoenix offers a Bachelor of Science in Business meant to equip students with general knowledge and skills in accounting, marketing, information systems and business principles so that they can effectively involve themselves in business ventures. Tuition and fees for courses are $395 per credit for lower division courses, $585 per credit for upper division, and $95 for materials for each course. The degree requires 120 credits of coursework, including a general education core, a slate of electives and such courses as Business Communication, Introduction to Computer Applications and Systems, Statistics for Decision Making, Principles of Accounting I and II, Critical Thinking and Decision Making in Business, Ethical and Legal Topics in Business, Principles of Micro- and Macroeconomics, Organizational Behavior for Managers, Finance for Business, Marketing and Integrated Business Topics. While not strictly an accounting degree, the BS in Business does offer grounding in accounting principles and presents the broader context in which accounting is conducted.

Important Accounting Skills for Workplace Success

Master of Science in Accountancy

The University of Phoenix Master of Science in Accountancy explicitly seeks to align with the educational standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for professionalism and competency in communication, leadership and strategy, critical thinking, and the use of technology; it is expected that graduates will sit for the CPA in their states. It also seeks to prepare graduates to move into management positions through exposure to and engagement with theories and principles that underlie much accounting work. Tuition per credit is $740, with a materials fee per course of $115. The degree requires thirty-six credits in a core of courses and a slate of electives. The core courses include Communications for Accountants, Financial Accounting, Accounting Theory & Research, Accounting Information Systems, Managerial Accounting & Legal Aspects of Business, Internal Control Systems, Financial Reporting, Auditing, Taxation, Not-for-profit & Government Accounting, Forensic Accounting and Accounting Ethics.

3090 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA, 92626-3099
AA in Accounting
BS in Accounting
BS in Business
MS in Accountancy

West Los Angeles College

Opened in 1969, West Los Angeles College is a member of the Los Angeles Community College District and covers some 70 acres in Culver City. It enrolls some 12,000 students (traditional and extension) and employs nearly 525 faculty and staff; each semester sees nearly 1,000 classes offered, leading to certificates and associate degrees. The institution is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Childcare services are available to help facilitate student attendance at class, and a number of support services are available to meet other student needs.

Associate of Arts in Accounting

West Los Angeles College offers an Associate of Arts degree in Accounting that “is primarily designed for vocational education” rather than to facilitate transfer to a four-year school; students interested in transfer are advised to pursue an Associate of Arts in Business Administration. Instructional focus is on easing entry into the workforce. The degree requires at least 60 units of coursework that include general education classes (composition, mathematics, arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, physical and biological sciences and either a non-English language or oral communication) and program courses. For the Associate of Arts in Accounting, the program courses are Introductory Accounting I and II, Automated Accounting, Business Communications, Microsoft Advanced Business Application, Business Law I, Principles of Economics I and II, Principles of Selling and electives selected from among Tax Accounting I, Managerial Accounting, Business Law II, Principles of Management and Principles of Marketing.

9000 Overland Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230
[email protected]

It is not always easy to know that program fits best, but those which have local connections tend to be better for those nearby. It is always better to find a place that engages with the community and which can be found in the event of any trouble. This is particularly true for online accounting degrees in California.

Sacramento State University

Master of Science in Accountancy

The College of Business Administration has a curriculum that prepares students for the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) exam, specifically in categories such as auditing, regulation, and financial accounting. The online program will have video lectures and an instant messaging service to keep in touch with faculty and other students. Courses that are offered in the curriculum include Business Communication, Taxation of Business Entities, and accounting for government and not-for-profit organizations.

Minimum requirements to get into the program are obtaining an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.50 cumulative GPA and submitting GRE or GMAT scores unless students have a degree from an accredited university, are already certified as CPA or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or acquired a 3.25 cumulative GPA with an undergraduate degree at Sacramento State. It is worth noting that students admitted into the program typically have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 and GMAT scores of 585. This program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

California Polytechnic State University – Pomona

Master of Science in Accountancy

The MSA at Cal Poly Pomona requires 30 credits to complete, which breaks down into seven core courses and three of the following four electives: Accounting Ethics, Internship in Accounting, Management Control in Not-for-Profit Organizations, and Fraud and Forensic Accounting. Typically, students can complete the program within two years with classes in the fall and spring and none during the summer.

An alternative degree is the Accelerated Master of Science in Accountancy, which can be completed in less time than the traditional version by taking more classes each semester. The curriculum is divided up into four classes in the fall and spring, and two classes and a comprehensive exam in the summer, so the program can be completed in just one year.

+ Find online accounting programs that are currently accepting applicants

Northcentral University

Master of Science in Accounting

This online university has a higher education accounting program that prepares students for the Certified Public Accountants exam. The curriculum consists of 10 courses and can be completed within two years. Admission for new students happens each Monday, and a unique feature with this university is the ability to work one-on-one with faculty members. There are also scholarship opportunities, including full-time tuition payment and a $20,000 award.

Admission requirements include earning a Bachelor’s degree at an accredited university. Technical needs in order to complete the online program are having a computer capable of running similar to an Intel Pentium 4 processor with 2 GB of ram, 40 GP of hard drive space, and having at least a 56 Kbps modem connection. A Windows or Mac operating system is preferred with Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader 10 or higher, and antivirus software. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

University of Southern California

Master of Business in Taxation

There are a number of Master’s degrees within accounting and data analytics through the USC Marshall of School of Business, but the one online program is the Master of Business Taxation for Working Professionals. There is a similar on-campus experience that has evening classes, but this provides another avenue for people to gain an education without having to leave a current job or dealing with the inconvenience of juggling trips to school and work. All coursework and communication is provided through the MarshallTalk content management system.

Professionals with an average work experience of six years are typically in the program, and each class has approximately 40 students. It is generally geared toward the mid-tier candidate that is looking to advance in their career, and at least half the student body work in companies that are in the middle or smaller.

Saint Mary’s College of California

Master of Science in Accounting

This hybrid accounting program is offered by the School of Economics and Business Administration. It can be completed in 15 months for those with an educational background in accounting, with an additional three months if needing to satisfy prior coursework requirements. Most courses are offered in the evening or on the weekend, and part-time students can complete a good portion of the courses online. 78 percent of students that have completed this program are employed are exploring further education, and nearly half of the graduates have seen an increase in salary.

Examples of some core courses in the program include Advanced Managerial Accounting, International Accounting, and Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation. These courses will provide study in the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the ability to make business decisions based on evaluating variance analysis and differential cost analysis, and being able to analyze and create presentations and reports based off of financial statements.

Accreditation Options in California

While the the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is one of the most popular accreditation organizations to look for, there are other accreditation(s) to consider when looking at various programs in California. Accreditation shows that a university’s curriculum is current with the latest technological advancement and ethical standards, and it can give an edge to students in the hiring process.

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Since 1998, the ACBSP accredits all business programs across the world and has reached over 1,000 campuses. Their goal is to reach every business program and help them obtain a quality curriculum in order to best prepare students for a role in business. The association has on-campus visits to evaluate the education process and ensures a quality experience for students.

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

A regional accreditation group that focuses on higher education throughout the Pacific Coast and Hawaii. The process consists of a few members observing the school’s curriculum and operations, then a full review takes place by the stakeholders and they develop an accreditation plan. This is reviewed on a yearly basis and the process is tweaked if needed. This is separate from the Accrediting Commission for Schools (ACS WASC), which highlight schools within the K-12 education range and schools that do not distribute degrees. Accreditation power is granted by the US Department of Education, which also controls other regional accreditation groups.

International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)

This agency has been recognized as an official accreditation group by the US Department of Education since 2011. They focus on various higher-level degrees within the business field and has accredited schools from over 20 countries. Schools are reviewed based on some of the following criteria: how well the faculty and curriculum are presented, professional connections the program has, and innovation that the university has implemented into the program.

Career Opportunities in California

A few companies that have the most accounting positions available within California include H&R Block, Deloitte, and BDO. At H&R Block, there are numerous positions as tax preparers to help clients, be it personal or business related, fill out their taxes and to help in audit support when reviewing information and making sure that all documents satisfy the Internal Revenue Service requirements.

72 employees that have reviewed H&R Block on Glassdoor would recommend working at the company to a friend. Deloitte is part of the Big Four accounting firms that provides services such as financial and tax advice, enterprise risk analysis, and auditing services.

Entry Level Accounting Jobs in California

For entry-level accountant positions in California, salary range averages between $55,177 to $66,729 according to Cities that rank on the higher end of this scale include notable places such as San Jose, Santa Clara, and Mountain View, the latter being home to a number of corporations within Silicon Valley.

This average rises all the way to $114,406 for higher-level accounting positions that require multiple years of experience and are reserved for more specialized positions. In some cases, a Master’s degree may be required to satisfy more technical or theoretical aspects of a specialized role. By comparison, tax preparers will get a little more than general accounting positions.

Top Cities for Accountant Careers in California

Both San Francisco and Los Angeles will have the most accounting positions available by location according to the latest Indeed listings. Many opportunities reach at least $66,000 on an annual salary, and senior and managerial positions will frequently offer salaries in the six-figure mark, but these big cities do have a rather high cost of living.

While San Francisco provides an opportunity for a number of more seasoned accounting professions, San Mateo, a city that continues to gain more Silicon Valley startups, has a number of entry-level positions available at a lower cost of living.

California Accounting Career Summary

Employment Change: +28,000 jobs added between 2014 and 2024, an estimated average of 6,970 new accountant or auditor jobs in California per year.

Accountant salary in California

The average salary for an accountant in California is around $70,805 per year.

Accountant salary by state


State NameAverage Salary
District of Columbia$91,890
North Carolina$69,840
North Dakota$59,660
New Hampshire$67,120
New Jersey$90,400
New Mexico$60,120
New York$83,250
Puerto Rico$32,770
Rhode Island$76,770
South Carolina$58,640
South Dakota$62,270
Virgin Islands, U.S.$48,650
West Virginia$62,670

How do accountant salaries compare to similar careers?

Accountants earn about the same as related careers in California. On average, they make less than fraud analysts but more than tax preparers.

CareerMedian Salary
Fraud analyst salary$73K
Financial quantitative analyst salary$73K
Investment banker salary$73K
Risk management specialist salary$73K
Cost estimator salary$71K
Accountant salary$71K
Loan officer salary$60K
Social fundraiser salary$62K
Revenue agent salary$61K
Tax preparer salary$52K

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