Accounting Schools in Tennessee
|1 – Comparison of Schools and Programs|
|2 – Top-Ranked Schools in Tennessee|
|3 – Highest First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rates|
|4 – School Profiles|
|5 – Tennessee CPA Requirements|
|6 – Career Opportunities for Graduates|
The following overview of accounting schools in Tennessee provides information for those interested in an undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting. Tennessee’s colleges and universities offer a variety of degree programs that range from full-time and part-time formats to fully online options. Those interested in a degree in accounting may choose between programs offering different curricula and concentrations. Read on below to find out more about degree options, school rankings, and career outlooks for accounting in Tennessee.
- 41 not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Tennessee.1
- 2 schools offer a certificate in accounting.1
- 11 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.1
- 29 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.1
- 13 schools offer a graduate degree in accounting.1
- 4 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
- 2 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs 2023.5
- 1 school ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2022-2023.6
- 12 schools are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in Business and Accounting.7
- 21 schools have accounting programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).8
- 1 school has an accounting program accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).9
Comparison of Tennessee Accounting Schools and Programs
The table below provides detailed information on not-for-profit accounting programs in Tennessee to help you compare your options. Programs that appear in bold text offer hybrid or online options. For further school statistics, including median SAT, SAT, and GMAT scores, see the tables on our Tennessee 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|
|Austin Peay State University||—||BBA-Accounting||93.4%||43%||$16,140||$20,547||$41,717|
BBA-Accounting, Adult Degree;
BS-Accounting and Finance
|Chattanooga State Community College||ACBSP||AS-Accounting (Transfer Pathway)||N.Av.||22%||$6,827||$10,419||$35,550|
|Christian Brothers University||—||BS-Accounting;|
|Columbia State Community College||ACBSP||AS-Accounting (Transfer Pathway)||N.Av.||27%||$8,275||$8,500||$38,150|
|Dyersburg State Community College||ACBSP||AAS-Business Technology: Accounting||N.Av.||26%||$5,803||$6,900||$33,879|
|East Tennessee State University||AACSB||BBA-Accountancy;|
Accelerated BBA to MAcc;
|Jackson State Community College||ACBSP||AS-Accounting||N.Av.||23%||$7,921||N.Av.||$33,769|
|Le Moyne-Owen College||ACBSP||BBA-Accounting||97.9%||18%||$6,308||$28,070||$31,052|
|Lincoln Memorial University||ACBSP||BBA-Accounting;|
|Lipscomb University||AACSB, ACBSP||BBA-Accounting;|
|Middle Tennessee State University||AACSB||BBA-Accounting||68.4%||55%||$13,062||$20,000||$46,693|
|Motlow State Community College||ACBSP||AS-Accounting (Transfer Pathway);|
|Nashville State Community College||ACBSP||AAS-Accounting||N.Av.||16%||$6,790||$9,595||$36,849|
|Northeast State Community College||ACBSP||AASB-Accounting||N.Av.||28%||$6,768||$6,827||$33,014|
|Pellissippi State Community College||ACBSP||AAS-Accounting||N.Av.||27%||$6,474||$8,725||$37,169|
|Roane State Community College||ACBSP||AAS-Business Management Technology: Accounting;|
AS-Accounting (Transfer Pathway)
|Southern Adventist University||IACBE||BBA-Accounting||74.4%||52%||$24,332||$24,500||$49,250|
|Southwest Tennessee Community College||ACBSP||AAS-Accounting;|
AS-Accounting (Transfer Pathway)
|Tennessee State University||AACSB||BBA-Accounting;|
|Tennessee Technological University||AACSB||BSBA-Accounting;|
|Tennessee Wesleyan University||—||BBA-Accounting;|
MBA 4+1 Program-Accounting;
|Trevecca Nazarene University||—||BBA-Accounting||77.7%||61%||$16,080||$18,744||$51,250|
|University of Memphis||AACSB||BBA-Accounting;|
|University of Tennessee-Chattanooga||AACSB||BSBA-Accounting;|
MAcc-Forensic Data Analytics;
|University of Tennessee-Knoxville||AACSB||BSBA-Accounting;|
PhD-Business Administration: Accounting
|University of Tennessee-Martin||AACSB||BSBA-Accounting||75.1%||53%||$12,619||$21,024||$43,043|
|University of Tennessee Southern||—||BBA-Accounting||92.2%||30%||$16,762||$21,500||$38,823|
|Walters State Community College||ACBSP||AAS-Accounting||N.Av.||32%||$5,120||N.Av.||$33,562|
*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 Tennessee
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
- Vanderbilt University (#12)
- University of Tennessee-Knoxville (#68)
- Belmont University (#126)
- Lipscomb University (#191)2
US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs 2023
- University of Memphis (#32 tie)
- Lee University (#112 tie)5
US News & World Report’s Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2022-2023
- University of Tennessee-Knoxville (#57 tie)6
Highest First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with a Bachelor’s Degree
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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee being 61.2%:
- Rhodes College 75.8%
- Vanderbilt University 73.9%
- University of Tennessee Knoxville 71.2%
- Middle Tennessee State University 68.8%
- Lipscomb University 66.1%
- Belmont University 65.1%
*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.
Tennessee Schools with Accounting Degrees
To give you an idea of the breadth and depth of accounting degrees offered in Tennessee, 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
Freed-Hardeman University (FHU) offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting. This degree is ideal for those interested in careers in tax, auditing, management, or forensic accounting. The curriculum also provides a foundation for leadership or management positions in business firms. Students complete general education requirements before beginning the core BBA classes. Accounting majors take courses such as Cost Accounting, Principles of Taxation, and Principles of Auditing. Undergraduate students can also pursue an accelerated dual-degree program that combines the BBA curriculum with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and prepares students for CPA licensure.
Lipscomb University’s College of Business offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a major in Accounting. Students learn fundamental accounting skills such as financial reporting and analysis to help them learn how to interpret information and make business decisions in organizations. The curriculum starts with accounting core classes, such as Intermediate Accounting, Federal Income Taxation, and Principles of Auditing. Students can then choose a concentration in areas such as Data Science, Entrepreneurship, Finance, or Law and Politics, depending on their career interests. Undergraduate students can also pursue the Certificate of Accountancy Program (CAP), which covers 18 credit hours of upper-level accounting courses to ensure students fulfill the 150 credit hours required for CPA licensure. Students who need more than 18 hours to qualify for licensure can enroll in the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program offered on campus at Lipscomb. Lipscomb also maintains partnerships with local and national accounting firms, enabling networking and career opportunities for students and graduates.
University of Tennessee Knoxville
Students at the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UT Knoxville) can earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with an Accounting major. This program emphasizes both the conceptual and real-world application of business and accounting knowledge. BSBA students learn how to analyze and understand financial information for companies, clients, and government organizations, and how to make business decisions based on this accounting data. Students can choose a concentration in International Business or complete the degree through the Integrated Business and Engineering Program. UT Knoxville also offers a collateral option, which allows students to complete the 11-month Master of Accountancy (MAcc) in conjunction with their BSBA in Accounting. The MAcc degree prepares graduates to sit for the CPA examination.
Graduate Accounting Programs
At the Jack C. Massey College of Business at Belmont University (BU), students can earn an AACSB-accredited Master of Accountancy (MAcc). Those without an undergraduate accounting background can either independently complete the 18 hours of prerequisite credit hours or attend the Summer Accounting Institute (SAI), an intensive 12-week immersion in accounting fundamentals. All courses are available during the evening or on Saturdays, offering flexibility for working professionals. This degree can be completed in as little as 12 months, although part-time students can take up to three years to finish the curriculum. Students can begin during the fall, spring, or summer semester, and many classes are offered yearly, with some being offered every quarter.
East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers an AACSB-accredited Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree ideal for those seeking careers in public accounting, industry, or government. Students must complete some prerequisite courses before beginning graduate courses in financial and managerial accounting, auditing, taxation, and consulting. The curriculum emphasizes foundational business knowledge as well as professional development skills in communication and problem-solving. Students choose from one of four concentrations: Taxation, Audit, Controllership, and Generalist. Undergraduate students at ETSU can complete their Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting and MAcc on an accelerated timeline through the BBAA/MAcc program.
Online and Hybrid Accounting Programs in Tennessee
Tennessee Technological University
At Tennessee Technological University, also known as Tennessee Tech, students can earn a hybrid Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree through the College of Business. This AACSB-accredited program is designed for working professionals. Most of the curriculum is delivered through online classes and focuses on the knowledge needed to prepare for the four parts of the CPA exam. Students also complete two weekend residencies on campus over the course of the program, studying professional development skills and the application of course content as well as networking with peers and exploring post-graduation opportunities. Tennessee Tech emphasizes professional certification, and the curriculum includes courses that prepare students for CPA licensure. Many students complete all four parts of the CPA examination over the course of the MAcc program.
University of Memphis
Students can earn an online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a major in accounting through the University of Memphis (UofM). The BBA in Accounting degree is AACSB-accredited, with a curriculum that focuses on foundational accounting knowledge and the technical skills needed in the field. Students learn how to apply financial analysis to business decision-making with an emphasis on the global business environment. Classes also teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as written and oral communication. This 120-credit hour undergraduate program can be completed entirely online, and students with previous coursework may be able to transfer some credits.
Tennessee CPA Requirements
The Tennessee State Board of Accountancy (the Board) requires CPA candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Candidates also must have completed at least 150 semester hours of study, with at least 30 hours in accounting and 24 in general business subjects. Then, individuals must pass all four sections of the CPA examination. After passing the examination, candidates must complete a minimum of 2,000 hours in public accounting that must be verified by a CPA. Finally, after receiving the CPA designation, individuals must maintain their status by completing continuing professional education (CPE) requirements, such as ethics courses or professional development activities.
Career Opportunities for Accounting Program Grads in Tennessee
Tennessee accounting program graduates will find many opportunities in the accounting field whether they seek employment in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors. The local branches of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offer many jobs for accounting and tax specialists. There are several national corporations in Tennessee that employ accounting professionals including Covenant Transport, AutoZone, and Cumberland Pharmaceuticals. Tax preparation firms throughout the state hire public accounting experts regularly. Some CPA holders may wish to start their own accounting or tax preparation business. Graduates with accounting degrees may also find positions in the state’s numerous local and regional businesses in financial management or leadership roles.