Accounting Degrees in South Carolina
South Carolina is the 25th most populated state in the union, yet the state’s $36,000 per capita GDP ranks as the third lowest in the country. The state economy’s largest sector is manufacturing, which is dominated by textiles followed by paper and electrical equipment. South Carolina’s nearly 14,000 accountants and auditors work in both the private and public sectors including the state’s 712 licensed CPA firms.
Each of the “Big Four” international CPA firms (Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, and Ernst & Young) maintain at least one office in the Spartan State. South Carolina is also home to many large regional CPA firms that employ 50 or more professionals.
South Carolina at a glance
|Per Capita Income||$34,266|
|Fortune 500 Companies||1|
|Licensed CPA Firms||712|
Accounting Programs in South Carolina
Search our comprehensive school directory to explore the accounting programs in South Carolina, including campus-based, online and hybrid programs.
- Degree Levels
Accounting Salaries and Employment
The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of accounting and auditing positions in South Carolina to grow by 12.8% over 2012 levels by 2022. This is just slightly lower than the national projected growth rate of 13.1%. The expansion pencils out to the creation of approximately 1,900 positions in the state, but this does not factor in the number of positions made available from retirement and attrition. At $59,240 the average annual income for CPAs is more than 40% higher than the average salary of all South Carolinians.
Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Accounting Salaries by Specialty
Associate Degree Recommended
Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks
Bachelor's Degree Recommended
Tax Examiners and Collectors
Master's Degree Recommended
Accountants and Auditors
Personal Financial Advisors
Top-paying cities for accountants
- Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC$66,960
- Sumter, SC$66,490
- Spartanburg, SC$61,950
- Anderson, SC$61,890
- Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC$59,050
Major firms headquartered in South Carolina
|Count||Firm||Location||2014 Revenue (in millions)|
|1||Elliott Davis||Greenville, SC||$64|
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 South Carolina
South Carolina CPAs are required to meet the national standards that were developed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the AICPA. In addition to successfully passing all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam, however unlike other states South Carolina CPA candidates may sit for the exam before they complete the education requirement. Licensure requires the following criteria be met:
- 150 credit hours of post secondary education from a regionally accredited college or university
- 36 credit hours of upper level accounting education, including business courses
- Posses a bachelors degree or higher
- Have at least one year of professional experience or five years of teaching in accounting
- Be at least 18 years of age
The above criteria apply to first time applicants, which South Carolina defines as anyone who has never taken the Uniform CPA Exam or has applied before and had their application denied because it was incomplete. Others considered first time applicants include individuals who have taken the exam in other states, but did not earn the credit or taken the exam in another state and wish to transfer the credit to South Carolina.
Eligibility for CPA Licensure in South Carolina
In order for a CPA candidate to qualify for licensure in the State of Florida they must be either a US citizen or permanent legal resident with a valid social security number. Applicants who do not have a social security number may request a waiver of this requirement from the State Board of Accountancy.
Candidate must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam within 18 months of their first attempt. Since not all candidates pass all four sections in either their first or a single attempt they are permitted to apply to retake sections individually or together.
|Social Security # Requirement||Yes|
|Education Requirement for Licensure||150 hours (including bachelor's degree)|
|Hours in Accounting||36 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting courses that are applicable to a B.A. or B.S., M.A. or Ph.D. and which cover financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation and auditing of which at least 24 semester hours must be taught at the junior or above level|
|Exam Sitting Requirements||Bachelor's degree or higher (120 hours)|
|Experience Requirements||1 year public accounting experience. Experience other than public accounting may count only in proportion to duties contributing to competence in public accounting. 5 years experience teaching accounting in a college or university recognized by the South Carolina State Board|
|Ethics Exam||Must pass AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure|
The rules and regulations that govern CPA licensing in South Carolina overseen by the South Carolina Board of Accountancy. The regulation of Certified Public Accountants is detailed in Title 40 – Professions and Occupations Chapter 2 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. The licensing regulations for the Board of Accountancy contained in Chapter 1 were updated in December 2014.Source: The American Institute of CPAs
CPA exam fees in South Carolina
- Application Fee $135
- Auditing & Attestation $192
- Financial Accounting & Reporting $192
- Regulation $173
- Business Environment & Concepts $173
CPA applicants who were unable to attain a passing grade of 75% for all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam who apply for re-examination are subject to registration fees which are based on the number of sections being retaken:
- 4 examination sections – $105
- 3 examination sections – $90
- 2 examination sections – $75
- 1 examination section – $60
Schools Ranked by CPA Pass Rates, 2014
|Rank||Logo||School Name||Candidates||Pass Rate||Average Score|
|4||University of South Carolina - Columbia||167||64.6%||76.6|
|5||University of South Carolina - Beaufort||12||62.1%||75.7|
|6||Midlands Technical College||6||57.1%||69.8|
|7||Tri-County Technical College||5||57.1%||74.2|
|8||College of Charleston||66||56.4%||73.9|
|9||Bob Jones University||36||54%||75.2|
|10||Citadel Military College of South Carolina||14||51.4%||74.4|
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
South Carolina State Board of Accountancy is a division of the The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation whose mission is to promote the interests of South Carolinians by licensing, regulating and enforcement of standards of professional behavior.
The South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants is a professional membership organization whose purpose is to represent the interest of its members through advocacy and continuing professional education.
South Carolina Board of Accountancy
110 Centerview Drive
Columbia, SC 29210
South Carolina CPA Education Foundation
1300 12th Street, Suite D
Cayce, SC 29033