Accounting Degree Overview for New Mexico

Updated October 6, 2022

Compare curricula and other key details of top accounting programs in New Mexico with this guide. Learn more with ranked lists covering various degree levels. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico in autumn Credit: Diana Lee Angstadt / Moment / Getty Images

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 Income26,529
Fortune 500 Companies0
Number of Higher Learning Institutions43
ClimateAverage Annual Temperature: 53.4 ℉

Annual Precipitation: 14.6 inches
Major Sports TeamsAlbuquerque Isotopes, Duke City Gladiators, New Mexico United, Roswell Invaders, Albuquerque Sol FC
Accountants in New Mexico5,950

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 DataNational Data
Number of Four-Year Colleges213,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges251,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education44.1%34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student$11,922$8,196 
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education11.4%5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree8.2%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 Higher11.8%12.1%
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey

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

Most accounting positions with advancement opportunities require bachelor's degrees. That said, graduates with associate degrees in accounting can pursue entry-level positions as bookkeepers or payroll clerks.

Learn More About Associate Degrees 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.

Learn More About Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting

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.

Learn More About Master's Degrees in Accounting

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.

Learn More About Ph.D.s in Accounting

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 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.

Explore More Accounting Concentrations

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.

On-Campus Programs

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.

Online Programs

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.

Hybrid Programs

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 CoursesEnrolled in Some but Not All Distance Education CoursesNot Enrolled in Any Distance Education Courses
New Mexico Students19.1%25%55.9%
United States Students16.3%18.4%65.3%
Source: NCES

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

New MexicoNational
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
Source: NCES

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:

  • 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.
  • Extracurriculars

    On-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.
  • Prestige

    Though 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 Size

    Students 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 Ratio

    Much 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 Services

    Prospective 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

    Credit Counselor

    These professionals educate and advise their clients on acquiring and managing debt. They can guide individuals in choosing the best type of loan for them, explaining loan requirements and restrictions along the way. Credit counselors may also create debt management plans and counsel on budget, mortgage, and bankruptcy.

    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 if they've completed 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.

    New Mexico Employment Trends

    Projected Job Growth for Accountants

    6,600 Employees2018
    7,040 Employees2028
    New Mexico 6.7% increase
    1,424,000 Employees2018
    1,514,700 Employees2028
    National 6.4% increase
    Source: Projections Central

    Curious about other accounting jobs? Explore more here

    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:

  • Complete 150 credits of education, including a bachelor's
  • Sit for and pass the CPA exam
  • Complete 30 semester credits in accounting- and auditing-related courses (of which three credits may be in business law)
  • Complete one year of professional experience in industry, government, public practice, or academia
  • Pass the professional ethics exam from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • 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

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