Accounting Schools in Kentucky
|1 – Comparison of Schools and Programs|
|2 – Top-Ranked Schools in Kentucky|
|3 – Highest First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rates|
|4 – School Profiles|
|5 – Kentucky CPA Requirements|
|6 – Career Opportunities for Graduates|
This guide is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of accounting degree programs in the state of Kentucky. Kentucky offers students a variety of options when pursuing their educational and career goals, both through online coursework or in a traditional classroom environment. Business novices and experienced professionals alike should find a program that meets their needs. Students can focus on areas of interest like information systems, taxation, and forensic accounting, or study general accounting. Programs throughout the state are also designed to prepare students for a variety of licenses, including Certified Public Accounting (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).
- 26 not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Kentucky.1
- 7 schools offer a certificate in accounting.1
- 3 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.1
- 22 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.1
- 9 schools offer a graduate degree in accounting.1
- 2 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
- 9 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
- 4 schools have accounting programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).8
- 5 schools have accounting programs accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).9
Comparison of Kentucky Accounting Schools and Programs
The table below provides detailed information on not-for-profit accounting programs in Kentucky 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 Kentucky 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|
|Alice Lloyd College||—||BA-Accounting and Business Management;|
Grad Cert-Professional Accounting
|Eastern Kentucky University||—||BBA-Managerial Accounting;|
|Kentucky State University||ACBSP||BA-Business Administration: Accounting;|
|Kentucky Wesleyan College||IACBE||BS-Accounting;|
|Lindsey Wilson College||IACBE||BABA-Accounting;|
|Morehead State University||—||BBA-Accounting||89.8%||47%||$10,991||$22,250||$40,010|
|Murray State University||—||BAB-/BSB-Accounting;|
BAB-/BSB-Accounting: Financial Planning;
BAB-/BSB-Accounting: Information Systems;
|Northern Kentucky University||—||BSBA-Accounting;|
MAcc-Accounting Practice & Reporting Track (APRT);
MAcc-Data Analytics/Data Visualization;
|Owensboro Community & Technical College||ACBSP||AAS-Business Administration: Accounting||N.Av.||47%||$7,640||$7,933||$34,957|
BS-Accounting (Second Degree Track);
|Thomas More University||ACBSP||BAcc;|
|University of Kentucky||AACSB||BSA-Accounting;|
PhD-Business Administration: Accounting
|University of Louisville||AACSB||BSBA-Accounting;|
MS-Accountancy and Analytics
|University of the Cumberlands||IACBE||AS-Accounting;|
|West Kentucky Community and Technical College||ACBSP||AAS-Business Administration: Accounting;|
UG Cert-Accounting Record Keeping Specialist;
UG Cert-Payroll Accounting Specialist
|Western Kentucky University||AACSB||BSA;|
Master of Accountancy and Data Analytics (MADA)
*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 Kentucky
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
- University of Kentucky (#114)
- University of Louisville (#213)2
US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs 2023
- University of Louisville (#20 tie)
- Western Kentucky University (#44 tie)
- Morehead State University (#66 tie)
- Eastern Kentucky University (#79 tie)
- Asbury University (#98 tie)
- Lindsey Wilson College (#141 tie)
- Kentucky Wesleyan College (#170-214)
- Brescia University (#170-214)
- Midway University (#170-214)5
Highest First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rates With a Bachelor’s Degree
Tyear, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) releases a report including data on candidate performance on the Uniform CPA Exam.11 The following schools had the highest first-time CPA exam pass rates in Kentucky 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 Kentucky being 59.8%:
- Asbury University 76.5%
- Berea College 72.7%
- Bellarmine University 67.9%
- Western Kentucky University 66.1%
*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 Kentucky with Accounting Degrees
To give you an idea of the breadth and depth of accounting degrees offered in Kentucky, 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
The W. Fielding Rubel School of Business at Bellarmine University offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Accounting, which prepares students for careers in corporate or governmental accounting. The BA in Accounting emphasizes real-world experiences through internships with corporations and CPA firms during the busy tax and auditing season. The Rubel School of Business has also created the Bellarmine University Accounting Association (BUAA), a student-led organization that connects individuals with potential employers around the state starting their freshman year. While the BA in Accounting is only 120 credits, Bellarmine offers several avenues to meet the 150-credit requirement for CPA licensure. Dual majors, supplemental minors, and dual enrollment in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program can satisfy the educational requirement for the Uniform CPA exam when carefully planned with a college advisor.
Murray State University
Murray State University (MSU) offers a Bachelor of Arts in Business (BAB) and a Bachelor of Science in Business (BSB), both of which have an Accounting track. Those interested in further specializing their degree may also choose to add on one of three accounting-oriented specialties; Information Systems, Finance, or Financial Planning. In their first two years, students gain a comprehensive understanding of business fundamentals before moving on to advanced accounting study. The accounting curriculum is designed to provide technical skills in statistics, information systems, and economics, while covering ethics, business law, and marketing concepts. A 21-credit Undergraduate Certificate is also available for those interested in sitting for the CPA exam. The certificate, when paired with the 120-credit BAB or BSB in Accounting and three or four carefully selected elective courses, will meet the 150-credit hour requirement for CPA licensure.
Transylvania University in Lexington offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Accounting that gives a broad introduction to business and accounting topics. In this program, students work closely with faculty and meet with local business owners to see real-world applications of classroom concepts. This program encourages hands-on experience through community service, internships, and assisting professors with research, and prepares graduates to analyze financial information and communicate effectively in a collaborative business environment. The program is also designed to meet the 150-credit hour requirement to qualify for a CPA license for those who take one and a half units above the minimum graduation requirements. A variety of elective courses, including Partnership Accounting, Forensic Accounting, and Equine Accounting, are available for those looking to further focus their degree. Travel abroad opportunities are also available, allowing students to focus on international accounting while in Europe, equine accounting in Ireland, and forensic accounting at the Grand Canyon.
Graduate Accounting Programs
Northern Kentucky University
The College of Business at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc). This program trains students to analyze and interpret financial information to empower them to make sound business decisions. The MAcc program at NKU offers several tracks, both for accounting degree holders and those looking to switch to an accounting career from an unrelated field. The Accounting Practice and Reporting track (APRT) is a 36-credit-hour degree designed for those without an accounting degree to prepare for CPA licensure and enter the business world. The Professional track is a 30-credit hour program that requires an accounting undergraduate degree. This track includes 24 hours of required courses and six hours of electives. The Data Analytics/Data Visualization track is also 30 credits, and is for those interested in a technology-based accounting career. This track includes 21 required credit hours and nine hours of data analytics courses. While the APRT program is only available on-campus, both the Professional Data Analytics/Data Visualization tracks are available online.
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky (UK) offers an AACSB-accredited Master of Science (MS) in Accountancy designed to prepare students for a career in business and CPA licensure. This 30-credit program can be completed in 10 to 14 months and provides an advanced understanding of taxation, financial statements, and information systems. Courses like Not for Profit Accounting, Research in Accounting Theory, and Attest Functions lay a strong foundation for graduates as they enter a fast-paced business world. The curriculum is designed to qualify students to sit for the CPA exam, which they can take while enrolled in the program. Students are also given the opportunity to integrate the Becker CPA review coursework into their program path.
Online and Hybrid Accounting Programs
University of Louisville
The University of Louisville (UofL) College of Business offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Accountancy. This AACSB-accredited program gives students the opportunity to take all courses online, offering a flexible alternative to a traditional classroom experience. UofL’s accounting program prepares graduates for careers in business and future graduate coursework. The online BSBA in Accountancy gives students a comprehensive understanding of taxation and auditing practices, as well as governmental and non-profit applications. An online Undergraduate Certificate in Franchise Management is also available to those enrolled in the BSBA Accountancy program.
Western Kentucky University
At Western Kentucky University (WKU), students may earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting that prepares them for a wide variety of business and financial careers. Students develop skills they can use throughout their careers, including problem-solving, effective communication, and analytic thinking. The majority of the courses in this AACSB-accredited program are available online, including all of the lower level accounting and business courses and most of the required general education classes. Classes are taught by full-time faculty with professional experience and certifications, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA). There are also several study abroad opportunities designed as an introduction to international business and accounting concepts. WKU features an accounting JUMP program that allows senior accounting undergraduates to start working on their Master of Accountancy and Data Analytics (MADA) degree. This 3+2 program includes all coursework required for CPA licensure.
Kentucky CPA Requirements
To qualify to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam in Kentucky, the Kentucky Board of Accountancy (the Board) requires a bachelor’s degree or higher with a concentration in accounting (meaning at least 39 credit hours of business-related subjects and 27 credit hours of accounting courses). To qualify for a CPA license, candidates must have a minimum of 150 college semester hours and one year (2,000 hours) of professional accounting experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. Applicants must earn a minimum score of 75 on all four portions of the Uniform CPA exam.
Career Opportunities for Accounting Graduates in Kentucky
Accounting grads in Kentucky have a wealth of career opportunities, with many accounting firms and large corporations being headquartered in the state. Mountjoy Chilton Medley (MCM), headquartered in Louisville, and is one of the largest CPA firms in the region. Dean Dorton is an accounting firm with locations in Louisville and Lexington. Global accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also has offices in Lexington and Louisville. Automotive, manufacturing, and healthcare are leading industries in Kentucky and major employers for recent graduates. Regardless of the industry, business-savvy and financially educated professionals are always in demand in Kentucky.
Kentucky Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Accountants & Auditors Employed12||Average Annual Salary12|
|Louisville/Jefferson County KY-IN||5,030||$77,580|
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, Kentucky: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ky.htm