Accounting Degrees in Virginia
Virginia is home to one of the strongest economies in the country, and its GDP of $494.3 billion ranks 12th among all U.S. states. This fertile economy is supported by 23 Fortune 500 companies based in the state, which include major businesses like Freddie Mac, Capital One Financial, and the Altria Group, parent company to Phillip Morris. Given its proximity to Washington, D.C., Virginia is also a center of military and defense spending, with major defense contractors such as General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman headquartered in the state. This expansive, varied business climate means high demand for financial professionals, and Virginia employs more than 40,000 accountants and auditors, a far higher concentration than the national average. Virginia accountants also earn an annual mean wage of $83,380, which is far above the national average.
Virginia at a glance
|Per Capita Income||$34,052|
|Fortune 500 Companies||23|
|Licensed CPA Firms||1,150|
Accounting Programs in Virginia
Search our comprehensive school directory to explore the accounting programs in Virginia, including campus-based, online and hybrid programs.
- Degree Levels
Accounting Salaries and Employment
The Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports Virginian accountants and auditors earn an average annual income of $78,640, making them among the highest paid in the country. The outlook for CPAs in Virginia is bright in terms of both earning power and job growth. The number of accountants and auditors in the state is expected to increase 16.1% through 2022, bringing the total number of accountants to almost 49,000.
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
- Winchester, VA-WV$75,910
- Charlottesville, VA$75,570
- Richmond, VA$73,390
- Burlington-South Burlington, VT$73,390
- Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport, VA-NC$71,320
Major firms headquartered in Virginia
|Count||Firm||Location||2014 Revenue (in millions)|
|1||Kearney & Co.||Alexandria, VA||$109|
|2||PB Mares||Newport News, VA||$35|
|3||Cotton & Co.||Alexandria, VA||$29|
|4||Brown, Edwards & Co.||Roanoke, VA||$26|
|5||Johnson Lambert||Falls Church, VA||$25|
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 Virginia
CPAs in Virginia must meet requirements developed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Candidates must:
- Pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam
- Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher
- Complete a minimum of 150 Credit hours of postsecondary education
- Have one year of full-time experience in academia, a CPA firm or related industry that meets VBOA standards.
The Virginia Board of Accountancy also requires candidates pass a Virginia specific ethics course. Virginia has been a leader in implementing CPA Mobility standards developed by the AICPA which enable CPAs licensed in other states to practice in Virginia.
Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Virginia
Applicants for CPA licensure in Virginia CPA must comply with the requirements outlined below.
- Candidates must have either a valid social security number or control number issued by the Virginia DMV; U.S. citizenship is not required
- All four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam must be passed with a score of at least 75%
Since it is not uncommon for candidates to require more than sitting to complete all four parts the State of Virginia allows applicants 18 months to complete the exam in its entirety.
|Social Security # Requirement||Yes|
|Education Requirement for Licensure||150 hours (including bachelor's degree)|
|Participates in International Programs||Yes|
|Hours in Accounting||Accounting courses: minimum 24 semester hours, to include: auditing, financial accounting, management accounting and taxation. Business courses: minimum of 24 semester hours, not more than 6 semester hours of accounting courses (not included in the 24 hours of accounting courses) may be considered as business courses. Principles or introductory courses do not qualify in the 48 required hours.|
|Exam Sitting Requirements||120 semester hours (including bachelor's degree) with accounting concentration or equivalent.|
|Experience Requirements||Employed full-time equivalent of 1 year in academia, a firm, government or industry in any capacity involving the substantial use of accounting, financial, tax or other skills that are relevant. Whether other skills are relevant shall be determined by the Virginia Board of Accountancy on a case-by-case basis. Self- employment does not qualify as experience.|
|Ethics Exam||AICPA self-study Professional Ethics: AICPA Comprehensive Course|
Licensing and eligibility requirements for Virginia CPAs have been established by the Virginia Board of Accountancy and are codified in Virginia code sections 54.1-116 – 54.1-413.Source: The American Institute of CPAs
CPA exam fees in Virginia
- Application Fee $120
- Auditing & Attestation $208
- Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
- Regulation $208
- Business Environment & Concepts $208
The Virginia Board of Accountancy requires $20 re-examination application fee be paid by individuals wishing to re-take one or more sections of the Uniform CPA Exam.
Certifying and Professional Organizations
The Virginia Board of Accountancy regulates CPAs throughout the state ensuring that CPAs meet the statutory requirements for initial licensing and license renewal. The board ensures that active licensee comply with regulations and statutes including continuing professional education obligations. The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants is a professional membership organization committed to the professional growth and success of its members.
Virginia Board of Accountancy
9960 Maryland Drive, Ste. 402
Henrico, VA 23233