Accounting Degree Overview for Nebraska

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According to Projections Central, accountants and auditors in Nebraska can expect a 7.9% growth in occupations from 2018-2028 — significantly faster than the 6.4% projected growth rate for those professionals nationwide.

Other financial professionals — including personal financial advisors, financial managers, and credit analysts — should also enjoy particularly strong demand in Nebraska in the coming years. Companies across all industries employ financial professionals, so professionals who earned accounting degrees in Nebraska can find work in the state’s renewable energy, financial services, and tourism and hospitality industries, among others.

Our guide covers crucial information for prospective accounting students, including state requirements for becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) and details on the best accounting schools in Nebraska.

Nebraska at a Glance

Population1,952,570
Per Capita Income31,771
Fortune 500 Companies8
Number of Higher Learning Institutions42
ClimateAverage Annual Temperature: 48.8 ℉

Annual Precipitation: 23.6
Major Sports TeamsNebraska Cornhuskers, Omaha Mavericks, Lincoln Saltdogs, Omaha Storm Chasers
Accountants in Nebraska8,250

Top Nebraska Schools for Accounting

  • Creighton University
  • Nebraska Wesleyan University
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Doane University-Arts & Sciences
  • Concordia University-Nebraska
  • Hastings College
  • York College
  • Bellevue University
  • Midland University

Why Go to College for Accounting in Nebraska?

Many Nebraska residents see their state as underrated, offering beautiful scenery and endless activities for outdoor enthusiasts. It also features one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country; according to July 2020 data from the BLS, Nebraska’s 4.8% unemployment rate is the second-lowest in the U.S.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Nebraska saw nearly 135,000 students enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions as of 2018. For the 2017-2018 academic year, Nebraska reported a 58.7% graduation rate for its four-year public institutions, slightly above the national average graduation rate of 57%, according to Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education.

This commission is actively pushing to increase retention and graduation rates for college students in Nebraska by funding public colleges and universities more effectively, improving student support services, providing more timely course offerings, and increasing funding for financial aid programs.

Graduates pursuing finance and accounting careers in Nebraska would benefit from the state’s growing demand for professionals in those fields. As previously mentioned, accountants and auditors can expect faster-than-average job growth in Nebraska, but personal financial advisors and financial managers should see even more impressive occupational growth rates.

Personal financial advisors nationwide can expect a 7% job growth rate from 2018-2028, according to Projections Central, while those in Nebraska should see an 11.2% growth rate in that same timeframe. Likewise, Projections Central foresees a 13% growth in Nebraska’s credit analyst occupations from 2018-2028, compared to its national growth projections of just 4.9% for those professionals.

Given the state’s initiatives to improve higher education and its increasing demand for finance professionals, students pursuing accounting degrees in Nebraska can take their pick of career options upon graduation.

Education Statistics for Nebraska

Compared to national trends, Nebraska goes above and beyond when it comes to funding for colleges and universities. The state allocates 9.3% of its tax revenue to higher education, compared to the national mean of 5.8%. Moreover, government appropriations average about $10,116 per full-time student in Nebraska — over $2,000 more than the national average.

Those considering online accounting degrees in Nebraska should note that learners enroll in distance education more often in the state than they do nationally — at rates of 44.6% and 34.7%, respectively.

Higher Education in Nebraska

Nebraska DataNational Data
Number of Four-Year Colleges283,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges141,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education44.6%34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student$10,116$8,196 
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education9.3%5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree10.5%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 Higher10.5%12.1%
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey

Accreditation for Nebraska Schools

Students aiming to earn accounting degrees in Nebraska should prioritize accreditation in their school selection process. Accredited schools have undergone a voluntary, third-party assessment to verify the quality of their education. 

There are two types of accreditation: regional, which is generally considered more prestigious, and national, which typically applies to vocational and for-profit schools. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides regional accreditation for colleges and universities in Nebraska. Graduates from regionally accredited universities tend to have an easier time transferring their credits to other institutions and qualifying for CPA licensure, so prospective Nebraska accounting students should limit their options to HLC-accredited schools.

Aspiring accounting students can also seek program-specific accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Considerations for an Accounting Degree in Nebraska

Each incoming learner chooses their prospective schools based on a unique set of priorities. These may include degree level, concentration offerings, on-campus vs. online course options, cost, and location. Prospective students pour lots of time, energy, and money into the application and selection process, so it’s important for each individual to understand which schools would make the best fit.

Read on to learn more about Nebraska’s colleges and universities, including degree specifics, enrollment options, and expected costs. This information can help you decide how the best accounting schools in Nebraska might factor into your selection process.

Accounting Degree Levels

Nebraska’s schools offer accounting degrees at all levels: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. Two-year institutions, such as community colleges, focus on associate degrees, while major research institutions feature bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degree programs. Graduates of each degree level qualify to pursue accounting careers, though certain occupations require more advanced degrees than others.


  • Associate Degree in Accounting

    Graduates with associate degrees in accounting can pursue entry-level positions as bookkeepers or payroll clerks, but most positions with advancement opportunities require a bachelor’s.

    Learn More About Associate Degrees in Accounting


  • Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

    Bachelor’s programs in accounting prepare graduates for jobs as cost estimators and tax estimators. Bachelor’s graduates can also go on to earn master’s degrees, which open even more doors careerwise.

    Learn More About Bachelor’s Degrees in Accounting


  • Master's Degree in Accounting

    Master’s in accounting graduates qualify to sit for the CPA exam. They also tend to earn higher salaries than accounting professionals who hold only bachelor’s degrees.

    Learn More About Master’s Degrees in Accounting


  • Ph.D. in Accounting

    This doctorate is the terminal degree in the accounting field and appeals most to professionals who want to teach at colleges or universities.

    Learn More About Ph.D.s in Accounting


Accounting Concentration Options

Accounting majors can choose from a variety of concentration options, including auditing, forensic accounting, management accounting, public accounting, and taxation. Students with specific career goals should consider which concentrations would best suit their professional aspirations.

Nebraska’s financial managers and budget analysts can expect healthy occupational growth rates in the state, so students earning accounting degrees in Nebraska might consider choosing concentrations that would support these career options, such as the following:

ConcentrationDescription
Financial AccountingA financial accounting concentration prepares learners to work as budget analysts, financial analysts, auditors, and financial accountants. This branch of accounting focuses on the external reporting of private and public organizations’ financial information.
Cost AccountingProspective financial managers might pursue this concentration, which also equips students to work as accountants and auditors, management analysts, and management accountants. Cost accounting focuses on organizations’ internal budgeting, marketing, and financial planning.

Explore More Accounting Concentrations

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Distance learning allows students to pursue their education remotely, removing the confines of strict on-campus course schedules and transportation issues. Still, some students prefer to complete their coursework in person. Read on to learn about the various study formats and which learners might benefit most from each.

On-Campus Programs

Nebraska offers dozens of physical colleges and universities, where students can attend courses in person for a more traditional higher education experience. On-campus programs tend to offer a stronger sense of community, and some students learn more effectively in physical classroom settings. These programs typically appeal to recent high school graduates who want to take advantage of the social aspects of higher education.

Online Programs

Online programs remove some of the limitations of their on-campus counterparts: Students don’t have to commute to campus or worry about accommodation. Moreover, most online courses follow an asynchronous format, meaning learners can watch lectures and complete coursework at their convenience. Online students might have an easier time juggling their education with other professional or personal responsibilities. For this reason, distance learning tends to appeal to working professionals, parents, and other learners with major responsibilities outside of school.

Hybrid Programs

Students in hybrid programs get a bit of both worlds: the flexibility and convenience of online learning, plus the camaraderie and faculty face-to-face time of on-campus courses. Accounting programs following a hybrid format require some in-person attendance, but learners are free to complete certain requirements remotely. Each hybrid program differs in its ratio of in-person to online features, so students interested in this study format should survey their options carefully.

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
Nebraska Students21.1%23.5%55.4%
United States Students16.3%18.4%65.3%
Source: NCES

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Higher education requires a large financial investment, especially from students who want to complete master’s and/or doctoral degrees. Fortunately, learners can choose from an array of options for funding their degrees, including scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans. Scholarships and grants are typically need- and/or academic-based, and they do not require repayment. Students who take out loans must repay them, though requirements vary between lenders. Click through the links below for more information on various types of financial aid.

Students in Nebraska enjoy access to a wealth of government-funded aid options, which typically require candidates to complete the FAFSA.

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

NebraskaNational
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$8,188$9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$20,555$25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)$23,659$30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$3,212$3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$4,101$7,971
Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

As the table above illustrates, tuition in Nebraska falls below the national average for all institution types, making the state a relatively inexpensive place to study. Even so, tuition rates differ drastically for in-state and out-of-state students and between public and private schools. This is true across most of the United States.

Fortunately, students from neighboring states can attend school in Nebraska without having to pay full out-of-state tuition rates, thanks to the Midwest Student Exchange Program from the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. Through this program, learners from member states (Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) can attend school in other member states and pay no more than 150% of the in-state resident tuition rate.

Private schools in member states also offer a 10% reduction on their tuition rates through the Midwest Student Exchange Program.

Nebraska’s Cost of Living

Education expenses aside, Nebraska’s students and residents enjoy a relatively low cost of living in the state, which may help to offset the cost of school. Moreover, graduates pursuing accounting careers in Nebraska can expect their salaries to stretch a bit further there than they would in some other, more expensive parts of the country.

According to the World Population Review, Nebraska’s cost-of-living index score sits at just 90.8. The national index score is 100, meaning Nebraska’s cost of living falls about 9% below the national average.

Other School Selection Criteria

Plenty of other elements aside from location, program format, and cost factor into prospective students’ school selection processes. Each student must consider their personal priorities, which may include:

  • School Size

    Larger schools may offer stronger alumni networks and more prestige, but smaller institutions often foster a more individualized education experience. Students should consider which environment would best suit their learning preferences.

  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio

    Much like overall institution size, class size can affect each student’s learning experience. Smaller class sizes may offer more one-on-one time with faculty members and peers.

  • University Resources

    Prospective students should prioritize schools that support their learners, both in their education and in their transition from school to the workforce.

  • Extracurriculars

    These prove especially important to on-campus students, who may turn to clubs, sports, and Greek organizations to meet new friends and form new professional connections.

  • Prestige

    Name recognition isn’t everything — but it’s not nothing, either. Attending a prestigious school with a strong brand can look good on a resume and pique employers’ interest.

  • Competitiveness

    Consider how difficult it would be to gain admission at each prospective school. If your GPA, test scores, and extracurriculars don’t quite match up with the averages for incoming freshmen at a particular school, it might be best to concentrate your application efforts elsewhere.

  • Careers for Accounting Graduates in Nebraska

    Accountants and auditors in Nebraska can look forward to an above-average growth rate for their occupations from 2018-2028, according to Projections Central. From 2019-2029 nationwide, jobs for these professionals should grow on-pace with the national average growth rate for all occupations (4%), per BLS data. Accountants and auditors take on a variety of positions, including CPA, management accountant, government accountant, internal auditor, external auditor, and information technology auditor.

    Of the “Big 4” accounting firms, both Deloitte LLP and KPMG both maintain locations in Omaha, Nebraska. These firms’ presence may generate more employment and advancement opportunities for accountants in the state. Overall, Nebraska enjoys a relatively healthy economy, ranking No. 21 of the 50 states in U.S. News & World Report’s state economy rankings.

    Mean annual wages for accountants and auditors in Nebraska fall below the national numbers: These professionals earn an average salary of $79,520 each year nationwide, while those in Nebraska take home a mean annual wage of $70,420. That said, accountants in Nebraska can expect a relatively low cost of living in the state, as mentioned earlier.

    Read on to learn more about accounting careers in Nebraska, including salary and job outlook data for each.

    Select Accounting Careers in Nebraska


    • Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk


      These professionals produce financial records for organizations, and they check financial records to make sure they are accurate. These clerks typically work in office settings, and most have completed some level of postsecondary education, though they learn certain skills on-the-job.


    • Cost Estimator


      Cost estimators collect and analyze data, estimating what a product or service requires in terms of time, money, materials, and labor. These professionals usually hold bachelor’s degrees, though candidates with less education may qualify, given they have extensive construction industry experience.


    • Budget Analyst


      When public and private institutions need to organize their finances, they turn to budget analysts. These professionals must hold bachelor’s degrees, and they may work with government agencies, universities, or private companies.


    Nebraska Employment Trends

    Projected Job Growth for Accountants

    9,910 Employees2018
    10,690 Employees2028
    Nebraska 7.9% increase
    1,424,000 Employees2018
    1,514,700 Employees2028
    National 6.4% increase
    Source: Projections Central

    Curious about other accounting jobs? Explore more here

    Professionals with all levels of education can pursue lucrative careers in Nebraska, but those with more advanced degrees tend to earn much higher salaries. Associate graduates might consider becoming credit counselors, who earn a mean annual wage of $49,450 — on par with national numbers for this occupation. Professionals with their bachelor’s can earn annual salaries approaching $60,000 by becoming cost estimators or tax examiners and collectors. Master’s graduates, on the other hand, can make $116,450 per year as financial managers.

    Nebraska Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

    Many accounting majors go on to earn their master’s degrees and sit for the CPA exam, but certification mandates for public accountants vary between states. Prospective CPAs in Nebraska must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a Nebraska resident
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Complete 150 credit hours of education, typically through a bachelor’s and master’s program
  • Sit for and pass the CPA exam
  • Complete at least 30 hours in accounting beyond principles of accounting
  • Complete two years of experience in public accounting, the Department of Revenue, or the Officer of the Auditor of Public Accounts (alternatively, complete three years of accounting in government, academia, or private industry)
  • Resources

    Frequently Asked Questions


    • Is accounting a good career in Nebraska?

      Yes. Most accounting professions in Nebraska garner above-average wages, and many can expect faster-than-average occupational growth rates from 2018 to 2028. This makes accounting a dependable, lucrative career choice for Nebraska residents.


    • How much do accountants earn in Nebraska?

      Accountants’ salaries vary depending on their specific positions, but accountants and auditors in Nebraska earned a mean annual salary of $71,550 as of 2019. This significantly exceeds the median annual wage for all U.S. workers, which was $39,810 as of 2019.


    • What accounting jobs are there in Nebraska?

      Occupations are on the rise for accountants in Nebraska, and the state is home to two of the “Big 4” accounting firms, further improving job opportunities for these professionals. The state employs lots of bookkeeping and accounting clerks, cost estimators, accountants and auditors, and financial managers.


    • Can I get an accounting degree in Nebraska?

      Yes. Nebraska is home to 42 higher learning institutions, and most of its major universities offer accounting degrees. Moreover, students can find accounting degrees at all levels (associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D.) in the state.


    • Does Nebraska have online accounting programs?

      Yes. In fact, learners study online at higher rates in Nebraska than they do on the national scale, according to the NCES. Learners pursuing online accounting degrees in Nebraska can find hybrid and/or fully online options at all degree levels.


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