Accounting Degrees in Mississippi

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Updated November 22, 2022

Are you considering pursuing an accounting degree in Mississippi? This guide reviews Mississippi accounting requirements, top industries, and career outlooks for industry professionals.

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Mississippi is rich in agricultural roots and renowned for its beautiful foliage, giving it the nickname of the Magnolia State. As the original home of blues music, Mississippi is the place to visit to immerse yourself in live music.

With 34 colleges and universities, Mississippi offers several degree pathways and levels for prospective accountants to pursue.

Although agriculture is the state's top industry, the Mississippi economy also hosts strong logistics and energy sectors. Accounting professionals can find jobs as auditors, financial advisors, or cost estimators in these and other industries.

Jackson, Mississippi, offers an encouraging environment for individuals with accounting degrees. The metropolitan area houses multiple banks, accounting firms, and government agencies, opening plenty of doors for accounting positions.

This guide can help you prepare for your future accounting career, keeping in mind the current climate and forecasts for accounting positions in Mississippi.

Mississippi at a Glance

  • Population: 2,960,075
  • Climate: Average Annual Temperature: 63.4 ℉ | Annual Precipitation: 59.0 inches
  • Major Sports Teams: Biloxi Shuckers, Memphis Hustle, Mississippi Braves
  • Number of Higher Learning Institutions: 34
  • Per Capita Income: $25,444
  • Accountants in Mississippi: 6,140

Sources: World Population Review, Current Results, NCES, U.S. Census ACS, BLS

Why Get an Accounting Degree in Mississippi?

According to World Population Review, Mississippi is the poorest state in the country based on poverty rate, median household income, and other factors. Still, 2021 data from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association shows that the state allocates $16,154 from tax revenue, which is higher than the national average.

Mississippi's investment in higher education is further evidenced by the Mississippi Public Universities' five-year strategic plan to increase diversity, productivity, and learning outcomes through quality academic opportunities. In addition, the federal government has invested $575 million in Mississippi's colleges and universities under the American Rescue Plan.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 3.5% increase in financial activities jobs in Mississippi in September 2022 compared to the previous 12 months. The state also has numerous accounting firms that have existed for decades and continue to prove their longevity.

Students who plan to work in Mississippi's accounting industry should also consider pursuing accounting or business administration degrees in Mississippi. In-state programs often cover state-specific accounting regulations to prepare learners for their careers. Students can also connect with like-minded professionals to expand their networks within the state.

Education Statistics for Mississippi

Mississippi has 34 two-year and four-year colleges, allowing students to pursue several higher learning opportunities. The state also allocates more tax revenue to higher education than the national average, although its per-student appropriations are slightly lower.

The percentages of adults over 25 with a bachelor's or graduate degree are lower in Mississippi than the country's averages, but associate degree attainment in the state rises above the national figure.

Higher Education Statistics Mississippi Data National Data
Four-Year Colleges 18 2,520
Two-Year Colleges 16 1,216
Students Enrolled in Distance Education 65.5% 72.8%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student $8,161 $9,327
Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education $16,154 $15,959
Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree 10.2% 8.6%
Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree 13.8% 20.2%
Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher 8.9% 12.7%

Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census ACS

Accreditation for Mississippi Schools

Accreditation is crucial when considering an accounting degree in Mississippi. Institutionally accredited schools have proven that their curricula and educational standards provide learners with a high-quality education.

Institutional accreditation in Mississippi can come from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC values integrity, peer review, learning, continuous quality improvement, accountability, and transparency from its accredited schools.

On the programmatic level, departments and programs may be endorsed by accrediting agencies, like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Delivery Formats for an Accounting Degree in Mississippi

When choosing an accounting degree in Mississippi, prospective enrollees must consider each program's delivery method.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, fewer Mississippi students enrolled exclusively in distance education courses in 2020 than the national average. However, more of the state's learners participated in at least some distance education. With many of the state's schools clustered in or near more populated areas, distance education can save time and money on commuting or room and board fees.

Explore the following sections to learn about different delivery formats for Mississippi's accounting programs.

On-Campus Programs

Accounting students who prefer in-person classes and networking may enjoy on-campus learning. These programs typically offer several resources for learners to connect with their peers and community through clubs, events, and job fairs, potentially easing the transition into their future careers.

Online Programs

Students seeking flexibility in where and how they complete their schoolwork can look for online accounting programs in Mississippi. Methodist University and the University of Texas offer online accounting bachelor's degree programs for Mississippi degree-seekers.

Successful online learners are self-motivated and have excellent time management and organizational skills.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid accounting degrees combine aspects of online and on-campus programs. Learners can attend school on campus on specific days or weeks while completing the rest of their degrees online. Hybrid programs can assist Mississippi students who need flexibility for their work or personal schedules but still prefer some face-to-face instruction.

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Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Mississippi offers lower tuition rates than the national averages across its public and four-year institutions, as noted in the table below. Private four-year colleges have a notable difference, with Mississippi tuition about $13,000 lower than the national average.

Still, many of the state's learners may need financial aid to afford their studies. Mississippi schools offer several forms of assistance, including scholarships and grants, which do not require repayment. Loans can also help secure any necessary funds.

Mississippi residents who are full-time students can also apply for the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant for up to $1,000 per year.

Learn more about financing your accounting degree in Mississippi in the following guides.

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Many colleges set different rates for in-state and out-of-state students, with in-state tuition as the more affordable option. Some schools also charge a separate rate for online learners.

As a member of the Academic Common Market, learners from other states may enroll in eligible programs at Mississippi institutions to receive in-state rates. In addition, Mississippi students can apply to out-of-state colleges for the same tuition benefit. Fifteen states participate in the program, including Florida, Texas, and West Virginia.

Degree-seekers can also check with schools' bursars for potential tuition breaks. For example, Mississippi College offers military service members up to $375 off per credit hour.

Cost of Living in Mississippi

A state's cost of living refers to the average amount that people pay for housing, transportation, groceries, and other necessary items. These economic factors are necessary considerations when budgeting for school.

Mississippi has the lowest cost of living index of 83.3, indicating that its costs are 83.3% of the national average. Mississippi's low housing index of 66.3 and lower-than-average cost of living could make it an attractive option for college students and graduates.

Careers for Accounting Graduates in Mississippi

The BLS projects a 6% increase in national employment for accountants and auditors from 2021-2031. IBISWorld partly attributes the industry's growth to a rise in households, more businesses, and higher corporate profits, all of which can trigger business expansion.

The Big Four accounting firms do not have a significant presence in Mississippi. However, the state hosts numerous accounting firms and an eclectic blend of industries with needs for financial professionals. For instance, some of the state's top employers include Amazon, Nissan, and McKesson.

Advanced manufacturing is a primary industry in the Magnolia State. For this type of sector, effective supply chain management is crucial. Accounting professionals can assist in reducing costs and identifying potential solutions to increase revenue.

The state's metropolitan areas of Jackson, Canton, and Hattiesburg provide an ideal climate for accounting professionals with their positions in finance, manufacturing, and technology, respectively.

Below, learn more about the various accounting careers Mississippi provides for professionals of all educational levels.

Popular Accounting Careers in Mississippi

Financial Manager

Financial managers can enter the field with bachelor's degrees, although graduate-level education or certification can make them more appealing to employers. These professionals oversee companies' finances, identify areas of improvement, and develop strategies to increase revenue and lower risk. The position offers one of the highest salaries for accountants in Mississippi.

Bookkeeping Clerk

This excellent entry-level position for accountants in Mississippi handles responsibilities such as financial reporting, payment processing, and organization. Although employers often prefer candidates with associate degrees, some bookkeeping clerks gain on-the-job experience instead of postsecondary education. The state employs nearly 11,000 bookkeeping and auditing clerks with wages that align with the national average.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts are among the highest-paid accounting professionals in the Magnolia State. They study organizations' past and current finances to meet economic goals. These professionals typically work with financial departments and company decision-makers to discuss and implement solutions. At a minimum, financial analysts typically possess bachelor's degrees. However, master's-level candidates may have more opportunities to specialize their work.

Mississippi Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Job Availability Mississippi National
2020 Employment 6,490 1,392,200
2030 Projected Employment 6,880 1,488,200
Projected Job Growth, 2020-30 +6% +6.9%

Source: Projections Central

Accounting Salaries by Career
Career Mississippi Employment Mississippi Average Annual Salary National Average Annual Salary
Associate Degree Recommended
Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks 10,960 $40,030 $45,140
Credit Counselors 230 $39,480 $50,430
Payroll Clerks 900 $39,870 $49,560
Bachelor's Degree Recommended
Compliance Officers 2,210 $56,460 $75,810
Cost Estimators 900 $63,700 $73,740
Property Appraisers and Assessors 340 $48,610 $70,050
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents 1,200 $57,210 $93,260
Tax Examiners and Collectors 400 $46,170 $63,200
Tax Preparers 720 $33,860 $51,080
Master's Degree Recommended
Accountants and Auditors 6,140 $66,110 $83,980
Budget Analysts 470 $68,790 $84,240
Financial Analysts 500 $76,800 $103,020
Financial Managers 3,420 $100,600 $153,460
Personal Financial Advisors 1,350 $73,170 $119,960

Source: BLS OEWS

Keeping in mind that Mississippi is the poorest state with the lowest cost of living, it also offers lower-than-average salaries for accounting positions. However, many accounting careers, like financial managers and personal financial advisors, still earn solid wages in the state.

Some Mississippi careers, like bookkeeping clerks and cost estimators, earn close to the national averages.

Individuals looking to start their accounting careers in the Magnolia State should also consider employment availability. While credit counseling and property appraisal jobs are relatively scarce, bookkeeping clerks and financial managers have more plentiful opportunities.

CPA Requirements in Mississippi

Each state's requirements for becoming a CPA differ, typically established by the state's board of accountancy. The Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy outlines CPA requirements in Mississippi, specifying candidates' necessary education, citizenship, and experience.

Before sitting for the CPA exam in Mississippi, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • 150 semester hours of education at a college or university, with a minimum of a bachelor's degree
  • At least 24 hours of upper-level coursework in accounting, plus an additional 24 hours in upper-level accounting or business

To obtain CPA licensure, Mississippi candidates must:

  • Be a legal resident of the state
  • Have at least one year of relevant experience
  • Pass an online background check
  • Apply for licensure within three years of passing the CPA exam in Mississippi

Questions About Mississippi Accounting Requirements

How good is the Ole Miss accounting school?

The University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss, has been accredited by AACSB since the 1940s. As of November 2022, Big 4 Accounting Firms ranked the program eighth in the United States.

Is Mississippi State University good for accounting?

Yes. Mississippi State University offers its accounting program through the Adkerson School of Accountancy, which prepares graduates to pursue accounting careers in the public and private sectors. Additionally, AACSB accredits the Adkerson School of Accountancy.

How do I become an accountant in Mississippi?

Mississippi accountants typically have bachelor's degrees, although many pursue CPA licensure to broaden their job prospects. The Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy requires at least 150 semester hours of postsecondary education, one year of experience, and an online background check for CPA licensure.

How do I take the CPA exam in Mississippi?

Mississippi CPA exam candidates must apply to take the exam with the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy. Each test-taker must also have completed at least 150 semester hours at an accredited college or university and 48 hours of upper-level coursework in accounting and business.

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