Accounting Schools in Tennessee

    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.

    Quick Facts

    • 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, ACT, and GMAT scores, see the tables on our Tennessee business schools page, which break out information at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

    SchoolAccreditationAccounting Degree(s)Acceptance Rate10Grad Rate1Avg Net Price1Median Debt*10Median Earnings 10 Years After Entry**10
    Austin Peay State UniversityBBA-Accounting93.4%43%$16,140$20,547$41,717
    Belmont UniversityAACSBBBA-Accounting;
    BBA-Accounting, Adult Degree;
    Bethel UniversityACBSPBBA-Accounting;
    BS-Accounting and Finance
    Carson-Newman UniversityBS-Accounting78.9%56%$20,111$21,500$43,846
    Chattanooga State Community CollegeACBSPAS-Accounting (Transfer Pathway)N.Av.22%$6,827$10,419$35,550
    Christian Brothers UniversityBS-Accounting;
    Columbia State Community CollegeACBSPAS-Accounting (Transfer Pathway)N.Av.27%$8,275$8,500$38,150
    Cumberland UniversityACBSPBBA-Accounting;
    Dyersburg State Community CollegeACBSPAAS-Business Technology: AccountingN.Av.26%$5,803$6,900$33,879
    East Tennessee State UniversityAACSBBBA-Accountancy;
    Accelerated BBA to MAcc;
    Fisk UniversityACBSPBSBA-Accounting61.1%56%$20,578$27,000$42,011
    Freed-Hardeman UniversityACBSPBBA-Accounting;
    Dual BBA/MBA-Accounting;
    Jackson State Community CollegeACBSPAS-AccountingN.Av.23%$7,921N.Av.$33,769
    Le Moyne-Owen CollegeACBSPBBA-Accounting97.9%18%$6,308$28,070$31,052
    Lee UniversityACBSPBS-Accounting82.9%63%$19,726$25,750$42,772
    Lincoln Memorial UniversityACBSPBBA-Accounting;
    Lipscomb UniversityAACSB, ACBSPBBA-Accounting;
    Grad Cert-Accountancy
    Maryville CollegeBS-Finance/Accounting;
    Middle Tennessee State UniversityAACSBBBA-Accounting68.4%55%$13,062$20,000$46,693
    Milligan UniversityACBSPBS-Accounting;
    Motlow State Community CollegeACBSPAS-Accounting (Transfer Pathway);
    AAS-Business Accounting
    Nashville State Community CollegeACBSPAAS-AccountingN.Av.16%$6,790$9,595$36,849
    Northeast State Community CollegeACBSPAASB-AccountingN.Av.28%$6,768$6,827$33,014
    Pellissippi State Community CollegeACBSPAAS-AccountingN.Av.27%$6,474$8,725$37,169
    Roane State Community CollegeACBSPAAS-Business Management Technology: Accounting;
    AS-Accounting (Transfer Pathway)
    Rhodes CollegeMS-Accounting56.9%85%$30,672$21,761$69,215
    Southern Adventist UniversityIACBEBBA-Accounting74.4%52%$24,332$24,500$49,250
    Southwest Tennessee Community CollegeACBSPAAS-Accounting;
    AS-Accounting (Transfer Pathway)
    Tennessee State UniversityAACSBBBA-Accounting;
    Tennessee Technological UniversityAACSBBSBA-Accounting;
    Tennessee Wesleyan UniversityBBA-Accounting;
    MBA 4+1 Program-Accounting;
    Tusculum UniversityACBSPBSBA-Accounting;
    Trevecca Nazarene UniversityBBA-Accounting77.7%61%$16,080$18,744$51,250
    Union UniversityAACSBBSBA-Accounting;
    4+1 BSBA-Accounting/MAcc;
    University of MemphisAACSBBBA-Accounting;
    Grad Cert-Taxation
    University of Tennessee-ChattanoogaAACSBBSBA-Accounting;
    MAcc-Forensic Data Analytics;
    University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleAACSBBSBA-Accounting;
    PhD-Business Administration: Accounting
    University of Tennessee-MartinAACSBBSBA-Accounting75.1%53%$12,619$21,024$43,043
    University of Tennessee SouthernBBA-Accounting92.2%30%$16,762$21,500$38,823
    Vanderbilt UniversityAACSBMAcc7.1%93%$25,606$14,000$84,415
    Walters State Community CollegeACBSPAAS-AccountingN.Av.32%$5,120N.Av.$33,562

    Table Notes:
    *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%:

    1. Rhodes College 75.8%
    2. Vanderbilt University 73.9%
    3. University of Tennessee Knoxville 71.2%
    4. Middle Tennessee State University 68.8%
    5. Lipscomb University 66.1%
    6. 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

    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

    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

    Belmont University

    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.

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    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.

    Tennessee Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area

    Metro AreaAccountants & Auditors EmployedAverage Annual Salary
    Chattanooga TN-GA1,690$73,980
    Johnson City530$57,110
    Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA700$70,700
    Memphis TN-MS-AR4,300$68,660

    Tennessee Schools with Accounting Degree Programs

    Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

    Middle Tennessee State University
    1301 E Main St
    Murfreesboro, TN 37130
    (615) 898-2300

    Student Review: “I went through the accounting program with the Jones College of Business path. Overall it was decent at best, I had a good amount of professional and helpful teachers, and then of course there are some that are always “too busy” to help out. MTSU also had a free tutoring lab for accounting classes which helped me when I got stuck. The thing that annoyed me most about my major was in the beginning at Acct 1010 (Principles of Accounting). I struggled a lot because they standardized the test, it was as if I was taking an ACT, and my tests were loosely based on what my instructor taught me because all the instructors from the department made the test together. Besides that, I struggled and had difficulties here and there like every other student. To me college was all about getting through it, and I’m happy to say that I finally have.” -student at Middle Tennessee State University

    University of Memphis
    101 John Wilder Tower
    Memphis, TN 38152
    (901) 678-2000

    Student Review: “I have been going to the University of Memphis since I lost my job as a college instructor. It is good that the times and classes have a good selection. I am able to work and do my schoolwork. They are good at teaching you with computer technology. I use the programs on Connect Plus and Cengage to really learn the material well. I have been making pretty good grades and it is a result of having good teachers. I think the computer-aided learning, along with the great instruction I received, has helped me to do well. I am now a junior and the upper level classes seem to be going well with good teachers.” -student at University of Memphis

    University of Tennessee
    Circle Park
    Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
    (865) 974-1000

    Student Review: “I transferred to the University of Tennessee from a community college in order to pursue my four-year accounting degree. I’m not sure whether I had become accustomed to the ease of the community college courses or whether the accounting classes at UT were just that difficult, but the challenge was overwhelming. I had many resources available (like teachers, grad students, tutors) to help with anything that I had difficulties with, and I took full advantage of all. The accounting classes at UT were the most difficult college courses I took during my college career. However, the payoff will be more than worth it when I find employment. The professors at UT taught me that the things in life that are difficult are worth attempting to obtain. I had a hard time my first semester or two trying to adjust to the rigorous curriculum of the UT accounting program, but the hard work and endurance made the sense of accomplishment that much sweeter.” -Derrick S., student at University of Tennessee

    Student Review: “I personally believe that the accounting program here at the University of Tennessee is one of the best in the country. In recent years, the university has invested a lot of time and resources into improving many areas of the College of Business Administration. For example, the new and improved Haslam Business Building provides state of the art facilities and resources for students, and the current faculty all are experienced individuals who provide a meaningful education. The accounting courses at UT are challenging, but at the end of the day the effort is worth it for what you gain from the classes.” -Garrett H., student at University of Tennessee

    University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
    615 McCallie Ave
    Chattanooga, TN 37403
    (423) 425-4501

    Student Review: “The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s accounting program was quite a challenging one. There were many difficult courses that made me work hard and test myself on a daily basis. I am graduating this spring with my bachelor’s degree and don’t regret that decision at all. The professors were very well informed and prepared for classes. The online system (Blackboard) was used by all of my accounting teachers/professors in a way that encourages participation. Syllabus, assignments, and feedback were all available on the Blackboard website. The reason I rate the school with a 4 out of 5 is because of the advising system in place. The school of business has one advisor that meets with every student within the school of business (not only accounting students) once per year to keep the student on track for graduation; an excellent service no doubt that would be better with a more online advising system. The only other item that could be improved is a fully-online accounting program. The school provided many opportunities to hear speakers in the field and meet companies during the “Meet the Firms” event held annually. I learned a lot and would recommend this state school over ivy-league.” -Timothy M., student at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

    Popular Accounting Degree State Pages:

    1. National Center for Education Statistics:
    2. College Factual Best Accounting Schools 2023:
    3. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges 2023 Edition. Penguin Random House, 2022.
    4. US News & World Report’s Best MBA Accounting Programs:
    5. US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs 2023:
    6. US News & World Report’s Best Undergraduate Accounting Programs:
    7. Association to Advance College Schools of Business, Accredited Universities and Schools, Business & Accounting:
    8. Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, Accredited Schools, Separate Accounting:
    9. International Accreditation Council for Business Education, Members:
    10. Department of Education College Scorecard:
    11. The NASBA Candidate Performance Report, 2019 University Edition:
    12. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2022 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Tennessee: