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A rural southwestern state marked by arid deserts, forested mountains, and stunning mesas, New Mexico features diverse, rich cultures and unique landscapes. The state's population includes the nation's highest percentage of Hispanic and Latino Americans, plus its second-highest percentage of Native Americans. New Mexico's unique, state-specific cuisine and music genre reflect its history and populace.
Though New Mexico's economy isn't particularly strong overall, accountants and auditors in the state can expect their occupations in the state to grow on pace with the national average growth rate for those professionals from 2018 to 2028, according to Projections Central. Other finance professionals -- like cost estimators and budget analysts -- should experience faster-than-average job growth in New Mexico.
New Mexico's key industries include aerospace and defense, global trade, sustainable and green energy, and cybersecurity, all of which require accounting professionals to handle their finances. Students pursuing accounting degrees in New Mexico can look forward to entering an expanding, lucrative field.
New Mexico at a Glance
|Per Capita Income||26,529|
|Fortune 500 Companies||0|
|Number of Higher Learning Institutions||43|
|Climate||Average Annual Temperature: 53.4 ℉ |
Annual Precipitation: 14.6 inches
|Major Sports Teams||Albuquerque Isotopes, Duke City Gladiators, New Mexico United, Roswell Invaders, Albuquerque Sol FC|
|Accountants in New Mexico||5,950|
Top New Mexico Schools for Accounting
- New Mexico State University-Main Campus
- Western New Mexico University
- Northern New Mexico College
- University of New Mexico-Main Campus
- Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus
- New Mexico Junior College
- Santa Fe Community College
Why Go to College for Accounting in New Mexico?
New Mexico offers students a selection of two- and four-year colleges plus a handful of tribal colleges and universities. Learners considering accounting degrees in New Mexico can earn such credentials in the state at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels.
New Mexico may not feature the largest selection of higher education institutions, but its schools tend to charge significantly below-average tuition rates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), New Mexico learners at two- and four-year schools, including private colleges, pay just fractions of the national average tuition rates for such schools. On top of that, the state offers financial aid in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships, plus an education savings plan.
Most of New Mexico's colleges and universities are located in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, though many programs offer online learning options. Students completing online accounting degrees in New Mexico can typically do so from anywhere.
Accountants in New Mexico face continued occupational growth -- in most cases, these careers are projected to meet or exceed national growth projections for accounting and finance professions. Aspiring financial professionals who plan to work in New Mexico might benefit from studying in the state, which could bolster their local professional network and prepare them for the state's certified public accountant (CPA) requirements.
Education Statistics for New Mexico
New Mexico is ahead of the game when it comes to distance education enrollment and government funding for education. Where only 34.7% of students enroll in distance education on the national level, 44.1% of New Mexico's students do, according to the NCES. Moreover, the government appropriates an average of $11,922 to each full-time student pursuing postsecondary education in New Mexico -- significantly above the national average appropriation of $8,196 per student.
By that same token, New Mexico nearly doubles the national average rate of tax revenue allocated to higher education: 11.4% vs. 5.8%, respectively.
Higher Education in New Mexico
|New Mexico Data||National Data|
|Number of Four-Year Colleges||21||3,004|
|Number of Two-Year Colleges||25||1,579|
|Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education||44.1%||34.7%|
|Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student||$11,922||$8,196|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||11.4%||5.8%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree||8.2%||8.4%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree||15.3%||19.4%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher||11.8%||12.1%|
Accreditation for New Mexico Schools
Accreditation verifies that an institution meets certain educational standards, set by a third-party organization. These organizations issue two types of accreditation status: regional and national. Prospective accounting majors should focus on schools with regional accreditation, which is generally considered the more prestigious of the two. National accreditation typically applies to for-profit and vocational schools.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides regional accreditation for universities in New Mexico and surrounding states, so learners planning to complete accounting degrees in New Mexico should narrow down their search to HLC-accredited schools. Those who attend universities without regional accreditation may struggle to transfer their credits to other schools. This can bar students from obtaining master's degrees, meaning they may not complete enough credits to qualify for the CPA exam.
Accounting students can also seek program-specific accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). AACSB-accredited programs demonstrate excellent standards of education in business, including accounting.
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Considerations for an Accounting Degree in New Mexico
Incoming college students face seemingly endless considerations in the application and selection process. This process differs between individuals, because everyone has their own priorities: One applicant might prefer large schools with diverse extracurricular options, while another may seek out prestigious universities with small class sizes.
When it comes to choosing a school and program, each prospective learner completes a unique journey. Even so, certain factors -- such as degree level, concentration offerings, study format, and program cost -- should matter to all students. We cover these considerations in detail below, with a focus on how they apply to the best accounting schools in New Mexico.
Accounting Degree Levels
Accounting programs in New Mexico offer degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. Community colleges and other two-year institutions focus on associate degrees, while students can find bachelor's and master's programs at most major research institutions. Graduates from all program levels qualify to pursue accounting careers, but certain occupations require more advanced degrees than others.
Associate Degree in Accounting
Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
Bachelor's in accounting graduates can enter the workforce as cost estimators and tax estimators. They can also go on to earn master's degrees, which create even more career opportunities.
Master's Degree in Accounting
Master's in accounting graduates hold enough credits to sit for the CPA exam in most states. They also tend to earn higher salaries than accounting professionals with lower-level degrees.
Ph.D. in Accounting
The terminal degree in the accounting field, this doctorate appeals most to professionals who want to teach at colleges or universities. New Mexico universities do not offer Ph.D. programs in accounting, specifically, but these programs do exist in the state for other business-related subjects.
Accounting Concentration Options
Accounting majors in New Mexico can choose from several concentration options, including auditing, forensic accounting, management accounting, public accounting, and taxation. Students pursuing specialties within the accounting field should consider which concentrations would best support their professional aspirations.
New Mexico's cost estimators and budget analysts can expect healthy occupational growth rates in the state, so students earning accounting degrees in New Mexico might consider choosing concentrations that would support these career options, such as the following:
|Management Accounting||The management accounting concentration builds students' skills in financial planning, decision-making, and problem-solving. This specialization prepares graduates to work as cost accountants, financial controllers, financial analysts, or accounting managers.|
|Financial Accounting||A 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.|
On-Campus Versus Online Program Options
Distance learning enables students to pursue their education remotely, removing the strict confines of scheduled on-campus courses and transportation problems. Still, some students may prefer to complete their coursework in-person. Below, we explore the various study formats, including which learners might benefit most from each.
New Mexico has several higher education institutions where students who want a more traditional college experience can attend courses in person. On-campus programs tend to offer a stronger community culture, and some students learn more effectively in physical classroom settings. These programs often appeal to recent high school graduates who want to take advantage of the social aspects of college.
Learners who study in online programs don't have to commute to campus or find new living accommodations near a campus. Plus, 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.
Students pursuing degrees in hybrid programs get the flexibility and convenience of online learning, coupled with peer camaraderie and face-to-face time with faculty. Accounting programs following the hybrid format may require in-person attendance for some courses or events, but learners can otherwise complete their requirements remotely. Each hybrid program differs in its ratio of in-person to online mandates, so students interested in this format should survey their options carefully.
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education
|Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses||Enrolled in Some but Not All Distance Education Courses||Not Enrolled in Any Distance Education Courses|
|New Mexico Students||19.1%||25%||55.9%|
|United States Students||16.3%||18.4%||65.3%|
Paying for Your Accounting Degree
Higher education is a costly investment, especially for students pursuing master's and/or doctoral degrees. However, there are a multitude of options to fund a degree, 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 New Mexico can apply for several government-funded aid options, which typically require candidates to complete the FAFSA. Click through the links below for more information on financial aid resources.
Average Cost of College Tuition and Fees in New Mexico, 2017-2018
|Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)||$6,718||$9,037|
|Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)||$17,533||$25,657|
|Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)||$23,865||$30,731|
|Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)||$1,666||$3,243|
|Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)||$5,318||$7,971|
In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition
As the table above illustrates, tuition in New Mexico falls below the national average for all institution types, making the state a cost-effective place to study. Even so, tuition rates differ dramatically for in-state and out-of-state students and between public and private schools. This is a fact of higher education across most of the United States.
Fortunately, students from certain neighboring states can attend school in New Mexico without having to pay full out-of-state tuition rates, thanks to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
This program enables learners from member states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) to attend school in other member states without paying more than 150% of the in-state resident tuition rate. In some cases, they pay even less. Guam and the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands also participate in this agreement.
New Mexico's Cost of Living
Aside from their education expenses, New Mexico's residents and students enjoy a relatively low cost of living, which may help to further offset the cost of school. Even after school, graduates pursuing accounting careers in New Mexico 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, New Mexico's cost-of-living index score sits at just 87.5. The national index score is 100, meaning New Mexico's cost of living is 12.5% below the national average.
Other School Selection Criteria
Each student must consider their personal priorities when selecting an accounting program and school. Location, program format, and cost factor into most prospective students' school selection processes, but other considerations may come into play, as well. These may include:
CompetitivenessConsider 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.
ExtracurricularsOn-campus students may especially value these resources, since they often turn to clubs, sports, and Greek organizations to meet new friends and form new professional connections.
PrestigeThough attending a well-known, well-respected school doesn't guarantee job opportunities upon graduation, name-brand recognition for prestigious institutions can carry weight in interviews.
School SizeStudents should consider which environment would best fit their learning preferences. Larger schools often offer stronger alumni networks and more prestige, while smaller institutions may foster a more individualized education experience.
Student-to-Teacher RatioMuch like the size of an overall school, class sizes can affect students' learning experiences. Smaller classes, for example, may offer more one-on-one time with faculty members and peers.
University Resources/Career ServicesProspective students should prioritize schools that support their learners — in their education, and also in their transition from school to the workforce.
Explore Our Rankings For the Best Accounting Programs at Each Level
Careers for Accounting Graduates in New Mexico
New Mexico's economy is stronger than those of only three other U.S. states: Mississippi, Louisiana, and West Virginia. However, despite the state's rank as No. 47 (out of 50) for state economies, according to U.S. News & World Report, New Mexico accountants can expect solid occupational growth in the coming years.
The BLS projects occupations for accountants and auditors to grow by 6.4% nationwide from 2018 to 2028, according to Projections Central. New Mexico should see a similar occupation growth -- of 6.7% -- for those professionals in that time frame.
Other finance professionals, including budget analysts and cost estimators, enjoy more positive growth projections for the state, per Projections Central data. New Mexico's budget analysts and cost estimators should see growth rates of 7.3% and 9.8%, respectively, compared to just 4.4% and 8.6% on the national level.
Moreover, two of the "Big 4" accounting firms -- Deloitte LLP and KPMG -- maintain locations in New Mexico. The Big 4 dominate the accounting and auditing industry, so their presence usually indicates solid employment opportunities for finance professionals in the area. Deloitte runs an office in Santa Fe, while KPMG holds one in Albuquerque.
Select Accounting Careers in New Mexico
New Mexico Employment Trends
Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Generally speaking, New Mexico's financial professionals earn below-average annual salaries, according to the BLS. However, it's important to remember that the state's cost of living also falls significantly below average -- New Mexico is nearly 13% cheaper than the U.S. as a whole, so the dollar stretches quite a bit further there.
That said, budget analysts in New Mexico earn wages on par with the national mean salary for their occupation, meaning those professionals in particular get lots of bang for their buck in New Mexico. Likewise, personal financial advisors earn significantly higher wages in New Mexico than they do nationwide -- more than 40% higher, in fact. Both of these positions enjoy strong demand in New Mexico, as well, so prospective accounting professionals should consider becoming budget analysts or personal financial advisors.
New Mexico Requirements for Certified Public Accountants
Many accounting majors complete their education and go on to sit for the CPA exam, but certification requirements for public accountants differ between states. In New Mexico, candidates must have taken 150 credits, including -- but also exceeding -- a bachelor's, which usually comprises 120 credits. For this reason, most aspiring CPAs complete master's degrees.
In total, prospective CPAs in New Mexico must meet the following expectations:
Frequently Asked Questions About Accounting in New Mexico
Is accounting a good career in New Mexico?
Yes. Most accounting professionals in New Mexico earn above-average wages for the state, and several can expect faster-than-average occupational growth rates from 2018-2028. This makes accounting a dependable, lucrative career choice for New Mexico residents.
How much do accountants earn in New Mexico?
Accountants' salaries differ based on their specific positions, but accountants and auditors in New Mexico earned a median annual salary of $64,770 as of May 2019. This significantly exceeds the median annual wage for all U.S. workers, which was $39,810 at that time.
What accounting jobs are there in New Mexico?
Occupations are on the rise for several types of accountants in New Mexico, and the state is home to two of the Big 4 accounting firms. This indicates job opportunities for financial 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 New Mexico?
Yes. New Mexico is home to 43 higher learning institutions, and most of its major universities offer accounting degrees. Accounting students in the state can find relevant degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and master's level.
Does New Mexico have online accounting programs?
Yes. Learners actually study online at higher rates in New Mexico than they do on the national scale, according to the NCES. Students earning online accounting degrees in New Mexico can find hybrid and/or fully online options at multiple degree levels.
New Mexico Accounting and Education Organizations
Association of Governmental Accountants - New Mexico Chapter
New Mexico's chapter of the Association of Governmental Accountants works to provide quality education, foster certification and professional development, support standards and research, and advance government accountability for professionals in the government financial management community.
New Mexico Public Accountancy Board
This board issues licenses for CPAs and CPA firms in New Mexico. It sets professional standards for candidates aiming to obtain and/or maintain CPA licensure, and it investigates complaints from the public against license-holders.
Beta Alpha Psi - New Mexico State University Chapter
This chapter of the international honor society for accounting, finance, and information systems students — called the Delta Lambda chapter — aims to develop successful professionals in the field. It provides opportunities for students to gain professional experience, enhance their skills, and grow personally.
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