Introduction

Pennsylvania’s 13 million residents include more than 22,000 certified public accountants. The state’s economy is ranked 6th in the nation in terms of GDP and is home to the headquarters of 21 Fortune 500 Companies. The bulk of Pennsylvania’s population and industry is divided between Philadelphia in the east and Pittsburgh in the west.

The eastern portion of the state has a densely populated and industrialized corridor that begins with the city of brotherly love (Philadelphia) in the south and extends north through the Lehigh Valley to ScrantonWilkes Barre.

Each of the Big Four international accounting firms; Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, Pricewaterhouse and Ernst & Young each maintain multiple offices in the state.

Pennsylvania at a glance

Population 12,787,209
Per Capita Income $43,616
Unemployment Rate 5.3%
Fortune 500 Companies 21
Licensed CPA Firms 1,934

Accounting Programs in Pennsylvania

Search our comprehensive school directory to explore the accounting programs in Pennsylvania, including campus-based, online and hybrid programs.

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The average annual salary for Pennsylvanian accountants and auditors is reported at just over $70,000, a figure comparable with national averages. The best-paying areas for accounting salaries are unsurprisingly located in Philadelphia and surrounding metro-areas. Three state headquartered CPA firms bring in over $20 million in revenue every year.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

59,270 Employees2012
64,670 Employees2022
Pennsylvania 8.4% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Pennsylvania Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

$36,640
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

$40,450
$39,850

Credit Counselors

$49,940
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

$62,650
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

$48,610
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

$70,120
$72,500

Budget Analysts

$68,830
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

$114,290
$99,920

Actuaries

$110,880
$107,740

Financial Managers

$140,150
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
    $77,970
  2. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ
    $71,550
  3. Philadelphia, PA - Metropolitan Division
    $77,110
  4. York-Hanover, PA
    $68,080
  5. Pittsburgh, PA
    $67,310
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in Pennsylvania

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1ParenteBeardPhiladelphia, PA$158
2Schneider DownsPittsburgh, PA$58
3Kreischer MillerHorsham, PA$30

Accounting Today named these firms among the highest performing in a multi-state region. Rankings as based upon reported net revenues from 2014. Source: Accounting today "Top 100 Firms"

Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in Pennsylvania

CPAs in Pennsylvania must meet the educational standards established by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Those requirements include a total of at least 150 credits of post secondary education and attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher. Once educational requirements are met, candidates must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam within 18 months of their first exam date.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Pennsylvania

Eligibility to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam requires that CPA candidates meet or exceed the following standards:

  • A minimum of 150 hours of post secondary education including 36 hours of accounting, tax, finance and business law courses
  • A bachelor’s degree or greater granted by an accredited college or university
  • Possess a minimum of two years of work experience directly supervised by a licensed CPA
  • Be at least 18 years of age

Pennsylvania participates in the CPA Mobility program developed by the NASBA in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Society of CPAs (PICPA) and other state CPA Associations. The program enables CPAs who are currently licensed by other states to transfer their licenses to the state.

Age Requirement18
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (includes bachelor's degree) Note: Any individual who has passed at least one part of the examination taken prior to 12/31/11, regardless of expired or unexpired credit will be exempt from the 150 hour semester credit education requirement. Applicant must still pass all parts of the examination within an 18 month period or any other requirements for issuance of a certificate.
Participates in International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting24 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting, auditing, business law, finance or tax subjects of a content satisfactory to the Pennsylvania Board.
Exam Sitting RequirementsBachelor's degree or higher (120 hours)
Experience Requirements1 year (1,600 hours) of experience in any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills gained through employment in government, industry, academia or public practice.
Ethics ExamNo

Pennsylvania recognizes that not all CPA candidates pass the entire Uniform CPA exam on their first attempt. Therefore they allow candidates to retake one or more sections of the exam subject to payment of a $95 re-examination registration fee.
Source: The American Institute of CPAs

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Pennsylvania

Total:N/A
  • Application Fee N/A
  • Auditing & Attestation N/A
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting N/A
  • Regulation N/A
  • Business Environment & Concepts N/A

Schools Ranked by CPA Pass Rates, 2014

RankLogoSchool NameCandidatesPass RateAverage Score

Schools are ranked by pass rate unless otherwise noted. Results are comprised of scores from both first-time test takers and those returning to take the whole exam or specific sections of it again. Source: National State Boards of Accountancy

Certifying and Professional Organizations

Licensing of CPAs in Pennsylvania is administered by the State Board of Accountancy which is a department within the Pennsylvania Department of State. The Pennsylvania State Board is responsible for issuing of new licenses, renewals and transfers. The rules and regulations covering licensure in Pennsylvania may be found on the State’s website.

The PICPA (Pennsylvania Society of Certified Public Accountants is a voluntary professional membership organization that represents CPA throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy licenses and regulates the practice of Certified Public Accountants in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Board of Accountancy

Address

P.O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105

Phone Number

(717) 783-1404

Pennsylvania CPA Education Foundation

Address

1801 Market Street, Suite 2400
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Phone Number

(215) 496-9272

Email

education@picpa.org