Accounting Degree Overview for Florida
Home to one of the largest and healthiest economies in the country, Florida offers plenty of employment opportunities for graduates of all kinds. The state hosts steady job creation statistics and declining unemployment rates. Since the health of the accounting industry often mirrors the economy, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Florida accounting graduates can anticipate continued growth in the state.
An accounting degree leads to diverse and well-paying opportunities. In Florida, professions like bookkeeping and accounting clerk, accountants and auditor, and personal finance advisor continue to expand.
This page covers important information for students considering accounting degrees in Florida, including concentration options, employment trends, and potential careers and salaries for graduates.
Florida at a Glance
|Per Capita Income||$31,359|
|Fortune 500 Companies||38|
|Number of Higher Learning Institutions||229|
Average Annual Temperature: 70.7 ℉
Annual Precipitation: 54.5 inches
|Major Sports Teams||Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat, Tampa Bay Rays, Florida Panthers|
|Accountants in Florida||71,520|
Top Florida Schools for Accounting
- University of Florida
- University of Miami
- University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee
- University of Central Florida
- University of South Florida-Main Campus
- Jacksonville University
- Florida State University
- Florida International University
- Nova Southeastern University
- Stetson University
Why Go to College for Accounting in Florida?
Florida offers one of the most robust higher learning systems in the country. According to the Florida Department of Education, more than 800,000 students in the state take at least one course at a college or university, and over 480,000 students enroll in associate degrees or higher. The availability of online learning allows many learners to attend school with little or no on-campus requirements.
Florida also offers one of the few voucher programs in the country, making it easier for students to attend college. According to the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard, Florida's graduation rates exceed the national average. With financial aid options, high success rates, and more than 220 schools, state residents enjoy many options.
According to the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the accounting industry was first organized in the state in 1905. Since then, that state's collective of certified public accountants (CPAs) has grown into one of the largest in the nation.
After graduation, students can remain in Florida to join one of the five-largest accounting workforces in the country. They also enjoy some of the highest state median annual wages. Graduates who choose to work in the same state where they attended school can leverage their existing professional network.
Education Statistics for Florida
The educational data for Florida looks quite promising for aspiring students. The state offers high educational attainment numbers and many different educational options. Florida also offers plenty of online learning programs. Over 44% of learners in the state take at least some online classes, which is one of the highest percentages in the country.
The following table provides key educational data for Florida.
|Florida Data||National Data|
|Number of Four-Year Colleges||160||3,004|
|Number of Two-Year Colleges||69||1,579|
|Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education||44.3%||34.7%|
|Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student||$7,542||$8,196|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||5.8%||5.8%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree||9.8%||8.4%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree||18.5%||19.4%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher||10.6%||12.1%|
Accreditation for Florida Schools
Accreditation indicates that a school meets high academic standards. At the institutional level, accreditation comes in regional and national forms. Regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions, while national accreditation applies to for-profit, vocational and technical schools. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges regionally accredits schools in Florida.
Accreditation benefits students in several ways, for example, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree, including CPA licensure.
Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. Several business accrediting organizations recognize accounting programs, like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Considerations for an Accounting Degree in Florida
Learners should weigh several factors when considering prospective schools, including available programs, cost, concentrations, and delivery options. The following sections highlight some major considerations for aspiring accounting professionals.
Accounting Degree Levels
Enrollees can find accounting degrees in Florida at every level, and their desired program may affect their school decision. Students should consider their career goals and the necessary degrees for their aspirations. They should also look for schools that offer the appropriate program choices.
- Associate Degree in Accounting
Associate degrees in accounting lead to entry-level roles, such as bookkeeper, administrator, and accounting and financial clerk.
- Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
Bachelor's-level education helps graduates acquire most accountant and auditor positions and related careers.
- Master's Degree in Accounting
While some employers seek out master's graduates for standard accountant positions, the graduate degree typically offers students a pathway to leadership and management careers.
- Ph.D. in Accounting
A Ph.D. in accounting typically attracts students looking for careers in research or academia.
Accounting Concentration Options
Florida students can choose from many different accounting concentrations. As one of the largest economies in the U.S., Florida offers extensive opportunities for accountants.
According to BLS employment data, the state's financial and management industries provide many opportunities with strong wages. The following table outlines accounting concentrations that might help graduates access these industries with greater ease.
These professionals manage financial reporting and information for organizations. They ensure that businesses maintain strong financial health and make sound financial and investment decisions.
Cost accountants manage many of the internal operations of businesses. They handle budgeting and financial planning and work to improve operational chains. They also evaluate employee efficacy and performance, which grants them access to managerial roles within organizations.
On-Campus Versus Online Program Options
Delivery method affects possible study locations and can play a part in student outcomes, program lengths, and tuition costs, as well. On-campus and online delivery provide various advantages, several of which we highlight below.
|Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses||Enrolled in Some but Not All Distance Education Courses||Not Enrolled in Any Distance Education Courses|
|United States Students||16.3%||18.4%||65.3%|
Paying for Your Accounting Degree
Florida students can access federal financial aid and in-state programs, like school choice and voucher programs, to help finance their education. They can also pursue private loans or work while studying, either through standard employment or fellowships.
Learners can also take advantage of the many scholarships and grants available to Florida students. The following table and sections delve into tuition data in greater detail. For more information on various financial aid opportunities, follow the links below.
|Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)||$4,455||$9,037|
|Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)||$18,241||$25,657|
|Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)||$25,531||$30,731|
|Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)||$2,506||$3,243|
|Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)||$9,111||$7,971|
In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition
As highlighted in the table above, the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be significant. Florida's average out-of-state tuition rates come in at less than the national average, but they still cost over four times more than in-state rates for public four-year programs.
To make it easier for non-residents to attend school in Florida, many in-state schools offer online programs with a standard tuition rate for all students, regardless of their location. Florida also participates in the Academic Common Market (ACM) through the Southern Regional Education Board. This reciprocity program allows out-of-state graduate students to attend Florida schools and pay in-state tuition rates.
For ACM eligibility, the program must not be available in the student's home state.
Florida's Cost of Living
When exploring Florida's schools, especially for out-of-state students considering relocating, the cost of living should rank high among deciding factors. According to the World Population Review, Florida features a cost-of-living index of 97.9%, which is lower than the national average of 100%.
Other School Selection Criteria
Students should prioritize other important factors when searching for their ideal program, such as school size, student-to-teacher ratios, and school reputation. Campus facilities and extracurriculars may also influence a candidate's decision.
Students with specific career aspirations should ensure their prospective programs offer the appropriate courses and opportunities to achieve their professional goals. Candidates should also consider the program's faculty and their credentials.
Next, candidates should explore the admission process and requirements for each prospective program. The cost and difficulty of admission may exclude some applicants, whereas particularly high-achieving students may seek out some of the more competitive programs. Aspiring enrollees should also research the required grades and test scores and apply for the programs they qualify for.
EXPLORE OUR RANKINGS FOR THE BEST ACCOUNTING PROGRAMS AT EACH LEVEL
Careers for Accounting Graduates in Florida
Florida provides a great environment for accountants to develop their careers and thrive. The accounting profession is projected to grow on par with the national average for all occupations. In Florida, however, the profession's 13.9% projected growth rate is much higher than the national average.
The state boasts one of the 10 strongest economies in the country, including the third-best growth in gross domestic product. Florida accountants enjoy career opportunities with each of the Big Four accounting firms, including eight Deloitte offices, eight PWC offices, six KPMG offices, and five Ernst and Young offices.
Florida is also home to significant office and administrative support, business and finance, and management opportunities. While many opportunities appear throughout the state, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach region features one of the largest metropolitan workforces of accountants in the country. Continue reading for more information on specific accounting careers in Florida and the salary expectations of each.
Select Accounting Careers in Florida
- Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks
Bookkeepers record, manage, and maintain financial data and documents for organizations. They ensure that all records are updated, accurate, and compliant with all policies and laws. These professionals may also create reports for managers and analysts to review. Bookkeepers typically need associate degrees in accounting.
Job Outlook in Florida: +1.3% projected growth (2018-2028)
- Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors manage many of the responsibilities surrounding organizational finances. They maintain records, oversee tax documents, handle investments, and optimize operations. With a bachelor's degree in accounting, graduates can pursue careers in management accounting, cost accounting, and public accounting.
Job Outlook in Florida: +13.9% projected growth (2018-2028)
- Personal Financial Advisors
Financial planners and advisors help organizations and individuals make informed financial decisions. They assess their client's resources and create optimized budgets. They look for inefficiencies and opportunities for savings or revenue increases. A personal financial advisor typically needs a bachelor's degree at minimum, though a master's degree can lead to more opportunities.
Job Outlook in Florida: +17.8% projected growth (2018-2028)
Florida Employment Trends
Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Source: Projections Central
* Associate Degree Recommended ^ Bachelor's Degree Recommended ~ Master's Degree RecommendedExplore more careers here
Florida offers accounting students many incentives to pursue degrees and careers in the state. For the careers above, Florida hosts some of the largest industries and workforces. In some of the more advanced accounting positions, like financial advisor and manager, Florida professionals earn more than the national average. In combination with the lower-than-average cost of living, these salaries offer an attractive financial outlook for students looking to study and work in Florida.
Florida Requirements for Certified Public Accountants
Since the CPA requirements vary by state, students, especially those from another state, need to consider how their school and location choices may affect their careers. The following list details CPA licensure requirements for professionals practicing in Florida, as per ThisWaytoCPA.
- 18 years of age
- Bachelor's degree
- 150 college credits
- At least 30 credits of upper-division accounting courses
- Auditing and cost/managerial accounting training
- At least three credits of financial accounting
- At least three credits of taxation
- At least 36 credits of upper-division general business courses
- At least three credits of business law
- Passing of the CPA examination
- At least one year of experience as verified by a licensed CPA
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is accounting a good career in Florida?
- According to BLS employment data, Florida employs some of the highest numbers of accountants in the country and pays higher-than-average wages.
- How much do accountants earn in Florida?
- Accountants in Florida earn a median annual wage of $72,630. These professionals typically earn more in management and finance and insurance industries.
- What accounting jobs are there in Florida?
- Florida employs more than 71,000 accountants and auditors, comprising the fourth-largest workforce of accountants in the country. The state also hosts one of the nation's largest financial analyst and budget analyst workforces.
- Can I get an accounting degree in Florida?
- Of the more than 200 universities and colleges in Florida, many offer accounting programs. Students can choose from many different delivery formats, programs, and concentrations.
- Does Florida have online accounting programs?
- Florida offers many online accounting programs. According to the NCES, Florida students take online courses more than the national average. Students can find programs that run entirely online and hybrid programs.
Florida Accounting and Education Organizations
- FiCPA The Florida Institute of CPAs seeks to support local CPAs and accounting professionals through advocacy. Members also gain access to career resources, training programs, industry discounts, and networking opportunities.
- NABA Miami Founded in 1975, the Greater Miami chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants supports the development of Black accounting professionals. Members receive access to consulting services, professional development opportunities, and industry events.
- CPAFMA Florida Chapter The Florida chapter of the CPA Firm Management Association provides individuals and organizations with professional support in several industry-related areas. Members receive access to a large professional network, conferences, and industry publications.
- AFWA Florida Networks The Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance offers five chapters in Florida, including Central Florida, Fort Walton Beach, Northeast Florida, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. The AFWA supports women in the accounting field, providing them with leadership training, professional development, and access to a social network.
Accounting Programs in Florida
The following list includes all of the regionally accredited accounting programs in Florida. Students can search the AACSB program database to find accounting degrees with programmatic accreditation.
- Degree Levels