Written by Kathleen Swed


Though Idaho's economy originally relied on mining and agriculture, the state now maintains a $3 billion tourist industry, plus growing business in manufacturing, aerospace, and technology. With demand for accounting professionals in Idaho on the rise, Projections Central foresees an 11.9% spike in accounting occupations from 2018 to 2028.

Students seeking accounting degrees in Idaho benefit from diverse program structures, with 50% of the students participating in some amount of online learning. Idaho's reciprocal agreements with students from nearby states can help defray tuition costs for students from certain regions.

On this page, readers can learn more about accounting degrees in Idaho, including educational statistics, considerations for studying in the state, funding opportunities, and information on occupational trends relevant to accountants in Idaho.

Idaho at a Glance

Population 1,826,160
Per Capita Income $27,816
Fortune 500 Companies 4
Number of Higher Learning Institutions 19
Climate

Average Annual Temperature: 44.4℉

Annual Precipitation: 18.9 inches

Major Sports Teams Boise Hawks, Idaho Steelheads
Accountants in Idaho 3,940

Top Idaho Schools for Accounting

  • The College of Idaho
  • University of Idaho
  • Northwest Nazarene University
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho
  • Boise State University
  • Lewis-Clark State College
  • Idaho State University

Why Go to College for Accounting in Idaho?

In 2017, Idaho saw 100,851 undergraduate students enrolled across the state, a 1.6% increase over the previous year. In fact, the state ranked fifth in the nation that year for undergraduate enrollment increases.

With a state goal to increase postsecondary education among 25- to 34-year-olds, Idaho dedicates a healthy amount of resources to college-level learning. The Idaho State Board of Education offers funding resources for college students, and the state allocated 7.6% of its tax revenue to higher education as of 2017.

As with most areas, in-state tuition in Idaho runs significantly lower than tuition charged to nonresidents. Many of Idaho's colleges concentrate near the capital city of Boise, with others dotted along the western border and a few scattered throughout the rest of the state.

Students hoping to work in Idaho after graduation can benefit from studying in the state, whether on campus or through online programs. Interpersonal networking with professors, peers, and alumni can pave the way to potential job opportunities in a state with growing opportunities for accounting professionals.

Education Statistics for Idaho

Prospective students can choose from a varied selection of two- and four-year colleges when considering accounting degrees in Idaho. With half of the state's students participating in some form of distance learning, opportunities abound for those seeking flexible program structures. The table below offers details on education statistics in Idaho, including state funding for higher education and the percentage of adults in the state with completed college degrees.

Higher Education Statistics in Idaho
Idaho Data National Data
Number of Four-Year Colleges 14 3,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges 5 1,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education 50.8% 34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student $9,983 $8,196
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education 7.6% 5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree 9.6% 8.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree 18.2% 19.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher 8.7% 12.1%
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey

Accreditation for Idaho Schools

When researching accounting degrees in Idaho, students should ensure their options hold appropriate accreditation status. In the field of accounting, regional accreditation is crucial for career success. National accreditation oversees the standards of career-centered, for-profit, and some religious institutions, while regional accreditation -- which regulates nonprofit educational institutions -- demands more rigorous standards and generally merits higher esteem.

Aspiring accountants hoping to continue to master's-level studies or qualify for certified public accountant (CPA) credentials must hold undergraduate degrees from regionally accredited institutions. Otherwise, they risk forfeiting any credits earned, as many graduate programs and credentialing bodies require accredited coursework.

Regional accreditation applies to each institution as a whole, rather than an individual department or program. In Idaho, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) oversees the accreditation process. The NWCCU also handles accreditation in Alaska, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Considerations for an Accounting Degree in Idaho

The degree selection process can represent an overwhelming array of choices for many prospective students. Depending on their career goals and personal preferences, students may weigh options like degree level, concentration offerings, and on-campus vs. in-person program modalities.

Location can also impact this decision, so learners should compare their goals against opportunities available in Idaho. The cost of a degree is also an important factor. Students may find themselves attracted to Idaho's relatively low cost of living or the prevalence of online learning in the state. The sections below describe these and other considerations in detail.

Accounting Degree Levels

To choose the right accounting degree in Idaho, students must first consider which levels of study their chosen career paths demand.

Associate Degree in Accounting
With an associate degree in accounting, students can take on roles as bookkeepers, accounting clerks, and auditing clerks.
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Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
Many entry-level accounting jobs begin at the bachelor's level, as do career paths for financial analysts, cost estimators, and personal financial advisors.
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Master's Degree in Accounting
By completing master's degrees in accounting, graduates can qualify to apply for CPA credentials in most states.
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Ph.D. in Accounting
Ph.D. degrees in accounting can lead to college professor roles, in which accounting professionals teach classes and conduct research in the field.
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Accounting Concentration Options

Accounting students in Idaho can choose to pursue general studies or select from a variety of resume-boosting concentrations. Accounting degrees in Idaho offer a diverse selection of specializations, but students looking to remain in the state after graduation should particularly consider top industries in Idaho. By matching their concentrations with the state's prominent areas of business, students may appeal more to potential employers after graduation.

The table below offers details about two concentrations that accounting students in Idaho may wish to pursue.

Accounting Concentrations

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Students seeking accounting degrees in Idaho can consider traditional on-campus options, online programs, and hybrid programs blending both structures. Students should weigh the benefits of each opportunity before enrolling.

On-Campus

Traditionally structured programs require students to travel to campus for scheduled in-person classes. In Idaho, many colleges and universities claim locations near the capital city of Boise or along the state's western border. Students may find themselves drawn to in-person programs for the benefit of face-to-face connections with peers and instructors.

Online Programs

By participating in fully online programs, students can take advantage of maximum autonomy. Whether living in Idaho's rural areas or studying from other regions, online learners benefit from flexible scheduling. Some programs offer course materials asynchronously, meaning participants log in to the online learning platform at their convenience. Others require face-to-face meetings through webcam. Because online programs require self-motivation, students with strong time management skills may succeed the most in online programs.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid accounting programs offer students the chance to blend online learning with in-person meetings. Some hybrid programs require students to appear on campus at regular intervals — monthly or sometimes even weekly. Other types of hybrid programs may involve on-campus orientation sessions, week-long residencies, or occasional weekend immersion events.
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
Idaho Students 25.7% 25.1% 49.3%
United States Students 16.3% 18.4% 65.3%
Source: NCES

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Accounting students in Idaho can fund their degrees through several avenues, including scholarships, grants, and loans.

By beginning the financial aid search with the FAFSA, students ensure that they qualify for the largest amount of assistance. The FAFSA helps determine whether students qualify for federal loans, which have low interest rates. FAFSA filings can also help schools to determine who receives certain scholarships.

In addition to school-specific scholarships or grants, students can seek funding from professional organizations, local associations, and state offices. For example, the Idaho State Board of Education offers a selection of scholarship opportunities for learners studying in the state.

Average Cost of College Tuition and Fees in Idaho, 2017-2018
Idaho National
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year) $7,247 $9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year) $22,601 $25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year) $5,833 $30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year) $3,282 $3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year) $7,732 $7,971
Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Students living within Idaho's borders can benefit from in-state tuition rates at some institutions. As the above table illustrates, out-of-state students generally pay much higher tuition rates. Public institutions tend to distinguish between residents and nonresidents, while private schools may not. Distance learners can sometimes pay in-state or otherwise reduced tuition, regardless of where they live.

In Idaho, some schools also offer reduced costs for students living in western regions. By partnering with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Idaho invites students from nearby states to attend its public institutions for lower tuition rates. Neighboring states like Montana and Nevada qualify, with the program extending as far as California, Hawaii, and Alaska. Idaho students can also take advantage of reduced rates if they choose to study in other participating states in the region.

Idaho's Cost of Living

When students consider the cost of accounting degree programs, they should calculate the cost of living for their chosen states. Cost of living encompasses expenses like rent, groceries, transportation, and utilities. Idaho boasts a relatively low cost of living index of 92.3, compared with the national score of 100. Thus, the state ranks 19th for lowest cost of living. Housing in Idaho comes in at 92.2, with utilities at 82.9 and transportation rising to 106.7.

Other School Selection Criteria

When considering accounting degrees in Idaho, students must weigh the important factors contributing to their career goals and personal preferences.

School Size

Some students thrive among large campus communities, where s. Others prefer smaller, more intimate settings.

University Resources

When schools dedicate more resources to its student body, it may indicate more willingness to support students as they complete their degrees. This is particularly important for online learners, who should consider their access to career services, tutoring, and library resources.

Program Length

Some students may wish to complete their studies as quickly as possible to enter the workforce faster. These students might seek accelerated program options. Others prefer to study on a part-time basis to better accommodate their work or family obligations.

Alumni Network

Depending on students' career goals, they may seek programs with robust alumni networks. The chance to connect with program graduates can later help in the job search. Students may consider whether their prospective schools boast connections with local business, executive titles, or well-known corporations.

Careers for Accounting Graduates in Idaho

In Idaho, accounting professionals can benefit from a strong economy and booming job market. U.S. News & World Report ranks the state's economy No. 6 in the country, with employment at No. 5 and business environment at No. 7.

With varying industries thriving in Idaho, accountants can find jobs in sectors like tourism, manufacturing, and computer technology and innovation. Four Fortune 500 companies make their homes in the state, representing food and drug stores, electrical equipment, and wholesalers. Two of the "Big Four" accounting firms, Deloitte and KPMG, also maintain offices in the capital city of Boise, creating ample opportunity for those interested in general accounting careers.

In addition to Boise, large employers cluster in popular tourist areas like the Sun Valley ski resort. For more information on popular accounting careers in Idaho, readers can refer to the following sections.

Select Accounting Careers in Idaho

Accounting Clerk

Often specializing in areas like accounts payable, accounting clerks tend to work for bigger organizations. Day-to-day tasks may include reviewing and posting transaction details, monitoring account payments, and calculating interest. Tasks often advance with experience. Accounting clerks typically hold associate degrees.

Job Outlook in Idaho: +13.2% (2018-28)

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Cost Estimator

Typically employed in construction and manufacturing, cost estimators specialize in particular niches. They collaborate with architects and engineers to determine the cost of a project, weigh potential risks, and work to reduce costs. They also keep track of expenses and report to managers. Cost estimators typically hold bachelor's degrees.

Job Outlook in Idaho: +26.4% (2018-28)

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Accountant

Accountants in Idaho can work across a diverse range of industries and positions. They may prepare financial documents for their organizations or consult with client companies to improve costs of operation. They offer tax advice and prepare relevant documents for organizations and individuals. Most accountants hold master's degrees.

Job Outlook in Idaho: +11.9% (2018-28)

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Idaho Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

4,130 Employees2018
4,620 Employees2028
Idaho 11.9% increase
1,424,000 Employees2018
1,514,700 Employees2028
National 6.4% increase

Source: Projections Central

Explore more careers here

Projections Central projects growth for many accounting-related titles in Idaho from 2018 to 2028. Accounting professionals in Idaho earn salaries on par with national mean wages in most cases. As these professionals complete higher levels of education and qualify for more advanced positions, their annual mean salaries also rise. Positions requiring master's degrees tend to pay significantly more than those at the associate level.

Personal financial advisors earn mean wages totaling $11,370 more than national average earnings, making these positions particularly lucrative in Idaho. Financial managers, on the other hand, earn significantly lower salaries in Idaho when compared to the national numbers. However, Idaho's cost of living is lower than the national average, so the accounting salaries illustrated above have more purchasing power in the state than they would elsewhere in the country.

Idaho Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

Some graduates may pursue CPA credentials, opening doors to further career possibilities. Because CPA requirements vary by state, those hoping to secure these credentials should check the guidelines for their preferred locations.

In Idaho, CPA credential requirements include:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • State residency
  • Social Security number
  • 150 credit hours of college coursework, including 24 credits in accounting or 15 graduate-level accounting courses and 30 credits in business administration
  • One year of CPA-supervised work experience in accounting, auditing, management advisory, financial advisory, consulting, or tax advice. Candidates must complete at least 2,000 hours within a 12-36 months time frame.
  • Passing scores on accepted ethics examination

Idaho does not require CPA candidates to hold citizenship, and it does not participate in the international examination program.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Is accounting a good career in Idaho?
Accounting-related positions are increasing in Idaho, with the state's economy powered by a wealth of lucrative industries. With business booming and access to two of the "Big Four" accounting firms, accounting professionals across all levels can find ample opportunities in the state.
How much do accountants earn in Idaho?
Accountants in Idaho earn a mean annual wage of $65,440. Salaries vary by position level. Mean accounting salaries in Idaho run slightly lower than their national counterparts -- as does the state's cost of living.
What accounting jobs are there in Idaho?
Accountants in Idaho can find work in major industries like tourism, technology, and manufacturing. Four Fortune 500 companies make their homes in the state, while two of the "Big Four" accounting firms maintain offices in Boise.
Can I get an accounting degree in Idaho?
Yes. Idaho boasts a selection of public and private institutions that offer accounting degrees at various levels. Students can find ample options for higher education in the state.
Does Idaho have online accounting programs?
Yes. In fact, 25.7% of students in the state enroll in fully online programs, with 25.1% participating in some distance learning, making online degrees a popular option in Idaho.

Idaho Accounting and Education Organizations

  • Idaho State Board of Education The Idaho State Board of Education supports higher education in the state, offering professional development opportunities for instructors, plus data and research and scholarship opportunities for prospective students.
  • Idaho State Board of Accountancy The Idaho State Board of Accountancy offers resources to accountants in the state. They oversee CPA credentials and continuing professional education requirements. They also provide ethical guidelines, firm registration, and other online services.
  • Idaho Association of Public Accountants Dedicated to supporting accounting and tax professionals in Idaho, the IAPA offers continuing professional education, member discounts, and an annual conference. They also sponsor an annual scholarship for accounting students.
  • Idaho Society of Certified Public Accountants The ISCPA supports its membership of CPAs through continuing professional education opportunities, member discounts, a member directory, online resources, and industry newsletters. The website also features a job-search center.

Accounting Programs in Idaho

Prospective students can use the following list of accredited accounting degrees in Idaho to assist with their search for the right school. Updated on a regular basis, this list presents only schools that hold regional accreditation.