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Idaho's natural beauty attracts more than 20 million tourists annually, reports the Idaho Department of Commerce. Idaho also has a growing business sector and is one of the friendliest states for small businesses, according to Thumbtack's annual survey.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports Idaho had a 2.9% unemployment rate in October 2022, nearly 1% lower than the U.S. average for the same period. This low unemployment rate combined with the state's growing business sector may translate to a host of accounting career opportunities.
Idaho accountants can find employment in many of the state's key industries — per the Idaho Department of Commerce, these sectors include manufacturing, energy, aerospace, tourism, and food production. The state also boasts below-average educational costs, so becoming an accountant may be more affordable for Idaho students.
Explore this guide to learn more about earning an accounting degree in Idaho, Idaho accounting requirements, and the top careers for accountants in the state.
Idaho at a Glance
- Population: 1,893,410
- Climate: Average Annual Temperature: 44.4 ℉ | Annual Precipitation: 18.9 inches
- Major Sports Teams: Boise State Broncos, University of Idaho Vandals, Idaho State Bengals, Idaho Steelheads, Boise Hawks
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions: 14
- Per Capita Income: $29,494
- Fortune 500 Companies: Albertsons, Micron Technology, Boise Cascade
- Accountants in Idaho: 4,250
Sources: World Population Review, Current Results, NCES, U.S. Census ACS, Fortune, BLS
Why Get an Accounting Degree in Idaho?
There are a number of benefits to earning an accounting degree in Idaho. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 179,184 students were enrolled in Idaho postsecondary institutions in the 2020-21 school year. This is higher than other states in the Upper Midwest region, including Montana and Wyoming.
Idaho has fewer colleges and universities than other states with similar population sizes, like West Virginia or Nebraska. However, many of the biggest universities in the state — including the University of Idaho, Boise State University, and Idaho State University — offer undergraduate and graduate programs in accountancy.
Some Idaho universities let students earn their degrees online. For example, Idaho State offers an online completion degree program that helps learners with associate degrees complete bachelor's degrees in general business entirely online.
Enrollees pursuing graduate education can also earn a degree online in Idaho. For instance, Boise State offers an online master's of science in accountancy curriculum that can be completed in 12-22 months.
Education Statistics for Idaho
Despite having relatively few universities and colleges, Idaho funds higher education through appropriations and tax revenue at a higher rate than the national average.
According to 2020 census data, 9.8% of Idaho residents aged 25 and older have an associate degree, which outpaces the national average. Bachelor's degree rates for the same demographic are in line with the U.S. average.
However, the number of people in the same population with graduate degrees falls about 3% below the national average, which means people with a master's of accounting or business administration degree in Idaho may be in higher demand.
|Higher Education Statistics||Idaho Data||National Data|
|Students Enrolled in Distance Education||70.4%||72.8%|
|Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student||$10,612||$9,327|
|Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||$18,571||$15,959|
|Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree||9.8%||8.6%|
|Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree||19.3%||20.2%|
|Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher||9.4%||12.7%|
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census ACS
Accreditation for Idaho Schools
Students should confirm a school is accredited before enrolling in an accounting degree. Accreditation validates that an institution meets standards of academic excellence. Schools can earn two types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation examines schools as a whole, evaluating criteria like faculty and general education requirements.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) handles the accreditation process for colleges and universities in Idaho. Students can check their school's accreditation status through the NWCCU website.
Programmatic accreditation applies to specific colleges, departments, or programs within an institution. Students pursuing an online or in-person accounting degree in Idaho can check to see if their program has accreditation from groups like AACSB International. This organization sets additional accreditation standards for business-related degrees, including accounting.
Considerations for an Accounting Degree in Idaho
Students should determine which factors can impact their education and their budgets before deciding to earn an accounting degree in Idaho. The availability of accounting programs, tuition, and learning modalities are all important elements to consider before committing to a degree.
Enrollees should decide whether distance learning suits their needs. Online programs can provide learners with lower tuition rates and help them avoid relocation costs.
On-Campus Versus Online Program Options
Idaho learners can choose from a variety of program types, including on-campus programs and fully online accounting degrees. Browse the information below to learn more about learning modalities available to Idaho students.
For many learners, attending college in person allows them to develop important interpersonal connections that build the foundation of their future professional network. Students who learn best through hands-on education and enjoy participating in face-to-face educational communities may prefer on-campus degree programs.
Unlike traditional programs that take place in a classroom, online programs use a learning management system that allow students to attend classes and complete coursework remotely. Some online programs require learners to attend classes digitally on a set schedule, while others give enrollees flexibility to complete modules and assignments on their own time.
Self-motivated students who require a less structured learning schedule may benefit from participating in an online accounting program.
Hybrid programs combine in-person and online modalities. Some programs may require on-campus classes, while others may only require occasional in-person residencies. These degrees create an educational experience that can accommodate a variety of student needs.
Learners who want the accountability of classroom instruction and the flexibility of online learning may benefit from enrolling in a hybrid accounting program.
Explore Accounting Programs
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Paying for Your Accounting Degree
NCES data from the 2020-21 school year as detailed in the table below shows the average cost of tuition for Idaho students falls below the national average for two- and four-year schools.
Idaho students can benefit from state-funded scholarships designed to offset tuition costs. Students qualify for these awards based on various criteria, including academic merit, military enlistment, or demonstrated financial need.
Additionally, Idaho colleges and universities offer financial aid through scholarships, grants, and fellowships. These awards do not need to be repaid. Idaho students may also qualify for loans that cover education costs, although these must be paid back with interest after graduation.
In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition
Idaho state residents who attend public colleges and universities pay the lowest average tuition of all Idaho higher education enrollees. In contrast, the average cost for out-of-state students at public two-year schools is 2.5 times higher than their in-state counterparts, and 3.3 times higher for public four-year institutions in Idaho.
Some universities allow students to qualify for in-state tuition after applying for Idaho residency status. For example, the University of Idaho and Boise State both allow students to qualify for in-state tuition after living in Idaho for 12 months.
Idaho also participates in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), a reciprocity agreement designed to lower tuition costs for students who live in the western United States. Students living in a WICHE member state who attend an out-of-state school in the same region can qualify for reduced tuition rates. Students can use the WICHE program search tool to learn more about qualifying programs and schools.
Cost of Living in Idaho
Applicants should consider the cost of living for the location of prospective schools as they calculate the total expenses of earning an accounting degree. Average prices for housing, transportation, food, and other factors determine an area's cost of living.
According to World Population Review (WPR), Idaho's cost of living falls below the national average. WPR's current cost index is 104.6, which is the baseline national average score. States scoring below this number have a lower-than-average cost of living.
Idaho's cost of living score is 102.1 — 2.5 points below the national average.
Careers for Accounting Graduates in Idaho
According to the BLS, accountant and auditor careers are projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031 across the country. This suggests professionals' skills are in demand. Projections Central projects 9.7% growth for accounting and auditing positions in Idaho specifically from 2020 to 2030 — an even more favorable projection.
The Idaho economy placed third overall on the annual U.S. News & World Report economy rankings list, and the same list ranks Idaho's economy first for growth. A strong state economy can translate to more jobs and higher wages, which may signify a plethora of career opportunities for accounting professionals in Idaho.
Of the Big Four accounting firms, only Deloitte and KPMG have a presence in Idaho. Both have offices in Boise — the state's capital — which U.S. News & World Report named one of the best places to live in the United States for 2022-23.
Popular Accounting Careers in Idaho
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks create and organize financial records for businesses and organizations. Daily tasks include checking records for accuracy, producing balance sheets and income statements, and posting financial transactions into accounting software for clients.
- Job Outlook in Idaho (2020-30): +14.2%
- Source: Projections Central
Accountants and auditors prepare financial records for their clients, which may include individuals and large corporations. They also advise clients about reducing costs and improving business revenue. Daily tasks include ensuring financial statements are accurate and comply with regulatory requirements, preparing tax returns, and maintaining financial records.
- Job Outlook in Idaho (2020-30): +9.7%
- Source: Projections Central
Financial managers oversee the finances of organizations, working to ensure they meet short- and long-term goals. They often advise companies' executives to help them develop sound financial strategies and policies. A financial manager's daily tasks may include supervising other accounting employees, reviewing financial reports to ensure correctness, analyzing market trends, and overseeing budgets.
- Job Outlook in Idaho (2020-30): +10.5%
- Source: Projections Central
Idaho Employment Trends
|2030 Projected Employment||5,080||1,488,200|
|Projected Job Growth, 2020-30||9.7%||+6.9%|
Source: Projections Central
|Career||Idaho Employment||Idaho Average Annual Salary||National Average Annual Salary|
|Associate Degree Recommended|
|Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks||9,530||$39,930||$45,140|
|Bachelor's Degree Recommended|
|Property Appraisers and Assessors||390||$51,500||$70,050|
|Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents||1,360||$61,520||$93,260|
|Tax Examiners and Collectors||250||$57,000||$63,200|
|Master's Degree Recommended|
|Accountants and Auditors||4,250||$71,120||$83,980|
|Financial and Investment Analysts||600||$78,950||$103,020|
|Personal Financial Advisors||910||$87,530||$119,960|
Source: BLS OEWS
Based on the data above, average salaries for accounting careers in Idaho trend lower than national averages. However, this reflects the lower cost of living in Idaho, which also falls below the national average.
Those looking to start an accounting career in Idaho might consider how salaries compare to other professions in the state. According to the BLS, the annual average wage across all industries in Idaho is $47,940 as of 2021. Many accounting careers' average salaries exceed this figure, including accountants and auditors, tax preparers, and financial analysts.
Learners pursuing accounting degrees in Idaho can research which careers employ the highest numbers of professionals in the state. Pursuing jobs like bookkeeping, accounting, or auditing — which are among the highest-employing careers in Idaho — may make it easier to find employment after graduation.
CPA Requirements in Idaho
Idaho requires prospective CPAs to reside in Idaho and have a valid Social Security Number. Additional requirements for CPA licensure in Idaho include:
Earn 150 hours of education in one of the following ways:
- Earn a graduate degree in accounting from an accredited institution
- Earn a graduate degree in business from an accredited institution with 24 undergraduate or 15 graduate semester hours in accounting
- Earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with 24 semester hours in business and an additional 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate or graduate level
Complete 2,000 hours of experience over a period of 12-36 months
Complete an American Institute of Certified Public Accountants ethics course
Pass the CPA exam
Submit licensure paperwork
Questions About Idaho Accounting Requirements
Does the University of Idaho have a business school?
Yes. The University of Idaho's College of Business and Economics offers undergraduate degrees in eight fields, including accounting, business economics, finance, management information systems, and marketing. Students can also earn a graduate degree in accountancy at this school.
How do I become a CPA in Idaho?
In addition to passing the CPA exam, prospective Idaho CPAs must complete 150 semester credits by earning a graduate degree in accounting, earning a graduate degree in business with 15-24 additional semester hours in accounting, or earning an undergraduate degree and completing 48 additional semester hours of business and accounting education. CPA candidates must also gain 2,000 hours of work experience and complete an ethics course.
How much is the CPA exam in Idaho?
ISBA reports that as of August 2021, the CPA exam in Idaho costs $226.15 per section. The total price for all four sections of the exam is $904.60. Additionally, first-time candidates have to pay a $100 application fee. Prospective CPAs who need to retake the exam pay a $50 application fee.
What accounting jobs are there in Idaho?
Idaho offers a variety of careers for accounting professionals. According to 2021 BLS data, the most common accounting jobs in the state include bookkeeping and auditing clerks, financial managers, and accountants and auditors. Financial managers in Idaho have the highest average salary across accounting professions: As of 2021, they earn an average annual salary of $108,210.
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