Accounting Degrees in North Dakota

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Updated January 17, 2023

North Dakota has much to offer aspiring accounting professionals. Explore the state's profile as an accounting destination with this complete career guide.

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North Dakota hosts the most wildlife refuges of any state and is home to three National Parks. Job-seekers may also find its economic conditions appealing — in 2022, North Dakota performed better in job growth, employment rates, and labor force participation than a majority of other states.

Learners can earn undergraduate and graduate accounting degrees from North Dakota institutions. The state also offers solid earning potential. According to Payscale data from November 2022, certified public accountants (CPAs) earn base salaries as high as $99,000 per year in Fargo, the state's largest city.

This guide to accounting degrees in North Dakota profiles the state as an education and career-building destination. Aspiring accounting professionals can use these data-based insights to determine whether North Dakota matches their career ambitions.

North Dakota at a Glance

  • Population: 800,394
  • Climate: Average Annual Temperature: 40.4℉ | Average Annual Precipitation: 17.8 inches
  • Number of Higher Learning Institutions: 20
  • Per Capita Income: $36,289
  • Fortune 500 Companies: 1
  • Accountants in North Dakota: 4,590

Sources: World Population Review, Current Results, NCES, U.S. Census ACS, Statista, BLS

Why Get an Accounting Degree in North Dakota?

North Dakota features a well-developed higher learning network. Despite its relatively small population, the state is home to 20 higher learning institutions. The state's government maintains a generous scholarship program that provides funding opportunities to exceptional students. In addition, many North Dakota institutions also provide scholarships to qualified learners.

For example, the University of North Dakota network issues more than 3,300 scholarships per year, amounting to an average of nearly $2,500 per award.

Major universities in the state also have high student retention rates and six-year graduation rates that compare favorably to national averages. These figures demonstrate the quality of North Dakota's higher education system.

Attending college in the state where you plan to launch your career can benefit accounting professionals. Many accounting students pursue field training and practical learning placements in their upper years. These programs can provide excellent networking opportunities and can help students source job leads as they approach graduation.

Education Statistics for North Dakota

North Dakota provides public funding to higher education institutions at rates that exceed nationwide trends. For example, North Dakota's higher education tax allocations are 23.4% higher than the national average.

The state also hosts a well-educated population, with a percentage of residents who possess associate-level education at nearly twice the national average. Meanwhile, North Dakotans hold bachelor's degrees slightly exceeding the national average.

Higher Education Statistics North Dakota Data National Data
Four-Year Colleges 15 2,520
Two-Year Colleges 5 1,216
Students Enrolled in Distance Education 61.4% 72.8%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student $9,133 $9,327
Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education $19,695 $15,959
Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree 14.1% 8.6%
Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree 22.1% 20.2%
Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher 8.6% 12.7%

Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census ACS

Accreditation for North Dakota Schools

Students should only consider accounting degrees in North Dakota from accredited schools. Accreditation signals high academic quality and ensures that employers and other institutions will recognize your degree.

Colleges and universities can receive institutional accreditation, which applies to entire schools, along with programmatic accreditation for departments or specific programs. North Dakota's regional accreditation body is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Look for HLC endorsements when researching your program options.

Agencies that may provide programmatic accreditation to accounting and business administration degrees in North Dakota include:

Delivery Formats for an Accounting Degree in North Dakota

Many factors, including program delivery formats, can influence a student's choice of schools and programs. In North Dakota, learners engage with traditional campus-based education at significantly higher-than-average rates.

The following subsections explore program delivery options and their potential benefits and drawbacks.

On-Campus Programs

In North Dakota, students exclusively engage with on-campus learning at rates that exceed the national average. This suggests strong satisfaction with the traditional campus experience, which offers excellent benefits related to networking, peer interactions, and student-faculty interactions.

If the social aspects of schooling rank among your priorities, on-campus learning might be right for you.

Online Programs

Online programs match the rigor and quality of traditional campus-based degrees but with added flexibility. Many online courses allow students to engage with lectures and learning modules anytime and anywhere.

Students with outside commitments tend to favor online programs. Their design makes it easy to balance school with work, child care, and other external activities.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs combine the advantages of campus-based learning with the flexibility and convenience of online learning. Hybrid learning is more common in North Dakota than in the country as a whole, as shown in the following table.

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Paying for Your Accounting Degree

North Dakota features some of the most affordable higher education costs of any U.S. state. Still, many students need help meeting their educational expenses.

Begin by looking for non-repayable forms of student aid. These include:

  • Scholarships
  • Fellowships
  • Grant programs

If you need additional funding, consider federal or private loans. However, it is best to use these as a last resort as they can create long-term debt.

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Public institutions usually apply different tuition rates to in-state and out-of-state students. The gap between in-state and out-of-state tuition is much smaller in North Dakota than in most other states.

Regardless, out-of-state learners should determine whether they can qualify for in-state rates. North Dakota's institutions participate in multiple student exchange and reciprocity programs that provide financial perks to students from neighboring states. Some programs even extend across the Canada-U.S. border.

Cost of Living in North Dakota

Living costs significantly affect student budgets, especially for those enrolled in traditional on-campus programs. As you consider North Dakota, know that its cost of living is slightly below the U.S. national average.

The cost of living index uses a baseline of 100 to represent the national average, then compares each state's living costs to that average. North Dakota's score in 2022 came in at 98.2, indicating that the state is about 2% cheaper to live in than the average.

Careers for Accounting Graduates in North Dakota

Every sector of the economy requires accounting professionals to help manage financial records. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), North Dakota's top-employing industries include:

  • Trade, transportation, and utilities
  • Government
  • Education and healthcare
  • Professional and business services
  • Leisure and hospitality

Many accounting jobs concentrate in North Dakota's largest urban centers, which cover:

  • The Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan statistical area
  • Bismarck, the state capital
  • Grand Forks
  • Minot
  • Williston

Statistics published by North Dakota's Labor Market Information Center indicate strong levels of wage growth. According to the center, North Dakota's average wages in the second quarter of 2022 were 6.0% higher than in the same quarter of 2021.

Popular Accounting Careers in North Dakota

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

Bookkeeping and auditing clerks play supporting roles in larger accounting departments, though they often handle primary accounting duties for small businesses. They track transactions, prepare financial records, and ensure the accuracy of all financial information.

Cost Estimators

Cost estimators analyze the amount of time and money a business will need to spend to complete a project. They also assess the levels of material and labor required to carry out specific tasks. Many cost estimators specialize in particular industries or economic sectors.

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants produce, analyze, and ensure the accuracy of financial statements and records. Many also contribute to their employers' strategic planning and resource allocation efforts. Auditors inspect financial records and documents to ensure their accuracy and compliance with all requirements.

North Dakota Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Job Availability North Dakota National
2020 Employment 4,530 1,392,200
2030 Projected Employment 5,130 1,488,200
Projected Job Growth, 2020-30 +13.2% +6.9%

Source: Projections Central

Accounting Salaries by Career
Career North Dakota Employment North Dakota Average Annual Salary National Average Annual Salary
Associate Degree Recommended
Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks 3,710 $42,840 $45,140
Credit Counselors 50 $56,010 $50,430
Payroll Clerks N/A $53,520 $49,560
Bachelor's Degree Recommended
Compliance Officers 790 $74,480 $75,810
Cost Estimators 700 $69,150 $73,740
Property Appraisers and Assessors 210 $65,410 $70,050
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents 390 N/A $93,260
Tax Examiners and Collectors 70 $62,540 $63,200
Tax Preparers 150 $50,460 $51,080
Master's Degree Recommended
Accountants and Auditors 4,590 $67,880 $83,980
Budget Analysts 70 $68,580 $84,240
Financial Analysts 200 $76,450 $103,020
Financial Managers 1,430 $132,190 $153,460
Personal Financial Advisors 540 $86,770 $119,960

Source: BLS OEWS

In general, associate and bachelor's degrees in accounting appear to deliver the strongest returns in North Dakota's labor market. These degree-holders can pursue roles with salaries that align favorably with national averages.

Master's degrees carry significant value. The career paths open to North Dakota professionals with graduate degrees tend to offer the highest salaries in the accounting field.

In particular, the financial manager profession offers considerable appeal. Given North Dakota's small population, it balances relatively strong employment levels with excellent pay rates.

CPA Requirements in North Dakota

Each state maintains standards for obtaining and maintaining CPA licensure. In general, North Dakota's accounting requirements remove obstacles and barriers to entry. No age, citizenship, residency, or Social Security Number requirements apply, and the state also participates in international CPA licensing programs.

To sit for the CPA exam in North Dakota, you must meet the state's eligibility guidelines. These guidelines stipulate that each candidate must possess a bachelor's degree with a significant amount of accounting coursework. You must also sit the CPA examination within six months of completing your education and pass the Professional Ethics Exam to obtain your initial license.

For further information, you can consult the North Dakota State Board of Accountancy. The checklist below explains essential CPA requirements in North Dakota in more detail.

  • Education requirements include at least 150 credit hours and a bachelor's degree.
  • At least 24 semester hours or the quarterly equivalent must cover accounting coursework.
  • Basic coursework in general principles of accounting does not count toward the minimum for semester hours.
  • You must have at least one year of relevant experience acquired via employment.
  • You must take the CPA exam in North Dakota within six months of completing the educational requirements.

Questions About North Dakota Accounting Requirements

Does the University of North Dakota have a good business school?

The University of North Dakota's Nistler College of Business has an excellent reputation and holds AACSB accreditation.

Does NDSU have a business school?

North Dakota State University's College of Business offers accounting degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. NDSU students can also pursue many other business programs in fields ranging from finance to business administration.

How do I become a CPA in North Dakota?

CPA requirements in North Dakota include a bachelor's degree and at least 150 credit hours of coursework. You must also have at least one year of accounting work experience and take the CPA exam within six months of graduation.

How much do accountants earn in North Dakota?

Accounting degrees in North Dakota can lead to many well-paid career paths. According to BLS data from May 2021, accountants and auditors in North Dakota earn nearly $68,000 per year. BLS data covers all workers, not just licensed professionals. Payscale figures indicate that licensed CPAs tend to earn significantly more.

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