Accounting Colleges in D.C.


Updated April 7, 2023

Discover promising opportunities and sectors within the growing world of Washington, D.C., accounting. The information provided can help you choose your ideal path. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Washington, D.C., the country's hub for government activity and home to history, arts, and culture, offers career opportunities in diverse fields. D.C. accounting professionals, for example, can pursue employment with many businesses and government agencies.

Their proximity to these organizations could lead to opportunities in cost accounting, government accounting, management accounting, public accounting, and auditing. While the District of Columbia has experienced a slow recovery from COVID-19 — per the 2021 State of Business Report — an influx of federal funding and new businesses look to reverse those trends, which bodes well for accountants in the district.

Take a deeper dive into the Washington, D.C., accounting landscape on this page. We highlight key industry and education statistics to help prospective accountants find their ideal landing spot.

Washington, D.C. at a Glance



Major Sports Teams

Washington Commanders (NFL), Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Mystics (WNBA), Washington Nationals (MLB), Washington Capitals (NHL)

Number of Higher Learning Institutions


Per Capita Income


Fortune 500 Companies


Accountants in Washington, D.C.


Sources: U.S. Census, Current Results, NCES, Statista, BLS

Why Go to College for Accounting in D.C.?

College students in Washington, D.C., find themselves in the country's political home. The district also offers students access to internships and employment opportunities with accounting firms' headquarters. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Washington, D.C., has the highest concentration of accountant jobs in the country.

Nearly 100,000 students were enrolled in degree-granting institutions in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2020, per the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The Federal Reserve Economic Data reports that 63% of the district's college-age population has a bachelor's degree or higher as of 2021 — more than 16% higher than the most-educated state.

Many ongoing initiatives contribute to the district's postsecondary numbers, including:

  • Government partnerships with schools and employers
  • Scholarship and grant programs
  • Dedicated facilities and resources
  • Funding programs for schools and students

Students can also benefit from D.C.'s abundance of accounting schools, programs, and organizations. Along with study, employment, and networking opportunities, they provide financial support. For example, the Greater Washington Society of CPAs and the District of Columbia Chapter of the Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance feature substantial scholarships for accounting students.

Education Statistics for Washington, D.C.

Despite the small number of Washington, D.C., colleges, the district boasts much higher-than-average educational attainment numbers. The number of adults with a graduate degree in D.C. nearly triples the national average. Among other reasons, the district's educational funding and spending help make postsecondary studies an attractive option for learners.

The following table shows how Washington, D.C., compares to national averages across major higher education categories.

Higher Education Statistics Washington, D.C. Data National Data

Four-Year Colleges



Two-Year Colleges



Students Enrolled in Distance Education



Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student



Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education



Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree



Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree



Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher



Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census ACS

Accreditation for Colleges in Washington, D.C.

Accreditation demonstrates the quality of an institution and assures students that employers and other schools will recognize their degrees. Colleges and universities need institutional accreditation to offer federal financial aid, and programmatic accreditation can affect postgraduate licensure and certification.

Both institutional and programmatic accreditation should come from agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Education (CHEA).

Before 2020, CHEA-recognized accrediting agencies separated regional and national accreditors. While the geographic distinction between these two accreditations has since been eliminated, many colleges in D.C. still hold institutional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Delivery Formats for an Accounting Degree in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., accounting schools and programs offer delivery formats to accommodate many student types. While the small district makes on-campus learning more accessible than most states, nearly half the student population still uses distance learning.

We highlight and explore these factors in the following sections. Examine the major formats and what benefits they may offer you in D.C. colleges in particular. Use this information to help you decide if Washington, D.C., is the right place to start your accounting education and career.

On-Campus Programs

Washington, D.C., colleges put students in a very appealing environment of art, culture, and national landmarks. Campus students benefit from the district's compact nature, walkability, and public transportation system. On-campus students typically prioritize classroom engagement and interaction.

Online Programs

Online programs provide more scheduling flexibility and accessibility than on-campus programs. D.C., accounting students can avoid the long commute times within the district, giving them more time for their studies, employment, or familial responsibilities.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs blend online and on-campus learning to offer students greater flexibility and engagement opportunities. Along with truly hybrid programs, many online D.C. colleges and programs have on-campus residencies. These brief campus stints typically come at the beginning or end of the course or program.

Paying for Your Accounting Degree

Many students prioritize affordability when researching prospective schools. Thankfully, learners have many financial aid opportunities to help cover increasing costs. The major types of aid include federal grants and loans, scholarships and fellowships, employer assistance programs, and private loans.

Washington, D.C., has many more private schools than public, but the tuition rates for the latter come in well below the national averages. The district has the second-lowest tuition rates for out-of-state learners in the country. The links below provide more details on the different financial aid options.

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Schools typically charge lower tuition rates for in-state students than out-of-state learners due to state funding and efforts to incentivize local talent. Washington, D.C., also charges out-of-state students higher tuition rates, but not at the same levels as most other states.

Since most colleges in D.C. are private, out-of-state tuition rates do not play a large role in the district. Most private colleges charge the same tuition for all students. The one public school in the district, the University of the District of Columbia, has relatively low tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students.

Cost of Living in Washington, D.C.

When budgeting for school, students should consider the cost of living. For example, the price of housing, groceries, and transportation can have a large impact on a budget.

According to Payscale, Washington, D.C.'s cost of living is 39% higher than the national average. World Population Review reporting indicates that Maryland and Virginia — the states surrounding D.C. — also have a higher-than-average cost of living. In fact, Maryland has one of the highest cost-of-living indexes at 124, much greater than the national baseline of 100.

Careers for Accounting Graduates in D.C.

Changing tax environments have created an international demand for accounting professionals. Globalization, increasingly complex financial regulations, and a growing need for analysis and consulting contribute to this growth. As a result, the BLS projects a 6% employment growth for the field from 2021-2031 — a rate just above the national average for all occupations.

Washington, D.C., primarily focuses on government and business accounting. While only KPMG has a major office in the district among the Big Four accounting firms, PwC, Deloitte, and EY maintain offices in nearby Virginia. The District of Columbia also houses one of the highest concentrations of nonprofit organizations among major metropolitan areas.

The high number of international businesses and finance organizations like the World Bank should also appeal to accounting professionals. In the section below, we examine a few of the district's most popular accounting careers and employment trends.

Popular Accounting Careers in D.C.

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

Bookkeepers and accounting clerks handle organizations' financial record-keeping duties. They accurately track transactions and produce reports using accounting software and applications. These professionals usually need some college training or an associate degree.

Job Outlook in Washington, D.C. (2020-30): +4.3%

Compliance Officers

Compliance officers ensure that businesses adhere to laws, regulations, and licensure requirements. They perform audits and investigations, summarizing their findings with reports. A compliance officer typically needs a bachelor's degree at minimum.

Job Outlook in Washington, D.C. (2020-30): +3.2%

Financial Managers

Financial managers oversee organizations' financial health and activities. They develop policies, identify opportunities for improvements, and contribute financial perspectives for decision-making. While a financial manager needs a bachelor's degree, many employers prefer master's-level candidates.

Job Outlook in Washington, D.C. (2020-30): +7.1%

Washington, D.C., Employment Trends

Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Job Availability Washington, D.C. National

2020 Employment



2030 Projected Employment



Projected Job Growth, 2020-30



Source: Projections Central

Accounting Salaries by Career
Career D.C. Employment D.C. Average Annual Salary National Average Annual Salary

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks




Credit Counselors




Payroll Clerks




Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Compliance Officers




Cost Estimators




Property Appraisers and Assessors




Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents




Tax Examiners and Collectors




Tax Preparers




Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors




Budget Analysts




Financial Analysts




Financial Managers




Personal Financial Advisors




Source: BLS OEWS

Compared to national data, pursuing an accounting career in Washington, D.C., appears positive. Across the board, salaries within the district come in higher than the national averages. The District of Columbia has some of the highest wages in the country in several fields, including bookkeeping, financial management, and property appraising.

Washington, D.C., also has high concentrations of accounting professionals in several fields, including financial managers, compliance officers, and financial analysts. The availability of these high-concentration and high-paying jobs makes the district a very alluring option for aspiring accounting professionals.

Washington, D.C., Requirements for Certified Public Accountants

Every state maintains requirements for certified public accountant (CPA) licensure. Most CPA candidates need a combination of accounting education, national testing, and experience.

Once they meet the requirements and pass the CPA examination, candidates can apply for licensure with the D.C. Board of Accountancy. In Washington, D.C., each aspiring CPA needs the following to qualify:

  • 18 years old
  • Social Security number
  • Bachelor's degree
  • 150 credit hours
  • Courses in financial accounting, cost accounting, auditing, federal income taxes, business law, and commercial law
  • Pass CPA exam
  • 1 year of verified professional experience

Questions About Accounting in Washington, D.C.

  • Can I get an accounting degree in Washington, D.C.?

    Yes. Many Washington, D.C., colleges offer accounting degrees. The district has associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in accounting available.

  • Is accounting a good career in Washington, D.C.?

    Yes. Washington, D.C., offers many quality accounting jobs. Accounting professionals in the district can pursue high-demand and high-paying roles in many fields.

  • What accounting jobs are there in Washington, D.C.?

    According to the BLS, the largest Washington, D.C., accounting workforces include accountants, financial managers, and financial analysts, plus compliance officers, bookkeepers, and budget analysts.

  • How much do accountants earn in Washington, D.C.?

    The annual mean wage for Washington, D.C., accountants was $110,240 as of May 2021, per the BLS. This figure exceeds the national wage by more than $25,000 and ranks as the highest in the country for the profession.

  • How do I become an accountant in D.C.?

    While the field has no mandatory requirements, most accountants in D.C. have bachelor's degrees. While some employers may hire accountants with less education, many businesses prefer candidates with master's degrees.

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