Accounting Degree Overview for Hawaii

Explore accounting degrees offered by schools in Hawaii. Find the right online accounting program for you. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Honolulu skyline at Waikiki Beach in Hawaii Credit: Photography by Jesse Warren / Moment / Getty Images

In addition to scenic beaches, tropical rainforests, and an island lifestyle, accountants in Hawaii enjoy a strong career outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors in Hawaii earn a median annual salary of $66,020. The BLS also projects an overall increase in the number of accounting-related positions from 2018-2028.

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This page provides important information for anyone considering accounting degrees in Hawaii, including available degree types, common concentrations, and potential careers and salaries for graduates.


CLIMATEAverage Annual Temperature: 70℉
Annual Precipitation: 63.7 inches

Top Hawaii Schools for Accounting

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Chaminade University of Honolulu
  • Brigham Young University-Hawaii
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • University of Hawaii-West Oahu


According to a 2016 report by the Hawaii state government, over 60% of Hawaii residents completed at least some college credits, and over 30% earned a bachelor's degree or higher. While the average cost of public education in Hawaii exceeds the national average, students in Hawaii pay a lower average in-state tuition rate than learners in Western states like Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon.

The same government report noted that graduates with a bachelor's degree or higher enjoyed an unemployment rate of just 2.9%, compared to 5.6% for those with an associate degree or some college experience and 8.4% for those who only completed high school. Bachelor's degree holders in Hawaii also earn $16,000 more per year than those with a only a high school diploma.

Education Statistics for Hawaii

As a smaller island state, Hawaii hosts fewer two- and four-year colleges than the national average, and Hawaii students engage in distance learning at a slightly higher rate than the national average. However, two- and four-year degree-completion rates for Hawaii residents rank higher than the national average. Hawaii also financially supports its students more than the average state.


Number of Four-Year Colleges133,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges71,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education35.2%34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student$14,698$8,196
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education7.1%5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree10.6%8.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree21.5%19.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher11.0%12.1%

Sources: NCESSHEEOU.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey

Accreditation for Hawaii Schools

Students researching schools should only apply to colleges and universities with accreditation from an accrediting body backed by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high academic standards, and attending an accredited institution expands employment, financial aid, and education opportunities.

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 Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges regionally accredits schools in Hawaii.

Programs within a school may also receive accreditation. Prospective accounting students should look for programs with accreditation from agencies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


Prospective students researching accounting degrees in Hawaii should consider several factors to ensure they choose the right program, such as type of degree, program cost, available concentrations, and delivery format. The following sections outline these and other important factors to help students find the best program for their needs.

Accounting Degree Levels

The level of accounting degree a student completes influences their career opportunities. Some employers require a specific degree or certification, and some certifications require a minimum level of education.

Associate Degree in Accounting

A two-year associate degree leads to basic accounting positions, such as bookkeeper, auditing clerk, and accounting clerk.

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Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

The minimum level of education required to become an accountant or auditor, a bachelor's in accounting leads to entry-level professional accounting positions.

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Master's Degree in Accounting

While not required to become a certified public accountant (CPA), many accountants earn a master's in accounting to complete CPA requirements and boost their earnings.

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Ph.D. in Accounting

A Ph.D. in accounting teaches advanced theories and skills, typically leading to careers in academia and research.

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Accounting Concentration Options

Some accounting degree programs offer concentrations that allow students to specialize their knowledge and skills. Students should consider their career goals and interests when choosing a concentration. The following concentrations may offer particular advantages in Hawaii.

  • PUBLIC ACCOUNTING: A popular concentration, public accounting prepares undergraduate students to continue their education and work as CPAs. Public accounting learners examine topics like accounting ethics, financial accounting, and advanced auditing.
  • TAXATION: Taxation professionals receive relatively high wages in Hawaii, making taxation a great concentration choice for prospective students in the state. Taxation learners study topics such as business law, taxation of business entities, and strategic management.


On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Online education continues to grow in popularity, with over 35% of all Hawaii students completing at least some courses online. The following sections outline the differences between on-campus, online, and hybrid programs.


Learners looking for face-to-face interactions with faculty, a vibrant campus atmosphere, and a rigid class structure may prefer to study on campus. The structure of this traditional form of education helps many students stay on track to graduate. On-campus students can also take advantage of networking and extracurricular activities.

Online Programs

Online education offers the same material taught on campus, with added flexibility. Online learners often continue working while completing their degree, and some programs allow online students to study asynchronously, meaning they do not need to log on at specific times. Some schools also offer tuition discounts to online students.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs combine online and on-campus courses. Some hybrid programs feature weekly on-campus classes, while others only require students to visit campus once per month or semester. This option works best for individuals who require more flexibility but also want to interact with peers and faculty in person.


Hawaii Students13.4%21.8%64.8%
United States Students16.3%18.4%65.3%

Source: NCES

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

The average cost of education in Hawaii runs higher than the national average, even for in-state students. Only out-of-state two-year students and those attending a private university pay lower average tuition rates than the national average.

While tuition costs are relatively high, learners can take advantage of a variety of financial aid opportunities to help pay for their education, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. Unlike loans, grants and scholarships do not require repayment, making them an ideal form of financial aid.




Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$9,709$9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$31,019$25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)$16,447$30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$3,080$3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$8,216$7,971

Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

The average in-state student in Hawaii pays $9,709 in tuition and fees annually for a four-year degree, compared to $31,019 for out-of-state students. Similarly, in-state students at two-year schools pay much lower tuition rates than out-of-state students.

However, out-of-state students may receive reduced tuition rates thanks to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). WICHE offers two programs -- the Western Undergraduate Exchange for undergraduate students and the Western Regional Graduate Program for graduates -- that automatically qualify some students for discounted tuition rates.

To qualify, students must be current residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, or U.S. Pacific territories and freely associated states, including Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Hawaii's Cost of Living

In addition to tuition, students should take costs of living into account when budgeting for their education. According to the World Population Review, Hawaii reports the highest cost of living in the country. Hawaii ranks as the most expensive state for housing in the nation, making online learning a more affordable option for many students seeking accounting degrees in Hawaii.

Other School Selection Criteria

While factors like available accounting degrees, concentration options, and tuition rates play a significant role in determining where to attend, prospective students should also take into account the following additional factors.

Program Length

Most bachelor's degrees and master's degrees take four and two years to complete, respectively. However, some on-campus and online accounting programs feature accelerated timelines, expediting graduation.

University Resources and Career Services

Accounting students can increase their chances of finding a position after graduating by attending a school that offers robust career services and resources.


Attending a prestigious school can expand students' employment opportunities after graduation. However, schools with a high level of prestige may also feature higher tuition rates and more selective admission criteria than other schools.

Competitiveness of Admission

Good schools often maintain competitive admission standards. Potential applicants who do not meet a school's admission standards may want to consider skipping the application to save time, energy, and money.

Program Structure and Culture

Learners should choose a school that aligns with their interests and goals. For example, some undergraduate accounting degree programs prepare learners to advance into a graduate program, while others train students to begin working immediately after completing the bachelor's program.



According to U.S. News & World Report, Hawaii ranks as the 40th best overall economy in the nation. Hawaii's small size, limited physical space, and high cost of living play a role in overall low job growth projections. However, thousands of accounting professionals still work in the state. For example, Projections Central projects a 6.3% job growth rate for cost estimators between 2018-2028, a position that requires a bachelor's degree in accounting.

The following section outlines common careers for graduates with an accounting degree in Hawaii.

Select Accounting Careers in Hawaii


Bookkeepers record, manage, and track financial transactions for organizations, businesses, and individuals. This entry-level position requires an associate degree in accounting. While projections show a decrease in bookkeeper jobs from 2018-2028, employers still require skilled bookkeepers to manage records.

Job Outlook in Hawaii:-5.1% (2018-2028)

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Cost Estimator

Cost estimators examine data related to expenditures, including the time, materials, and labor required to complete projects. These professionals then determine the estimated cost of the project. Cost estimators often work in construction, manufacturing, and automotive repair. This position typically requires a bachelor's degree in accounting.

Job Outlook in Hawaii:+6.3% (2018-2028)

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Budget Analyst

Budget analysts inspect company budgets and other financial records to determine efficient ways to spend money. These professionals focus on long-term strategies to keep businesses financially healthy based on current industry trends. While individuals with a bachelor's degree may find positions as budget analysts, many employers prefer a master's degree.

Job Outlook in Hawaii:+2.9% (2018-2028)

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Hawaii Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

5,340 Employees2018
5,590 Employees2028
Hawaii 4.7% increase
1,424,000 Employees2018
1,514,700 Employees2028
National 6.4% increase

Source: Projections Central


Some accounting positions in Hawaii prove much more lucrative than others. Cost estimators enjoy the highest relative earnings, averaging over $13,000 more per year than the national average. Budget analysts also earn higher-than-average salaries in Hawaii, making $83,030 per year, on average, compared to the national mean of $80,300.

However, Hawaii ranks among the lowest-paying states in the nation for accountants and auditors, according to the BLS. Financial managers also make lower-than-average salaries in Hawaii, earning an average wage of $122,780, compared to the national average of $147,530.

Hawaii Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

The requirements to earn CPA credentials vary by state, so students should research the requirements in the state where they plan to practice. The following list outlines Hawaii's CPA requirements.

  • Hold U.S. citizenship and a Social Security number.
  • Complete 150 college credits, including a bachelor's degree.
  • Participate in an international examination program.
  • Complete 24 upper-division or graduate-level accounting courses, including financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and managerial accounting.
  • Complete 1,500 hours of professional experience in auditing or two years in government, industry, academia, or public practice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Accounting in Hawaii

Is accounting a good career in Hawaii?

While accountants in Hawaii do not earn mean salaries as high as the national average, BLS projections show stable growth for the profession.

How much do accountants earn in Hawaii?

The BLS reports that accountants and auditors in Hawaii earn an average salary of $66,020.

What accounting jobs are there in Hawaii?

Hawaii offers many accounting and accounting-related jobs, including auditor, bookkeeper, cost estimator, and financial manager.

Can I get an accounting degree in Hawaii?

Yes, several accredited two- and four-year colleges in Hawaii offer accounting degrees at various levels.

Does Hawaii have online accounting programs?

Yes, several of Hawaii's schools offer accounting degrees online. However, specific degree availability varies by school, and programs might require some in-person study.

Hawaii Accounting and Education Organizations

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