Associate degrees in accounting provide students with foundational knowledge and prepare them for entry-level positions in bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll.
Illinois features one of the most diverse economies in the country, home to enormous agriculture, energy, and business and professional services industries. For several years, the state has managed to rank as the fifth-largest contributor to the U.S. gross domestic product, despite a steady population decrease over that time frame.
Illinois continues to create new business jobs, including accounting positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These added jobs create more opportunity for recent graduates. The state features promising landing spots for graduates at all levels of accounting degrees, including some of the nation’s largest bookkeeping and accounting clerks, accountants and auditors, and financial manager workforces.
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Illinois’ accounting professions offer a largely positive outlook, but the sheer number of career paths can make it challenging to select a school and program. The following page provides information on the state, the degree, and potential careers for graduates with online accounting degrees in Illinois.
|PER CAPITA INCOME||$35,801|
|FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES||65|
|NUMBER OF HIGHER LEARNING INSTITUTIONS||185|
|CLIMATE||Average Annual Temperature: 51.8 ℉|
Annual Precipitation: 39.2 inches
|MAJOR SPORTS TEAMS||Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks|
|ACCOUNTANTS IN ILLINOIS||51,740|
The Illinois higher learning system offers students plenty of selection and accessibility. The state features nearly 200 colleges and universities for students to choose from. Despite declining enrollments over the last few years, Illinois’ public colleges and universities still enroll more than 160,000 full-time undergraduate and graduate students.
According to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, in-state students graduate at above-average rates, at 36% from community colleges, 62% from public universities, and 68% from for-profit schools. To help reduce travel and, in some cases, tuition rates, learners can access online programs at Illinois educational institutions. In fact, almost 30% of students study online in some capacity. Online learners can study anytime and anywhere, though some programs feature on-campus requirements.
For accounting students, Illinois provides an active professional landscape. The Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS) represents one of the largest, oldest industry organizations in the country. For students in the state, the robust and supportive accounting environment offers promise of growth and opportunity.
Illinois accounting graduates enjoy access to some of the country’s largest accounting industries, and the state features above-average salaries for many accounting-related careers, according to BLS employment data. Out-of-state students still enjoy access accounting careers in Illinois, but residents benefit from in-state programs and concentrations designed to meet local demands.
As illustrated in the following table, Illinois offers students access to education at various levels. With more than 180 two- and four-year schools in the state, and close to 30% of students taking some classes online, in-state learners enjoy program, school, and delivery options.
As a result, Illinois residents ages 25 and older obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees at above-average rates, compared to national statistics.
HIGHER EDUCATION STATISTICS IN ILLINOIS
|ILLINOIS DATA||NATIONAL DATA|
|Number of Four-Year Colleges||119||3,004|
|Number of Two-Year Colleges||66||1,579|
|Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education||29.1%||34.7%|
|Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student||$14,846||$8,196|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||7.2%||5.8%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree||8.0%||8.4%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor’s Degree||20.8%||19.4%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher||13.3%||12.1%|
Accreditation assures students, employers, and other institutions that a school or program meets educational standards. At the school level, accreditation comes regionally and nationally. National accreditation typically covers for-profit schools, while regional accreditation is awarded to nonprofit schools and comes from regional accreditation agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
In Illinois, schools receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an organization with more than 125 years of experience improving education. Accounting students may also seek programmatic accreditation. Several organizations recognize accounting and business programs, including the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
For certified public accountant (CPA) examination eligibility, the ICPAS requires candidates to possess degrees from regionally accredited schools. They also recognize programmatic accreditation from the AACSB. Accreditation can also influence financial aid, transfer credits, and employment.
Choosing the right college or university requires lots of thought and consideration. Students should compare program details, such as concentrations, internships, and course options. They should also think about course delivery modalities: Which programs allow students to complete online classes?
Students who wish to study in Illinois should consider location-specific factors, as well. These include employment opportunities, cost of living, and tuition rates. The following sections explore many of these details, laying out what an accounting degree in Illinois might look like and how students can make effective school and program decisions.
When choosing accounting programs, students should explore the various levels available and consider which careers they might pursue after graduation. The following list examines major accounting degree levels and possible career options.
Associate degrees in accounting provide students with foundational knowledge and prepare them for entry-level positions in bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll.
Bachelor’s degrees in accounting allow students to focus their training in more specific fields, preparing them for CPA licensure and a wide array of accounting careers.
Master’s degrees in accounting equip learners with advanced training, often in specific accounting disciplines, and prepare them for management and leadership roles.
A Ph.D. in accounting emphasizes independent research and prepares graduates for management positions and careers in academia.
Whatever accounting degree and program students choose, they should make sure their training matches the demand where they live or plan to live. Accounting students in Illinois can prepare themselves to pursue a variety of thriving industries and accounting professions by choosing concentrations in those areas.
The state features two of the country’s largest management and financial industries, according to BLS employment data. The following table looks at two accounting concentrations that can lead graduates to these fields.
Program delivery types factor into students’ program choices. Whether the program runs online or on-campus can impact school location, program length, and time and financial investments.
Learners who thrive in on-campus programs prefer interacting with instructors and classmates, along with the high engagement levels that classrooms invite. On-campus students also benefit from the activities, extracurriculars, and resources that Illinois campuses offer.
The availability of online programs allows students to access schools at great distances with few or no on-campus visits required. Learners with the ability to choose more distant programs can also be more selective. Online programs may enable greater flexibility in how learners study, including offering more self-paced and accelerated options.Tuition rates fluctuate with online programs, as well, with many schools offering standard online rates, regardless of where students live. When considering an online program, candidates should anticipate the need for more independence and personal motivation in their studies.
Hybrid programs combine elements from online and on-campus programs. Some may require students to attend a certain number of classes or residencies on campus throughout the year, while others only offer part of the degree online. These programs offer a mixture of flexible online learning and collaborative classroom environments.
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|
|United States Students||16.3%||18.4%||65.3%|
Compared to national averages, tuition in Illinois generally runs higher. As a result, students should examine all of their financing options to reduce debt loads and stress. In addition to federal financial aid programs, Illinois learners can take on private loans. They can also work while in school, which works particularly well for online learners.
Scholarships often present one of the most attractive options for students. Illinois learners enjoy access to many scholarship and grant programs from the state government, professional organizations, and individual schools. For more information, click through the following links and learn about financial aid options and some of the scholarships available to accounting students.
AVERAGE COST OF COLLEGE TUITION AND FEES IN ILLINOIS
|Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)||$13,971||$9,037|
|Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)||$28,618||$25,657|
|Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)||$32,491||$30,731|
|Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)||$3,891||$3,243|
|Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)||$10,989||$7,971|
Across the U.S., out-of-state students pay higher tuition rates than in-state students. In Illinois, non-resident students pay more than twice as much as residents, on average. Lower tuition costs for state residents incentivize them to stay and study in Illinois. For out-of-state students, Illinois may offer tuition breaks for learners from certain states.
As a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, Illinois offers lower tuition rates for residents from other member states as part of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. Many Illinois schools also offer online tuition rates, which charge a standard rate for all students, regardless of where they live.
When financing an education, tuition costs get the bulk of students’ interest, but they should also consider other expenses, including cost of living. In Illinois, tuition costs more than the national average rates, as illustrated by the table above. However, students can find savings in other areas.
According to the World Population Review, Illinois’ cost of living index comes in at 94.5, which is below the national average. This means students can save money outside of school, specifically on housing and groceries, the two primary expenses that keep the state’s index lower.
The right school decision depends on each individual student’s unique interests. In addition to the considerations above, learners should weigh many other considerations, including school size, program reputation, and student-to-teacher ratios. Students who choose on-campus programs should also consider campus facilities and resources.
All learners should find programs that match their needs. Look into the details, such as program length, course offerings, and internships. Concentration options and curricula help create career pathways for students, so prospective learners should choose a school that enables their professional success.
Prospective applicants should understand each potential school’s academic requirements. Candidates can get a feel for their potential cohort based on application expectations. Those seeking more competitive or challenging atmospheres may pursue programs with higher minimum grade requirements.
Finally, learners should consider the available resources at prospective schools. Academic and student support services contribute to healthy learning environments. The resources available to graduates, like career and alumni network services, might indicate the level of continued support for students after graduation.
Illinois offers a promising job field for accounting students and professionals. Despite the state’s relatively low overall economic strength, its business environment ranks in the top 15 states. Illinois also features a significant presence from the Big Four accounting firms, including two Deloitte offices, two KPMG offices, four PwC offices, and two Ernst & Young offices.
BLS employment data projects accounting jobs to increase on par with the national economy. Though the 2018-2028 projected 4.9% growth for overall employment in Illinois is actually lower than the national average, the state’s many accounting and related positions still offer employment opportunities for new graduates.
For example, Illinois hosts some of the nation’s largest pools of bookkeepers, accountants and auditors, and financial managers. Professionals in these fields also earn some of the highest wages compared to those in other states. Additionally, Illinois’ metropolitan areas, like Chicago and Bloomington, offer some of the industry’s most abundant and high-paying careers. Read on for more career information.
Bookkeepers oversee financial records and data for organizations. They follow regulations and laws and keep all information compliant and accurate. Clerks create reports for management professionals to help inform their decisions. For employment, most bookkeeping clerks need associate degrees in accounting.
Job Outlook in Illinois: -5.9% (2018-2028)
Accountants and auditors take care of the bulk of financial assignments for organizations. They maintain financial records, complete taxes, and manage investments. They also evaluate processes and operations and look for inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Accountants typically need bachelor’s degrees, though some employers require master’s degrees.
Job Outlook in Illinois: +4.9% (2018-2028)
These professionals seek to improve and maintain individuals’ and organizations’ financial health. They may assess operations and budgets and suggest solutions for savings or revenue growth. This career typically requires bachelor’s degrees at minimum, but many employers look for master’s graduates.
Job Outlook in Illinois: +5.9% (2018-2028)
Source: Projections Central
Accounting professionals enjoy a wealth of opportunity in Illinois. In fact, Illinois hosts some of the largest workforces in the country for all of the listed careers. This means opportunity should continue, regardless of long-term growth projections.
Illinois accounting professionals enjoy diverse career opportunities. The state features positions in various industries and for graduates with many types of degrees and levels of education. This also ensures that the industry allows for career development and growth.
Salary potential represents one of the most attractive elements for students looking to study accounting and work in Illinois. The state pays annual mean wages exceeding national averages in most cases, and for many professions, it offers some of the highest wages in the country.
The requirements for the CPA vary by state, so all students should closely examine what they need for the credential in the location they plan to work. The following list outlines what it takes for professionals to earn CPA designation in Illinois, according to ThisWaytoCPA.
Illinois offers students lots of career options and opportunities. According to BLS employment data, the state features one of the largest workforces in the country and pays wages close to the national average.
Illinois employs over 50,000 accountants and auditors, the fifth-largest workforce in the country, according to BLS employment data. The state also hosts more than 55,000 bookkeeping and accounting clerks, also ranking as the fifth-largest workforce in that field.
Students can earn accounting degrees from Illinois’ many two- and four-year colleges and universities. The state offers options at various levels and lengths, along with several concentration and delivery types.
Many state schools offer online program options for learners to study at a distance or with more flexible schedules. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 30% of Illinois’ students take at least some online courses.
Is accounting a good career in Illinois?Illinois offers students lots of career options and opportunities. According to BLS employment data, the state features one of the largest workforces in the country and pays wages close to the national average. How much do accountants earn in Illinois? What accounting jobs are there in Illinois? Can I get an accounting degree in Illinois? Does Illinois have online accounting programs?
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