Accounting Degrees in Pennsylvania
A center of business in the Northeast, Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s top economies and the home of 21 Fortune 500 companies, including Comcast, Rite Aid, Kraft Heinz, and Hershey. The state’s substantial economy, which includes major sectors in agriculture, banking, and manufacturing, drives a significant demand for financial services, and Pennsylvania employs more than 52,000 accountants and auditors—both a higher number and a higher concentration that almost all other U.S. states. New York may serve as the financial capital of both the region and the country, but four of the area’s biggest finance firms are headquartered in Pennsylvania: The Bonadio Group, Schnedier Downs, Kreischer Miller, and Boyer & Ritter. Each of the “Big Four” accounting firms also maintain multiple offices around the state.
Pennsylvania at a glance
|Per Capita Income||$29,220|
|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.
- Degree Levels
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
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
- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD$77,970
- Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ$71,550
- Philadelphia, PA - Metropolitan Division$77,110
- York-Hanover, PA$68,080
- Pittsburgh, PA$67,310
Major firms headquartered in Pennsylvania
|Count||Firm||Location||2014 Revenue (in millions)|
|1||Schneider Downs||Pittsburgh, PA||$66|
|2||Reinsel Kuntz Lesher||Lancaster, PA||$57|
|3||Kreischer Miller||Horsham, PA||$31|
|4||Boyer & Ritter||Camp Hill, PA||$14|
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 and Regional Leaders"
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.
|Social Security # Requirement||Yes|
|Education Requirement for Licensure||150 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 Programs||Yes|
|Hours in Accounting||24 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 Requirements||Bachelor's degree or higher (120 hours)|
|Experience Requirements||1 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.|
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
CPA exam fees in Pennsylvania
- Application Fee $150
- Auditing & Attestation $208
- Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
- Regulation $208
- Business Environment & Concepts $208
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
P.O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105