13 Best Accounting Schools in California

Studying accounting in California is a great choice. Knowing how to manipulate the numbers gives you an edge over other professions. However, settling for a school could be a difficult task. Hence, this review is on the best accounting schools in California for you to choose from.

California boasts one of the largest economies in the world and is an international epicenter for education. So, studying in California gains you a certificate that is well-recognized nationally and internationally.

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Following the excellent reputation of providing quality education, selecting a school for accounting may be tasking.

Hence, this post helps clarify to you the best schools for you to study accounting in California, what an accounting degree is, and how you can become an accountant in California.

What is an Accounting Degree?

Well, this is a type of academic degree given to students upon completion of an accounting education program at a college or business school.

Basically, accounting is the study of financial reporting and analysis. In fact, it is one of the most innovative growth industries and houses the oldest written document in human history which is a trade record.

Also, people who study accounting and complete their coursework are accountants and there are different types of academic degrees available for you.

What are the types of Accounting Degrees?

Obviously, if you are here now, it means you have an interest in an accounting career. Honestly, this is a lucrative profession and will suit you if you love numbers, have great organizational skills, and pay attention to details.

So, there are about five types of accounting degrees for you to select from. However, you may have to understand what each offers before choosing the type you wish to enroll for. These accounting degrees are:

Actually, many accounting professionals of today start their careers by earning this certification. Generally, these diploma or certificate programs cover the basics of accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll accounting.

Even though this accounting degree may qualify you for jobs such as clerk and bookkeeper, it does not have the educational requirement one needs to transfer to a 4-year college.

Additionally, this accounting degree program takes about a year to complete.

Honestly, beyond a one-year certificate program, you should consider enrolling in a full 2-year accounting education program. This awards an associate degree in accounting upon completion of coursework.

Clearly, this accounting degree has the educational requirement you will need to transfer to a 4-year college. Usually, it is a 60-credit hour program and provides students with the basics of accounting.

Well, this is the basic requirement to start a career as a certified public accountant. Basically, it is a four-year program and its curriculum focuses on accounting, business, finance, math, and statistics.

Actually, this accounting degree takes at least 120 credit hours but if you have an associate degree already, then your first 60 hours of credit is safe.

Other Accounting Degrees include:

A master’s educational program awards a master’s degree in accounting upon completion of coursework.

Basically, it takes one to two years after you have your bachelor’s degree to get. In fact, it allows students to learn advanced accounting skills, theory, and practice.

Also, students will have the opportunity to focus on a particular specialization and graduates are seen as a specialist in their chosen area of concentration.

Basically, there are two main doctoral degrees in accounting. one is a doctor of Business Administration or A Doctoral degree in accounting. Well, both are terminal degrees that demand so much hard work.

Usually, this accounting degree program takes 4-5 years to complete. DBA focuses on leadership and expertise in an administrative capacity while my Ph.D. focuses on research, writing, and teaching skills. Mainly, it is for individuals who seek to teach accounting at the college level.

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What can I do with an Accounting Degree?

Honestly, this depends on what accounting degree do you have. You see, even though there are five accounting degrees not all of them will land you big jobs.

Ultimately, you may have to put into consideration the type of job you would love to do in the long term before choosing an accounting degree program.

With an accountant degree especially a bachelor’s, or master’s degree in accounting you may take up the following roles:

Certified Public Accountant

majorly, this profession or career path is open to students with a bachelor’s. To excel in this career path, you may need to practically show skills like:

  • Analysis
  • Communication
  • understanding of Finance Law
  • Reporting

Also, the job description of a certified public accountant rotates around:

  • Preparing financial records
  • Assessing record accuracy
  • Ensuring the proper payment of taxes

Additionally, you need to pass a four-part computer-based exam. To write this exam you should have a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Interestingly, the median annual pay for this profession is $69,410.


Basically, as an auditor, your job description entails the collection and analysis of information, and detecting deficient or fraudulent procedures.

Also, identifying areas of noncompliance and inspecting procedures are your core duties in any work environment. In addition as an auditor, you will get the chance to recommend changes in operations or activities to improve compliance and reduce future liabilities.

Financial Manager

Majorly, to become a financial manager you must have a bachelor’s in accounting and at least five years of business or finance experience.

Importantly, here are the responsibilities of a financial manager:

  • Create financial reports
  • direct investments
  • coordinate staff activities
  • evaluate data
  • develop strategies to achieve organizational goals.
Chief Financial Officer

According to Investopedia, with a bachelor’s and master’s in accounting, you may take up this role. Their job description entails tracking cash flow, financial planning, ensuring accuracy, and proper filing of financial reports.

Salary.com opines that on average CFOs earn about $364,649 and have a lucrative career path.

Why study in California?

Well, if you’re seeking a reason to study in California, we got your back. Aside from the university reviews that will follow shortly, studying in California is a great idea and I will tell you why,

Firstly, California has numerous world-class universities and colleges with international standards. In fact, its sun-kissed climate, world-famous beaches, and exciting cities make the environment conducive for students.

Secondly, California is home to the world’s most innovative companies and houses the most prestigious institutions in the US.

Also, all work and no play they say make Obi a dull boy. Interestingly, if you love entertainment, California house the world’s largest film industry Hollywood alongside another great musical artist.

Furthermore, the California slogan is ‘Eureka” which transcends their technological advancement. Currently, California is a tech giant housing great tech companies like google, apple, Facebook, Adobe, and Netflix

So, if you choose to study in California you will have a great experience ranging from great universities to activity-packed cities and diverse post-graduation employment prospects

Lastly, California is home to good sport, creative cities, green industries, and a blissful atmosphere.

Amazing facts about Studying Accounting in California.

Well, just before we give you university reviews on accounting in California, there are things you must know first.

First, there are 161 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in California. Yipee, this means you can study accounting for low or no fees in California.

Secondly, 30 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting. The University of Southern California with 92% has the highest graduation rate.

Thirdly, California State University- Los Angeles has the lowest net price for about $3,907 and As of 2015, This same university has the highest exam pass rate with an Advanced degree.

How much do Accountants in California make?

Actually, California is one of the best states for accountants to work. Generally, Californian accountants earn almost $83,540 per year as of 2025.

Interestingly, the job outlook and the employment rate for this profession are expected to grow by ten percent between 2016-2026. Currently, California employs about 143,680 accountants more than what is obtainable in California.

How do I become a Certified Accountant In California?

Actually, to be an accountant who has a license to practice in California, get the CBA license. Well, because I cherish you, I will give Five steps to guide you on this journey.

#1: Get an Accounting Degree

Previously, we did see about five accounting degrees for you. So, to be eligible for the California Board of Accountancy license, get a college degree.

Well be careful not to choose the wrong degree, this demands a four accounting education program that awards a bachelor’s degree over a total of 150 semester hours of study.

Also, the accounting education program must cover;

  • Accounting
  • Auditing
  • External or Internal reporting
  • Financial reporting
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Taxation
  • Economics
  • marketing
  • Statistics
  • Business Communications
  • Business management

Furthermore, candidates must complete the second core of 20 semester hours of accounting-related subjects. You can meet up with these requirements by enrolling in a master of the accounting degree program.

# 2. Earn good hours of experience

The CBA requires applicants to complete at least 12 months or approximately 2,040 hours of experience in general accounting.

So, complete these hours of experience in public, private, or government work under the supervision of an accountant who has the license to engage in public accounting practice.

#3. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination

The third step to get the CBA license is to sit for and pass a four-part Uniform Certified Public Accountant exam. Well, this is a prerequisite across the states in the US.

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Also, you have to pass the exams within 18 months to become successful.

#4. Apply for CBA License

To apply for this license, aside from the previous requirements; you must provide your US social security number. Also, you must complete a fingerprint background check before applying for a license. To apply or get more information click the button below.


#5. Complete California CPA Education

Actually, you must pass the California CPA Education Foundation PETH ethics prior to getting a license.

However, upon getting your license, you must complete 20 hours of continuing education for every six months. In total, you need 80 hours prior to a two-year license renewal period. Also, you must write this exam within two years of the application for a CPA license.

13 Best Accounting Schools in California

Basically, California is home to the most prestigious universities in the US. At this point, I will let you know about 13 schools in California that is best for an accounting degree. Majorly, our ranking factors are tuition fees, acceptance rate, graduation rate, faculty to students ratio, and employment outlook for graduands of this university.

Here are the best accounting schools in California:

  • University of Southern California
  • Santa Clara University
  • University of San Diego
  • Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of California -Santa Barbara
  • Pepperdine University
  • Chapman University Orange
  • Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego
  • National University LA Jolla CA
  • Biola University
  • Azusa Pacific University School of Accounting Azusa
  • California Lutheran University Thousands Oaks

#1: University of Southern California

Net Price; $32,892
Faculty to Students Ratio: 9:1
Acceptance Rate: 17%
Graduation Rate: 92%

Well, the University of Southern California always ranks number one in this or that. Currently, it is ranked number one for Best colleges for design in America, the best colleges for Film and Photography in America, and colleges with the best student life in America.

It is one of the best schools for undergraduate accounting programs and calls its accounting school the Leventhal School of Accounting. Actually, amongst its series of rankings, USC ranks 28 in Bloomberg’s rankings and 6 in Linkedin rankings for business schools.

Also, USC offers a 4-year bachelor’s degree program in accounting, and truly, above 83% of the students agree that the professors are doing a great job.

However, they don’t have evening programs for this course. Interestingly, 64% of students at USC receive financial aid.

Well, graduates from this faculty get employment at most 2 years after graduation and their median earning is about $74,000 a year after six years.

So, following the quality of education USC offers, alumni earn about $53,000 upon graduation. Little wonder it ranks number one in our rankings for best schools.

Furthermore, the application deadline for this university is on 15 January.


#2: Santa Clara University

Net Price; $38,900
Faculty to Students Ratio: 11;1
Acceptance Rate: 54%
Graduation Rate: 90%

This university currently ranks number 6 best catholic Colleges in America and number 13 among the best colleges in public health in America. It is a private, catholic university and requires a high GPA to get admission.

Actually, the university holds accreditation in business and accounting accreditation from AACSB. It calls its school of accounting Leavey School of Business and it offers accounting programs like a Bachelor’s in accounting and a certificate program Certificate of Advanced Accounting Proficiency.

Located in Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Universities’ accounting programs rank number 19 in the world on US news.

Interestingly, 71% of students receive financial aid and alumni proceed to start earning a salary of about $61,100.


#3: University of San Diego

Net Price;$38,592
Faculty to Students Ratio: 14:1
Acceptance Rate: 50%
Graduation Rate: 82%

Basically, the University of San Diego offers one of the best accounting degree programs in California.

Similarly, USD is a catholic university like SCU. Currently, it ranks number 8 in best college food in America and 11 out of 1,417 in best college campuses in America.

Interestingly, 85% of their students get student financial aid and its alumni graduates start earning a median salary of $50,100.

The University of San Diego calls its accounting school of business and offers programs that award a bachelor in accounting upon graduation from the undergraduate accounting education program.

Furthermore, this university offers accounting programs in specializations like:

  • Accountancy suppl and Management
  • Accountancy and Finance/Real Estate
  • Information and Systems Technology(Accountancy)


#4. Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles

Net Price; $42,459
Faculty to Students Ratio: 10:1
Acceptance Rate: 52%
Graduation Rate: 70%

Well, Loyola Marymount University ranks the best colleges for film and photography in America and number 23 out of 247 best colleges for performing arts in America.

Also, it is a private catholic university and it has accreditation from AACSB. Currently, it is one of the best universities in the Western United States according to US News.

In addition, this university offers an accounting education program that awards a bachelor of science degree in accounting.

Its curriculum covers reporting standards, auditing principles, accounting information systems and important provisions in the tax code.

Interestingly, 90% of students here receive student financial aid and students graduate colleges to start earning $61, 300 annually as most of them get employment 2 years after graduation.


#5: University of San Francisco

Net Price; $35,270
Faculty to Students Ratio: 13:1
Acceptance Rate: 66%
Graduation Rate: 77%

Among other rankings, USF ranks 6 for best college locations in America, most diverse colleges in America, and 13 for best catholic colleges in America.

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Interestingly, 83% of students receive financial aid and 92% of its students agree that professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes

Also, 91% of their graduates get employment after 2 years of graduation and proceed to earn about $62,300.

The application fee for this university is $70 and requires a high school GPA. Well, evening programs are available. So, this university offers a bachelor of science degree in accounting and certificate programs in accounting.


#6: University of California -Santa Barbara

Net Price; $16,154
Faculty to Students Ratio: 18:1
Acceptance Rate: 33%
Graduation Rate: 81%

UC Santa Barbara is a public university in Isla Vista and has been existing since 1909. Actually, USC Babara alumni go on to earn a starting salary of $39,00.

Interestingly, 64% of its students receive financial aid and with a graduation rate of 81%, about 91% of their graduates get placement after 2 years of graduation.

More importantly, this university offers a bachelor and certificate program that awards a bachelor of science degree upon completion of coursework.


#7: Pepperdine University

This is a private Christian university n California. They are known for their distinction and excellence in business and finance degrees.

Actually, the university offers a bachelor of science program in accounting, and alumni of this school proceed to the job world to earn approximately $47,800 upon graduation.

The application attracts a $65 fee and the deadline is on 5 January. Interestingly, 86% of students receive financial aid at this university.


#8: Chapman University Orange

Net Price; $40,053
Faculty to Students Ratio: 14:1
Acceptance Rate:57%
Graduation Rate: 79%

Chapman is a Christian university in Orange. It is a mid-size institution and has an excellent reputation in accounting and business.

You can apply with an application fee of $70 but you must have a good high school GPA. Actually, the university boasts that 91% of its students get employment within 2 years of graduation.

Also, evening programs are available too. Interestingly, 88% of students receive financial aid. Well, Graduates from the Argyros School of Business and Economics will have the skills to find professional opportunities in public accounting in industry, government, and not-for-profit organizations.


#9: Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego

Net Price; $31,349
Faculty to Students Ratio; 14:1
Acceptance Rate:76%
Graduation Rate:74%

Application to this university attracts a fee of $55 and requires a good high school GPA. Basically, this Christian private university ranks 24 out of 358 best Christian colleges in America.

Also, this university grants about 92% of its students financial aid. Interestingly, graduating 74% of students from this university earn a starting salary of $40,800.

Importantly, accounting programs available are the bachelor of science programs in accounting and business administration.


#10: National University LA Jolla CA

Net Price; $23,232
Faculty to Students Ratio: 19:1
Acceptance Rate: 52%
Graduation Rate: 42%

Well, National University is an above-average private university in San Diego California. Alumni students go on to earn a starting salary of $48,000. Also, the application attracts a fee of $60. However, its accounting school is one of the best accounting schools in California

Additionally, we are proud to be San Diego’s largest private nonprofit university founded in 1971 by retired U.S. Navy Capt. David Chigos. This university offers a bachelor’s and a master’s degree program in accounting.

Furthermore, online degrees and evening programs are also available at National University.


#11: Biola University

Net Price; $33,206
Faculty to Students Ratio: 14:1
Acceptance Rate: 72%
Graduation Rate; 73%

Similarly, Biola University is a nationally ranked Christian University in beautiful Southern California. This university is consistently among the nation’s foremost Christian universities by U.S. news and world report. Also, it has one of the best accounting schools in California.

Actually, Biola’s nine schools offer more than 150 academic programs at the bachelor’s level. Application into this university attracts a fee of $55 and a high school GPA.

Interestingly, 99% of students receive financial aid and 92% of their graduates get employment after 2 years and earn a total median earning of $44,500 after 6 years of graduation.

Furthermore, this university offers accounting programs that award a bachelor of science degree in accounting and a master of professional accountancy.


#12: Azusa Pacific University School of Accounting Azusa

Net Price; $28,784
Faculty to Students Ratio: 10:1
Acceptance Rate: 60%
Graduation Rate: 67%

Azusa Pacific is an above-average private non-denominational university in Azusa California. It has one of the best accounting schools in California. Well, the university posits that 67% of graduating students go to earn a starting salary of $42, 000 upon graduation. Application to the university attracts a fee of $45 and requires a high school GPA. and the application deadline usually is on the 1st of June annually.

Interestingly, 100% of the student receives financial aid. However, the university offers accounting education programs that award bachelor’s degrees, master’s, and professional certificates.


#13: California Lutheran University Thousands Oaks

Net Price; $28,241
Faculty to Students Ratio: 16:1
Acceptance Rate: 70%
Graduation Rate: 71%

Actually, this university works with small classes of undergraduates who have open minds and seek to grow as individuals while they pursue their passions and discover their purpose.

In fact, the university posits that with a Cal Lutheran degree, a killer resume, and the right contacts you will compete on a global scale. Nevertheless, 97% of their graduating students find a job or enroll in graduate schools within nine months of graduation.

Application to this university attracts a fee of $25 dollars and requires a high school GPA. Also, 97% of their students receive financial aid and they offer evening programs.

However, Cal Lutheran offers accounting programs for undergraduate majors, a bachelor of science degree in accounting, and graduate programs in professional accountancy.


Accounting schools in California FAQs

Are there better accounting schools in California than in the USA?

Actually, California is home to the most prestigious universities in the US. However, for an accounting degree University of Southern California is the best. With an acceptance rate of 17% and a net price of $32,892, this university ranks number one for accounting and is the best design school in California.

Is accounting a good career choice in California?

yes, accounting is a great career choice in California. In fact, California employs 143,000 accountants more than what is obtainable in other states in the US. Interestingly, accountants in California earn about $35,785.

What do accountants do?

Well, accountants ensure that companies or organizations are efficiently operating. This is done by accessing the financial record of their clients. Other duties of an accountant analyzing data, finance reports, budgets, tax returns, and accounting records.


Studying in California is quite exciting and intriguing. Aside from the excellent and prestigious reputation of their universities, California is home to both entertainment and Technological advancement.

However, when faced with different great choices, making a choice can be a great challenge. So, the world scholarship forum team has come up with this article to help you make a choice.

The 13 best accounting schools in California are hand-picked amongst others offering accounting education programs. Actually, our analysis covers the graduation rate, acceptance rate, and cost price of getting a degree such as accounting in such colleges.

So, calmly read through while paying attention to details. This will aid you to make the right choice in choosing the right school for you to study in California.



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