Written by Holland Webb


A vibrant economy, reasonable cost of living, and proximity to the nation's capital all attract young professionals to study, live, and work in Delaware. Known as The First State, Delaware blends a storied history with a modern economy.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects accounting jobs in Delaware to grow 5% between 2018-2028, making an accounting degree a solid career investment for prospective Delaware students.

Delaware hosts nine institutions of higher learning, including community colleges, teaching colleges, and a major research university. Schools throughout the state offer both on-campus and online programs. This guide offers information on Delaware accounting degrees, including degree types and formats, career options, and the advantages of working in the state.

Delaware at a Glance

Population 975,033
Per Capita Income $33,745
Fortune 500 Companies 6
Number of Higher Learning Institutions 9
Climate

Average Annual Temperature: 55.3℉

Annual Precipitation: 45.7 inches

Accountants in Delaware 4,950

Top Delaware Schools for Accounting

  • University of Delaware
  • Goldey-Beacom College
  • Wesley College
  • Wilmington University
  • Delaware State University

Why Go to College for Accounting in Delaware?

Delaware attracts students, families, and professionals, largely thanks to its proximity to Washington, D.C., and to the Atlantic Coast. Home to several major chemical manufacturing companies, Delaware also boasts a robust economy and a flourishing quality of life.

Prospective accounting students can pursue an associate degree, bachelor's degree, or master's degree at one of the state's institutions of higher learning. Learners can choose from school's in large cities and small towns. The University of Delaware, for example, sits in Newark, a mid-size city neighboring Wilmington, the state's largest urban area. Goldey-Beacom College, by contrast, is situated in Pike Creek Valley, a small suburban community of just over 10,000 people.

Regardless of where a learner studies, Delaware helps make higher education affordable through state-funded scholarships and discounts for residents. After graduation, aspiring accounting professionals can seek employment in Delaware or nearby hotspots, such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, or Philadelphia.

Education Statistics for Delaware

Delaware hosts nine institutions of higher learning, including seven four-year colleges and two two-year colleges. Nearly one-third of Delaware's learners study online.

Although Delaware's support for higher education as a percentage of its budget falls below the national average, the state's educational options provide affordable degrees for people of nearly any income level. Plus, the state's percentage of people with a graduate degree tops the national average.

Higher Education Statistics in Delaware
Delaware Data National Data
Number of Four-Year Colleges 7 3,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges 2 1,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education 31.7% 34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student $5,431 $8,196
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education 4.8% 5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree 7.8% 8.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree 18.3% 19.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher 13.1% 12.1%
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey

Accreditation for Delaware Schools

Accredited schools complete a voluntary review process by a third-party agency that evaluates their commitment to financial integrity and academic excellence. Schools may hold regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two.

Regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions, while national accreditation applies to for-profit, vocational schools. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education regionally accredits Delaware schools. Attending an accredited school expands employment, financial aid, and education opportunities.

Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. Accounting programs may hold accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or another business-focused accrediting agency.

Considerations for an Accounting Degree in Delaware

College requires a major investment of both time and money, so it's important for students to select the right school and the most appropriate program. When considering their options, prospective students should look at various factors, such as cost, location, program length, and graduation rates.

The information detailed below can help future learners decide if Delaware is the right place for them to pursue an on-campus or online accounting degree, providing resources about regional academic opportunities and the state's overall cost of living. This section also covers important information regarding degree levels, concentrations, costs, and career possibilities.

Accounting Degree Levels

Learners can pursue a variety of on-campus or online accounting degrees in Delaware. Community colleges and technical schools often offer associate programs, while colleges and universities provide bachelor's and graduate degrees.

Graduates with an associate degree in accounting can pursue careers as bookkeepers, tax preparers, or payroll clerks. By going on to earn a bachelor's degree, learners can secure positions as financial managers or staff accountants.

To become a certified public accountant (CPA), students should consider earning a master's in accounting in Delaware. CPA candidates need at least 150 college credits to qualify for the credential, which the combination of a bachelor's and master's degree fulfills. A doctoral degree prepares students for top-level accounting roles, as well as careers in research and academia.

Accounting Concentration Options

Students in Delaware can complete a general accounting curriculum or focus their studies on a specialization. Concentrations in auditing or taxation may be especially advantageous for future Delaware accounting professionals because they apply to prominent career opportunities in the state.

Accounting Concentrations

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Accounting students can study in person or online. The following sections outline the differences among online, on-campus, and hybrid accounting programs.

On-Campus

On-campus learning allows students to engage in social activities, participate in campus life, and interact with professors and peers. On-campus programs typically serve full-time students, and they offer co-curricular and networking activities that graduates can highlight when seeking a job.

Online Programs

Requiring little if any time on campus, online programs offer convenient and accessible class formats that accommodate out-of-state students and students with family or work responsibilities. These programs often feature asynchronous courses, which do not require students to log on at a specific time, providing maximum flexibility.

Hybrid Programs

In a hybrid program, students combine the benefits of online learning with the on-campus experience. Generally, students pursuing a hybrid degree program complete the majority of their coursework online, which they supplement with intensive on-campus courses.
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education
Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses Enrolled in Some but Not All Distance Education Courses Not Enrolled in Any Distance Education Courses
Delaware Students 15.5% 16.2% 68.3%
United States Students 16.3% 18.4% 65.3%
Source: NCES

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

To help finance their education, students can seek support through scholarships, grants, fellowships, loans, and other financial aid.

Federal grants, such as the Pell Grant, can help cover associate or bachelor's degrees. The state of Delaware also offers aid to qualifying students, including the Student Excellence Equals Degree scholarship program and the Inspire scholarship. Many students also take advantage of private scholarships and other sources of aid.

Average Cost of College Tuition and Fees in Delaware, 2017-2018
Delaware National
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year) $9,999 $9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year) $29,356 $25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year) $15,096 $30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year) N/A $3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year) N/A $7,971
Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Public colleges and universities in Delaware may charge slightly higher tuition rates than the average U.S. public school, but the state offers several initiatives that make education more affordable for both in-state and out-of-state students.

Delaware, for instance, participates in the Southern Regional Education Board's (SREB) academic common market. SREB is a 15-state alliance that allows students in nearby states to pay in-state tuition at participating institutions, though students need to meet GPA and admission requirements.

Delaware's Cost of Living

When considering schools, students should factor a state's cost of living into their budget, in addition to the institution's tuition and fees. According to the World Population Review, Delaware has a cost-of-living score of 108.1, which is slightly higher than the national average of 100.

Other School Selection Criteria

When searching for the best accounting schools in Delaware, students should consider the following factors.

School Size

Small schools typically provide more one-on-one attention from faculty than larger schools, while large schools often provide more program and concentration options.

Staff Credentials/Diversity

Learners should determine whether a prospective school employs faculty with credentials and backgrounds aligned with their goals and preferences.

Program Length

An accelerated program can help students save money and enter the workforce quicker than traditional programs, while a part-time program takes longer to complete but offers more schedule flexibility.

University Resources/Career Services

Prospective students should research each school's students services and resources, such as tutoring, advising, and career services.

Prestige/Reputation

Schools with a strong reputation can make graduates more competitive in the job market.

Earning Potential for Graduates

Prospective learners should research the earning potential for graduates of potential schools to help determine how well a program prepares graduates for the workforce.

Alumni Network

An active, organized alumni network in accounting and finance can make job searching much easier for new graduates.

Careers for Accounting Graduates in Delaware

Nationally, the future of accounting looks bright, with the BLS projecting 90,700 new accountant and auditor jobs between 2018-2028. Since Delaware holds a strong economic position in the U.S., the state's accounting graduates can expect to find many jobs.

Delaware's location near Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore gives it an economic edge. The state also sits on the Atlantic coastline, making it a port for supply chains. These benefits help keep Delaware's economy strong even in tough times.

Widely considered the chemical capital of the world, Wilmington, Delaware, is home to major chemical manufacturing companies, including DuPont, Hercules, and AstraZeneca. The state also boasts large finance and transportation industries, providing a range of opportunities for accountants and finance professionals.

The sections below outline potential accounting careers in Delaware.

Select Accounting Careers in Delaware

Cost Estimator

On average, cost estimators in Delaware earn substantially more than their colleagues in other states. These professionals collect and analyze data to determine the overall cost of the resources required to construct a building, create a product, or provide a service. These professionals typically need a bachelor's degree.

Job Outlook in Delaware: +9.2%

Learn More
Budget Analyst

Budget analysts develop, review, and monitor organizational budgets to help improve bottom-line performance. Most budget analysts hold a master's degree in accounting, although entry-level jobs may accept a bachelor's degree. While budget analysts may not see much growth in Delaware, the state's proximity to federal agencies in and around Washington, D.C., can make this career profitable for Delaware residents.

Job Outlook in Delaware: 0%

Learn More
CPA

CPAs provide trusted financial advice to companies and individuals. These professionals focus on areas such as taxes, regulations, accounting, and financial filings with the SEC. In Delaware, CPAs can take advantage of the state's large number of corporate headquarters to find jobs. These professionals often hold a master's degree.

Job Outlook in Delaware: +5% (2018-2028)

Learn More

Delaware Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

5,990 Employees2018
6,290 Employees2028
Delaware 5% increase
1,424,000 Employees2018
1,514,700 Employees2028
National 6.4% increase

Source: Projections Central

Explore more careers here

Accountants and other finance professionals in Delaware often earn higher-than-average salaries. The state's reasonable cost of living compared to nearby Washington, D.C., makes it especially attractive for recent graduates.

Outside of payroll clerks and budget analysts, nearly every accounting profession pays more in Delaware than the national average wage. In particular, cost estimators, credit counselors, and financial managers gain a financial edge by working in Delaware. To succeed in their work, these professionals need strong communication and organizational skills along with financial knowledge.

Delaware Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

Each individual state sets its own requirements for achieving CPA status, so aspiring CPAs should research the requirements in the state where they plan to work. The following list outlines CPA requirements in Delaware.

  • Social Security number.
  • 150 college credits, including a bachelor's degree.
  • The 150 credits must include 24 credits in tax, auditing, law, cost accounting principles, intermediate accounting, advanced accounting, and accounting information systems.
  • At least one year of accounting experience verified by a current, practicing CPA.
  • Passage of an ethics exam.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Is accounting a good career in Delaware?
Delaware offers many high-paying accounting jobs without the high cost of living of accounting hubs like New York and Los Angeles.
How much do accountants earn in Delaware?
Accountants in Delaware earn a mean annual salary of $80,000, putting them among the best-compensated accountants in the country. Top-paid accountants in the state can make more than $125,000.
What accounting jobs are there in Delaware?
Nearly 5,000 people work as accountants in Delaware. Some work for private corporations, while others work with state, federal, or local agencies. They may also have their own practice.
Can I get an accounting degree in Delaware?
Many schools in Delaware offer undergraduate and graduate accounting degrees, both on campus and online.
Does Delaware have online accounting programs?
Yes, several Delaware schools offer online undergraduate and graduate accounting programs.

Delaware Accounting and Education Organizations

  • Delaware State Government This website provides the public with information and links to agencies within the Delaware State Government. Accountants can use it to access laws, news, and tax information.
  • Institute of Management Accountants - Delaware Chapter A long-standing organization composed of accountants and financial professionals, the IMA empowers its 125,000-plus members through education, conferences, and certification opportunities. The Delaware chapter serves local accounting professionals and students.
  • Delaware Board of Accountancy As a public organization, the Delaware Board of Accountancy helps protect citizens from incompetent accounting practices. The board oversees professional standards development, dispersion of rules, and accountant discipline.
  • Delaware Society of Certified Public Accountants An organization representing 900 CPAs, assistants, and students, DSCPA offers members an array of professional benefits. These benefits include software for accepting e-payments without hassle, data management tools, CPA exam review resources, and payroll and retirement services.

Accounting Programs in Delaware

Prospective accounting students can use the following list of schools as a starting point to determine the Delaware accounting programs that best fit their needs. Some of these schools offer graduate programs, while others focus on bachelor's or associate degrees. All schools on the list hold regional accreditation.