Accounting Degree Overview for New Jersey

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Known for diners, shopping malls, and popular resort towns, New Jersey boasts 130 miles of Atlantic coastline. Well-known seaside towns in the state include Atlantic City, Ocean City, Cape May, and Wildwood. Many New Jersey residents work in New York City and live in northern New Jersey cities such as Hoboken, Paterson, and Jersey City.

Salary data gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that accounting-related occupations typically pay well nationwide. Many New Jersey accounting associate degree graduates work as bookkeeping or auditing clerks, making an above-average annual salary of $47,300. Meanwhile, New Jersey’s accounting bachelor’s and master’s degree-holders often join the ranks of the state’s 39,820 accountants and auditors or its 22,000 financial managers.

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The following page introduces the various online, hybrid, and on-campus accounting degree programs available in New Jersey. The sections below also outline New Jersey’s educational statistics, accounting program types, funding opportunities, and career possibilities relevant to prospective accounting students.

NEW JERSEY EDUCATION STATISTICS

ACCOUNTING CAREERS IN NEW JERSEY

VIEW NEW JERSEY COLLEGES

NEW JERSEY AT A GLANCE

POPULATION8,936,570
PER CAPITA INCOME$42,815
FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES27
NUMBER OF HIGHER LEARNING INSTITUTIONS72
CLIMATEAverage Annual Temperature: 52.7 ℉
Annual Precipitation: 47.1 inches
MAJOR SPORTS TEAMSNew Jersey Devils, New York Jets, New York Giants, New York Red Bulls, New Jersey Jackals
ACCOUNTANTS IN NEW JERSEY39,820

Top New Jersey Schools for Accounting

  • Rutgers University-Camden
  • The College of New Jersey
  • Rider University
  • Seton Hall University
  • Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • Saint Peter’s University
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus
  • Felician University
  • Montclair State University
  • Caldwell University

WHY GO TO COLLEGE FOR ACCOUNTING IN NEW JERSEY?

The most densely populated state in the nation, New Jersey enrolls over 420,000 college students and offers many education, networking, and career opportunities for accounting students. Close to New York City, Philadelphia, and the Atlantic coast, New Jersey also offers many extracurricular options. The state’s hot summers and cold winters encourage diverse, seasonal activities.

Boasting a robust economy, this bustling state employs accounting graduates in all major industries, including pharmaceuticals and life sciences, engineering, and financial services. New Jersey’s talent networks contribute to the state’s growth by connecting graduates and professionals to job opportunities.

Top northern New Jersey accounting schools include Montclair University, Seton Hall University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Caldwell University. Southern and central New Jersey schools that offer accounting programs include Rutgers University-Camden and the College of New Jersey. New Jersey’s average tuition rates and cost of living prove higher than national averages, but online programs often offer discounted tuition and eliminate transportation and accommodation expenses, saving students money.

Education Statistics for New Jersey

The following state education statistics indicate that New Jersey contains 72 colleges, and 24.5% of the state’s students partake in distance education offerings.

New Jersey ranks above-average for educational attainment, according to U.S. Census data. This data reveals that 23.8% of New Jerseyans over age 25 hold bachelor’s degrees, compared to 19.4% nationally. Similarly, 15.1% of New Jerseyans over 25 hold graduate degrees, compared to only 12.1% of Americans at large.

NEW JERSEY DATANATIONAL DATA
Number of Four-Year Colleges493,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges231,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education24.5%34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student$6,550$8,196
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education3.6%5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree6.5%8.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor’s Degree23.8%19.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher15.1%12.1%

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

Accreditation for New Jersey Schools

As you consider an accounting education in New Jersey, look for accredited schools. Schools may receive national or regional accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Regionally accredited schools have undergone evaluations by accrediting agencies approved by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Accrediting agencies evaluate schools based on factors like academic rigor, faculty qualifications, and student learning outcomes.

Only students at nationally and regionally accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid. However, regionally accredited schools typically do not accept transfer credits or degrees from nationally accredited schools, so students hoping to pursue advanced degrees should complete earlier degrees at regionally accredited schools. Degrees from regionally accredited schools may also prove more attractive to employers.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) regionally accredits schools in New Jersey. Aspiring students should look for schools with MSCHE accreditation as they choose where to apply.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE IN NEW JERSEY

The following sections include information about about degree levels, concentration types, and distance education options. The sections below also discuss New Jersey’s tuition rates, along with common funding avenues available to New Jersey accounting students. Read on to determine whether New Jersey offers the best educational path for you.

Accounting Degree Levels

Large universities often provide accounting degree programs at four levels: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. Associate degrees often meet the educational requirements for entry-level clerking positions, while bachelor’s and master’s degrees prepare students for more advanced accounting careers as certified public accountants, budget analysts, and financial managers.


  • Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

    Usually totaling around 60 credits, associate degree programs require some general education courses, plus introductory courses on accounting principles and practices.
    Learn More


  • Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

    Traditionally, accounting bachelor’s programs take about four years to complete and include more advanced coursework than associate programs, preparing students for a broader range of careers.
    Learn More


  • Master's Degree in Accounting

    Requiring about two years to finish, master’s degree programs often offer various specialization options and prepare graduates for upper-level accounting positions.
    Learn More


  • Ph.D. in Accounting

    These programs often require 3-4 years beyond the master’s degree. Accounting Ph.D. graduates usually work as professors, consultants, or researchers.
    Learn More


Accounting Concentration Options

Many accounting programs allow students to cultivate specialized skills and knowledge through various concentration offerings. Master’s and doctoral programs always offer specializations, as do some bachelor’s and associate degree programs. Common concentration offerings include public accounting, cost accounting, accounting information systems, and auditing.

Given the high salaries for tax- and finance-related careers in New Jersey, the two sample concentrations described below can lead to lucrative career opportunities in the state.

  • TAXATION: Taxation concentrations cover topics such as income and business tax, business law, and financial accounting. Graduates often work as tax collectors, tax examiners, or public accountants.
  • FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING: This concentration focuses on financial reporting, training students in financial statement preparation, analysis, and auditing. Graduates often work as corporate accountants, financial managers, or financial advisors.

ACCOUNTING CONCENTRATIONS

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Students can choose from online, on-campus, and hybrid accounting programs, with each format offering various advantages.

On-Campus

New Jersey’s on-campus accounting programs suit students whose learning styles require structure, supervision, and in-person communication. On-campus students also benefit from access to on-campus resources such as tutoring, guest speakers, student clubs, and volunteer and leadership opportunities.

Online Programs

Often ideal for working students, online programs give students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Unrestrained by geography, prospective students can choose from online programs across the country without relocating. These programs usually feature the same coursework, professors, and assignments as on-campus programs. However, distance learners often complete their coursework more independently than on-campus students, so successful online students need self-discipline and time-management skills.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs combine the benefits of on-campus and online learning. These programs include in-person learning and networking components, but they retain flexible attendance formats to accommodate working and far-away students. Students usually complete most of their work online, plus some on-campus experiences. Depending on the program, these on-campus meetings may take place one weeknight per week, one weekend per month, or once or twice per semester.

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
New Jersey Students8.1%16.4%75.5%
United States Students16.3%18.4%65.3%

Source: NCES

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) indicates that New Jersey tuition at four-year schools averages $3,000-$6,000 higher than it does nationally. New Jersey’s tuition rates prove comparable to those of nearby states, reflecting the region’s relatively high salaries and cost of living.

Students can help finance their education through financial aid opportunities like grants, scholarships, and loans. Grants and scholarships do not require repayment. Students can determine their eligibility for federal financial aid by submitting the FAFSA, which can qualify them for grants and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education.

FINANCIAL AID OPTIONS

ACCOUNTING SCHOLARSHIPS

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

NEW JERSEYNATIONAL
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$13,633$9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$28,649$25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)$36,589$30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$4,536$3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$8,049$7,971

Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

The data above indicates that many New Jersey public colleges and universities charge out-of-state enrollees around twice as much as they charge in-state students. Therefore, obtaining state residency can save students considerable money, though New Jersey bars students under age 22 from eligibility unless they can prove financial dependency on a New Jersey resident.

Since New Jersey does not participate in any regional reciprocity agreements, out-of-state students in nearby states do not qualify for in-state tuition rates. However, online programs may cost less than on-campus programs, so students should compare tuition rates carefully when choosing where to apply.

New Jersey’s Cost of Living

Like many other states in the New York metro region, New Jersey is a generally costly place to live. This state ranks No. 42 in affordability when compared to other states, according to the World Population Review‘s cost-of-living index. Compared to the national cost-of-living average score of 100, New Jersey scores 125.1. The state’s high housing cost index of 163.1 brings up the total cost of living score.

Other School Selection Criteria

When sifting through prospective accounting programs in New Jersey, consider the following selection criteria.

Program Length

Accounting programs vary in length based on degree type, curriculum, and attendance pace. Traditionally, associate and master’s degree programs take about two years to finish, while bachelor’s and doctoral programs usually take closer to four. Accelerated programs can reduce these timelines.

Extracurriculars

Some programs offer extracurricular activities, such as business or accounting student clubs, trips, and conferences, which can enhance the educational experience considerably.

Prestige/Reputation

Though sometimes more expensive, degrees from schools with good local or national reputations can help graduates impress prospective employers.

Earning Potential

Prospective students should check post-graduation salary data, if available, to assess the potential return on investment for a given degree.

Alumni Network

Large schools often boast sizable alumni networks, which can assist the job search process.

Competitiveness/Difficulty

Top accounting schools may feature rigorous curricula and challenging assignments suited to dedicated students. Acceptance into these accounting programs often proves competitive.

Required Admission Materials

Common admission materials include essays, letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and standardized test scores. However, prospective students lacking certain items may find programs that waive or do not require those items.

EXPLORE OUR RANKINGS FOR THE BEST ACCOUNTING PROGRAMS AT EACH LEVEL

CAREERS FOR ACCOUNTING GRADUATES IN NEW JERSEY

National data indicates that accountants and auditors enjoy above-average salaries and positive job growth projections. Many New Jersey accounting professionals fare better than average, according to the salary data provided below. Headquartered in nearby New York City, accounting’s “Big 4” firms employ many New Jersey accounting graduates.

New Jersey accounting program graduates may work in various positions across multiple industries. Thriving New Jersey industries include information technology, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and transportation. New Jersey businesses tend to concentrate in the state’s northern and eastern regions, near New York. Many financial managers and advisors work in New Jersey’s financial services industry, concentrated near New York City, in Hudson County.

New Jersey’s state economy ranks No. 22 for business environment, according to the U.S. News & World ReportThe BLS projects a 9.7% growth in credit counselors, an 8.4% increase in cost estimators, and a 15.7% growth in financial manager positions in New Jersey from 2018-2028. See below for more data on common New Jersey accounting career paths and employment trends.

Select Accounting Careers in New Jersey


  • Tax Examiners and Collectors

    These professionals calculate taxes due for individuals and businesses. Tax preparers complete requisite tax documents, tax examiners review and analyze these documents, and tax collectors perform various collection duties on behalf of the government. Tax professionals usually hold bachelor’s degrees in accounting or related fields.

    Job Outlook in New Jersey: +9.7% (2018-28).
    Learn More


  • Credit Counselors

    These counselors guide individuals and organizations regarding debt acquisition and management. Credit counselors’ expertise includes loan types and processes, debt management planning, mortgages and budgeting, and bankruptcy counseling. Credit counselors typically hold associate degrees in accounting-related subjects.

    Job Outlook in New Jersey: -1.9% (2018-28).


  • Financial Managers

    Financial managers supervise financial staff, guide executive decision-making, and oversee financial planning and reporting. These professionals may work as controllers, treasurers, or executives in various industries, including banking, insurance, and investments. They usually hold bachelor’s or master’s degrees in finance or accounting.

    Job Outlook in New Jersey: +15.7% (2018-28).
    Learn More


New Jersey Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

41,790 Employees2018
44,600 Employees2028
New Jersey 6.7% increase
1,424,000 Employees2018
1,514,700 Employees2028
National 6.4% increase

Source: Projections Central

Explore more careers here

In keeping with the state’s relatively high cost of living, salary averages for New Jersey’s accounting-related occupations consistently top national salary averages. Personal financial advisors and financial managers in the state make salaries that surpass national averages by $30,000 and $47,000, respectively.

New Jersey’s credit counselors and tax examiners also make above-average salaries. Students seeking lucrative jobs requiring associate degrees may wish to consider credit counseling, which pays an annual mean salary of $74,880 in New Jersey. Meanwhile, earning a bachelor’s with a tax-related specialization can set up graduates for high-paying careers as tax examiners or tax collectors, who make an average of $77,980 annually in New Jersey.

New Jersey Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

Certified public accountant (CPA) requirements vary by state, so aspiring CPAs should research the requirements in the state where they plan to practice. New Jersey CPAs must hold a Social Security number and meet the following requirements.

  • Education: New Jersey CPA candidates need at least 150 college credits, including 24 credits in accounting and 24 in business. They also need a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school.
  • Experience: Candidates need at least one year of supervised professional experience in accounting or auditing.
  • CPA Exam: New Jersey CPAs must pass the standard CPA exam created from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
  • Ethics Requirement: New Jersey requires CPAs to complete a four-credit New Jersey law and ethics course.

THE CPA EXAM

HAVING A CAREER AS A CPA

RESOURCES

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Is accounting a good career in New Jersey?

    According to the BLS, many accounting-related professionals enjoy positive job growth projections and above-average salaries in New Jersey.


  • How much do accountants earn in New Jersey?

    BLS salary data indicates that New Jersey’s accountants and auditors earned an annual mean wage of $91,960 as of 2018. This salary compares favorably with the national mean of $79,520.


  • What accounting jobs are there in New Jersey?

    BLS salary data indicates that New Jersey’s accountants and auditors earned an annual mean wage of $91,960 as of 2018. This salary compares favorably New Jersey currently employs nearly 40,000 accountants and auditors, according to the BLS. Other common careers for accounting graduates include bookkeeping or auditing clerk and financial manager.


  • Can I get an accounting degree in New Jersey?

    Many New Jersey colleges and universities offer accounting associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.


  • Does New Jersey have online accounting programs?

    According to NCES data, 24.5% of New Jersey students take courses online. Online accounting programs exist at many of the accredited schools listed at the end of this guide.


New Jersey Accounting and Education Organizations

  • New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants
    A professional organization founded in 1898, the NJCPA provides professional development and advocacy for more than 14,000 CPAs in various sectors. Member benefits include continuing education, networking, and leadership opportunities.
  • New Jersey Association of Public Accountants
    Committed to supporting accounting professionals, the NJAPA provides seminars, professional meetings, newsletters, and networking opportunities and tools. It also protects consumers by ensuring professional integrity and efficacy.
  • Financial Planning Association of New Jersey
    Serving financial planners and the public, this professional organization fosters competency and professional ethics through professional development and advocacy. Members benefit from career resources, events, and networking opportunities.
  • National Association of Black Accountants — Northern New Jersey Chapter
    NABA of Northern New Jersey connects and supports Black accounting professionals by running conferences, providing volunteer and leadership opportunities, and offering continuing education.
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