Written by Reese Lopez


Home to more than 11 million residents, Ohio ranks among the country's most populous states. Its active economy, low cost of living, and wide selection of colleges and universities make Ohio an appealing choice for aspiring accountants to pursue their degrees.

Earning a bachelor's or master's in accounting in Ohio prepares students to enter this challenging, well-paying career. The state employs more than 47,000 accountants in total, and the presence of Fortune 500 companies, like Kroger, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, and Progressive, contributes to a diverse economy with continued demand for accounting professionals.

This page offers a comprehensive overview of accounting degrees in Ohio, including top programs, career options, and state-specific data on employment and education. It also includes information on the state's professional organizations for accountants, plus answers to common questions about obtaining online accounting degrees in Ohio.

Ohio at a Glance

Population 11,718,568
Per Capita Income $31,293
Fortune 500 Companies 7
Number of Higher Learning Institutions 208
Climate

Average Annual Temperature: 50.7 ℉

Annual Precipitation: 39.1 inches

Major Sports Teams Cleveland Cavaliers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Browns, Columbus Blue Jackets
Accountants in Ohio 47,240

Top Ohio Schools for Accounting

  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Xavier University
  • Ohio Northern University
  • Mount Vernon Nazarene University
  • University of Dayton
  • John Carroll University
  • Ohio State University-Main Campus
  • Miami University-Oxford
  • Cedarville University
  • University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

Why Go to College for Accounting in Ohio?

One of the country's most populous states, Ohio is a major hub for higher education, featuring more than 200 two-year and four-year schools located around the state. According to Ohio's Department of Higher Education, the state serves more than 647,000 students across all of its institutions of higher education, though overall enrollment levels declined throughout the 2010s.

Several of Ohio's largest, best-known institutions are in the major population centers of Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. Major public colleges like Ohio State University and the University of Cleveland serve thousands of students, offering a variety of programs in business and accounting.

Public and private tuition rates in Ohio cost slightly more than the national average, but the state boasts one of the country's lowest costs of living. Accountant salaries, already reasonably strong in most U.S. states, climb even higher in Ohio. Students who earn accounting degrees in Ohio can take advantage of networking opportunities during their accounting program, which may lead to employment after graduation.

Education Statistics for Ohio

Ohio's appropriates education funding at rates lower than the national average. Ohio's tax revenue allocations for education are also lower than average, as are its rates of bachelor's and master's degree attainment among residents. Students enroll in distance education programs slightly more often in Ohio than they do nationwide.

Higher Education Statistics in Ohio
Ohio Data National Data
Number of Four-Year Colleges 131 3,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges 77 1,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education 36.9% 34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student $6,262 $8,196
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education 4.5% 5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree 8.6% 8.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree 17.3% 19.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher 10.5% 12.1%
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey

Accreditation for Ohio Schools

Prospective students researching accounting degrees in Ohio should make sure each school ofi interest holds accreditation. Accreditation ensures that educational programs adhere to designated academic and professional standards. A school lacking proper accreditation may not adequately prepare students for the accounting profession, and credits earned from unaccredited schools may not transfer to other accredited institutions.

Accreditation comes in two forms: national and regional. National accreditation generally applies to technical and vocational schools offering career training programs. Regional accreditation is the more common of the two forms, serving schools offering traditional academic degree programs, such as accounting degrees.

Any school offering accounting degrees in Ohio should hold regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Prospective learners should not consider schools lacking HLC accreditation, as it usually indicates lack of reputability.

Considerations for an Accounting Degree in Ohio

Students should consider several factors when researching prospective accounting degree programs in Ohio. This section outlines several common considerations, including degree type, concentration and specialization options, program format, and financial aid.

Ohio's high number of colleges translates to a wealth of academic choices for students, so it's important to find a school that meets all of your needs. Some students need online options (around 35% of students in Ohio enroll in at least some online courses, according to the National Center for Education Statistics), while others may prioritize schools with strong professional networks. Regardless, applicants should identify their academic and professional needs early on to help them make more informed decisions about their education.

Accounting Degree Levels

Colleges offer accounting programs at all academic levels, from associate to doctoral. The following list outlines the various types of accounting degrees.

Associate Degree in Accounting
Associate degrees offer a general introduction to accounting principles. This level of education prepares students for entry-level careers, such as bookkeeper.
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Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
A bachelor's serves as the minimum education requirement for many accounting careers, though more advanced positions (including certified public accountants) may require master's degrees.
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Master's Degree in Accounting
Master's degrees represent the highest level of education required for accountants, and students often pursue these degrees to earn certified public accountant (CPA) credentials.
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Ph.D. in Accounting
A Ph.D. is the highest level of accounting education available. This degree typically serves candidates interested in highly specialized academic or research positions.
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Accounting Concentration Options

Ohio hosts a wide assortment of accounting programs, many of which offer concentrations focused on specialized sectors of the accounting field. Concentrations can help students distinguish themselves in the job market and pursue more advanced accounting positions.

Ohio employs a high number of CPAs, and students who concentrate in public accounting benefit from an advantage in preparing for the state CPA exam. Ohio also offers large numbers of accountant positions at its major businesses, which makes auditing a worthwhile concentration, as well.

Accounting Concentrations

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Accounting students can choose between online and on-campus delivery options, each of which offers advantages and disadvantages. The following section outlines key distinctions between online and on-campus programs.

On-Campus

On-campus programs bring students and teachers together in the same room, creating opportunities for collaboration and a strong sense of community. However, these programs require regular campus visits, which can be less convenient for busy students.

Online Programs

Online programs offer more flexibility than on-campus programs, enabling students to attend class sessions from anywhere with an internet connection. Many online courses feature an asynchronous format, meaning students do not need to log on at specific times. However, online courses typically require students to exhibit strong self-motivation and independence. The online format often appeals to working students capable of self-directed learning.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs combine online and on-campus meetings. This format may appeal to students looking to combine the flexibility of online courses with the structure and community of classroom sessions. Some hybrid programs may feature weekly campus meetings, while others only require students to meet on campus one or two times per semester.
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
Ohio Students 14.2% 22.7% 63.1%
United States Students 16.3% 18.4% 65.3%
Source: NCES

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Ohio's in-state tuition rates rank slightly above the national average, while its out-of-state tuition rates fall slightly below it. Regardless of their residency status, Ohio students can choose from several options to fund their accounting education, including scholarships, grants, and loans.

Scholarships and grants offer funding for tuition and other expenses, and they do not require repayment. Scholarship eligibility depends on factors like identity, financial need, and/or academic achievement. Loans may come from both public or private lenders, with public lenders typically offer lower interest rates.

Check out our related guides to learn more about financial aid options for accounting students.

Average Cost of College Tuition and Fees in Ohio, 2017-2018
Ohio National
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year) $10,026 $9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year) $24,098 $25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year) $31,242 $30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year) $3,672 $3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year) $7,456 $7,971
Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Ohio public colleges typically maintain different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, with out-of-state tuition rates generally running much higher. However, residents of certain neighboring states may qualify to receive reduced tuition rates at Ohio schools through initiatives such as the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP).

Administered through the Midwest Higher Education Compact, MSEP enables students from neighboring states to attend public colleges in Ohio while paying no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate. Students attending private colleges may also qualify to receive tuition discounts of up to 10%. Nine states participate in the program: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Individual schools maintain the right to limit participation and set admissions requirements for MSEP participants.

Ohio's Cost of Living

Cost of living can impact students' budgeting, both before and after college. Fortunately, Ohio ranks No. 15 for least-expensive states in the country, and it boasts a cost-of-living index score of 90.8 (with 100 as the U.S. average). This number indicates Ohio is about 9.2% cheaper than the national average. The state offers particularly affordable housing, falling 26.4% below the national average.

Other School Selection Criteria

School Size

Larger schools typically offer wide course selections and campus resources, but with larger class sizes, often resulting in less individualized attention from faculty. Conversely, smaller schools may offer more limited academic options, but with greater individualized support for students.

Program Length

Shorter programs typically feature more concentrated course loads, requiring candidates to take multiple courses each semester. Longer programs often feature part-time enrollment options, requiring fewer courses each semester but keeping students in school longer.

University Resources/Career Services

In professional fields like accounting, learners should investigate prospective schools' career services and other professional resources. Schools with strong connections to internships or job opportunities can provide valuable support to accounting graduates.

Competitiveness/Difficulty/Cost of Admission

More selective schools often feature higher tuition rates, which can translate to more resources and professional opportunities for students. However, students should not consider tuition alone as an indicator of academic quality.

Required Admission Materials/Test Scores

Some accounting programs may emphasize test scores and GPA, with strict admissions requirements. Other programs may adopt a more holistic approach, distributing more equal consideration between applicants' professional experience and grades.

Careers for Accounting Graduates in Ohio

According to U.S. News, Ohio doesn't rank among the top U.S. states for job growth. However, its residents benefit from a combination of economic opportunity, income equality, and affordability.

Major population centers like Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati offer diverse career opportunities and low costs of living, making Ohio a desirable choice for many accountants. The "Big 4" accounting firms -- Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG -- all maintain offices in Ohio's three major cities.

Ohio serves as a major manufacturing center, boasting strong industries in transportation, real estate, business services, healthcare, and education. Projections Central expects positions for accountants and auditors in Ohio to grow by only 2.5% from 2018-2028, but earning an advanced degree can help candidates increase their job opportunities throughout the state. The following sections highlight employment trends and prominent career options for graduates with an accounting degree in Ohio.

Select Accounting Careers in Ohio

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors prepare, examine, and interpret financial records, ensuring accuracy and compliance with laws and regulations. They may also assess organizations' financial operations to ensure they run efficiently. Accountants need at least a bachelor's degree, though many earn master's degrees.

Job Outlook in Ohio: +2.50% (2018-2028)

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Cost Estimators

Cost estimators gather and analyze data to determine the logistical requirements of producing goods or services, such as time, cost, labor, and materials. Cost estimators often focus on one type of product or service. Most positions mandate bachelor's degrees, though some candidates may advance with significant professional experience.

Job Outlook in Ohio: +8.32% (2016-2026)

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Financial Managers

Financial managers oversee organizations' financial health, managing investment activities and long-term financial planning. They often prepare financial reports and forecasts, analyze market trends, and develop financial strategies. This position requires at least a bachelor's degree, though many organizations prefer candidates with master's degrees.

Job Outlook in Ohio: +16.80% (2016-2026)

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Ohio Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

50,100 Employees2018
51,340 Employees2028
Ohio 2.5% increase
1,424,000 Employees2019
1,514,700 Employees2028
National 6.4% increase

Source: Projections Central

Explore more careers here

Ohio employs far more accountants and auditors than any other accounting-related professional. The state also employs large numbers of bookkeeping and auditing clerks and financial managers.

Salary levels for many accounting careers in Ohio lag slightly behind the national average, but the state's low cost of living helps offset these disparities. However, certain professionals -- including personal financial advisors, financial managers, tax examiners, and cost estimators -- earn above-average salaries in Ohio, making these jobs particularly lucrative for professionals in the state.

As in most states, accountants in Ohio can increase their available job opportunities and salary prospects by advancing their education. The state's highest-paying careers require at least a bachelor's degree, and master's degrees in accounting can help applicants distinguish themselves against their competitors in this relatively slow-growing field.

Ohio Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

Many accounting careers in Ohio prefer or require applicants to hold CPA certification. CPA requirements vary by state. To become a CPA in Ohio, applicants must meet multiple requirements, including:

  • Residency: While CPA applicants must hold Ohio state residency, they don't need American citizenship. However, they must possess Social Security numbers.
  • Education: Applicants must complete at least 150 credit hours of higher education, including 120 credits earned at the undergraduate level. Candidates also need at least 30 semester credits of accounting courses.
  • Experience: Candidates need two years of experience in public accounting, obtained through employment in business or government.
  • Ethics Exam: All CPA applicants must complete an Ohio Board of Accountancy course covering professional standards, ethics, and responsibilities, plus a brief ethics exam.
  • Background: All applicants must pass a criminal background check.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Is accounting a good career in Ohio?
While job growth for accountants in Ohio is projected to lag behind national growth between 2018-2028, the state boasts a large number of businesses and low cost of living, making accounting a viable career choice.
How much do accountants earn in Ohio?
According to the BLS, accountants in Ohio earn an annual median wage of $73,380. However, salary levels vary based on several factors, such as experience, education, and industry of employment.
What accounting jobs are there in Ohio?
Ohio is home to several large cities and a wide variety of businesses, creating a healthy selection of accounting jobs. The state employs large numbers of accountants, financial managers, and accounting clerks.
Can I get an accounting degree in Ohio?
Ohio hosts several colleges offering accounting degrees at all academic levels, including associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate. These programs prepare students for a variety of accounting careers.
Does Ohio have online accounting programs?
Several colleges offer online accounting degrees in Ohio, including bachelor's and master's degrees. Some of these programs combine on-campus and online courses, while others occur fully online.

Ohio Accounting and Education Organizations

  • The Ohio Society of CPAs The state's premier professional organization for CPAs, this society offers continuing education, networking and social events, discounts on professional services, exclusive job listings, and advocacy for Ohio accountants.
  • Accountancy Board of Ohio Ohio's Accountancy Board offers CPA licensure along with resources for aspiring and practicing CPAs. The board also offers continuing professional education for CPAs, including required updates on professional standards and responsibilities.

Accounting Programs in Ohio

This list features the top accounting schools in Ohio, highlighting programs that combine strong professional preparation and comprehensive student support. All the colleges on this list hold HLC accreditation, ensuring that students receive industry-standard training in accounting principles and practices.