Best Accounting Colleges in New Jersey 2023

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Updated July 10, 2023

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New Jersey has much to offer college graduates seeking to build an accounting career. Explore the Garden State's program options, career paths, and more with this state-specific resource.

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Historic New Jersey offers an excellent blend of urban and rural living. Nicknamed the Garden State for its world-class horticulture scene, New Jersey is near to two of the largest cities on the East Coast. Residents may enjoy close proximity to both the New York City and Philadelphia metro areas and the professional opportunities they offer.

In 2021, New Jersey was home to 16 companies that made the prestigious annual Fortune 500 list. Each of the "Big Four" accounting firms also maintains an office location in New Jersey. These factors combine to present a solid base of opportunity for accountants at all stages of their careers.

Accounting degree programs deliver rigorous and concentrated academic training to emerging certified public accountants (CPAs) and financial professionals. New Jersey's world-class college network makes the Garden State a strong educational destination for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Explore learning opportunities, career paths, salary trends, and more with this complete guide to New Jersey accounting colleges and careers.

New Jersey at a Glance

New Jersey Statistics
Population 9,267,130
Climate

Average Annual Temperature: 52.7 F

Annual Precipitation: 47.1 inches

Major Sports Teams New Jersey Devils (National Hockey League), NJ/NY Gotham FC (National Women's Soccer League)
Number of Higher Learning Institutions 72
Per Capita Income $46,691
Fortune 500 Companies 16
Accountants in New Jersey 44,710
Sources: U.S. Census, Current Results, NCES, Statista, BLS

Why Go to College for Accounting in New Jersey?

In 2019, New Jersey adopted a groundbreaking state plan for higher education. The plan included a unique 10-point Student Bill of Rights, which broadly aims to make higher education more accessible and affordable to New Jersey learners. It also committed New Jersey to what state lawmakers termed a "65 by '25" initiative, which calls for 65% of the state's workforce to hold a postsecondary certification or degree by 2025.

New Jersey's acclaimed higher education system includes world-class institutions like Princeton University and Rutgers University. A large network of graduate schools, undergraduate institutions, and junior colleges offers further diverse learning opportunities to accounting students.

The New Jersey state government supports many financial aid and scholarship programs. These include the unique New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship program, commonly known as NJ-STARS. Under NJ-STARS, students who placed in the top 15% of their high school graduating class qualify for free tuition at any New Jersey public junior college.

If you plan to launch your accounting career in New Jersey, attending one of the state's 72 degree-granting institutions may pay dividends. Many accounting programs include optional or mandatory field training components. These often double as networking opportunities and valuable sources of job leads.

Education Statistics for New Jersey

The best accounting colleges in New Jersey operate within a strong statewide education network that generates some intriguing trends. As the data below indicates, New Jersey students appear to have significantly stronger preferences for traditional classroom learning. This may appeal to students considering campus-based programs, which tend to offer superior social and networking opportunities.

New Jersey also hosts a well-educated population. The percentage of Garden State residents with a bachelor's or graduate degree both handily outpace national averages.

New Jersey Education Statistics
Higher Education Statistics New Jersey Data National Data
Four-Year Colleges 51 2,520
Two-Year Colleges 21 1,216
Students Enrolled in Distance Education 49.9% 72.8%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student $7,753 $9,327
Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education $15,122 $15,959
Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree 6.6% 8.6%
Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree 24.8% 20.2%
Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher 15.9% 12.7%
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census ACS

Accreditation for New Jersey Schools

The top accounting colleges in New Jersey share a critical feature: they all hold institutional accreditation. Institutional accreditation was previously divided into national and regional forms. However, this distinction was removed in 2020, and neither form is widely considered more credible.

Historically, New Jersey colleges were regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). However, any regional or national accreditor recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) may now endorse schools that train New Jersey accountants.

Some schools that educate aspiring accountants in New Jersey also hold specialized or programmatic accreditation. These endorsements cover only a specific department or degree. Specially accredited accounting programs are usually certified by business-oriented organizations, such as:

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Delivery Formats for an Accounting Degree in New Jersey

Many factors will guide your decision as you consider the best accounting colleges in New Jersey. Program formats represent an example of an increasingly important consideration to many students.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), more than half of New Jersey college students were exclusively enrolled in campus-based courses in 2021. Many of the other states with similar trends were also located in the Northeast.

Multiple factors impact online learning engagement rates. Yet, student preferences for the traditional classroom appear to be stronger in states with historically elite schools.

On-Campus Programs

Traditional campus-based learning typically appeals the most to students attracted to the social aspects of college. Peer networking, faculty interactions, and easy access to on-campus recruitment events mark major advantages.

However, these benefits come with trade-offs. Students in full-time, campus-based programs often find it more difficult to balance schooling and work due to inflexible scheduling. Campus-based students also tend to face higher costs related to relocation, commuting, and housing.

Online Programs

Some of the best accounting colleges in New Jersey offer 100% online programs. These programs engage students remotely, so relocating to the Garden State is not a firm requirement.

Scheduling flexibility marks another major advantage. Online accounting programs typically use asynchronous models involving pre-recorded instructional sessions. This allows you to engage with your coursework anytime and anywhere.

On the downside, online learning involves some social sacrifices. Some learners also struggle with the high levels of self-motivated independence it demands.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs blend classroom-based and online learning to varying degrees. It tends to attract students seeking to balance the benefits of both educational models. These programs offer more flexibility than exclusively on-campus programs while also delivering social and networking benefits.

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

New Jersey's higher education costs are relatively high compared to national averages. As such, Garden State-bound students need solid financial plans.

Begin by exploring non-repayable sources of aid. These include:

  • Need-based and merit-based scholarships
  • Fellowships
  • Grant programs

Try sourcing opportunities for which you qualify through the New Jersey state government's student financial aid website.

If necessary, you can also consider federal and private loans. However, these create long-term debt. Try to minimize your exposure if you do use loans. The resources linked below offer further information about various sources of financial aid and how to connect with them.

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Public colleges in the United States almost always charge out-of-state students higher tuition rates than local residents. This reflects the underlying theory that residents have helped fund the state education network through their taxes and are therefore entitled to reduced rates.

Unlike most states, New Jersey does not participate in any reciprocity agreements that extend in-state rates to residents of neighboring jurisdictions. Thus, New Jersey nonresidents have limited options with regard to lowering their tuition costs.

Cost of Living in New Jersey

Local living costs vary by region in New Jersey. They generally tend to be lower in rural areas and higher in major cities, especially in places adjacent to New York City and Philadelphia. On the whole, New Jersey's living costs rank among the highest in the United States.

The cost of living index uses 100 as a base score for the U.S. national average. As of May 2023, New Jersey ranks 40th in the United States for affordability with a cost of living index score of 115.2. This means that overall, New Jersey is 15.2% more expensive than the average U.S. locality.

Careers for New Jersey Accountants

New Jersey's relatively high living costs have an important offset. As of May 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ranked New Jersey as the third-highest paying state for accountants and auditors.

Projections Central also anticipates stronger-than-average labor market demand for accountants and auditors in New Jersey from 2020-2030. During that time frame, the agency projects job growth of 6.9% for accountants and auditors in the United States. Meanwhile, New Jersey has an 8.5% growth projection in those careers for the same period.

New Jersey has a well-developed, diversified economy anchored by a strong corporate presence. Each of the Big Four accounting firms maintains operations in New Jersey, providing ongoing job opportunities to emerging and established professionals.

The following subsections explore some popular career paths for New Jersey accountants. They include roles requiring variable levels of college training and include insights into projected future accounting-specific employment trends.

Popular Accounting Careers in New Jersey

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

Bookkeepers track transactions, maintaining up-to-date records that help their employers monitor their financial situations. Auditing clerks review financial statements and documents, checking for accuracy. Near-term growth projections for both careers are hampered somewhat by increased automation, but remain positive on the whole in New Jersey.

Job Outlook in New Jersey (2020-2030): 0.8%

Accountant or Auditor

Accountants record financial information, prepare official reports and financial statements, and participate in organizational financial planning. Auditors review financial records to ensure they comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

Job Outlook in New Jersey (2020-2030): 8.5%

Financial Manager

Financial managers work for businesses or independently for various clients. They analyze financial data to identify opportunities, risks, trends, and strategic options. This well-paying career path generally requires advanced education. However, New Jersey's labor market is poised to experience strong demand for financial managers in the years ahead.

Job Outlook in New Jersey (2020-2030): 17.3%

New Jersey Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Job Availability New Jersey National
2020 Employment 41,840 1,392,2500
2030 Projected Employment 45,400 1,488,200
Projected Job Growth, 2020-30 8.5% 6.9%
Source: Projections Central
Accounting Salaries by Career — Associate Degree Recommended
Career New Jersey Employment New Jersey Average Annual Salary National Average Annual Salary
Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks 47,130 $52,130 $47,440
Credit Counselors N/A $67,790 $51,650
Payroll Clerks 4,690 $56,130 $52,300
Source: BLS OEWS
Accounting Salaries by Career — Bachelor's Degree Recommended
Career New Jersey Employment New Jersey Average Annual Salary National Average Annual Salary
Compliance Officers 10,160 $93,430 $76,980
Cost Estimators 5,280 $84,280 $76,740
Property Appraisers and Assessors 920 $82,300 $80,460
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents 13,800 $108,140 $100,740
Tax Examiners and Collectors 1,320 $87,020 $64,410
Tax Preparers 1,680 $60,000 $55,840
Source: BLS OEWS
Accounting Salaries by Career — Master's Degree Recommended
Career New Jersey Employment New Jersey Average Annual Salary National Average Annual Salary
Accountants and Auditors 44,710 $102,040 $86,740
Budget Analysts 850 $96,000 $87,680
Financial Analysts 11,650 $127,090 $108,790
Financial Managers 30,640 $204,150 $166,050
Personal Financial Advisors 8,160 $174,490 $137,740
Source: BLS OEWS

New Jersey accountants and accounting professionals tend to earn higher-than-average salaries compared to national trends. The state's elevated living costs partially explain this trend. However, labor market supply-and-demand dynamics and other factors also account for higher salaries in the state.

Associate degrees can lead to in-demand roles, such as bookkeepers and accounting clerks. However, people in these positions tend to be paid less and carry lower career-long earning potential.

If investing in more education appeals to you and you plan to work in New Jersey, consider the benefits of earning a master's degree. Accounting and finance careers open to people with graduate degrees tend to pay significant premiums.

Requirements for Certified Public Accountants in New Jersey

Graduates of top accounting colleges in New Jersey frequently aspire to become CPAs. Each state maintains its own unique requirements for becoming a CPA. If this career path interests you, learn about New Jersey's CPA requirements early so you can plan accordingly.

New Jersey's core requirements include at least 150 semester hours of college education and a bachelor's degree. Your college education must also include at least 24 semester hours, or the equivalent, of both accounting and business coursework.

In addition, you must have at least one year of professional accounting experience and passing scores on all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination.

Top Accounting Colleges in New Jersey

The following list profiles the top accounting colleges in New Jersey for 2023. We selected these schools through data-driven analysis — to learn more about our ranking methodology, explore the link below.

Learn about our ranking methodology

#1 Best Accounting Colleges in New Jersey 2023

Ramapo College of New Jersey

  • Mahwah, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Ramapo College of New Jersey (Ramapo), founded in 1969, has long maintained an interdisciplinary focus on experiential learning. Based in Mahwah, New Jersey, Ramapo is also noted for its beautiful campus.

Accounting

Undergraduate accounting students at Ramapo College of New Jersey have two program options. Learners can follow the college's four-year degree plan to a standard bachelor's degree. Students seeking certified public accountant (CPA) licensure can benefit from the school's accelerated bachelor's-to-master's accounting program.

True to Ramapo's interdisciplinary focus, the four-year plan introduces students to mathematics, economics, and accounting information systems. It then delves deep into an accounting core while guiding degree-seekers to explore diverse business-related subjects.

The five-year plan covers the 150 credits required for CPA licensure in the United States. In the extra year, learners add advanced accounting education to their undergraduate studies. Students can complete all requirements for the master's degree online.

Applying to Ramapo

Ramapo requires each candidate to submit an application and academic transcripts. An applicant must have at least 18 college prep credits covering English, the sciences, and multiple branches of mathematics, among other areas. SAT/ACT scores are optional, and Ramapo primarily considers each applicant's academic performance and potential.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $15,363 per academic year (in-state), $25,373 per academic year (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 128-150
  • Program Length: 4-5 years
  • Delivery Format: Online, on campus, hybrid
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,414
Out-of-state
$22,157
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,676
Out-of-state
$17,676
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
6,042
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Best Accounting Colleges in New Jersey 2023

The College of New Jersey

  • Ewing, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Campus

This top-ranked regional public institution traces its history to 1855 and has a strong institutional commitment to affordability. Approximately 7,000 full-time learners study at the College of New Jersey (TCNJ), and the school reports an impressive self-reported first-year retention rate of 93%.

Accounting and Information Systems

The College of New Jersey combines its business curriculum with a strong accounting core to develop versatile future accounting professionals. Specific accounting subjects include auditing, financial and forensic accounting, and taxation. The program also covers accounting information systems in deep detail, in keeping with the field's increasing use of technology.

TCNJ prepares students for the Uniform CPA Examination required for licensure. Graduates post excellent pass rates on the exam, and 60-70% of TCNJ accounting enrollees are recruited by leading public accounting firms.

Applying to TCNJ

Core application requirements include academic transcripts and a personal essay. TCNJ also recommends 2-3 endorsement letters. SAT/ACT scores are optional, and a $75 fee applies to applicants seeking admission for the 2023-2024 school year.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $17,980 per academic year (in-state), $23,636 per academic year (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 130
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,239
Out-of-state
$25,217
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,554
Out-of-state
$14,554
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
7,783
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Best Accounting Colleges in New Jersey 2023

Georgian Court University

  • Lakewood, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Established in 1908, Georgian Court University (GCU) is rooted in the Roman Catholic traditions of the Sisters of Mercy. The school, open to learners of all faiths and backgrounds, was specifically a women-only college for much of its history. GCU opened its doors to co-educational learners in 2013.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

The Georgian Court University bachelor of science in accounting emphasizes theory and practical skills. Students engage with a curriculum covering general business and accounting theory. 

Learners can develop their technical accounting skills through coursework covering financial and managerial accounting, organizational financial management, data analytics, and auditing. Of the program's 120 required credits, more than half explore accounting, business, and economics.

GCU also offers internships to empower students to apply their skills in real-world environments. Internship opportunities supplement the school's focus on experiential learning and help students build their professional networks. 

Applying to GCU

GCU's holistic application process is test-optional for accounting students, and admissions essays are not required. Students submit an institutional application and academic transcripts for consideration. GCU does not charge application fees.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $17,680 per semester (full-time)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$32,050
Out-of-state
$32,050
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,074
Out-of-state
$16,074
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
2,231
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Best Accounting Colleges in New Jersey 2023

Caldwell University

  • Caldwell, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Historically rooted in its Catholic identity, Caldwell University (Caldwell) also has a long history of innovation. In 1974, Caldwell became New Jersey's first higher learning institution to bestow bachelor of fine arts degrees. Five years later, it became one of the earliest New Jersey institutions to support external degree programs.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

The bachelor of science accounting degree at Caldwell University ranks among the school's best-known and most sought-after programs. Caldwell accounting majors complete a rigorous catalog of technical and theoretical coursework. Subjects include business, economics, finance, and marketing, along with an extensive accounting core.

Caldwell also offers multiple five-year program options to accounting students. Learners can opt for a dual BS-MBA program or apply their extra year toward earning master's degrees in accounting. The latter option delivers the 150 credits required for CPA licensure in New Jersey.

Applying to Caldwell

Required materials include an institutional application, academic transcripts, an essay, and at least two letters of recommendation. SAT/ACT scores are optional. According to Caldwell, successful undergraduate applicants for the 2022-2023 school year had average GPAs of 3.3 out of 4.0.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Tuition: $37,352 per academic year (full time)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$34,900
Out-of-state
$34,900
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,910
Out-of-state
$17,910
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
2,274
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Best Accounting Colleges in New Jersey 2023

William Paterson University of New Jersey

  • Wayne, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

William Paterson University of New Jersey (William Paterson) is named for a signatory of the U.S. Constitution. Founded in 1855, the school is situated on a scenic 407-acre forested campus 20 miles outside New York City.

Accounting, Bachelor of Science

Accounting students at William Paterson University of New Jersey balance a detailed business core with a 27-credit accounting curriculum. Business coursework explores accounting essentials, along with economics, statistics, finance, and business operations. 

The accounting core begins with intermediate technical courses. Students then proceed to cover cost accounting, auditing, taxation, and other advanced subjects.

Eligible students can also earn BS in accounting degrees in a 100% online format. To qualify, you must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and be at least two years removed from your high school graduation.

Applying to William Paterson

William Paterson's test-optional policy applies to accounting majors. Each first-year applicant must have at least 17 academic units of English, mathematics, laboratory science, social science, and other college prep credits. William Paterson admits candidates on a rolling schedule.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $7,096 per semester (in-state), $11,596 per semester (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 120-126
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus, hybrid, 100% online
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,638
Out-of-state
$22,204
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,428
Out-of-state
$20,898
Retention Rate
90%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
9,635
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Questions About Accounting in New Jersey

Is accounting a good career in New Jersey?

Projections Central anticipates 8.5% job growth for New Jersey accountants and auditors from 2020-2030, outpacing national rates. According to the BLS, New Jersey ranked third among U.S. states in May 2022 for accountant and auditor pay rates. These factors combine to make New Jersey an appealing accounting destination.

How much do accountants in New Jersey make?

According to the BLS, accountants and auditors earned an average annual salary of $102,040 in New Jersey as of May 2022. The pay rate was the third-highest among states, according to the BLS.

What kinds of jobs are there for New Jersey accountants?

According to BLS data from May 2022, the top three most common accounting-related careers in New Jersey were bookkeeping, accounting and auditing, and financial management. Others included financial analysis and securities and financial services sales.

Can I get an accounting degree in New Jersey?

Yes. New Jersey has a large higher education network. Accounting students can earn degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels.

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