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Accounting schools in Alaska

Accounting is often called the "language of business," as having a keen understanding of monetary transactions and the profits, losses, expenses and liabilities associated with them can play a key role in driving major organizational policies.

Individuals who are looking to begin or advance their education in the field can choose from several accounting schools in Alaska. Accounting credentials in the state can be found at the certificate, associate and bachelor's levels. Depending on the school and program, students may be able to select fully-online programs, on-campus instruction or a hybrid of both.

During their studies, students can expect to be introduced to the core tenets of accounting, which often include financial accounting, managerial accounting, payroll accounting, taxation, auditing, accounting information systems and business ethics.

Alaska Schools: Accounting Programs

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that six schools in Alaska offer accounting-related programs, with three presenting distance learning opportunities. These schools provide instruction in one or more of the following sub-categories: accounting, accounting and business/management, accounting and finance, accounting technology and bookkeeping, accounting and other related services, auditing.

Name

City

School Website

University Type

Net Price (2011-2012)

Alaska Pacific University

Anchorage

www.alaskapacific.edu

4-year, Private not-for-profit

$31,397

Charter College-Anchorage

Anchorage

www.chartercollege.edu

4-year, primarily associate's, Private for-profit

$18,797

Ilisagvik College

Barrow

www.ilisagvik.edu

2-year, Public

$7,464

University of Alaska Anchorage

Anchorage

www.uaa.alaska.edu

4-year, Public

$8,943

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Fairbanks

www.uaf.edu

4-year, Public

$9,834

University of Alaska Southeast

Juneau

www.uas.alaska.edu

4-year, Public

$8,827

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2013, College Navigator, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/

Certification and Licensing Requirements for Alaska Accountants

Graduates of accounting schools in Alaska may choose to continue their training to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Under federal law, any accountant who files reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, must be a CPA. In addition, CPA licensure may be an advantage when it comes to pursuing job opportunities according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The first step in gaining CPA licensure in Alaska, as laid out by the Alaska Board of Public Accountancy, is to take the Uniform CPA Examination administered by the American Institute of CPAs. To sit for the Uniform CPA Exam, students need a bachelor's degree from an approved school and have met one of the following criteria:

  • Earned the equivalent of an accounting concentration
  • Completed at least 15 semester or 22 quarter credit hours in accounting-related subjects
  • Have at least one year of public accounting experience.

Students who are within 18 semester or 27 quarter credit hours of graduation may also be able to sit for the exam if at least 15 semester or 22 quarter hours have been earned in accounting.

After passing the Uniform CPA Examination, students need to meet other requirements to become eligible for licensure, including:

  • Earning 150 total academic credits.
  • Having two years of approved accounting work experience.
  • Being at least 19 years of age.
  • Passing an AICPA ethics exam.

In addition, Alaska offers reciprocity with other states for CPAs. Continuing education is required for renewal of licenses. For complete rules and regulations on becoming a CPA in Alaska, please contact the Alaska Board of Public Accountancy.

Potential Career Opportunities for Graduates of Accounting Schools in Alaska

Accounting degrees in Alaska could help prepare individuals for many job opportunities in the state. Depending on the type of degree earned and a candidate's professional background, graduates could pursue careers such as:

  • Internal Auditor
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Cost Accountant
  • Budget Analyst
  • Bookkeeper
  • Accounts Payable Clerk
  • Financial Controller

Careers like these are found in an assortment of work environments, including government, private businesses, tax preparation practices, and even nonprofits. Pursuing a position a dedicated accounting firm is also an option. KPMG, one of the "Big Four" accounting firms, has an office in Anchorage, but it's far from the only accounting firm in the state. Here is a sampling of others located in Alaska.

Accounting Firms in Alaska

City

Website

Altman, Rogers & Co.

Anchorage, Juneau

altrogco.com

BDO USA

Anchorage

bdo.com

DY CPA

Anchorage

dycpas.com

Elgee Rehfeld Mertz

Juneau

ermcpa.com

Kerr McVey Sheaffer & Associates

Anchorage

kmscpas.com

Kohler, Schmitt & Hutchison

Fairbanks

kshcpa.com

Robinson Associates

Fairbanks

robinsonaccountingfirm.com

Rulien + Associates

Anchorage, Eagle River

rullien.com

Schneiter & Moad CPAs

Anchorage

schneitherandmoad.com

Skipworth & Associates

Anchorage

skipworth.net

Swalling and Associates

Anchorage

swallingcpas.com

Walksh Kelliher & Sharp

Fairbanks

wkscpa.com

Employment Outlook for Accounting Careers in Alaska

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development has named accountants and auditors two of "Alaska's Top Jobs" between 2010 and 2020 due to high average wage and job growth scores. Two hundred and fifty new accountant and auditor jobs are expected to be created during this span, with 678 total projected openings when replacement opportunities are taken into consideration. These jobs should grow at a slightly faster rate than the state average.

Additional job growth and salary data for accountants and auditors, as well as several related professions, can be found below:

Occupation

Mean Annual Wage, Alaska (May 2012)

Mean Annual Wage, United States (May 2012)

Projected State Employment Growth, 2010-2020

Projected National Employment Growth, 2010-2020

Accountants and Auditors

$72,880

$71,040

13%

16%

Cost Estimators

$80,610

$63,080

11%

36%

Budget Analysts

$82,040

$72,100

15%

10%

Bookkeeping, Accounting & Auditing Clerks

$42,150

$36,640

11%

14%

Financial Examiners

$58,880

$84,220

17%

27%

Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

$84,440

$56,050

11%

7%

Financial Analysts

$98,730

$89,410

42%

23%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment Projections, 2012; Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, 2013; Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, 2012

* Salaries and employment opportunities may vary based on experience, education, location and other factors.

Sources:

Accountants and Auditors, May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm

Accountants and Auditors, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Accountants-and-auditors.htm

Alaska, May 2012 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm

Alaska's 10-Year Occupational Forecast 2010 to 2020

http://labor.alaska.gov/research//trends/oct12art2.pdf

Alaska Occupational Forecast 2010 to 2020

http://live.laborstats.alaska.gov/occfcst/

College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, 2013

http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/

National Employment by Occupation, Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

http://bls.gov/emp/ep_table_102.htm

Statutes and Regulations: Public Accountancy, Alaska Board of Public Accountancy, February 2013

http://commerce.alaska.gov/dnn/Portals/5/pub/CPARegulations.pdf

United States, May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm