Accounting Degree Overview for Indiana

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Consistently ranked as one of the top U.S. states for business by sources including CNBC and Chief Executive, Indiana offers plenty of opportunities to its accounting program graduates. Eighteen Fortune 500 companies call Indiana home, and each of the “Big 4” accounting firms operates offices across the state.

Earning an accounting degree, whether an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s, can set up students for success. Some of the most popular accounting careers in Indiana Include bookkeepers, financial managers, and accountants, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Prospective students can choose from several on-campus and online programs to fit their needs.

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In the sections below, we discuss data and information related to Indiana’s higher education and professional offerings. From top degree options to excellent career prospects, read on to learn more about what makes Indiana a great state for accounting students and professionals alike.

INDIANA EDUCATION STATISTICS

ACCOUNTING CAREERS IN INDIANA

VIEW INDIANA COLLEGES

INDIANA AT A GLANCE

POPULATION6,745,350
PER CAPITA INCOME$29,369
FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES18
NUMBER OF HIGHER LEARNING INSTITUTIONS84
CLIMATEAverage Annual Temperature: 51.7 ℉
Annual Precipitation: 41.7 inches
MAJOR SPORTS TEAMSIndianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever, Indianapolis Indians
ACCOUNTANTS IN INDIANA20,910

Top Indiana Schools for Accounting

  • Purdue University-Main Campus
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Valparaiso University
  • Butler University
  • Saint Mary’s College
  • University of Evansville
  • Taylor University
  • Bethel College-Indiana
  • Marian University
  • University of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne

WHY GO TO COLLEGE FOR ACCOUNTING IN INDIANA?

Home to the private, prestigious University of Notre Dame, nationally recognized public institutions like Purdue University, and several small liberal arts colleges with tight-knit student communities, the state of Indiana boasts a truly diverse collection of excellent higher education opportunities.

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 388,348 students attended college or university in Indiana in 2018. Indiana college students graduate at a higher rate than the national average — 68% vs. 60%, according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the NCES.

The best accounting schools in Indiana distribute throughout the state, with accessible on-campus options for students living in the northern, central, and southern regions. Several colleges and universities also offer hybrid and online accounting degrees. These flexible learning formats require little to no on-campus attendance.

Enrolling at one of Indiana’s colleges and universities provides several benefits for state residents in particular. According to U.S. News & World Report, in-state tuition at public institutions costs $12,000 less than out-of-state tuition on average. Online students can save even more by avoiding costs associated with on-campus living: room and board, transportation fees, and facility use fees.

Finally, many learners benefit from attending school in the states where they intend to work, since college name recognition and alumni associations can help boost networking opportunities.

Education Statistics for Indiana

Utilizing data from the NCES, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, and the U.S. Census Bureau, the table below provides an overview of the higher education environment in Indiana. Covered topics include the number of operational two- and four-year colleges, number of students enrolled in distance education, amount of state funds allocated to postsecondary education, and educational attainment rates of state residents. National data is listed in the third column for comparison.

HIGHER EDUCATION STATISTICS IN INDIANA

INDIANA DATANATIONAL DATA
Number of Four-Year Colleges723,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges121,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education34.7%34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student$6,139$8,196
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education6.7%5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree8.4%8.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor’s Degree19.4%19.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher12.1%12.1%

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

Accreditation for Indiana Schools

Accreditation, a vetting process by third-party organizations, determines whether schools meet certain high standards. Areas investigated by accrediting bodies include academics, student services, faculty qualifications, and budgets and finances. Accreditation ensures that students at a particular school receive a legitimate, valuable education that’s worth the cost of tuition.

Schools may pursue either national or regional accreditation. National accreditation is more common among independent, private, and for-profit schools, while regional accreditation is the common choice for public and nonprofit institutions. Regional accreditation was established first and tends to hold a more prestigious reputation.

In Indiana, regionally accredited schools hold their designation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1895, the HLC is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, affirming the commission meets high standards and accountability expectations.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE IN INDIANA

When evaluating potential colleges and accounting degrees in Indiana, prospective students should take a number of factors into account. Important areas of consideration include preferred degree level, variety of concentration offerings, program format (online vs. on-campus), and financial concerns, like tuition cost and financial aid availability.

In the sections below, we discuss these and other school selection criteria, with an emphasis on practical information from reliable sources like the NCES. For example, college students in Indiana enroll in online courses at a higher rate than the national average — 20.3% vs. 18.4%.

Accounting Degree Levels

Prospective college students should also consider which type of degree they want to obtain. Different levels of education prepare graduates for different careers. Associate and bachelor’s degrees typically lead to entry-level work, and master’s programs typically require candidates to hold bachelor’s degrees.


  • Associate Degree in Accounting

    This two-year, 60-credit degree makes an excellent option for students who want a fast, direct path to employment as bookkeepers, auditors, or payroll clerks.
    Learn More


  • Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

    This four-year undergraduate degree requires 120 credits of liberal arts, accounting, and elective courses.
    Learn More


  • Master's Degree in Accounting

    A master’s degree, requiring two additional years of study, is the most common pathway for CPA certification.
    Learn More


  • Ph.D. in Accounting

    Professionals interested in research or college teaching positions often pursue terminal degrees in accounting.
    Learn More


Accounting Concentration Options

Concentrations provide college students with opportunities to study specific areas within their majors. The best accounting schools in Indiana offer a variety of concentration options to satisfy diverse interests and career goals.

Two popular concentration options, discussed in greater detail in the table below, include public accounting and financial accounting. These areas of study best suit Indiana students who plan to pursue employment within the state after graduation, as Indiana supports a large workforce of certified public accountants, auditors, and financial managers.

  • PUBLIC ACCOUNTING: A public accounting concentration prepares students to organize and manage both individual and business finances. Coursework covers financial statements and reporting, auditing principles, and advanced accounting. Graduates typically pursue certification and enjoy strong job security.
  • FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING: This concentration prepares graduates to complete analytical and external reporting tasks for private and public organizations. Coursework covers analysis of both financial data and economic trends. Potential careers include budget analyst, auditor, and financial manager.

ACCOUNTING CONCENTRATIONS

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

While in-person learning remains a popular higher education format, online and hybrid learning options enable college students to pursue accounting degrees in Indiana without setting foot on campus.

On-Campus

On-campus programs best suit students who want the traditional college experience, complete with dorms, buffet-style dining, and lecture halls. Benefits of on-campus learning include face-to-face interaction with peers and instructors, easy access to the library and other resources, and opportunities to engage in on-campus activities and events.

Online Programs

Online accounting degrees in Indiana offer the same quality education as their on-campus counterparts, but often with enhanced attendance flexibility. Online programs tend to attract students with obligations like full-time work schedules or children living at home.Online college students attend synchronous or asynchronous classes from home. Rather than traditional face-to-face interaction, online course communication course primarily takes place through discussion boards, email, and/or webcam conferencing.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs work well for students who desire flexibility and opportunities to interact with others in person. To accommodate full-time professionals, on-campus class sessions may take place on weekends once or twice each month, with all other coursework completed online.

PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS ENROLLED IN DISTANCE EDUCATION

ENROLLED EXCLUSIVELY IN DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSESENROLLED IN SOME BUT NOT ALL DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSESNOT ENROLLED IN ANY DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSES
Indiana Students14.4%20.3%65.3%
United States Students16.3%18.4%65.3%

Source: NCES

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Whether you plan to pursue an associate, a bachelor’s, or a master’s in accounting in Indiana, the cost of tuition, fees, and materials may feel overwhelming. To help cover college expenses, students can take advantage of financial aid options including scholarships, grants, loans, and fellowships.

Scholarships and grants may be need- or merit-based in nature, and they require no repayment. Loans are typically need-based and require repayment after graduation. Fellowships, common in graduate study, are merit-based awards attached to short-term internships or research or work requirements.

For more tips on how to pay for your accounting degree, visit the links below.

FINANCIAL AID OPTIONS

ACCOUNTING SCHOLARSHIPS

AVERAGE COST OF COLLEGE TUITION AND FEES IN INDIANA, 2017-2018

INDIANANATIONAL
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$9,038$9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$28,805$25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)$32,338$30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$4,255$3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$8,211$7,971

Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Public colleges and universities use different tuition and fee schedules to charge state residents and nonresidents. According to U.S. News & World Report, out-of-state tuition and fees cost, on average, about $12,000 more than in-state tuition and fees.

This stark price difference is primarily justified by taxes. Unlike resident students, nonresidents come from families who haven’t paid tax dollars to the state or in turn, the state’s public schools. The cost of out-of-state tuition makes up for that lost revenue.

Several options exist for out-of-state students who want to pursue accounting degrees in Indiana. They may consider attending private institutions, which do not charge tuition based on residency. Those with their hearts set on public schools can pursue significant tuition breaks through the Midwest Student Exchange Program.

Indiana’s Cost of Living

Tuition is not the only major expense to consider while budgeting for a college education. Students also need to make sure they can cover the cost of living in Indiana.

A state’s cost of living index score is calculated based on comparison to the U.S. average, represented by a score of 100. Indiana’s overall cost index equals 90. Costs scoring just under the national average are groceries (93.3), utilities (97), and transportation (93.1), while Indiana’s housing costs offer significant savings, scoring a 77.3.

Other School Selection Criteria

Whether you plan to study in Indiana or a different state, selecting the right college or university requires careful planning and consideration. Keep the following factors in mind:

School Size

Smaller schools typically offer a tight-knit community feel, small class sizes, and considerable individualized attention from professors. Large schools often provide a wider variety of academic options, greater opportunities to socialize, and well-funded athletic programs.

Support Services

Quality support services can exponentially increase the value of your educational experience. Some schools offer fewer resources to save money. Others provide extensive support, including individualized career services for graduates.

Extracurriculars

Extracurriculars allow students to get involved and make new friends. Look for schools with extracurricular opportunities that align with your interests. Popular options include athletics, Greek life, academic organizations, and special interest clubs.

Prestige and Reputation

A school’s popularity, or lack thereof, does not necessarily determine the value of its degrees. However, well-known schools may offer the benefits of employer recognition and active alumni networks. It’s important to note that a school’s selectiveness and prestige does not always correlate to higher earning potential for graduates.

EXPLORE OUR RANKINGS FOR THE BEST ACCOUNTING PROGRAMS AT EACH LEVEL

CAREERS FOR ACCOUNTING GRADUATES IN INDIANA

According to U.S. News & World Report, Indiana’s economic stability and potential ranks 28th in the nation. Its economy particularly benefits college graduates seeking accounting careers in Indiana.

Deloitte LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG each operate offices in downtown Indianapolis. These “Big 4” accounting firms perform most of the world’s auditing services and provide employment to thousands of employees globally.

Auditing and tax consulting are not the only avenues to employment in Indiana for accounting majors. Many of the state’s top industries — including advanced manufacturing, technology, and logistics — require skilled accounting and finance professionals to complete daily operations. Cost estimators, bookkeeping clerks, budget analysts, and financial managers all work to keep Indiana’s businesses in motion.

In the sections below, we look at a few popular career paths for Indiana accounting majors, plus employment and salary trends across the state and requirements for obtaining coveted CPA credentials.

Select Accounting Careers in Indiana


  • Bookkeeping Clerks

    Bookkeepers are invaluable members of Indiana’s accounting firms, plus its retail, trade, healthcare, and insurance industries. These professionals perform a variety of administrative tasks to keep and maintain accurate financial records. Employers typically require some postsecondary education, such as associate degrees. Basic math and computing skills are imperative.

    Job Outlook in Indiana: -3% (2018-28)
    Learn More


  • Cost Estimators

    Cost estimators enable Indiana’s contractors and manufacturers to operate with financial efficiency. These professionals collect and analyze data to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to complete projects and provide services. Employers typically require cost estimators to possess bachelor’s degrees and keen math, analytical, and communication skills.

    Job Outlook in Indiana: +8.9% (2018-28)
    Learn More


  • Public Accountants

    Public accountants provide a range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services to individuals and businesses throughout Indiana. Common tasks include examining financial statements for accuracy, computing taxes owed, and inspecting records for compliance with laws and regulations. Public accountants need bachelor’s degrees at least, with many professionals also earning CPA credentials.

    Job Outlook in Indiana: +7.3% (2018-28)
    Learn More


Indiana Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

22,060 Employees2018
23,670 Employees2028
Indiana 7.3% increase
1,424,000 Employees2018
1,514,700 Employees2028
National 6.4% increase

Source: Projections Central

EXPLORE MORE CAREERS HERE

As evidenced by the data in the tables above, Indiana students planning to live and work in their home states after graduation can benefit immensely from accounting degrees. In fact, job growth projections for Indiana accountants currently outpace projected growth rates for accountants nationwide — 7.3% vs. 6.4%.

Excellent career prospects exist for college students pursuing accounting at all degree levels. Bookkeeping and auditing clerks represent the largest number of employees in the state’s accounting field, and this occupation can be obtained with as little as an associate degree.

Bachelor’s and master’s programs expand employment opportunities in the accounting field. Graduates at this education level commonly find work as cost estimators, CPAs, auditors, and financial managers. Personal financial advisors also do well in Indiana, earning a six-figure mean salary exceeding the national average by $28,000.

Indiana Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

Each state sets its own requirements for CPA certification. Aspiring accountants should look up certification guidelines for the state in which they plan to practice. In Indiana, candidates qualify for certification via the following:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • U.S. Social Security number
  • Two years of experience in government, industry, academia, or public practice
  • 150 college credits, including at least a bachelor’s
  • 24 college credits in undergraduate-level accounting, 15 college credits in graduate-level accounting, or an equivalent combination of both

When applying for the CPA exam in Indiana, candidates must provide all official college transcripts and a $170 application fee. Examination fees cost $225 per section, with sections including auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation.

Candidates can take exam sections in any order, but they must pass all sections within an 18-month period. After 18 months, section credits expire.

THE CPA EXAM

HAVING A CAREER AS A CPA

RESOURCES

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Is accounting a good career in Indiana?

    The accounting field offers some of the most secure and lucrative career options on the job market. Entry-level, intermediate, and advanced employment opportunities exist in every U.S. state, including Indiana.


  • How much do accountants earn in Indiana?

    According to the BLS, accountants and auditors working in Indiana take home an average annual income of $71,690. However, individual salary packages vary by position, employer, and years of experience.


  • What accounting jobs are there in Indiana?

    In Indiana, accounting professionals can pursue a number of rewarding careers with associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees. Available positions include bookkeeping clerk, cost estimator, budget analyst, and CPA.


  • Can I get an accounting degree in Indiana?

    Students can easily pursue their associate, bachelor’s, or master’s in accounting in Indiana. The state houses more than 80 higher education institutions, including small private schools, midsize colleges, and major universities.


  • Does Indiana have online accounting programs?

    Today’s colleges and universities offer multiple program formats to meet their students’ diverse scheduling needs. Learners can choose from on-campus, hybrid, and online accounting degrees in Indiana.


Indiana Accounting and Education Organizations

  • Indiana Board of Accountancy
    The Indiana Board of Accountancy is the professional licensing agency for accounting professionals working in the state. The board’s website provides information regarding licensing, fee schedules, the CPA examination, and licensure law and administrative rules.
  • Indiana Society of Accountants
    The ISA is Indiana’s state chapter of the National Society of Accountants, the leading organization for accounting, tax, and financial professionals. The ISA serves members through local continuing professional education opportunities including seminars and classes.
  • Indiana CPA Society
    INCPAS represents nearly 7,500 CPAs and accounting professionals working in Indiana. This professional association serves members by encouraging high ethical and professional standards, promoting public awareness of CPA services, and creating trusted networking opportunities.
  • Learn More Indiana
    Led by the Indiana Commission on Higher Education, Learn More Indiana aims to help students of all ages complete education and training beyond high school. Online resources cover college preparation, education expenses, and career planning.
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