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Home to the bustling city of Atlanta in addition to vast stretches of agricultural land, the Peach State attracts people with diverse interests. Future accounting professionals can find growing employment options in Georgia thanks to its rapidly expanding commerce, film, and tourism industries.
Georgia’s capital city houses the headquarters of 34 Fortune 500 companies, including Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, and Coca Cola. As these and other companies grow, the number of accounting jobs in Georgia is projected to increase by 21% from 2018-2028, according to Projections Central. Certified public accountants (CPAs), budget analysts, and financial analysts can anticipate their jobs to expand at especially quick rates.
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Prospective students can find online and on-campus accounting programs at many of Georgia’s 130 colleges and universities. The guide provides important information for anyone interested in earning an accounting degree in Georgia, including common concentrations, financial aid opportunities, and potential careers and salaries for graduates.
Georgia offers vibrant urban life in downtown Atlanta, Augusta, and other cities, along with plenty of small town charm in its rural areas. These and other benefits draw hundreds of thousands of students to the state for higher education. Georgia hosts 130 two- and four-year colleges, including faith-based schools, technical colleges, liberal arts institutions, and research universities.
The state’s two largest universities, the University of Georgia and Georgia State University, exemplify Georgia’s diversity. The University of Georgia sits in Athens, a small city in the state’s northeast corner, while Georgia State is located in the heart of Atlanta.
Nearly all of Georgia’s institutions offer accounting and other business-related majors. At many schools, accounting students can earn their degrees through distance education while continuing to work, serve their communities, and raise their families.
Whether studying on campus or online, Georgia’s students can take advantage of the state’s robust financial aid system, which makes higher education affordable for many learners.
Education Statistics for Georgia
Georgia maintains 84 four-year colleges and 46 two-year institutions. More than one-third of Georgia’s students study online — slightly above the national average.
The Peach State extends significant public support to help students earn their degrees. Georgia residents can take advantage of state-funded scholarships, grants, and low-interest loans created to boost the number of Georgians holding higher degrees.
HIGHER EDUCATION STATISTICS IN GEORGIA
Number of Four-Year Colleges
Number of Two-Year Colleges
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor’s Degree
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher
Students researching accounting degrees in Georgia should look for a school’s accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high academic standards and benefits students in several ways. For instance, 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.
Schools may receive 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 and technical schools. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges regionally accredits Georgia schools.
Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. Accounting programs may hold accreditation from a business-focused accrediting agency, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE IN GEORGIA
When researching potential programs, prospective students should consider factors like cost, delivery format, and concentrations. The information below outlines key considerations to help future students decide whether Georgia offers the best online accounting programs for them
Accounting Degree Levels
Students can earn accounting degrees in Georgia at all levels, from associate to doctorate. Many of the state’s most affordable community colleges provide associate programs, while liberal arts institutions typically offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Research universities typically house Ph.D. programs.
Associate degrees in accounting take about two years to complete, preparing students for careers as bookkeepers or tax preparers. At the bachelor’s level, learners study for about four years. Graduates can pursue careers as accountants, tax collectors, and cost estimators. Graduate degrees in accounting can lead to careers as auditors or top financial executives at corporations. Typically, students only pursue Ph.D. credentials if they hope to teach or conduct research in the field.
Students can pursue general accounting degrees or specialize in areas such as taxation, forensic accounting, financial management, and information systems.
Atlanta’s position as a business hub creates many opportunities for accountants with specializations in international finance or taxation. Students that pursue on-campus or online accounting degrees in Georgia can maximize their career potential by concentrating in areas such as information systems or international tax.
By taking advantage of distance learning options, students can earn their degrees without changing cities or leaving their jobs. Many of these students earn their degrees while working, raising families, and contributing to their communities. The following sections outline the difference between on-campus, online, and hybrid programs.
On-campus programs allow students to interact with their professors and peers in person as well as engage in campus activities. On-campus programs best serve students who love in-person learning and value the face-to-face networking and co-curricular activities that can help launch accounting careers.
Online programs permit students to earn their degrees using internet-based technology. Online programs usually feature the same curricula and employ the same teachers as on-campus programs, but they often save students time and money. Many online programs feature asynchronous formats, which do not require students to log on at set times.
Hybrid programs combine the flexibility of online learning with the personal and professional benefits of face-to-face learning. Students pursuing hybrid degrees often take the bulk of their courses online, supplemented with weekends or week-long sessions on campus.
PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS ENROLLED IN DISTANCE EDUCATION
ENROLLED EXCLUSIVELY IN DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSES
ENROLLED IN SOME BUT NOT ALL DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSES
Georgia offers many financial aid options to help learners pay for their accounting degrees. The state offers an array of grants, scholarships, and low-cost loans to help students offset the cost of a degree. These options include the HOPE Scholarship, a merit-based award for graduates of Georgia high schools, and the Student Access Loan, which offers a 1% loan for eligible students. Students can also apply for financial aid opportunities through the federal government and private organizations.
Overall, tuition at Georgia’s schools runs considerably below the national average. In addition, Georgia offers several programs to help students pay for higher education, including the HOPE Scholarship, the Zell Miller Grant, and the HOPE Grant, which all serve state residents. Public institutions throughout Georgia partner with many schools across the South, helping out-of-state students save on tuition costs.
Georgia participates in the Southern Regional Education Board‘s (SREB) academic common market. This 15-state consortium permits out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition if they attend participating schools. Not all students qualify for SREB programs, though. Each state and institution sets its own admission standards, including minimum GPA scores. Georgia residents should contact their academic common market coordinators about SREB opportunities.
Georgia’s Cost of Living
Educational expenses involve more than tuition. Students must often pay rent, buy groceries, and fund transportation while attending school. Consequently, a state’s cost of living affects students’ budgets.
Fortunately, Georgia boasts one of the country’s lowest cost-of-living scores. According to the World Population Review, Georgia’s cost index stands at 89.2, well below the national average of 100.
Other School Selection Criteria
In addition to cost and delivery format, students should consider the following criteria when researching accounting degrees in Georgia.
Many small, private schools offer personalized attention from faculty and small class sizes. Larger institutions may offer more robust alumni networks and stronger brands for graduates’ resumes.
Applicants should consider whether a school’s on-campus faculty members teach its online courses, as well. They should also consider faculty members’ backgrounds and whether they hold terminal degrees in their field.
Many programs offer accelerated and/or part-time formats that shorten or lengthen the time to completion, respectively. Students should choose a program with a timeline that aligns with your needs.
University Resources/Career Services
Many schools offer student support services and resources, such as tutoring, academic advising, and career services. Learners should choose a school that offers adequate support for their needs.
Earning Potential for Graduates
Prospective students should ask their admissions counselors about average annual salaries for recent accounting graduates to help determine how well the program prepares students for the workforce.
Alumni networks can help students find jobs after graduation as well as offer insight and support throughout their program.
Required Admission Materials/Test Scores
Admission criteria vary by program, so students should ensure they can meet the requirements of their intended school.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the U.S. economy will add more than 90,000 accountant and auditor jobs from 2018-2028. Home to many of the nation’s largest enterprises, Georgia needs auditors, accountants, and other financial professionals to help keep those companies profitable and organized.
Georgia’s economy continues to flourish, with its construction, education, and health service sectors leading the way. Most of the state’s jobs cluster around Atlanta, but accountants also work in the agriculture centers in the southern and northeastern regions of the state, as well as in the tourist hub of Savannah and the industrial manufacturing industry in the state’s northwest corner. The following section outlines common careers for graduates with an accounting degree in Georgia.
Select Accounting Careers in Georgia
Financial analysts forecast businesses’ short-term and long-term profitability and performance. These professionals work to align their companies for profitability against future market trends. Georgia houses some of the world’s top businesses, meaning the state needs outstanding financial analysts to help manage them. These professionals typically need at least a bachelor’s degree.
Budget analysts review the details of corporations’ and agencies’ budgets to determine how they allocate and spend money. These professionals help their employers spend money so it produces the best return. Becoming a budget analyst usually requires a master’s degree in accounting or a related field.
Certified public accountants (CPAs) assist corporations and individuals with financial functions, including taxes, bookkeeping, regulatory compliance, and financial statements. These professionals need at least a bachelor’s degree, but many CPAs pursue a master’s degree to meet the credential’s 150-credit requirement. Georgia is projected to add many new CPAs to its workforce as the state’s economic outlook brightens.
Georgia’s economy offers an array of agriculture, military, and manufacturing services. It’s also home to the major city of Atlanta, whose biggest employers include hospitals, airlines, national corporate headquarters, and universities. Consequently, accountants in Georgia can find jobs in rural or urban settings working in a variety of industries.
The best-paying accounting careers in Georgia include financial advisor and financial manager. These professionals typically need a master’s degree. Accounting professionals with bachelor’s degrees can work as cost estimators or entry-level accountants. Graduates with associate degrees in accounting can secure relatively high-paying jobs for their degree level.
Georgia Requirements for Certified Public Accountants
Each state establishes its own requirements for earning the CPA designation. The following list outlines the CPA requirements in Georgia.
Applicants must be 18 years old or older.
Candidates must hold U.S. citizenship and a Social Security number.
Applicants need 150 credit hours, including a completed bachelor’s degree. Credit hours must include 30 accounting credits above the introductory level and 24 business-related credit hours.
Applicants must meet one of the following criteria: one year and 2,000 hours in public accounting; one year and 2,000 hours in at least two different areas of accounting above the introductory level in teaching, business, industry or government; or a combination of work experience in public accounting, government business, industry, and college teaching.
Georgia accountants earn some of the highest wages in the nation for the profession. In addition, the state offers affordable living, rural and urban lifestyles, and easy access to the world’s busiest airport.
How much do accountants earn in Georgia?
Accountants in Georgia earn an annual mean wage of $79,690, according to the BLS. In the Atlanta area, that number rises to $83,380. These professionals are among the top-paid accountants in the nation.
What accounting jobs are there in Georgia?
Georgia’s diverse economy includes a robust agriculture sector, prevalent in small towns throughout the state, plus several corporate headquarters in Atlanta. This distinctive economic mix makes Georgia home to accounting jobs of all varieties.
Can I get an accounting degree in Georgia?
Many of Georgia’s 84 four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in accounting and other business-related disciplines. Large liberal arts colleges and major research universities in Georgia also provide master’s degrees and doctorates in accounting.
Does Georgia have online accounting programs?
Students can pursue online accounting degrees in Georgia at any of the state’s public or private institutions of higher education. Learners may also seek degrees from online schools located in Georgia or other states.
Georgia Accounting and Education Organizations
Georgia Association of Accounting EducatorsAccounting educators at universities and colleges throughout Georgia receive automatic membership in this professional organization. Membership benefits include an annual meeting with presentations by current researchers and a regular newsletter.
Georgia Association of Accountants & Tax ProfessionalsAccountants, tax professionals, and others working in the finance industry can join this association, which provides continuing education and networking opportunities. Members can also meet with IRS officials about new policies.
Georgia State Board of AccountancyThis state board regulates professional licensure for CPAs and public accounting firms in Georgia. Its website provides information about licensure, professional education, and legislation relevant to accountants.
The Georgia Society of Certified Public AccountantsThe 14,000 members of the GSCPA receive access to continuing education programs and networking opportunities. The society welcomes membership applications from CPAs and their staff members and accounting educators.
ACCOUNTING PROGRAMS IN GEORGIA
The list of academic programs below provides information about the best accounting schools in Georgia. All of the colleges and universities on this list hold regional accreditation, and many also hold programmatic accreditation.