Accounting Degree Overview for Maryland

Updated October 3, 2022

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Financial services is one of Maryland's key industries. The state's central location, providing easy access to financial hubs like New York City and Washington, D.C., offers graduates of accounting programs in the state a variety of job options. Maryland's metropolitan areas feature some of the highest wages and employment levels in the industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

To earn accounting licensure in Maryland, prospective accountants must first earn a bachelor's degree in the field and pass the licensing exam. Fortunately, Maryland hosts 58 colleges and universities, most of which offer programs in accounting.

Earning an accounting degree in Maryland qualifies graduates for lucrative careers in some of the state's biggest industries. Keep reading to learn more about online accounting degrees in Maryland and how to start an accounting career. 

Maryland at a Glance

Per Capita Income$41,522
Fortune 500 Companies13
Number of Higher Learning Institutions58
ClimateAverage Annual Temperature: 54.2 ℉

Annual Precipitation: 44.5 inches
Major Sports Teams NearbyBaltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics
Accountants in Maryland24,540

Top Maryland Schools for Accounting

  • Loyola University Maryland
  • McDaniel College
  • Towson University
  • Stevenson University
  • Salisbury University
  • Mount St. Mary's University
  • Hood College
  • Frostburg State University
  • Coppin State University
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Why Go to College for Accounting in Maryland?

Maryland colleges and universities enroll more than 286,000 undergraduate students. In 2018, over 100,000 students pursued courses entirely through distance education, with more than 28,000 credit courses available. In the 2018-2019 academic year, colleges in Maryland awarded 34,272 bachelor's degrees, including 5,595 in business, a common track for students pursuing accounting.

Maryland's colleges boast an average graduation rate of 68.8% and an average retention rate of 83.2%, according to the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Fortunately, Maryland's abundance of online course and program offerings make degrees in the state even more accessible. Many programs also lower overall costs for their online students; Maryland offers a variety of state-based grant and funding programs, as well, including a last-dollar scholarship for community college students.

For accounting graduates, Maryland offers nearby access to Washington, D.C., a metropolitan area offering some of the highest employment levels and salaries for accountants.

Education Statistics for Maryland

Maryland boasts strong, diverse academic offerings for those seeking higher education. The state hosts 37 four-year and 21 two-year colleges, providing a wealth of options for prospective learners. Nearly half of adults over 25 hold some kind of postsecondary degree. Additionally, the portion of students enrolled in distance education in Maryland (37.6%) tops the national average (34.7%). The table below provides more information about higher education in Maryland.

Higher Education in Maryland

Maryland DataNational Data
Number of Four-Year Colleges373,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges211,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education37.6%34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student$7,824$8,196 
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education6.0%5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree6.6%8.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree 21.3%19.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher18.3%12.1%
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey

Accreditation for Maryland Schools

While researching schools and programs, prospective accounting students should consider a few key factors, including accreditation. Accreditation provides quality assurance and control, verifying that schools and programs have met certain standards. 

Schools may hold regional or national accreditation, with the former being the more popular designation. Students pursuing degrees from nationally accredited institutions may struggle to obtain federal financial aid or transfer their credits to other institutions. Further, many employers seek graduates from regionally accredited schools. 

In Maryland, accountants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides regional accreditation for colleges and universities in Maryland and neighboring states. The commission's website offers a searchable database of the institutions it accredits.

Additionally, students pursuing accounting in Maryland should look for programs with accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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Considerations for an Accounting Degree in Maryland

When researching the best accounting schools in Maryland, prospective learners must consider a variety of factors to weigh which program would best meet their needs and goals. Maryland offers students many advantages, including accounting degree programs at all levels, online options, and a variety of funding opportunities.

In Maryland, students can pursue accounting degrees on campus or online. In fact, 22.1% of students pursue their degrees in Maryland completely online.

Students considering accounting programs in Maryland should conduct research to understand every option available. Below, we compile more detailed information about accounting degrees in Maryland to help prospective students make informed decisions and pick the best programs. 

Accounting Degree Levels

A bachelor's degree is generally the minimum requirement for earning a license in accounting. Maryland requires prospective accountants to earn at least 150 credit hours at accredited institutions before practicing. Often, these credit hours also include required experience or work hours students must complete before working independently. 

Associate degrees in accounting prepare students for further study and for entry-level finance careers, such as bookkeeping. Typically, associate graduates go on to pursue their bachelor's and meet the minimum qualifications to earn licensure. Master's degrees in accounting can further prepare students for the workforce, potentially increasing their hireability and allowing them to take on more advanced roles.

Ph.D. in accounting degrees provide a pathway to teaching college-level accounting courses, and the designation might further increase earning potential.

Associate Degree in Accounting

This degree typically requires around 60 credit hours and takes two years to complete.

Learn More About Associate Degrees in Accounting

Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

The base-level degree for working as an accountant, this credential often requires at least 120 credit hours. The degree prepares learners for the certified public accountant exam.

Learn More About Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting

Master's Degree in Accounting

Depending on concentration and individual requirements, this degree might require 30-45 credit hours after the bachelor's.

Learn More About Master's Degrees in Accounting

Ph.D. in Accounting

Earning a Ph.D. in accounting can lead to higher wages and careers in higher education.

Learn More About Ph.D.s in Accounting

Accounting Concentration Options

Students in Maryland can choose from a variety of concentrations within and related to accounting. The below table highlights two concentrations that could particularly benefit accounting learners. These concentrations may pave paths to prominent career opportunities in Maryland, providing students with the knowledge and skills to thrive in those areas. Keep in mind that each school and program offers its own concentration options, and not all schools offer specialization options in accounting.

Financial Accounting A concentration in financial accounting emphasizes the skills necessary to provide financial oversight for companies and organizations. Students learn to analyze finances and financial documents, as well as advise business owners and stakeholders on financial decision-making.
Information Systems Information technology is one of the key industries in Maryland, making this concentration especially beneficial. Information systems concentrations emphasize skills in IT management, systems analysis, and programming.

Explore More Accounting Concentrations

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Maryland's accounting schools offer program options to meet every student's unique needs. These include on-campus, online, and hybrid programs. These options allow each learner to tailor their program to their lifestyle.

On-Campus Programs

On-campus programs in Maryland offer the advantage of in-person learning, which many students find more hands-on and interactive than online courses. These programs best suit students with the ability to attend scheduled courses on campus, typically during the day. This might require learners to commute or live near campus or in campus housing.

Online Programs

Online accounting degrees in Maryland provide a great deal of flexibility, often allowing students to complete coursework asynchronously or at their own pace. Some schools may offer flat-rate tuition options for online students or in-state fees for distance learners, regardless of residence. Online learning allows students to maintain their current lifestyle and job while earning their degree. It also makes learning possible for out-of-state students.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs provide a great balance between online and in-person learning. These programs offer some courses fully online, but do set some on-campus requirements. This allows students to essentially enjoy the best of both worlds: the freedom of online learning, plus the community that comes along with campus life.

Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education

Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education CoursesEnrolled in Some but Not All Distance Education CoursesNot Enrolled in Any Distance Education Courses
Maryland Students22.1%15.5%62.4%
United States Students16.3%18.4%65.3%
Source: NCES

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Paying for a degree can feel like a daunting task. Fortunately, Maryland offers resident students a variety of financial aid and funding opportunities., including need-based, merit-based, and career-based grants. Maryland students can also take advantage of federal aid and support. 

In Maryland, average tuition and fees for both in-state and out-of-state students cost more than the national average, making the state a more expensive option for pursuing a degree. However, with federal and private loans, federal grants, and state-based aid, students can explore several options for funding their degrees. The table below outlines average tuition and fees in the state.

Average Cost of College Tuition and Fees in Maryland, 2017-2018

Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$9,289$9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)$24,353$25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)$41,859$30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$4,090$3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)$9,467$7,971
Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

In-state students often pay far less in tuition than out-of-state students, since state residents typically pay taxes toward their home state's public, subsidized universities. Out-of-state tuition charges a premium for students coming in from other states, and it often costs substantially more than in-state tuition.

In Maryland, however, a handful of programs exist to help offset out-of-state tuition costs. Out-of-state learners who graduated from Maryland high schools before moving away may qualify for tuition exemptions, which allow students to pay in-state rates at certain schools.

In-state students can also take advantage of Maryland's academic common market, which allows Maryland students to pay in-state tuition at schools in other states if in-state institutions do not offer their chosen academic program.

Maryland's Cost of Living

When budgeting for education expenses, students must consider the cost of living. These costs factor into the overall costs of earning a degree, and they include elements such as housing, transportation, and groceries. 

Maryland's cost of living index score is 129.7, placing it above the national average of 100. This means the cost of living in Maryland is above average for the United States, particularly for housing (184.5), groceries (108.5), and utilities (107.3). However, online students who live out of state can reduce these expenses. 

Other School Selection Criteria

When researching schools, students should consider more factors than just program cost. The following elements may also weigh into selection criteria:

  • School Size

    Consider how many students each school enrolls. This may include looking at on-campus enrollment and distance-learning enrollment. Think about whether you want to attend a larger school or a smaller one; each option features both advantages and disadvantages (e.g., larger student communities at big schools, versus more individual attention at small schools).
  • Student/Teacher Ratio

    Smaller student-to-teacher ratios could mean more individualized learning and personal attention from instructors. However, even big schools may offer small class sizes in major courses, with larger class sizes for general education courses.
  • Diversity

    Explore each school's demographic makeup among both students and faculty. Consider how enrolling at a school with a diverse student and staff population could enhance your experience and enrich your learning.
  • Program Length

    Consider how long it will take to complete your degree. This can depend on several factors, including credit requirements, part-time vs. full-time enrollment options, and whether the accounting program requires internships or practicums.
  • Alumni Network

    Strong alumni networks can provide graduates with networking opportunities after graduation. These can lead to job connections, further learning, and professional development opportunities.
  • Admission Requirements

    Look at each school's admission requirements, which may include minimum GPA, supplemental materials like letters of recommendation, and/or prior work experience.
  • Explore Our Rankings For the Best Accounting Programs at Each Level

    Careers for Accounting Graduates in Maryland

    According to U.S. News & World Report, Maryland's economy ranks 26th in the nation. It ranks highly in areas such as growth and employment, providing a solid outlook for prospective accounting students considering their career options after graduation. 

    BLS projects that jobs in accounting will grow in Maryland at a rate similar to the average for all occupations. The national median salary for this occupation is $71,550, with more than 90,000 new jobs expected to open by 2028.

    Thanks to its major cities like Baltimore, Maryland is home to locations for all of the "Big 4" accounting firms, which may offer great job and internship opportunities for accounting students in the state. Maryland's other key industries, including IT, biohealth, manufacturing, and financial services, employ accountants, as well.

    The sections below offer more detailed information about accounting careers in Maryland, including employment and salary trends.

    Select Accounting Careers in Maryland

    Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

    Bookkeepers and accounting clerks work for all kinds of businesses and firms. They typically perform administrative duties, which may include monitoring daily intake and output of funds, balancing checkbooks and bank accounts, and maintaining accurate records. They utilize bookkeeping and accounting software to keep records, and they may also handle payroll. Most bookkeepers hold an associate degree at minimum.

    Tax Examiners and Collectors

    Tax examiners and collectors work with state and federal governments to identify tax liabilities for individuals and businesses, as well as ensure collection of those taxes. These professionals may perform audits on businesses, monitor the submission of quarterly taxes, and assist taxpayers in understanding their rights and responsibilities. Generally, these professionals hold at least a bachelor's degree.

    Accountants and Auditors

    Accountants and auditors examine financial documents for both individuals and businesses. They may work for accounting firms or as certified public accountants, who work with individual clients. They often assist in filing and paying taxes, ensuring their clients follow all tax law and policy. These professionals must hold a bachelor's degree at minimum, but many hold a master's.

    Maryland Employment Trends

    Projected Job Growth for Accountants

    28,530 Employees2018
    31,240 Employees2028
    Maryland 9.5% increase
    1,424,000 Employees2018
    1,514,700 Employees2028
    National 6.4% increase
    Source: Projections Central

    Curious about other accounting jobs? Explore more accounting careers.

    The above table outlines employment and salary data for various accounting careers in Maryland. Different degree levels qualify graduates for different career opportunities; for instance, associate degrees in accounting prepare graduates for entry-level careers such as bookkeeping, payroll, and credit counseling. Bachelor's degrees prepare students for more advanced careers, like tax collecting and cost estimating.

    More advanced degrees tend to lead to positions with higher earning potential, as the table shows. Bachelor's degrees provide higher average salaries than associate degrees, and master's degrees lead to more advanced roles and higher pay.

    Students planning to stay and work in Maryland upon graduation should consider this information as they decide which degree to pursue. It may be in students' best interest to pursue higher degrees to maximize job opportunities and earning potential.

    Maryland Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

    Each state requires accountants to complete different steps and educational requirements before obtaining licensure. Learners who earn their accounting degree in Maryland, or through degree programs based in Maryland, but who plan to practice elsewhere should note that certified public accountant (CPA) requirements may differ between states. Check with your state's accounting or licensing board for specific requirements.

    In Maryland, public accountants must meet specific education requirements prior to sitting for the CPA exam. Prospective accountants looking to practice in Maryland must meet the following requirements for licensure:

  • Attend a regionally accredited school and pursue a program recognized by the state board.
  • Complete at least 120 credit hours in an accredited accounting bachelor's program before sitting for the CPA exam.
  • Complete an additional 30 credit hours (totaling 150) at the bachelor's or master's level.
  • Pass the CPA exam.
  • Complete at least one year of accounting experience.
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Accounting in Maryland

    Is accounting a good career in Maryland?

    Yes. Many accounting careers should see continued job growth in the coming years. These jobs also offer competitive salaries and advancement potential. Many of Maryland's key industries employ accountants.

    How much do accountants earn in Maryland?

    The average salary for accountants in Maryland is $81,920. This number exceeds the national average. Keep in mind that earning potential can vary based on employer, experience, and education, among other factors.

    What accounting jobs are there in Maryland?

    Fortunately, many of Maryland's key industries, including information technology and financial services, employ accountants and make use of their skills. All of the Big 4 accounting firms also maintain locations in Maryland. However, accountants may work in all kinds of industries.

    Can I get an accounting degree in Maryland?

    Yes. Maryland hosts 58 higher learning institutions, many of which offer great on-campus and online accounting programs. Depending on your specific career goals, you may wish to pursue an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree at a Maryland college or university.

    Does Maryland have online accounting programs?

    Yes. Like schools in other states, many schools in Maryland offer both online and on-campus options for earning an accounting degree. Students who reside outside of Maryland can also earn online accounting degrees at Maryland schools.

    Maryland Accounting and Education Organizations

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