Best Accounting Schools in Pennsylvania 2022

| Accounting.com Staff Modified on April 20, 2022

Best Accounting Schools in Pennsylvania 2022

Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?

Pennsylvania offers many job opportunities for accountants: The Keystone State is home to 24 companies on the 2021 Fortune 500 list. The Big Four accounting firms of Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG also have a strong state presence.

Payscale data from October 2021 reports the average entry-level salary for accountants in Pennsylvania was $66,437. Meanwhile, the state's top-earning early-career accountants earned base salaries of $73,000 or more. Professionals working in the PA's metro areas are more likely to earn toward the higher end of the range.

As of May 2020, Pennsylvania had more than 50,000 jobs for accountants and auditors. This placed the state fifth in the nation for auditor and accountant employment. Strong earnings, many employment opportunities, and below-average housing and healthcare costs combine to make Pennsylvania an appealing destination for accountants.

The best accounting schools in PA can help graduates find employment in the Keystone State. This guide covers everything you need to know to earn a degree and launch an accounting career in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania at a Glance

Pennsylvania Stats
Population 12,804,123
Climate 48.8℉
42.9 inches of precipitation
Major Sports Teams Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers
Number of Higher Learning Institutions 218
Per Capita Income $34,352
Fortune 500 Companies 24
Accountants in Pennsylvania 50,240

Why Go to Accounting Colleges in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has 218 accredited degree-granting institutions as of the 2019-20 school year. The state trailed only California, New York, and Texas for most schools in the United States. Accounting students will find many school options in PA, from affordable community colleges to Ivy League heavyweights.

Accounting students can choose from multiple program formats. Beyond traditional, campus-based learning, many of the top accounting colleges in PA offer online study options. These programs appeal to students with other commitments that can make daytime attendance difficult.

The best accounting schools in PA also offer strong support to students preparing for their Pennsylvania certified public accountant (CPA) license. Attending an accounting school located within the state can help ensure students will receive an education that meets Pennsylvania's CPA requirements.

"Pennsylvania's largest city – Philadelphia – employs nearly 30,000 auditors and accountants."

Accounting graduates entering the state's job market can look to this job-rich market to help kickstart their employment search.

Education Statistics for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's higher education numbers are strong. The state's higher education tax allocation sits above the national average, and its population matches national education trends for degree completion.

Online education continues to grow with state lawmakers debating various strategies for increasing funding for virtual learning.

Education Statistics
Higher Education Statistics Pennsylvania Data National Data
Four-Year Colleges 155 2,679
Two-Year Colleges 63 1,303
Students Enrolled in Distance Education 69.5% 72.8%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student $5,412 $8,636
Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education $16,088 $15,276
Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree 8.5% 8.5%
Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree 19.0% 19.8%
Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher 12.4% 12.4%

Accreditation for Accounting Colleges in Pennsylvania

Prospective accounting students should check each school's accreditation status before applying. Accreditation, a voluntary process, evaluates and verifies the school's academic quality.

Students should look for schools that have received accreditation from an agency approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Accredited schools in Pennsylvania earn their accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Enrollees at certain accredited schools can qualify for federal financial aid and can transfer their credits to other institutions.

Considerations for an Accounting Degree in Pennsylvania

The top accounting colleges in Pennsylvania prepare students for the professional world. Yet, students should carefully consider all available options to find their ideal match.

Hybrid learning is especially popular in Pennsylvania. The number of PA students who balance online and traditional learning exceeds the national average by about 17%.

The information below can help you decide whether Pennsylvania is right for your education goals. Take a look at the various program formats at the best accounting schools in PA.

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Accredited accounting colleges in Pennsylvania offer on-campus and online study options. Both formats have their own advantages that appeal to certain students, as discussed below.

In Pennsylvania, 30.4% of college students enroll in on-campus courses only. This may speak to the quality of the state's campus-based education. Additionally, students seeking a traditional college experience tend to favor on-campus programs.

Online accounting degrees in Pennsylvania offer enhanced flexibility. Many online programs feature asynchronous formats, meaning students can engage with lectures and coursework anytime and anywhere. As such, online learning delivers practical solutions to degree-seekers with busy schedules and other commitments.

Hybrid accounting degrees in Pennsylvania combine online learning with on-campus attendance. Students in hybrid programs enjoy flexible schedules and the social benefits of the campus experience. As the statistics in the chart below show, hybrid formats are popular in the state.

Explore our nationwide rankings for the best accounting programs on campus and online.

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Pennsylvania's tuition costs tend to be higher than average. The quality of the state's higher education network may help explain the price difference. Even so, most students will need a plan for covering their education costs.

First, explore non-repayable financial aid options like scholarships, fellowships, and grants. The links below offer information about these funding opportunities and how to find them. Treat private loans as a last resort. Private loans often feature higher interest rates and less flexible payment plans than federal student loans.

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Public colleges typically offer lower tuition to residents and higher rates to out-of-state students. The policy benefits locals who have paid into the state's higher education funding through their tax contributions.

In 2017, Pennsylvania joined the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). SARA provides easy access to an online college education for students in other states. SARA-authorized distance education providers may enroll PA residents with no additional fees, approval, or application.

As of 2022, Pennsylvania has yet to join any SARA-authorized regional compact. In-state tuition rates are not yet available to non-Pennsylvania distance learners.

Pennsylvania's Cost of Living

As of 2021, Pennsylvania has a cost of living index score of 101.7. The cost of living index uses 100.0 as the national average. Pennsylvania's living costs exceed the national average by only 1.7%.

Pennsylvania's average housing costs are the state's most affordable cost-of-living metric. This may help students seeking rental housing for a campus-based accounting program.

Careers for Accounting Graduates in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks salary and employment data on the national, state, regional, and municipal levels. BLS data from May 2020 places Pennsylvania fifth in employment levels for accountants. More than 50,000 accountants and auditors work in the Keystone State. This trails only the densely populated Florida, Texas, New York, and California.

By 2028, demand for accountants in Pennsylvania is projected to rise by 6% compared to 2018 levels.

The BLS also ranks the Philadelphia metro area eighth in the United States for the employment of accountants and auditors. Philadelphia employed more than half of all accounting professionals working in Pennsylvania as of May 2020. Each of the Big Four accounting firms has a major presence in downtown Philadelphia, helping boost the city's job numbers.

Pennsylvania's Center for Workforce Information & Analysis maintains a regularly updated list of in-demand occupations. The list's 2021 edition cited accountants and auditors as a key future growth category. By 2028, demand for accountants in Pennsylvania is projected to rise by 6% compared to 2018 levels.

The below section details career options and associated statistics for accountants and auditors planning to work in Pennsylvania.

Select Accounting Careers in Pennsylvania


Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers record their employer's daily financial situation. They track accounts, payments, incoming revenues, and costs in financial reports. Managers rely on these reports to gauge the company's fiscal health and make strategic decisions on short- to medium-term issues.

Job Outlook in Pennsylvania (2020-30): -3%

Cost Estimator

These financial professionals often work in the contracting, construction, manufacturing, and maintenance industries. They specialize in generating accurate estimates of how much it will cost to provide a service or make a product. These estimates include the costs of both materials and labor.

Job Outlook in Pennsylvania (2020-30):+1%

Certified Public Accountant

CPAs are licensed professionals who prepare and analyze detailed financial reports and related documents for their employers. They ensure that their employer meets all relevant reporting and compliance standards. CPAs also have deep insights into their employer's financial standing. As such, they often participate in the strategic decision-making process.

Job Outlook in Pennsylvania (2020-30):+7%

Pennsylvania Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Job Availability Pennsylvania National
2018 Employment 57,540 1,424,000
2028 Projected Employment 61,020 1,514,700
Projected Job Growth, 2018-28 6.0% 6.4%

Source: Projections Central

Accounting Salaries by Career

Associate Degree Recommended
Career Pennsylvania Employment Pennsylvania Average Annual Salary National Average Annual Salary
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 51,990 $42,220 $44,100
Credit Counselors 1,160 $56,860 $49,940
Payroll Clerks 5,740 $45,720 $48,290
Bachelor's Degree Recommended
Career Pennsylvania Employment Pennsylvania Average Annual Salary National Average Annual Salary
Cost Estimators 8,280 $72,770 $66,610
Property Appraisers and Assessors 1,410 $60,190 $65,630
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents 18,010 $93,390 $96,540
Tax Examiners and Collectors 3,410 $49,430 $62,040
Master's Degree Recommended
Career Pennsylvania Employment Pennsylvania Average Annual Salary National Average Annual Salary
Accountants and Auditors 50,240 $77,810 $81,660
Budget Analysts 1,560 $73,290 $82,690
Financial Analysts 17,190 $95,860 $96,630
Financial Managers 20,670 $153,730 $151,510
Personal Financial Advisors 9,290 $114,280 $122,490

Source: BLS OEWS

The above data indicates Pennsylvania offers strong earning potential to accounting professionals at all degree levels. For instance, credit counselors in Pennsylvania earn salaries above the nationwide average. The same is true of cost estimators, credit counselors, and professionals working as financial managers.

Pennsylvania hosts many opportunities for bookkeepers, sales agents, accountants and auditors, financial managers, and financial advisors. Thus, earning at least a bachelor's degree will maximize your career and future education options.

Pennsylvania Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

Each state maintains licensing standards for CPA licensure. As you plan your education and accounting career, keep Pennsylvania's state-specific standards in mind.

Pennsylvania's eligibility guidelines for CPA licensure include both educational and professional experience requirements. For 2022, these include:

  • At least a bachelor's degree; a degree in accounting, business, economics, or finance is helpful but not specifically required

  • At least 80 hours of continuing education/professional development training

  • At least 1,600 hours of paid accounting or auditing work experience

  • A passing grade on the state's CPA exam

  • Fees apply; first-time license holders pay $65.00, while CPAs renewing an existing license pay $100.00

Best Accounting Schools in PA

Explore the best accounting schools in PA in 2022. Click to learn about accreditation, tuition, and what makes each accounting program unique.

#1 Online College in Pennsylvania

Grove City College

School Information
Location Grove City, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 85%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A Grove City, Pennsylvania private Christian institute, GCC specializes in humanities courses and offers 60 majors and six professional programs. Despite its Christian affiliation, the college is no longer associated with the Presbyterian Church.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

The GCC Bachelor of Science in Accounting program offers a curriculum with many choices, such as financial, reporting, and managerial accounting courses. Other classes offered include forensic accounting, investments, taxation and auditing, and more. Students must take 30 accounting credit hours, 31 core business courses and 9 electives. 

An optional concentration in forensic accounting involves topics such as various types of fraud and ethical issues. The concentration also focuses on internal controls and calculating damage.. In addition, a wide range of internships are available in real-world professional settings.

There’s an optional 150 credit hour double major, including either a B.S. in Accounting and Business, or a B.S. in Accounting and Finance. The double major course fulfills the CPA requirement of 150 credit hours.  

Applying to GCC

Admission requirements include an application and a $50 application fee. Applicants must submit an official high school transcript, and applicable college transcript/s, optional ACT, SAT or CLT scores, and one academic and one spiritual character reference letter. An admissions counselor interview is optional.  

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission and the Higher Education and Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Tuition: $9,995 per semester for full-time students
  • Required Credits: 70 undergraduate credit-hours
  • Program Length: Four years

Delivery Format: A few online asynchronous accounting courses, but mostly on campus courses.

#2 Online College in Pennsylvania

Juniata College

School Information
Location Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 78%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Juniata College, a private liberal arts college in Huntingdon, was founded by the Church of the Brethren in 1876. JC employs “programs of emphasis” and “secondary programs of emphases” instead of majors and minors. 

Master of Accounting

The Master of Accounting (MAcc) program at Juniata College offers small classes and an opportunity for extensive interaction among students and faculty. 

The MAcc program curriculum focuses on complex accounting theories, management, and financial economics and prepares students for the Certified Public Accountant Examination. 

The financial and economics courses include a level of proficiency not offered in traditional accounting courses. Students plan solutions for accounting problems by working in groups using the “case method.” Students are required to complete an accounting research project/course, which is unique to the field of accounting education.  

Applying to JC

The admission requirements at JC include::

  • An online application
  • Official transcripts of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • A current resume including relevant internship or work experience
  • GMAT scores
  • A recommendation letter from a member of the accounting faculty

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education and 

the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)

  • Tuition: $775 per credit hour
  • Required Credits: 30 to 31 credit-hours
  • Program Length: One year for full-time students

Delivery Format: Hybrid online and on-campus courses

#3 Online College in Pennsylvania

Susquehanna University

School Information
Location Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 72%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 0% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Susqu is a private university in Selinsgrove PA; its name came from Susquehannock settlers of the local area. The university was originally a missionary seminary; in 1895, it was deemed a four-year baccalaureate liberal arts institution. The university offers diverse on-campus spiritual/religious opportunities, including an active Jewish community, Catholic Ministries, a Muslim prayer area, and regular Christian services.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting/Professional Accounting

The Bachelor of Science in Accounting/Professional Accounting program at Susqu offers a 128 credit hour B.S. of Science in accounting or a 150 credit hour Professional Accounting (CPA) program. Accounting regulations, data analysis, critical thinking, writing, and presentations are ‌topics covered in the curriculum. 

The B.S. of Science in Accounting program is an AACSB International accredited program at the Sigmund Weis School of Business. Just 5% of college business programs worldwide have earned the AACSB accreditation hallmark of excellence. The program includes internship and networking programs that provide hands-on real-world experience.

The 150 credit hour program, required to sit for the CPA exam, can be completed in just four years instead of the required five years, usually necessary to get a master’s degree. 

Applying to Susqu

The admission requirements at Susqu include:

  • An online Common Application
  • Susquehanna Success Application (for first-year students)
  • Official high school transcript 
  • School counselor recommendation
  • SAT/ACT scores (optional)
  • Portfolio/resume submission

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
  • Tuition: $1665 per credit-hour 
  • Required Credits; 150 credit-hours
  • Program Length: Four years

Delivery Format: On campus

#4 Online College in Pennsylvania

Lycoming College

School Information
Location Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 62%
Graduation Rate 67%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

A Williamsport, PA private liberal arts institution, Lycoming College was founded in 1812; it's one of the oldest learning institutions in the U.S. Lycoming College operates as an independent institution, but it is religiously affiliated. 

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Lycoming College offers two tracks for students taking an accounting major; the first track is a 150 credit-hour program to meet the CPA exam requirements. Track II is a 128 credit-hour course for students pursuing a B.S. of Science in Accounting degree who desire a career in government, industry, or other fields of accounting that don’t require a CPA. 

The program’s curriculum meets the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants requirements by Pennsylvania’s State Board of Accountancy. Students planning to work in geographic locations other than PA should notify the respective state board to ensure the Lycoming accounting program meets their state’s requirements for certification.

Students majoring in accounting are required to pass a Standardized Accounting achievement examination exam as a capstone requirement.   

Applying to Lycoming College

Admission requirements for first-year applicants include:

  • An online application (including the Common Application or Coalition Application)
  • Official high school transcripts
  • Optional SAT/ACT scores  
  • Optional Choice form (when opting out of SAT/ACT score submission) A letter of recommendation
  • A personal essay

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $21,616 per semester for 12 to 16 credit hours
  • Required Credits: 128 or 150 credit-hours
  • Program Length: Four years 

Delivery Format: On campus

#5 Online College in Pennsylvania

Bucknell University

School Information
Location Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 34%
Graduation Rate 90%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

A Lewisburg, PA institution, Bucknell University, is a small, private liberal arts college offering over 60 majors in Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Management.  

Accounting & Financial Management 

The Accounting & Financial Management course at Bucknell University is focused on a wide range of political and economic topics.The Freeman College of Management takes a unique stance on its accounting program, heavily incorporating finance into its accounting program. 

A mandatory advisor consultation is required during the beginning of the sophomore year to choose either an accounting or finance major at the Freeman College of Management. Once a major is selected, students need to perform specific major requirements (besides the core coursework). Students are also required to complete internships and other real-world projects. 

Applying to Bucknell University

The admission requirements for an accounting major at Bucknell University include:

  • An online application (the Common Application or the Coalition Application)
  • A $40 non-refundable application fee (or fee waiver request)
  • A personal essay 
  • A school counselor evaluation
  • Official high school transcript 
  • A teacher recommendation
  • Optional SAT/ACT scores 
  • Enrollment in the Freeman College of Management 
  • Select intended major within the Freeman College of Management

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,531 per credit hour 
  • Required Credits: 128 or 150 credit-hours
  • Program Length: Four years 

Delivery Format: On campus

Questions About Accounting Colleges in Pennsylvania

Is accounting a good career in Pennsylvania?

As of May 2020, Pennsylvania ranked fifth in job numbers for accountants and auditors. Associated professions, including bookkeeping and financial management, are also well-represented in the Keystone State. In PA, numerous accounting jobs pay median salaries above the nationwide level.

How much do accountants earn in Pennsylvania?

According to data published by the BLS in May 2020, accountants earn above-average salaries in Pennsylvania. The BLS placed the nationwide median for accountants and auditors at $73,560 per year. In Pennsylvania, they earned median salaries of more than $77,800.

What accounting jobs are there in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is home to one of the largest economies in the United States with two dozen Fortune 500 companies based there. As such, the state's employment landscape features varied opportunities for accounting and finance professionals.

Can I get an online accounting degree in Pennsylvania?

Yes. Many of the best accounting schools in PA offer partly or fully online study options. You do not need to live in or move to Pennsylvania to earn an accounting degree from one of the state's many accredited institutions.

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