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Best Accounting Schools in Connecticut in 2021

October 4, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Set between New York City and other New England states, it’s no secret that Connecticut’s vibrant insurance and healthcare sectors make it a desirable market for accountants. According to the US News and World Report, this state ranks 5th among the highest-paying states for accountants. 

By providing a service that individuals and businesses depend on, the accounting profession thrives across the US. A report by CNBC indicates that in 2020 accounting managers ranked as the 16th highest-paying profession in the US as a result of high career satisfaction, competitive salaries, and strong job markets. 

It’s, therefore, no surprise that the Bureau Labor of Statistics (BLS) anticipates a 6% growth rate in employment for auditors and accountants by 2028, ranking slightly higher than the national average of 5%. With that being said, this guide covers everything you need to know about accounting schools in Connecticut, including the potential careers, common specializations, and the types of degrees.  

Pros and Cons of Accounting Schools in Connecticut

Let’s explore the perks of pursuing an accounting degree in Connecticut. 

1. Highest Percentage of Degree Holders in the US

Approximately 40% of residents in Connecticut have a bachelor’s degree under their belt. According to a career analysis report by Zippia, Connecticut houses a third of the greatest percentage of people with an associate degree or a master’s degree. 

Most public schools in this state, including the University of Connecticut and two-year online Connecticut colleges, offer a two-year accounting program. 

2. Size and Location 

A boatload of Connecticut private schools such as the University of New Haven, the University of Hartford, Quinnipiac University, and Fairfield University also offers an accounting major. The state’s geographical location and size can also allow degree-seekers to access the essential entities and resources to become an accountant. 

Connecticut is positioned near the Northeast megalopolis, allowing an aspiring accountant to find the necessary networking opportunities and internships at some of the largest corporations in the US. 

3. Potential for Career Growth 

After completing a graduate accounting program, you’ll typically begin as an entry-level associate. However, the growth potential can be amazing. A graduate student will start as a junior auditor in public accounting, a staff accountant, or an Accounting Assistant in the controller’s office in private accountancy as they start plotting their finance career paths

4. Favorable Earning Potential 

There’s no denying that accounting is a career with a huge upside in Connecticut when it comes to the earning potential and the available opportunities accessible to anyone with the ideal credentials. For instance, a master’s degree, associate degree, or a bachelor’s in accounting or business administration. 

In addition to the attractive pay, the field is expected to see rapid growth with a 6.3% increment in the number of jobs available by 2028. An accountant in Connecticut rakes in an average annual salary of $55,777 per year

5. Clear Career Path 

Through an accounting major, you learn practical skills that employers look for, such as cost analysis and crunching numbers. As a result, you gain clarity on a career path as opposed to a student who chooses to learn philosophy or English, where the potential career outcomes are more difficult to define. 

Let’s delve into the cons of enrolling in an accounting degree program in Connecticut. 

1. The Education Statistics 

For higher education in Connecticut, a degree-seeker, including those enrolling in a nursing program, usually faces the issue of high tuition. Furthermore, the state allocates less tax revenue for higher learning compared to other states. Nonetheless, Connecticut appropriates more funds for each full-time student than the national average. 

2. Cost of Living 

Connecticut ranks among the pricier states to reside in. Transportation, housing, utilities, and groceries all tend to run higher than in other states. It’s, therefore, no surprise that Connecticut ranks 43rd for affordability, making it 27.5% more costly than the national average. Potential students should consider how the high cost of living may negatively impact their budgets before enrolling in a graduate accounting program. 

Let’s discuss the perks of living in Connecticut. 

1. A Wealth of Opportunities to Revel in the Great Outdoors 

Granted, a visit to the beach is the least of your concerns when looking to earn an accounting degree in Connecticut. However, you’re not further than two hours away from the ocean when residing here. When you want a change of scenery to study for the CPA exam in a bid to earn a CPA certificate, you can head over to the Ocean Beach Park, Hammonasset Beach State Park, or the breathtaking Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk. The Appalachian Trail is also found in Connecticut. It’s an incredible place to go hiking when you want to unwind from the rigorous accounting coursework. 

2. A Boatload of Entertainment Options 

If the performing arts tickle your fancy, then the New Haven’s College Street Music Hall should be on your radar when you want to unwind after a long week of accounting classes and assessments. It reopened in 2015 after being vacant for more than 10 years. 

Currently, it’s the go-to for artists who visit the area, attracting acts that would usually skip over Connecticut when traveling between New York City and Boston. Live music benefits from a multitude of small clubs dotting the state, such as the Side Door Jazz Club located in Old Lyme, a popular historic place. 

Every city has at least one location for the performance of acts, including poetry nights, game nights where you can take your mind off accounting degree coursework. 

What to Expect from an Accounting Degree Program in Connecticut

You may want to begin by earning an associate degree in accounting. However, in Connecticut, an accounting student aspiring to get a CPA license must earn a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university or college. Additionally, at least 150 semester hours are a requirement and must include the following study areas. 

  • A minimum of 36 semester hours in various accounting courses. It’s worth noting that these courses must be specific to accounting in your selected university or college offerings. The appropriate listings are usually notated as ACCT or ACC courses.
  •  A minimum of 30 semester hours in economics or business courses such as business administration, in addition to accounting. The course descriptions are vital in determining the relevance to business or economics. Keep in mind, insurance, retail, and marketing courses usually don’t meet this requirement. Your university advisor should guide your course selections accordingly.
  • At least 60 semester hours for courses relating to general education. These university credits can include additional economics, accounting, business, or technology beyond the stipulated CPA education requirements

When deciding on a school in Connecticut, the level of accounting degree to pursue can affect your options. For entry-level roles such as bookkeeping, an associate degree is the minimum. Students can earn it at a 4-year university or 2-year college. An aspiring certified public accountant (CPA) usually pursues a master’s degree. 

Accountants in Connecticut qualify to sit for the CPA examination with only a bachelor’s degree. However, they must hold at least 150 college credits which they achieve with 30 credits (a master’s degree) and 120 credits (bachelor’s degree). Students interested in academia or research-based careers usually require a doctoral degree. 

Associate Degree 

As the fastest accounting degree program, you can earn an associate’s in 1 to 2 years, depending on the university or college you opt for. Nonetheless, you’ll want to earn a bachelor’s if you want to penetrate the diverse accounting field. Becoming a CPA in Connecticut means you should consider a bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s Degree

Students who want to become CPAs in Connecticut or anyone who wants a salary bump must have a bachelor’s degree as the minimum. It will give them access to the CPA exam, ushering in the opportunity for additional certifications. 

Master’s Degree

Anyone with a master’s degree in accounting qualifies for better pay and high-level promotions in their careers. It can take 1 to 2 years or longer for those working as they complete their master’s. With this degree under your belt, you can focus on a specialization such as forensic accounting. Given that you’ll require 150 semester hours to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam, becoming a graduate accounting student will prepare you for a CPA certificate in Connecticut. 

Ph.D. or Doctorate 

An accounting professional with an interest in teaching at the college level, financial analysis, or public policy research must earn a Ph.D. or doctorate in accounting. Additionally, you can consider becoming a certified public accountant in Connecticut with at least a graduate certificate. CPA licensure isn’t a requirement unless your goal is to work in a firm or sign legal documents. 

Accounting degree programs in Connecticut usually boast various specialization options to aid students in preparing for certain fields or careers. Fields and concentrations related to accounting differ in job outlook, career preparation, and salaries. The typical accounting specialties include governmental accounting, forensic accounting, corporate accounting, and internal auditing. 

Due to the strength of the healthcare, finance, and insurance sectors in Connecticut, specializations in taxation and analytics usher in great careers as a tax preparer and financial analyst. 

Analytics

As a STEM-related specialization, it relies on data analytics to unveil accounting insights, diminish risks, and enhance procedures. Students acquire skills in using data in predictive modeling, auditing, and business operations in preparations for roles as a financial analyst or auditor. 

Accounting Information Systems 

Usually offered by business and accounting departments, an information systems degree prepares a student to grasp the accounting field’s intricacies while exploring the technology that allows businesses to run efficiently. 

By pursuing this accounting major, students maintain and develop industry-specific databases and other financial software. Most accounting program curriculums in Connecticut also cover information technology team management. 

Students enrolled in an accounting degree information systems program usually complete the core curriculum before branching into technology-based coursework. A student has free rein to focus on accounting information systems at the master’s or bachelor’s degree level. 

A multitude of graduate students pursues credentials in public accounting or CPAs once they complete the stipulated requirements. A student whose goal is to work as a CPA usually needs to complete more than 120 credit hours of an undergraduate degree, after which they can hone their accounting information systems concentration at the master’s level. 

Through these double qualifications, a graduate can pursue a career as a computer support specialist, systems analyst, general accountant, or management analyst. 

Taxation

It covers all variations of taxes, including real estate, income, property, and payroll. Contrary to a general accounting degree, taxation specializations focus on one aspect of the accounting process. These concentrations equip anyone with an undergraduate degree for positions such as a tax manager or tax analyst. 

Some schools in Connecticut offer associate degrees in accounting that may include taxation courses. Bachelor of taxation programs delves deeper to taxation concepts compared to associate degrees. However, master’s degrees in the field furnish students with advanced skills and knowledge in taxation. Some professional certifications require that you have a related master’s degree. 

Financial Accounting 

It centers on the external reporting and analysis of businesses’ financial information. A financial accountant uses accounting principles and concepts to analyze financial statements, assess the financial health of a business, and report the findings to government agencies or potential investors. 

What differentiates financial accounting specializations from general accounting degrees, including an online bachelor’s, is that the coursework hones in on financial reporting and statement analysis. 

Financial accounting concentrations prepare students for business-related careers such as budget analysts, financial accountants, business managers, financial planners, and financial analysts. 

Enrolling in certain financial accounting courses can prepare a student to sit for the certified management accountant (CMA) and certified public accountant (CPA) exams. A broad range of undergraduate degree and graduate programs such as a bachelor of science in business administration and a master’s in accountancy (MACC) offer this specialization. 

Managerial Accounting 

It relies on financial skills and information to guide internal planning and management. A concentration in management accounting cultivates students’ financial control, planning, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. 

A student trains to become a strategic partner by employing financial data, business sense, and accounting concepts to help executives make informed decisions. Graduates of managerial accounting programs usually work as cost accountants, accounting managers, or CPAs. 

Public Accounting 

It gives students insight into a public accountant’s day-to-day, such as compiling accounting information, ensuring the accuracy of transactions, and analyzing financial data. Granted, the profession has a wealth of applications in the financial trade. 

However, the three most common services are financial consulting, auditing finances, and preparing tax documents. A report by the BLS indicates that you usually require at a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a similar field to work as an accountant. 

Completing a specialization in public accounting at this level can prepare graduates for a career as a certified public accountant. Additionally, it’s a credential that typically requires a given level of work experience and passing an exam. 

Forensic Accounting

It’s the perfect combination of investigative techniques and accounting skills. A professional in the field brings awareness to, solves, prevents, and limits the impact of financial crimes. They learn to identify the tell-tale signs of malicious activity in organizations and come up with foolproof ways to mitigate it. 

Compared to general accounting, forensic accounting centers more on criminal behaviors of finances. Although an auditor identifies problem areas and looks into financial errors, a forensic accountant usually interacts with the legal system and law enforcement. Students usually learn the same basic skills in their early years of education before branching off into career-based training later. 

Although distance learning continues blooming across the US, some Connecticut students may gravitate more towards the structure of a conventional on-campus accounting program. 

On-Campus 

A student who prefers face-to-face learning can find a wealth of on-campus accounting degree programs in Connecticut. These programs are perfect for anyone who prefers the conventional academic experience that entails high interaction levels with other students and lecturers. 

Online Accounting Program 

Usually, it ushers in more flexibility and is cheaper than an on-campus accounting program. For instance, virtual learners usually cut down on a plethora of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as transportation and housing. 

Furthermore, an online accounting program allows students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they reside. The flexibility of virtual learning is alluring to students juggling their studies with their professional and personal obligations. 

Hybrid Programs 

These are a blend of on-campus and online coursework. Once enrolled into a hybrid accounting program, a student gets the best of both worlds. They enjoy the convenience of attending classes virtually while interacting with instructors and classmates during occasional meetings. 

How an Accounting School in Connecticut Can Prepare You for Your Career

With all the Big Four international accounting firms (Ernst & Young, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is short for PWC, and KPMG) having offices in Connecticut, there’s a growing demand for accountants.

 Cities such as Norwalk, Bridgeport, and Stamford rank among the prime places in the country for an accountant. In 2019, an economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association known as Peter Gioia said that the state had high-paying accounting jobs waiting to be filled. Furthermore, he predicted strong growth in other industries such as insurance. 

Financial management and bookkeeping represent the greatest number of accounting jobs in Connecticut. People with only an associate degree under their belt usually land basic bookkeeping jobs, whereas someone with a master’s degree can work as a financial manager. 

With more than 15,000 employed in the state, there’s no denying that traditional accountants fill a plethora of positions in Connecticut. Typically, they hold at least a bachelor’s degree and can find work in any industry. 

Best Schools in Connecticut with Accounting Degree Programs

When seeking an accounting program to enroll in, ensure the prospective accounting schools have valid accreditation. It indicates that a university or college meets certain academic standards. 

We recommend choosing an online accounting degree program with regional accreditation. The reason is that credits from institutions with this type of accreditations allow the easy transfer of credits to other schools with the same credentials. 

The New England Commission of Higher Education regionally accredits accounting schools in Connecticut. A few trade and business schools in the state are nationally accredited, meaning they recognize 2-year schools offering programs in one industry. 

Additionally, an accounting program might have subject-specific accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the Department of Education host databases of accredited learning institutions. 

The colleges in Connecticut with the Best Accounting Programs are: 

1. Sacred Heart University 

Students at this institution can earn a Bachelor of Science in accounting (BS). It emphasizes the basic skills, practical experience, and knowledge required to grasp financial information. They learn how to apply what they learn in the classroom to comply with industry regulations, making financial decisions for the growth of a business, and analyzing financial statements. 

Cost Management, Managerial Accounting, Business Law, and Auditing are some of the mandatory courses. Additionally, a student can pursue experiential learning opportunities through volunteering during tax season, the Accounting Club, and networking events. Graduates go on to work in different fields such as investments, financial statement analysis, public accounting, and auditing. 

2. University of Connecticut

The School of Business at this university offers a Bachelor of Science in accounting. Through Principles of Financial Accounting, Assurance Services, Cost Accounting, Federal Income Taxes, and other courses, a student learns how to interpret and analyze accounting information. The University of Connecticut focuses on the application of financial information to investing or managerial decisions. 

Learners acquire leadership skills through experimental learning opportunities coupled with group projects. Winter and summer internship opportunities are available, allowing students to seek out roles in financial analysis, tax, and assurance services. At the School of Business, a student can enroll in a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) program in pursuit of a CPA designation. 

As one of the online Connecticut colleges, students can complete their master’s in accounting virtually. The required coursework is available online in an asynchronous format except for the 4-day on-campus orientation class at the beginning of the program, after which students can complete their coursework on a part-time or full-time basis, based on their schedule. The core curriculum emphasizes the required knowledge to thrive in the accounting field. Moreover, learners acquire skills in professional management and communication. Once students complete the core courses, they can take their pick from accounting electives ranging from Business Strategy and Taxes, Evaluating Internal Controls, Global Analysis and Financial Reporting, and Fraud Examination to Forensic Accounting.

3. Central Connecticut State University

At this university, learners can earn a Bachelor of Science in accounting. It’s a program that targets people interested in working in corporate, governmental, corporate, or public accounting. A student completes a core curriculum that includes courses on accounting information systems, taxation, budgeting, financial reporting, cost management, and auditing. 

Through these fundamental courses, you learn how to apply accounting knowledge to strategize, make decisions, and control organizations. A student can choose from electives that tally with their career interests, for instance, Accounting for Lean Enterprises, Fraud Examination, Internal Accounting, and Fundamentals of Corporate Taxation. 

All coursework focuses on social responsibility, critical thinking skills, ethical responsibility, and communication in accounting. Students can also pursue networking opportunities and internships to gain real-world experience. 

4. Quinnipiac University

Learners at this university can earn a master’s in accounting. Graduate students learn advanced, theoretical, and practical accounting skills applicable in a wealth of businesses and the government. The curriculum includes essential business skills that you can apply in global accounting practices, public policy, corporate governance, and financial analysis. 

Although the core coursework is 18 credit hours, learners can select their preferred electives for 12 remaining 12 hours. Students without an academic background in this field may require completing some prerequisites before beginning the graduate accounting program. 

Those enrolled at Quinnipiac to earn an undergraduate degree can apply for a dual-degree program to get a bachelor’s and a master’s in just four years. It’s the fastest accounting degree program.

5. Fairfield University

The Dolan School of Business at this university offers a master’s in an accounting degree program. As a cohort-based option, most learners are enrolled full-time and graduate in less than one year. The curriculum is designed to teach the much-needed advanced professional skills in this field and meet the CPA education requirements. 

Granted, a student can take their pick from Taxation and Assurance. However, all learners take the fundamental courses that focus on leadership skills, data analysis, communication, and critical thinking. In the curriculum, students get time to complete a paid internship and take the CPA exam. 

Graduates can make use of the Career Planning Center or alumni network to land lucrative employment opportunities as tax associates, accountants, or audit associates. 

6. University of Hartford

Enrolling in the Barney School of Business at this university ushers in the opportunity to earn a master’s in accounting and Taxation (MSAT) virtually. As an online program, it’s tailored for those interested in pursuing a career in accounting or taxation in government, nonprofit, private, or public organizations. 

You can complete the online degree on a part-time or full-time basis ranging from 7 months to 5 years. Many part-time working professional students take the spring tax-season semester off and complete their accounting program in 18 months to 2 years. 

In addition to Taxation, Financial, and Assurance services, the university offers two academic tracks and many electives to choose from. The curriculum fulfills the educational requirements for a CPA license. A multitude of graduates takes on leadership or management roles in accounting firms and other businesses.

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