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Louisiana has many unique features that make it an appealing place to live and work. It is the only state subdivided into parishes instead of counties, reflecting its Catholic colonial heritage under French and Spanish rule. Its name also references its rich history, as King Louis XIV of France (1638–1715) ruled when Louisiana became a French possession.
The state's economy continues to develop. In 2022, Louisiana's unemployment rate fell below the national average for the first time since 2014. The state hosts a diverse economy with strong trade and transportation, construction, manufacturing, professional services, and tourism industries.
Institutions offer accounting degrees in Louisiana at the undergraduate and graduate levels through online, on-campus, and hybrid formats. This guide offers a data-rich analysis of Louisiana as a potential destination for individuals looking to launch or continue accounting careers. Use this information to bolster your research and job search efforts.
Louisiana at a Glance
- Population: 4,682,633
- Climate: Average Annual Temperature: 66.4℉ | Average Annual Precipitation: 60.1 inches
- Major Sports Teams: New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions: 51
- Per Capita Income: $29,522
- Fortune 500 Companies: 2
- Accountants in Louisiana: 13,100
Sources: World Population Review, Current Results, NCES, U.S. Census ACS, Statista, BLS
Why Get an Accounting Degree in Louisiana?
Accounting professionals in Louisiana benefit from diverse employment opportunities in multiple industries. Sectors like trade and transportation, construction, manufacturing, and tourism, thrive in Louisiana. Businesses in these and other leading sectors have strong, ongoing needs for accountants to track their financial health and fulfill their taxation obligations.
Louisiana also employs many people in the public sector, including many accountants within various levels of the government. As of September 2022, about 14.8% of Louisiana's entire workforce held government employment.
Louisiana-based accountants and auditors also earn high salaries relative to local income trends. The state's 2020 per capita income of approximately $29,520 fell about 16.6% lower than the national average of about $35,380.
However, the average salary for accountants and auditors in Louisiana reached more than $70,000 per year as of May 2021. This compares favorably to the national median of $77,250 per year reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2021.
Earning a degree in the same state where you plan to work offers significant networking advantages. Developing local connections can lead to work-study opportunities and internships, which can provide job leads for senior students and recent graduates.
Education Statistics for Louisiana
In general, data indicates that Louisianans have lower levels of educational attainment compared to national averages. For educated professionals like accountants, this can signal opportunity.
When a local labor force earns college degrees at lower rates, businesses that require college graduates have smaller candidate pools from which to fill job vacancies. This disparity may translate into competitive advantages for job-seekers with college credentials.
|Higher Education Statistics||Louisiana Data||National Data|
|Students Enrolled in Distance Education||67.2%||72.8%|
|Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student||$6,209||$9,327|
|Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||$11,797||$15,959|
|Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree||6.5%||8.6%|
|Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree||15.9%||20.2%|
|Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher||8.9%||12.7%|
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census ACS
Accreditation for Louisiana Schools
Students should only pursue accounting degrees in Louisiana at accredited institutions. Accreditation is a third-party endorsement of a school's academic quality. To earn the status, colleges must meet rigorous standards as evaluated by representatives of independent accrediting agencies at the institutional level.
A significant accrediting body in Louisiana is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). You can confirm a school's standing with SACSCOC and other accreditors through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Some business-oriented programs have endorsements through specialized or programmatic accreditation. This type of certification signals exceptional levels of academic quality. Agencies that provide the status include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Delivery Formats for an Accounting Degree in Louisiana
Choosing the right accounting degree in Louisiana demands careful analysis of many factors. Major examples include the institution's reputation and how well the program matches your academic and professional interests.
Learning formats are another important consideration, especially for learners balancing their studies with other commitments. Louisiana students generally engage with traditional campus-based education at rates that exceed national averages. However, the state's student body also balances online and traditional in-class learning at elevated rates.
The following sections and subsections profile various program delivery options and explore their defining features.
Campus-based programs immerse degree-seekers in thriving student communities. They provide excellent networking opportunities and connect students with peers and professors.
Louisiana-based students display a stronger-than-average preference for on-campus learning compared to nationwide trends. The percentage of students enrolled in campus-only classes in Louisiana is about 20% higher than the national average.
Online programs use computer technologies to deliver a learning experience that matches the rigor and quality of campus-based learning. These programs generally offer scheduling advantages, including lectures and assignments that enrollees can complete at virtually any convenient time.
Online learners often balance their studies with employment, child care, and other responsibilities. Online programs also offer cost advantages, as they do not require commuting or relocation.
Hybrid programs blend internet-based and classroom-based learning. They balance the benefits of the on-campus experience with the convenience and flexibility of studying online. In general, these programs suit students seeking a "best of both worlds" learning experience.
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Paying for Your Accounting Degree
In Louisiana, education costs at public institutions compare favorably with national averages. Meanwhile, the state's private four-year colleges typically have higher-than-average tuition rates.
Students attending either type of institution may need help meeting their education costs. Non-repayable forms of aid such as grants, fellowships, and scholarships offer valuable funding. Learners can also consider federal and private loans.
The following links offer further information about financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition
Most U.S. public colleges apply different tuition rates to students depending on their state of residence. In-state enrollees qualify for lower rates because they have contributed to the higher education system through tax payments. Out-of-state attendees pay higher rates in most cases.
Exceptions do apply. For instance, some Louisiana public institutions apply flat tuition rates to all students in 100% online programs, regardless of residency status.
Louisiana also participates in the Southern Regional Education Board's Academic Common Market. This reciprocity extends in-state tuition rates to residents of other Southern states. Exceptions and limitations apply, but the program offers students from nearby states access to cost-cutting opportunities.
Cost of Living in Louisiana
Local living costs can have a significant impact on student budgets. These costs can affect campus-based learners living away from home and degree-seekers who commute.
The cost of living in Louisiana is relatively low when compared to other parts of the United States. In 2022, Louisiana posted a cost of living index score of 93. The cost of living index uses 100 as a national average, then compares local living costs to the 100 baseline.
Louisiana's score of 93 demonstrates a 7% lower cost of living than the average U.S. destination. It posted particularly affordable housing and utility scores, which came in at 86 and 87 on the 100-point scale, respectively.
Careers for Accounting Graduates in Louisiana
Accounting professionals in Louisiana enjoy diverse employment opportunities. Small businesses thrive in the state, accounting for 99.5% of all businesses and 53.6% of all employment. These organizations hire bookkeepers, tax preparers, and accounting contractors to assist them in managing their financial records.
Meanwhile, the "Big Four" accounting firms of Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG all maintain offices in Louisiana. These firms meet the financial recordkeeping needs of business clients as major employers for accounting professionals.
Experts project strong growth rates in the Louisiana job market from 2020-2030, with some areas expected to see exceptional employment increases. For instance, job growth in Louisiana's Lafayette region is projected to reach 12.2%. In the Houma region, projections exceed 16%.
The following sections profile popular careers open to candidates with accounting or business administration degrees in Louisiana.
Popular Accounting Careers in Louisiana
Payroll clerks use time-tracking tools to document employees' working hours and calculate their wages and salaries. In some cases, payroll clerks compile other data, including productivity, commission, and taxation withholdings. As of May 2021, payroll clerks earned an average salary of $42,250 per year in Louisiana.
Tax examiners mainly work for government revenue agencies. They review individual and business tax returns for accuracy, inform taxpayers of discrepancies, and collect outstanding debts. When necessary, tax examiners may also participate in audits. Their annual mean wage in Louisiana was $52,160 per year as of May 2021.
Accountants prepare financial records and official reports for their clients and employers. They also create financial projections and participate in strategic planning initiatives. Louisiana accounting requirements include a license to practice as a certified public accountant (CPA) or certified management accountant.
Louisiana Employment Trends
|2030 Projected Employment||12,660||1,488,200|
|Projected Job Growth, 2020-30||+7.1%||+6.9%|
Source: Projections Central
|Career||Louisiana Employment||Louisiana Average Annual Salary||National Average Annual Salary|
|Associate Degree Recommended|
|Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks||20,400||$40,710||$45,140|
|Bachelor's Degree Recommended|
|Property Appraisers and Assessors||750||$58,060||$70,050|
|Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents||2,110||$65,370||$93,260|
|Tax Examiners and Collectors||520||$52,160||$63,200|
|Master's Degree Recommended|
|Accountants and Auditors||13,100||$70,030||$83,980|
|Personal Financial Advisors||1,400||$106,820||$119,960|
Source: BLS OEWS
Accounting careers in Louisiana generally pay salaries below national averages. However, local living costs play a major role in determining employee salaries. Louisiana has relatively low living costs, which means the money you make goes further here than in most other parts of the United States.
The state's top-paying accounting careers require at least a bachelor's degree, and many such careers are more available to candidates with master's degrees. You may want to consider reaching these levels of education to maximize your earning potential.
CPA Requirements in Louisiana
Earning an accounting degree in Louisiana is only part of your journey if you plan to become a CPA. You must also meet the state's licensure requirements.
Like all states, Louisiana maintains specific standards for granting accounting licenses. General CPA requirements in Louisiana include state residency status, a Social Security Number, and at least a bachelor's degree. Notably, you do not need to hold U.S. citizenship to become a practicing CPA in Louisiana.
Each candidate must pass a rigorous CPA exam in Louisiana to earn their license. Eligibility requirements stipulate that each candidate must:
Be at least 18 years of age and a Louisiana resident
Have a Social Security number
Have at least 150 credit hours of relevant education through a bachelor's degree, with 24 semester hours in accounting courses
Have completed at least 2,000 hours (one calendar year) of professional accounting experience performed under the supervision of a licensed CPA, covering accounting, attestation, financial or management advising, taxation, or consulting work
Questions About Louisiana Accounting Requirements
Does LSU have an accounting major?
Louisiana State University offers undergraduate and graduate-level accounting programs. Students can earn a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in accounting at LSU.
How do I become an accountant in Louisiana?
To take the CPA exam in Louisiana, you must be at least 18 years of age, a Louisiana resident, and have at least 150 credit hours of higher education, including a bachelor's degree. CPA requirements in Louisiana also include significant levels of accounting coursework and at least one year of professional accounting experience.
How many hours do you need to sit for the CPA exam in Louisiana?
Your 150 credit hours of higher education coursework must include 24 semester hours of accounting or equivalent credits. You must also accrue at least 2,000 hours of job experience in a professional setting under the supervision of a licensed CPA.
How much does the CPA exam cost in Louisiana?
As of 2022, first-time CPA applicants in Louisiana must pay a $160 application fee plus an exam fee of $238.15. For re-examination applicants, the application fee lowers to $80.
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