Accounting Schools in Colorado
|1 – Comparison of Schools and Programs|
|2 – Top-Ranked Schools in Colorado|
|3 – Highest First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rates|
|4 – School Profiles|
|5 – Colorado CPA Requirements|
|6 – Career Opportunities for Graduates|
This guide is designed to help you navigate accounting programs offered in the state of Colorado. Colorado offers many undergraduate and graduate options for students, including online degrees that may be more flexible than traditional on-campus programs. A variety of specializations are offered to help students match their education to their career goals, such as taxation and internal auditing. Colorado universities also provide students with internship and networking opportunities to help prepare them for general and specialized careers in business and accounting.
- 27 not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Colorado.1
- 13 schools offer a certificate in accounting.1
- 10 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.1
- 14 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.1
- 10 schools offer a graduate degree in accounting.1
- 3 schools ranked in College Factual’s Best Accounting Schools 2023.2
- No schools ranked in the Princeton Review’s Best Colleges for Accounting Majors 2023.3
- No programs ranked in US News & World Report’s Best MBA Accounting Programs 2023.4
- 4 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs 2023.5
- No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2022-2023.6
- 3 schools are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in Business and Accounting.7
- 1 accounting program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).8
- No schools have accounting programs accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).9
Comparison of Colorado Accounting Schools and Programs
The table below provides detailed information on not-for-profit accounting programs in Colorado to help you compare your options. Programs that appear in bold text offer hybrid or online options. For further school statistics, including median SAT, ACT, and GMAT scores, see the tables on our Colorado business schools page, which break out information at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
|School||Accreditation||Accounting Degree(s)||Acceptance Rate10||Grad Rate1||Avg Net Price1||Median Debt*10||Median Earnings 10 Years After Entry**10|
|Aims Community College||—||AAS-Accounting;|
UG Cert-Enrolled Agent
|Arapahoe Community College||—||AA-Accounting;|
UG Cert-Accounting Clerk;
|Colorado Christian University||—||BS-Accounting;|
Minor-Public Accountant Preparation;
Dual BS/MBA-Advanced Accounting;
|Colorado Mesa University||—||BS-Accounting;|
5-Year BS to MBA
|Colorado Mountain College||—||AAS-Accounting: Professional Bookkeeper;|
UG Cert-Accounting: Bookkeeper
|Colorado Northwestern Community College||—||AAS-Accounting||N.Av.||32%||$13,323||$12,000||$44,181|
|Colorado State University Global||ACBSP||BS-Accounting;|
|Colorado State University Pueblo||—||BSBA-Accounting;|
|Colorado State University-Fort Collins||—||BSBA-Accounting;|
|Community College of Denver||—||AAS-Accounting;|
UG Cert-Tax Preparation
|Emily Griffith Technical College||—||UG Cert-Accounting||N.Av.||87%||$7,413||N.Av.||$32,756|
|Fort Lewis College||—||BA-Accounting;|
|Front Range Community College||—||AAS-Accounting;|
|Lamar Community College||—||UG Cert-Accounting||N.Av.||44%||$10,605||$8,750||$36,219|
|Metropolitan State University of Denver||—||BS-Accounting;|
|Northeastern Junior College||—||AAS-Business: Accounting;|
UG Cert-Accounting Technician I;
UG Cert-Accounting Technician II;
UG Cert-Basic Tax Preparation
|Pikes Peak State College||—||AAS-Accounting;|
UG Cert-Bookkeeping Applications
|Pueblo Community College||—||AAS-Accounting;|
|Red Rocks Community College||—||AAS-Accounting;|
UG Cert-Accounting Clerk;
UG Cert-Accounting Fundamentals;
UG Cert-Bookkeeping Clerk;
UG Cert-Individual Tax Preparer
5-Year BS to MS-Accounting;
|Trinidad State College||—||UG Cert-Accounting Clerk||N.Av.||50%||$12,220||$8,908||$33,577|
|University of Colorado Boulder||—||BSBA-Accounting;|
5-Year BSBA to MS-Accounting;
|University of Colorado Colorado Springs||—||BA-Business Administration: Accounting;|
|University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus||AACSB||BSBA-Accounting;|
5-Year BSBA to MS;
|University of Denver||AACSB||BS-Accounting;|
5-Year BS to MAcc;
|University of Northern Colorado||AACSB||BSBA-Accounting;|
|Western Colorado University||—||BA-Accounting;|
*Median Debt: The median debt is the cumulative federal loan debt, excluding PLUS loans, at the time of graduation for students who completed an undergraduate program (certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree) as reported by College Scorecard for academic year 2020-2021 based on National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) data.
**Median Earnings 10 Years After Entry: Median earnings are the middle value of earnings, at which half earned more and half earned less, measured 10 years (2020-2021) after the first year of study (2010-2011) for all students, institution-wide, who received federal loans and who are employed but not enrolled in school. Note that this value includes those who completed their program of study as well as those who discontinued study without receiving an award.]
Top-Ranked Accounting Schools in Colorado
College rankings can be a useful tool to measure the overall reputation of a school or program. Weighing multiple rankings when evaluating your college choices can be helpful because different publishers may use different ranking factors in their methodologies. While the best program for your goals may rely on a combination of factors not typically considered in overall rankings, such as location or funding, seeing a program ranked on multiple lists can be a strong indication of reputation and academic quality.
College Factual’s Best Accounting Schools 2023
- Colorado State University Global Campus (#116)
- University of Denver (#125)
- Colorado State University-Fort Collins (#206)2
US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs 2023
- University of Denver (#32 tie)
- Colorado State University-Global (#44 tie)
- Colorado State University-Pueblo (#112 tie)
- Colorado Mesa University (#170-214)5
Highest First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with a Bachelor’s Degree
The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) releases reports including data on candidate performance on the Uniform CPA Exam.11 The following schools had the highest first-time CPA exam pass rates in Colorado in 2019 (the most recent report available*) for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, with the overall pass rate for first-time test-takers in Colorado being 68.7%:
- Western Colorado University 81.8%
- University of Colorado-Colorado Springs 80.6%
- University of Colorado-Boulder 72.3%
- Colorado State University 69.3%
- University of Colorado-Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus 68.4%
- Colorado Christian University 64.0%
*As NASBA makes significant changes to the CPA Exam as part of the CPA Evolution initiative, new candidate score reports by state are not anticipated until at least mid-2024.
Schools in Colorado with Accounting Degrees
To give you an idea of the breadth and depth of accounting degrees offered in Colorado, we have profiled select programs below. Be sure to visit the websites of programs of interest for more detailed information on courses, admissions requirements and deadlines, and faculty.
Undergraduate Accounting Programs
University of Colorado Boulder
At the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Accounting. This program provides a comprehensive understanding of business and accounting concepts and is designed to help students develop logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Students learn how to read financial reports by building fluency in domestic and international accounting terms and focus on auditing practices and taxation procedures through courses such as Corporate Financial Reporting, Cost Management, and Income Taxation of Individuals. CU Boulder also offers a five-year BSBA and Master of Science (MS) in Accounting as a Bachelor’s-Accelerated Master’s (BAM) program for students who wish to receive both degrees in a shorter timeframe.
University of Denver
The Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver (DU) offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting that is cohort-based, providing students with a strong network with faculty and peers that will help them achieve career goals after graduation. Students in this program earn a strong business foundation, which serves as the core for advanced accounting coursework. Courses in business law, analytics, and organizational management give students a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of business accounting before they move on to specialized accounting topics. Students may take courses such as Consolidations, Accounting Data Analytics, and Accounting Ethics. This program prepares students for careers in both the public and private sectors, as well as graduate-level study. DU also offers a five-year BS in Accounting and Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program that fulfills the educational requirements for CPA certification.
University of Northern Colorado
University of Northern Colorado’s (UNC) Monfort College of Business offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with an Accounting Concentration. Students who complete this program will be prepared to sit for the CPA exam in Colorado. This accounting program focuses on technical skills building while also developing critical and strategic thinking. Students gain hands-on experience with different accounting software, such as ACS, ACL, and RIA’s Checkpoint. Emphasis is placed on fundamental business and accounting concepts through courses such as Accounting Ethics; Strategic Management; and Cost and Managerial Accounting. Internships are encouraged for undergraduate students and many have worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Western Union, and State Farm Insurance.
Graduate Accounting Programs
Colorado State University
The College of Business at Colorado State University (CSU) offers a STEM-designated Master of Accountancy (MAcc) with three specializations: Taxation; Data Analytics and Systems; and Financial Analysis, Auditing, and Reporting. This program prepares students for careers in public accounting; auditing; financial and tax planning; and consulting. Students will complete 18 credits of required core courses such as Professional Ethics and Responsibilities; Accounting Research and Communication; and Accounting Analytics before completing 12 credits in their chosen specialization. CSU’s MAcc program also focuses on accounting research and students work with faculty as well as corporate, public, and non-profit partners to solve complex problems in the business field. Graduates of the MAcc program meet the educational requirements for CPA licensure in Colorado.
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU) offers a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) which typically takes between one and a half to two years to complete. This 30-credit program allows students to choose between four concentrations: Public Accounting; Fraud Examination and Forensics Accounting; Internal Auditing; and Taxation. The MPAcc curriculum is designed to help students develop critical reasoning and leadership skills, empowering them to solve complex business problems throughout their careers. Strong written and oral communication is emphasized, as well as various accounting technologies and research skills. MSU also offers a 36-credit Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an Accounting Concentration that can be completed in two and a half to three years. Students take 27 credits of business core courses and nine credits for the accounting concentration. Required courses include Global Enterprise Management, Managerial Economics, and Taxation for Decision Makers. MSU’s undergraduate accounting students can apply for the Combined Degree Program, which allows them to work towards an MPAcc while still completing their bachelor’s degree.
Online and Hybrid Accounting Programs
Colorado State University Global
Colorado State University Global (CSU Global) offers an online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting that prepares students for a variety of accounting careers by covering topics related to finance, marketing, leadership, economics, and business intelligence, among others. Students learn about accounting practices in the public and private sectors, as well as in government and nonprofit organizations. They also gain experience in auditing, financial statement analysis, and cost accounting, which help students secure employment in entry-level accounting positions or go on to graduate study to sit for the CPA exam. CSU Global also offers an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an Accounting Specialization that can be completed in as little as one year. Students take six MBA core courses and four courses for the accounting specialization: Advanced Accounting; Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination; Advanced Income Taxation; and Accounting Ethics. In addition to preparing for the CPA examination, students will develop skills in leadership, problem-solving, systems thinking, and strategy.
Regis University offers a fully online, accelerated Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting. Regis accepts up to 87 transfer credits for this program, making it ideal for individuals who have already earned college credit and want to complete an undergraduate accounting degree at an accelerated rate. Classes are held in five- and eight-week formats with six start dates throughout the year for maximum flexibility. Students interested in a graduate degree have the option of pursuing Regis’s FastFoward program, which allows them to work toward a BS and Master of Science (MS) in Accounting at the same time. The online MS in Accounting prepares students for the CPA examination and offers four specializations: Financial Accounting, Fraud/Forensic Auditing, IT Accounting, and Managerial Accounting. This program focuses on accounting ethics and not-for-profit accounting practices. Students participate in internships that emphasize social responsibility in business practices by providing small businesses and community organizations with financial guidance. MS in Accounting students at Regis take courses such as International Accounting; Forensic and Fraud Audit; and Accounting Information Systems.
University of Colorado Denver
University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with a major in Accounting that may be completed on-campus or fully online. After completing core undergraduate courses, students learn about business topics such as information systems, ethics, and economics. Students then earn 21 credits in accounting, exploring courses such as Financial Accounting, Accounting Information Systems, and Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax. For those interested in graduate study, CU Denver’s 4+1 Program gives students the opportunity to earn a BSBA and Master of Science (MS) in Accounting in as little as five years. The MS in Accounting program offers evening and online class options and can be completed on a full or part-time basis. Required courses such as Auditing Theory, Accounting Information Systems, and Taxation of Business Entities are designed to prepare students for careers in auditing, taxes, and financial management in both the public and private sectors.
Colorado CPA Requirements
The Colorado Board of Accountancy (the Board) requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university to obtain a public accounting license. 150 hours of coursework are needed, which must include 27 credits of advanced accounting courses and 27 credits of business administration courses. Students may take the Uniform CPA Exam after completing 120 hours of coursework but may not become licensed until they complete the additional 30 hours. Applicants must also accrue 1,800 hours of relevant work experience that have been verified by a CPA to be eligible for licensure.
Career Opportunities for Accounting Graduates in Colorado
Accounting graduates in Colorado can find many career opportunities throughout the state in the public or private sector as well as in non-profit organizations and government agencies. Many Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Colorado, such as Western Union, Dish Network, and Arrow Electronics. Top employers in the state include Plante Moran, Lockheed Martin, and Wells Fargo. Graduates, especially those with CPA certification, can open their own practices or become self-employed consultants. Those interested in government positions can apply to the state department, local municipalities, state hospitals, the IRS, and the Department of Defense.
Colorado Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Accountants & Auditors Employed12||Average Annual Salary12|
Related Accounting Degree State Pages:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. College Factual Best Accounting Schools 2023: https://www.collegefactual.com/majors/business-management-marketing-sales/accounting/rankings/top-ranked/
3. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges 2023 Edition. Penguin Random House, 2022.
4. US News & World Report’s Best MBA Accounting Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/accounting-rankings
5. US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs 2023: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/bachelors/online-bachelors-business-rankings
6. US News & World Report’s Best Undergraduate Accounting Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/business-accounting
7. Association to Advance College Schools of Business, Accredited Universities and Schools, Business & Accounting: https://www.aacsb.edu/accredited
8. Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, Accredited Schools, Separate Accounting: https://acbspsearch.org/
9. International Accreditation Council for Business Education, Members: https://iacbe.org/accreditation/member-status-information/results/
10. Department of Education College Scorecard: https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
11. The NASBA Candidate Performance Report, 2019 University Edition: https://nasbareport.com/
12. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2022 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Colorado: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_co.htm