Accounting Degree Overview for New York

Updated September 28, 2022

The Empire State continues to rank among the leading U.S. employment destinations. Use this state-specific guide to learn about accounting careers in New York. 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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The third most-populous state in the country, New York hosts many accounting programs and job opportunities. Accounting degrees often lead to business, financial, and accounting occupations, with national median annual salaries often falling in the $50,000-$90,000 range, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Accounting professions often pay considerably more in New York than they do in other states. For instance, accounting degrees prepare students for jobs as financial accountants and financial managers, who earn respective median salaries of $71,550 and $129,890, according to the BLS.

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This guide contains important information for anyone considering accounting degrees in New York, including accounting-related careers, degree types, program formats, and concentrations.



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Top New York Schools for Accounting

  • New York University
  • Molloy College
  • St. Joseph's College-New York
  • University at Buffalo
  • Ithaca College
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Siena College
  • Saint John Fisher College
  • Houghton College
  • Clarkson University


New York boasts 304 higher education institutions. Private higher education institutions dominated New York until 1948, when many public colleges and technical schools united through the State University of New York (SUNY) education system. SUNY offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, and tuition rates at New York State's public, four-year universities prove lower than national average rates for such schools.

Housing in New York costs nearly double the national average, though New York City costs much more than other areas of the state. Home to top accounting schools, such as New York University, New York City offers many benefits for students. Students in the city can choose from many accounting programs and enjoy nearly endless options for cultural events, food, and entertainment.

Top accounting schools found elsewhere in the state include University of Buffalo, Ithaca College, and Rochester Institute of Technology. Online accounting programs allow distance learners to enroll in New York schools without relocating to more expensive areas. However, students who choose programs in the area where they plan to work can facilitate more professional networking opportunities.

Education Statistics for New York

Drawn from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the data below indicates that New York features many four- and two-year colleges. The state boasts above-average rates of educational attainment, especially in the graduate degree category.

Higher Education Statistics in New York

Number of Four-Year Colleges2353,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges691,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education17.3%34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student$9,139$8,196
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education3.7%5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree8.7%8.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree20.2%19.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher15.7%12.1%
Sources: NCESSHEEOU.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey

Accreditation for New York Schools

Aspiring New York accounting students should choose a school accredited by the New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE). One of several regional accrediting agencies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), NECHE accredits New England schools that meet rigorous academic standards. Such standards include accomplished faculty, large libraries, well-constructed curricula, and positive institutional performance statistics.

Many faith-based and professional schools earn accreditation from CHEA-approved national accrediting agencies rather than regional ones. These nationally accredited schools do not meet the same high academic standards as regionally accredited schools. Regionally accredited schools usually only recognize credits and degrees from other regionally accredited schools.

Enrollees from both nationally and regionally accredited schools may qualify for federal financial aid. However, students attending schools lacking accreditation from CHEA-approved agencies do not qualify for federal aid.


Selecting the right college and program often demands time and attention to detail, and New York's diverse accounting program offerings can make choosing difficult. The sections below provide an overview of accounting degree levels, concentration and program options, costs, and funding methods for accounting degrees in New York.

Accounting Degree Levels

Many New York schools offer accounting degrees at multiple levels. Associate-degree graduates qualify for entry-level positions, like bookkeeper, while bachelor's graduates meet the entry-level educational requirements for most accounting-related careers. However, certified public accountants (CPAs) need 150 college credits, which many accountants achieve by earning a bachelor's and master's degree. Master's graduates may also obtain management positions, while Ph.D. graduates often become professors or researchers.

Associate Degree in Accounting

Typically requiring around 60 credits and two years to complete, this degree includes general education and introductory accounting courses.

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Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

This degree usually comprises around 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Accounting bachelor's degrees include many accounting and business core courses and electives.

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Master's Degree in Accounting

Students at this degree level take advanced accounting courses and specialize in specific fields. These programs typically comprise 30-60 credits and take 1-2 years to complete.

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Ph.D. in Accounting

Doctoral study requires original, independent research and may involve some graduate teaching. These programs may take 3-5 years to complete.

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Accounting Concentration Options

New York State's accounting schools offer various concentration options, which prepare students for work in specific roles, fields, and/or industries. Popular concentration options include auditing, public accounting, and taxation. Less-common specializations may include sports accounting, environmental accounting, and mergers and acquisitions. New York's relatively high pay and demand for cost estimators and finance professionals can make cost accounting and financial accounting concentrations attractive.

  • FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING: Financial accounting concentrations focus on external financial reporting, analysis, and decision-making. Graduates may work as financial analysts, budget analysts, or financial accountants. Graduate-level concentrations in financial accounting can lead to high-paying careers as financial managers and financial advisors.
  • COST ACCOUNTING: Focused on monitoring and analyzing internal operations, cost accounting concentrations cover supply chain management, corporate finance, and cost accounting. Graduates often become cost estimators, management accountants, and cost accountants.


On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Prospective New York accounting students can choose from various delivery formats, including on-campus, online, and hybrid formats. The following sections cover these formats in more detail.


Traditional on-campus programs entail in-person class sessions and meetings with professors. On-campus students often participate in collaborative projects and group work. These learners typically benefit from more structure and access to student resources than online students, including extracurricular activities, conferences, and networking opportunities.

Online Programs

Many online programs allow students to listen to lectures and participate in online discussions asynchronously, when convenient. Unrestricted by geography, online students often enjoy more program choices than on-campus students.New York's schools and population tend to cluster within commuting distance of New York City, making it easier for many learners to attend in-person courses. However, online students throughout the state can save time and money through online learning.

Hybrid Programs

While many programs boast 100% online attendance, others feature blended online and on-campus participation. These hybrid programs often entail one weekday evening or day session on campus each week. Some hybrid programs require just one or two trips to campus at the beginning or end of the semester, year, or program.

Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education

New York Students6.9%10.4%82.8%
United States Students16.3%18.4%65.3%
Source: NCES

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Degrees often come with hefty price tags, but eligible students can defray education costs through financial aid in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships. The FAFSA connects eligible students with federal grants and low-interest loans. Loans require repayment, while grants and scholarships do not. Students may apply for scholarships based on factors like identity, financial need, field of study, or academic performance.

Graduate programs sometimes offer fellowships, which typically entail yearly stipends in exchange for teaching or research. Consult the links below to better understand financial aid options for accounting students.


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

Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$7,938$9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$21,662$25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)$39,007$30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$5,229$3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$9,151$7,971
Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Tuition rates vary widely by school, but average tuition rates for four-year, public schools in New York state compare favorably to national averages. In-state tuition at New York schools averages about $900 less than the national average, while out-of-state tuition averages $4,000 less. Two-year schools, however, cost around $1,000-$2,000 more in New York than the national average.

New York participates in a tuition break program, administered by the New England Board of Higher Education. This program allows New England residents to pay discounted tuition prices in other New England states. Obtaining residency in New York state or another New England state can make education much more affordable. In-state tuition at public, four-year institutions in New York averages just $8,000 annually, while out-of-state tuition costs $21,662, on average.

New York's Cost of Living

Prospective students budgeting for their education should consider cost of living, which varies considerably by state. According to the World Population Review's cost-of-living index, New York state is considerably more expensive than many other states. At 139.1, compared to the national average index score of 100, New York ranks No. 48 in terms of affordability. And at 204.4 on the housing cost index, New York housing costs over twice the national average.

Other School Selection Criteria

When searching for an accounting program in New York or another state, take time to consider the following important factors:

School Size

Big schools often offer more program options and student services than smaller schools. They also feature bigger student cohorts and alumni networks. Smaller schools often feature smaller student-to-teacher ratios and more individualized teaching and learning.

Staff Credentials/Diversity

Large research universities often boast more faculty per department, which may allow for greater diversity and a more global perspective. Prestigious schools tend to attract top performers in given academic fields and/or industries.

Program Length

Traditionally paced programs take longer to complete than accelerated programs, which offer several terms of intensive courses each year. Part-time programs often prove more manageable for busy students, but they take longer to complete than full-time programs.


Some schools offer relevant, resume-building extracurriculars, such as clubs, student leadership opportunities, and special events.

School Prestige/Reputation

Degrees from schools with positive local or national reputations often transfer well and impress potential employers.

Earning Potential

Students should check post-graduation salary averages for prospective schools when available, as these can help measure a program’s return on investment.



Accounting, auditing, and related careers typically make above-average salaries. At $69,820 as of May 2019, the median annual salary for business and financial occupations surpassed the $39,810 median wage for all U.S. occupations. Many accounting-related careers in New York pay well, as indicated in the comparative salary table below. Keep in mind that New York City salaries, inflated to accommodate the high cost of living, drive up these numbers.

Home to accounting's "Big 4" firms -- Deloitte LLP, PwC, Ernst & Young, and KPMG -- New York City employs many of the state's accounting professionals. A leader in the financial activities sector, the city also employs many well-paid financial managers and advisors. Accounting degree graduates also find work in other New York industries, such as healthcare, leisure and hospitality, construction, and manufacturing.

Select Accounting Careers in New York

Credit Counselors

These professionals provide debt acquisition and management counseling to clients. Credit counselors often assist with debt management planning, credit issues, and budgeting. Credit counseling positions typically require at least an associate degree.

Job Outlook in New York: +21.8% (2018-28). 

Cost Estimators

These estimators examine data and estimate various costs associated with given projects, products, or services. Cost estimators usually earn bachelor's degrees in related fields and specialize in specific industries or product areas.

Job Outlook in New York: +7.7% (2018-28).

Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors counsel clients on various financial decisions regarding investments, mortgages, estate planning, and retirement. They often spend their days researching opportunities, monitoring investments, and explaining financial options to clients. Competitive candidates often boast master's degrees in related areas.

Job Outlook in New York: +11% (2018-28).

New York Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

121,110 Employees2018
136,510 Employees2028
New York 12.7% increase
1,424,000 Employees2018
1,514,700 Employees2028
National 6.4% increase

Source: Projections Central


The salary data above indicates that New York's accounting-related professionals usually earn healthy wages. The state's average annual salaries vary by position and education level, but all of the careers above exceed the national average. Financial managers, personal financial advisors, accountants and auditors, and budget analysts -- the top-paying careers above -- sometimes require master's degrees.

Finance professionals especially prosper in New York. Averaging $166,790 annually, New York's personal financial advisors make almost twice the national average salary of $87,850 for this occupation. Topping the New York salary chart, financial managers average $210,240 annually -- about $70,000 above the national average.

New York Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

State requirements often differ regarding CPA licensure, so aspiring professionals should check requirements for the states where they plan to work. New York CPAs must be at least 21 years old and meet the following requirements:

  • CPA Exam: New York CPAs must pass the American Institute of CPAs exam (or international equivalent).
  • Relevant Education: To sit for the CPA exam, candidates need 150 college credits, including 33 accounting-related credits and 36 general business-related credits. Accounting credits must feature at least one course in each of the following topics:
    • Financial accounting and reporting
    • Cost or managerial accounting
    • Taxation
    • Auditing and attestation services
    • Fraud examination
    • Internal controls and risk assessment
    • Accounting information systems
  • Relevant Professional Experience: CPAs need one year of CPA-supervised experience in areas such as taxation or accounting. Experience in attestation, compilation, management or financial advising, and consulting can also qualify.

CPA candidates with at least 15 years of relevant, supervised, board-approved professional experience can bypass accounting education and exam requirements.


Frequently Asked Questions About Accounting in New York

Is accounting a good career in New York?

Home to many major accounting and finance firms, New York employs many accounting-related professionals.

How much do accountants earn in New York?

Accounting and related careers in New York often pay well, as evidenced by the salary tables above.

What accounting jobs are there in New York?

Common entry-level, accounting-related jobs in New York include bookkeeping and auditing clerk, cost estimator, and payroll clerk. Popular advanced roles include accountant, auditor, personal financial advisor, and financial manager.

Can I get an accounting degree in New York?

New York offers many accounting degree program options, from associate degrees to doctorates. The list of accredited accounting schools below outlines available accounting education options in this state.

Does New York have online accounting programs?

Many New York schools offer online degree programs in accounting. Either 100% online or hybrid, these programs accommodate working adults' busy schedules.

New York Accounting and Education Organizations

  • New York State Society of CPAs
    Founded in 1987 and boasting more than 24,000 members, this professional organization educates and connects accountants and other professionals with continuing education courses, conferences, networking opportunities, and publications.
  • Independent Association of Accountants of New York
    Serving New York state accounting practitioners, IAA's New York chapter runs local events, maintains ethical professional standards, offers a scholarship, and provides networking opportunities.
  • Accountants Club of America
    Based in New York, this forum supports the professional development of accounting leaders and works to advance the profession. Membership benefits include participation in industry events, networking, and leadership opportunities.
  • National Association of Black Accountants - New York Chapter
    NABA-NY endeavors to inspire and support current and aspiring accounting and finance leaders. This professional association offers events, volunteer opportunities, a job board, and various resources for students.

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