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Accounting Degree Overview for Kansas

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Home to nearly 3 million citizens, Kansas represents the geographical center of the American Midwest. As an established leader in the national agricultural market, the state economy also supports emerging industries like aerospace manufacturing. The state elected the nation’s first female mayor in 1887. It’s also the birthplace of former U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower, and of Hattie McDaniel, the first Black woman to win an Academy Award.

As Kansas continues to diversify its local economy, many residents seek adaptable careers with broad applications in business and finance. To this end, students increasingly pursue accounting degrees in Kansas at one of the state’s 75 higher learning institutions. Kansas currently employs 12,680 accountants; some hold lucrative positions among Kansas’ local Fortune 500 companies.

On-campus and online accounting degrees in Kansas can prepare students for popular jobs in management or cost accounting. The following guide can help students navigate the process of considering a Kansas online accounting degree.

Kansas at a Glance

Population2,910,360
Per Capita Income$31,456
Fortune 500 Companies4
Number of Higher Learning Institutions75
ClimateAverage Annual Temperature: 54.3 ℉

Annual Precipitation: 28.9 inches
Major Sports TeamsKansas City Chiefs (NFL), Kansas City Royals (MLB)
Accountants in Kansas12,680

Top Kansas Schools for Accounting

  • Baker University
  • University of Kansas
  • Kansas State University
  • Newman University
  • Friends University
  • MidAmerica Nazarene University
  • Wichita State University
  • Benedictine College
  • Washburn University
  • Tabor College

Why Go to College for Accounting in Kansas?

Students who choose to pursue an accounting degree in Kansas enjoy a variety of benefits. Generally, the state puts a premium on higher education. Kansas hosts 75 two- and four-year colleges, and it allocates a larger percentage of funding to college programming than the national average. Nearly 33% of Kansans aged 25 and older hold a bachelor’s degree or higher

The Kansas Board of Regents invests heavily in expanding economic opportunity for its students through higher education. The Board recently launched a subcommittee, the Future of Higher Education Council, to develop three-, five-, and 10-year plans for higher education in advance of the 2021 state legislative session. 

Business, marketing, and management programs, including online accounting degrees, top the lists of the most popular majors at schools like Kansas State University and the University of Kansas. More than 40% of Kansans enroll specifically in online programs, some of which offer tuition discounts and accelerated completion options. 

Students completing an online accounting degree in Kansas enjoy in-state tuition rates. The best accounting schools in Kansas emphasize networking opportunities for students and help them develop career skills to meet the local industry demand.

Education Statistics for Kansas

Kansas offers more financial support for education than the national average. The state allocates 7.4% of its tax revenue toward higher education, compared to 5.8% nationally. As a result, the state enrolls more than 40% of students in online programs and features high associate and bachelor’s attainment rates. 

Higher Education in Kansas

Kansas DataNational Data
Number of Four-Year Colleges443,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges311,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education41.4%34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student$6,929$8,196 
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education7.4%5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree8.5% 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 Higher12.1%12.1%
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey

Accreditation for Kansas Schools

Students considering pursuing an online accounting degree in Kansas should begin with a list of accredited schools. While a college may hold legitimate accreditation by either a regional or national agency, regional accreditation requires a more competitive process and offers higher prestige. Accreditation demonstrates that a school meets or exceeds the utmost performance standards in higher education.

Some of the best accounting schools in Kansas receive accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting body for many states across the Midwest and the southwestern U.S. Schools may also receive national accreditation through an agency approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, some accounting programs hold programmatic accreditation through an organization such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. 

Considerations for an Accounting Degree in Kansas

Selecting the right accounting college and program involves many considerations. Prospective students may begin by narrowing their choices to campus-based or distance programs in Kansas. Kansas hosts an online-only student population of just over 22%; this figure exceeds the national rate of roughly 16% of students enrolled exclusively in online education.

Additional considerations include degree level, available concentrations, cost, and financial aid options. Many Kansas schools assess lower tuition rates than the national average, especially for in-state enrollees at four-year state universities.

Accounting Degree Levels

To find the right program and degree level, aspiring accounting students should carefully examine their career goals. Factors such as cost, program length, and preferred learning style may tip the scales in favor of one program over another.

The following list covers several considerations for each degree level available through accounting schools in Kansas.


  • Associate Degree in Accounting

    This degree can prepare graduates for an entry-level career as a bookkeeper, accounting assistant, payroll clerk, or auditing clerk.

    Learn More About Associate Degrees in Accounting


  • Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

    For professional accountants and auditors, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement. Graduates of bachelor’s programs may also pursue additional coursework to meet the requirements for the certified public accountant (CPA) designation.

    Learn More About Bachelor’s Degrees in Accounting


  • Master's Degree in Accounting

    While not required for all accounting jobs, some employers prefer candidates who hold a master’s degree. Some schools offer five-year accelerated bachelor’s/master’s dual programs.

    Learn More About Master’s Degrees in Accounting


  • Ph.D. in Accounting

    Professionals with a Ph.D. in accounting qualify for postsecondary teaching positions. Some graduates pursue senior positions in accounting research and financial management.

    Learn More About Ph.D.s in Accounting


Accounting Concentration Options

Students pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s in accounting in Kansas can choose from a variety of available concentrations, but some concentrations better prepare students for their chosen career. The table below features two popular concentrations in Kansas.

ConcentrationDescription
Management Accounting Management accounting requires advanced mathematical and business skills. A concentration in management accounting emphasizes financial planning, critical thinking, and decision-making skills. Graduates qualify for executive-level financial planning positions. 
Cost Accounting Cost accountants help clients project and manage the costs of doing business. Coursework in this concentration explores budgeting, business operations, and performance evaluation methods. Many cost accountants work for corporate clients.

Explore More Accounting Concentrations

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Students can choose to pursue an accounting degree in Kansas on campus, online, or through hybrid study. While programs vary by school and location, online accounting majors do not typically involve stringent in-person components. This allows additional flexibility for students who choose a fully or partially online degree.

On-Campus 

Many schools in Kansas offer traditional accounting degrees on campus. Kansas residents who seek a tangible college experience often find on-campus programs ideal. Many students prefer to live in close proximity to study groups, campus amenities, and social events. These enrollees also enjoy in-state tuition rates. Others may simply benefit from learning in a classroom with personal access to faculty. 

Online Programs

Like campus-based programs, online accounting degrees in Kansas still provide a fully immersive experience; however, the learning environment requires additional self-management skills. Distance learners typically complete coursework through weekly synchronous or asynchronous assignments, aided by virtual resources like tutoring and technology support. 

Students must practice careful time management and schedule their own virtual meetings with professors if necessary. Online programs may save students money on tuition, living expenses, and commuting costs. Studying online also offers maximum flexibility to degree-seekers on any schedule, in any location. 

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs can provide the ideal learning experience for students who require a combination of in-person and online instruction. Many hybrid programs deliver more than 50% of coursework online with weekly or monthly attendance required on campus. Some programs hold classes on nights or weekends to accommodate working students. Such minimal in-person requirements serve part-time learners and commuters with limited access to campus.

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
Kansas Students22.4%19%58.6%
United States Students16.3%18.4%65.3%
Source: NCES

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Aspiring accountants in Kansas must consider how they plan to finance their degree. Most students must fill out the FAFSA, which determines eligibility for financial aid. Additionally, students should consider scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans.

Each type of aid comes with benefits and drawbacks. Federal sources — and some private scholarships and grants — typically award aid based on a student’s (or their parents’) income. Many scholarships, fellowships, and grants base award amounts on merit, ethnic classification, location, and/or area of study, and do not require repayment. Many degree-seekers consider loans as a last resort, as the repayment terms often involve higher fees. 

Average Cost of College Tuition and Fees in Kansas, 2017-2018

KansasNational
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$8,737$9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$22,615$25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)$21,316$30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$3,382$3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$4,611$7,971
Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Most colleges assign variable tuition rates depending on where a student resides. Kansas residents qualify to pay the in-state tuition rate, which is significantly less expensive than out-of-state tuition. Some schools offer tuition breaks to out-of-state students in select majors or programs. Additionally, nonresident students may apply for a variety of scholarships, grants, and federal financial aid to offset the costs of attending college in Kansas.

Some schools offer discounted tuition to online students in any location by freezing tuition rates or charging a set rate for distance programs. Some Kansas schools also belong to the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP), the largest of its kind across 10 midwestern states. MSEP enables nonresident students at participating schools in Kansas to reduce the tuition costs of out-of-state learning.

Kansas’s Cost of Living

Cost of living impacts budgeting for a college education. In Kansas, residents enjoy a low cost of living index score of 89, below the U.S. average of 100. Kansas ranks among the 10 states with the lowest cost of living in the U.S., ideal for students considering relocating to Kansas from their home state to pursue an accounting degree. 

Other School Selection Criteria

While some of the best accounting schools in Kansas offer advantageous locations, selecting the right school involves many other factors. The following list covers additional considerations to help guide the decision-making process.

  • School Size

    Students may seek the immersive experience of a large, public university or a smaller, more intimate college environment.

  • Student/Teacher Ratio

    A lower student/teacher ratio enables more personalized attention in class, while a higher ratio may suit students who prefer anonymity.

  • Staff Credentials/Diversity

    Many students seek out critical discourse and new perspectives through experienced faculty and a diverse peer group.

  • Program Length

    Many programs offer accelerated completion options that can help reduce tuition costs.

  • Concentrations

    Students may narrow their choice of schools depending on whether a school offers a particular course or a unique concentration.

  • Resources/Career Services

    Schools should support both traditional and online students through resources such as tutoring, counseling, and career services.

  • Extracurriculars

    For some students, extracurricular activities such as Greek life, student government, and professional networking rank at the top of their priority list.

  • Prestige/Reputation

    Graduates with a degree from a well-known and highly respected institution may gain an advantage with employers, especially in competitive fields.

  • Alumni Network

    A large, widespread, and active alumni network is a good sign, indicating a powerful group of graduates who take pride in their alma mater.

  • Cost of Admission

    Perhaps the most prominent consideration among college-bound students, the cost of admission can often be offset by financial aid.

  • Application Process

    Students should leave plenty of preparation time to request transcripts, test scores (if required), and letters of recommendation (if required).

  • Careers for Accounting Graduates in Kansas

    As an enduring career with applications in business and finance, accounting offers stable employment and high salaries across the U.S. Accountants earn a national mean annual wage of nearly $80,000, and they work primarily in accounting, auditing, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll positions. While the BLS projects increased employment by 4% between 2019 and 2029 across the U.S., accounting job growth in Kansas exceeds the national projections for this period.

    Kansas offers bright employment prospects for accountants in specializations like bookkeeping, auditing, and cost estimation, especially within the state’s biggest metro cities. For example, Kansas City maintains offices for all of the “Big 4” firms, which rank among the most desirable national employers of accounting and auditing professionals. As one of the leading industries in Kansas, the manufacturing sector of the state economy also requires accountants, CPAs, and cost estimators.

    Select Accounting Careers in Kansas


    • Credit Counselor


      Credit counselors may dispense general financial management advice or assist clients in combining and/or reducing their credit card debt. Credit counselors possess the authority and expertise to work on behalf of their clients with creditors to negotiate payment plans and reduce interest rates. These specialists require only an associate degree and, in Kansas, earn more than the national annual mean wage.


    • Cost Estimator


      Cost estimators collect and assess data in order to provide a comprehensive budget for a service or product. Most cost estimators specialize in a particular industry, such as manufacturing or construction. They estimate the collective factors necessary to complete a project, including money, labor, time, and materials. Cost estimators in Kansas can earn well over the national annual mean wage, provided they possess at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field.


    • Personal Financial Advisor


      Personal financial advisors consult with clients on a variety of personal finance matters including estate planning, insurance, investments, taxes, and retirement. They rank among the top earners in accounting positions. Advisors in Kansas, in particular, earn an annual mean wage of roughly $15,000 more than the national mean. Most positions in personal financial advising require a master’s degree and extensive field experience.


    Kansas Employment Trends

    Projected Job Growth for Accountants

    13,820 Employees2018
    14,850 Employees2028
    Kansas 7.5% increase
    1,424,000 Employees2018
    1,514,700 Employees2028
    National 6.4% increase
    Source: Projections Central

    Curious about other accounting jobs? Explore more here

    Earning an accounting degree in Kansas — at any level — can lead to a variety of lucrative careers. As shown above, Kansas offers competitive employment and high salaries for graduates of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs. Students with an associate degree in accounting qualify for entry-level credit counselor jobs, among the most selective in this sector. Salaries for credit counselor jobs in Kansas exceed the national mean.

    A student who earns a higher degree in accounting often enjoys a proportionate increase in employment opportunities and salary. Accounting careers in Kansas that require a bachelor’s degree, such as cost estimation, pay slightly more than the national mean salary for this position. Tax examiners and collectors, who occupy another bachelor-level accounting career path in Kansas, enjoy more competitive employment and even higher salaries. 

    Candidates with a master’s in accounting in Kansas qualify for lucrative, high-level accounting careers. Many students pursue CPA licensure to become accountants, auditors, or budget analysts. Kansas also employs large numbers of personal financial advisors and financial managers. These positions rank among the top earners of any jobs in this sector, nationally and statewide. 

    Kansas Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

    Each state maintains its own requirements for becoming a CPA. Accountants need CPA certification to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission; however, many accountants also pursue CPA certification to improve job prospects. 

    The CPA certification process involves a unique set of steps in each state. CPAs must pass a comprehensive exam in four sections of accounting: auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation. Other requirements for CPA candidacy by state include:

  • Citizenship
  • Residency
  • Social Security number
  • Completed CPA exam
  • Students should check the individual requirements of the state in which they plan to practice as a CPA.

    In Kansas, CPA candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree plus additional education totaling 150 credits to qualify to sit for the CPA exam. Additionally, candidates need at least one year of accounting experience and must take the AICPA ethics exam to obtain CPA certification.

    Resources

    Frequently Asked Questions


    • Is accounting a good career in Kansas?

      Accountants in Kansas enjoy diverse job prospects in fields like credit counseling, payroll and bookkeeping, and financial management. Many Kansans in accounting also enjoy salaries well above the national mean.


    • How much do accountants earn in Kansas?

      Accountants in Kansas with an advanced degree and experience can earn as much as $135,720 in executive financial management jobs. Kansans with an undergraduate degree can earn between roughly $36,000 and $80,000 in entry-level and intermediate positions.


    • What accounting jobs are there in Kansas?

      Accounting jobs in Kansas span fields including business, finance, and management. Accountants in this state often specialize in cost estimation, management accounting, or financial planning. Many get their start as accounting or auditing clerks.


    • Can I get an accounting degree in Kansas?

      Yes. Kansas is home to some of the best accounting schools for programs at every level of study, including associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Students may choose between traditional and online accounting degrees in Kansas.


    • Does Kansas have online accounting programs?

      The best accounting schools in Kansas offer options for in-person and distance learning. Programs can serve both Kansas residents looking to learn online and out-of-state students studying remotely. Many schools also offer hybrid learning options.


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