Staff accountants handle budgeting, bookkeeping, ledger maintenance, and financial reports. Aspiring staff accountants possess organized, meticulous, and detail-oriented work habits, with a penchant for numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10% growth in job availability for accountants and auditors from 2016-2026.

This guide provides information on average salary by experience and degree level for staff accountant careers. Read on for information on career goals, the best states and industries for staff accountants, and links to other helpful career resources.

Learn More About a Career as a Staff Accountant

How Much Do Staff Accountants Make?

Median Salary

The average salary for a staff accountant is $49,858. However, there are many factors which can affect this number, including experience or degree level. Staff accountants may receive higher or lower salaries depending on the industry they work in or state they live in.

Salary by Experience

Below, current and aspiring staff accountants can see how experience affects salary outcome. The table shows the correlation between years of experience and salary growth, according to PayScale. These numbers represent the average yearly salary for a staff accountant in each scenario.

Experience Salary
< 1 year $46,431
1-4 years $49,325
5-9 years $52,087
10-19 years $52,366

Salary by Degree

The table below presents salary outcomes based on degree level. Of course, no degree comes with a salary guarantee, and not every staff accountant may hold a particular degree. This information comes from a 2015 study by Georgetown University. Please note that these figures apply to accounting majors in general, rather than staff accountants in particular.

Accounting Salaries

Bachelor's Degree

Median Salary: $69,000

Master's Degree

Median Salary: $91,000

Career Path Salaries

Staff accountancy represents one rung on a career ladder. Professionals interested in advancement can work their way up to higher salaries through a variety of career paths. The table below displays three potential career paths for staff accountants and the average yearly salaries of each.

Potential Next Step Salary
Accountant $50,757
Senior Accountant $66,707
Accounting Manager $70,163

What Are the Top States for Staff Accountant Pay?

The following table examines the states with the highest average salary for accounting professionals, according to the BLS as of May 2018. Please note that the salaries listed apply to all accountants and auditors in general, not staff accountants in particular.

  • District of Columbia

    Annual Mean Wage: $98,130

  • New York

    Annual Mean Wage: $96,300

  • New Jersey

    Annual Mean Wage: $90,400

  • Virginia

    Annual Mean Wage: $85,640

  • Connecticut

    Annual Mean Wage: $84,890

What Are the Top Industries for Staff Accountant Pay?

The table below explores some of the top paying industries for accountants. Staff accountants should note that this information relates to all accounting and auditing professionals in general. The annual average salary figures for each industry come from BLS data, dated May 2018.

Industry Annual Median Wage
School and Employee Bus Transportation $109,250
Federal Executive Branch $100,080
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities $97,000
Other Investment Pools and Funds $96,770
Other Pipeline Transportation $93,590

Are Staff Accountants in Demand?

Historical Career Growth

Shifts in the job marketplace for accountants occur frequently. The BLS report from 2017 and the BLS report from 2018 show changes in state employment of accountants and auditors.

In 2017, California ranked as the fifth highest paying state for accountants, with an average salary of $83,540. In 2018, Connecticut surpassed California, with an average salary of $84,890.

Future Career Growth

Long-term growth for accountants and auditors compared to related careers in the U.S. (2016-2026):

Short-term growth by state for accountants and auditors (2018-2020):
  • Accountants and auditors: 10%

  • Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks: -1.5%
  • Budget analysts: 6.5%
  • Cost estimators: 10.5%
  • Financial examiners: 9.7%
  • Arizona: 6.9%
  • Utah: 6.4%
  • Georgia: 5.6%
  • Nevada: 5.3%
  • North Carolina: 5.0%

Top States for Job Growth

Projections Central offers data on the top states for job growth in accounting and auditing. The table below lists the growth percentage for the top five states in this industry. Please note that this data applies to accountants in general, rather than staff accountants specifically.


32.7% Change from 2016-2026


24.8% Change from 2016-2026


24.7% Change from 2016-2026


23.6% Change from 2016-2026


20.0% Change from 2016-2026

How Do Staff Accountants Compare to Other Accounting Careers?

Salaries for staff accountants differ by location; staff accountants may fare better in some states than professionals in other accounting careers. The figures below rank popular locations in the U.S. for staff accountants as compared to bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks.

Staff accountant pay differential percentage by city:

  • Seattle, WA: 11%

  • New York, NY: 10%

  • Los Angeles, CA: 8%

  • Chicago, IL: 4%

  • Houston, TX: 4%

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks percentage job growth by state:

  • Utah: 18.2%

  • Nevada: 11.5%

  • Maryland: 8.1%

  • Arizona: 7.9%

  • Florida: 7.4%

Take the First Step in Your Career Today

Learn More About Staff Accountant Salaries & Job Growth

  • PayScale PayScale offers current salary information in the job market. Employees can search for specific job titles and find the average salary, job description, potential next steps, and salary expectations. Search parameters include experience, degree level, and location.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics As a government information website, the BLS provides national statistics for both specific careers and broader career categories. Information includes average salary, career growth, and other data searchable by state and area.
  • O*Net Online Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, O*Net provides detailed reports for specific careers. Users can find information on requisite skills and abilities, education and licensing requirements, related occupations, and employment trends.
  • Projections Central This website provides long-term and short-term data on job growth across the U.S. and its territories. Users can search by career or location.
  • Center on Education and the Workforce Georgetown University's 2015 study presents information on the economic value of college majors. Users can search by major to find salary projections for bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees in each major.