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Virginia offers a low cost of education and plethora of distance education options, making it a great place to pursue an accounting degree. Popular accounting careers in West Virginia include bookkeeping and auditing clerks, accountants and auditors, financial managers, and cost estimators.
Students pursuing all types of accounting degrees in Virginia can put their education to good use in the state after graduation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that personal financial advisors in the state earn an average annual salary of $95,780.
This guide explains why it's worthwhile to pursue a West Virginia online accounting degree. It also covers potential careers and salaries for graduates, along with ideas for how to fund an education in the state. At the end of this page, we include a list of the best accounting schools in West Virginia.
West Virginia at a Glance
|Per Capita Income||$26,179|
|Fortune 500 Companies||0|
|Number of Higher Learning Institutions||44|
|Climate||Average Annual Temperature: 51.8℉ |
Annual Precipitation: 45.2 inches
|Accountants in West Virginia||4,250|
Top West Virginia Schools for Accounting
- Wheeling Jesuit University
- West Virginia University
- West Virginia University Institute of Technology
- West Virginia Wesleyan College
- Marshall University
- Bluefield State College
- Ohio Valley University
- Davis & Elkins College
- Bethany College
- Shepherd University
Why Go to College for Accounting in West Virginia?
Students may choose to earn their accounting degrees in West Virginia because of the low cost of tuition and living, and/or for the benefits of networking in the state where you plan to work after graduation.
Comparatively, Virginia is very affordable: The cost of living falls below the national average, making it easier for students to pay for housing, transportation, groceries, and other basic necessities while getting an education. Tuition at four-year public universities and private institutions of higher learning in West Virginia also costs less than the national average.
West Virginia offers more than three dozen institutions of higher learning to choose from. Some of the best schools in the state are in towns like Morgantown, Fairmont, Bluefield, and Huntington. Proximity to a campus can be important even for distance learners, because some hybrid online programs may require in-person components.
Students who plan to work in West Virginia after college can particularly benefit from earning their accounting degrees in state. They can network with their classmates and local accounting professionals before they even graduate, opening the door to potential internship and job opportunities.
Education Statistics for West Virginia
Prospective students in West Virginia can choose from 25 four-year colleges and 19 two-year colleges when deciding where to earn an accounting degree. The state dedicates 6.3% of tax revenue to higher education, more than the national average of 5.8%.
Fifty-eight percent of West Virginians participate in distance education for at least part of their college experience, substantially more than the national average of 34.7%. Fewer adults over 25 hold an associate, bachelor's, or graduate degree here compared to the national average.
Higher Education in West Virginia
|West Virginia Data||National Data|
|Number of Four-Year Colleges||25||3,004|
|Number of Two-Year Colleges||19||1,579|
|Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education||58%||34.7%|
|Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student||$5,261||$8,196|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||6.3%||5.8%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree||7.1%||8.4%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree||12.2%||19.4%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher||8%||12.1%|
Accreditation for West Virginia Schools
Accredited colleges go through a process of evaluation by an independent accrediting agency that examines the curriculum and student outcomes to ensure each institution is meeting the same standards of academic excellence. A college can have either regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation applies to nonprofit schools, which allows for transfer of credits between other schools and admission to graduate programs and professional certifications at other regionally accredited institutions.
Students deciding where to earn their online accounting degrees in West Virginia should look for schools accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The state's regional accreditation body, the HLC evaluates universities in West Virginia and many other states stretching from Ohio to Arizona.
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Considerations for an Accounting Degree in West Virginia
Earning an accounting degree in West Virginia offers a variety of benefits, but many factors go into the process of choosing the right college and program. The information below can help you determine if West Virginia is the right state in which to start your search for accounting programs. We explain the types of accounting degrees and concentrations available, the differences between online and on-campus programs, and figuring out how to pay for your accounting degree.
Accounting Degree Levels
Not every college offers every level of accounting degree, so the type of degree you want to pursue may impact your school decision. Students can pursue an associate, bachelor's, master's, or Ph.D. in accounting. Each type of degree leads to different careers and salaries. Below, we explain the different accounting degree levels.
Associate Degree in Accounting
An accounting associate degree prepares students for careers as bookkeeping and auditing clerks, payroll clerks, and credit counselors.
Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
A bachelor's degree in accounting gives learners the skills to become cost estimators and tax examiners and collectors.
Master's Degree in Accounting
A master's degree in accounting provides excellent preparation for most accounting occupations, including accountant and auditor, personal financial advisor, and financial manager.
Ph.D. in Accounting
A terminal degree in the field, a Ph.D. in accounting gives graduates the expertise for high-level accounting careers in academia and business.
Accounting Concentration Options
Students earning their accounting degrees in West Virginia can choose from a variety of concentrations, including environmental accounting, mergers and acquisitions, sports accounting, and international tax. The following concentrations may prove particularly beneficial to accounting majors in the state, due to their broad applicability to popular accounting career opportunities in West Virginia. Below, we explain why to consider choosing a cost accounting or financial accounting concentration.
|Cost Accounting||A concentration in cost accounting focuses on internal management and issues like employee efficiency, logistics, and purchasing. This concentration prepares graduates for careers like accountant and auditor, management accountant, financial manager, and management analyst.|
|Financial Accounting||A financial accounting concentration emphasizes external reporting of financial information and analysis of financial data. Potential careers for those who choose this concentration include financial accountant, budget analyst, auditor, and financial analyst.|
On-Campus Versus Online Program Options
Accounting students in West Virginia can choose from on-campus, online, or hybrid accounting programs. Below, we explain the differences between these learning modes.
On-campus programs in West Virginia frequently attract learners coming straight from high school and others who want a traditional college experience. Benefits of choosing this option include the opportunity to connect with classmates and instructors in person and participate in extracurricular activities and student groups on campus. Attending an in-person class provides needed structure and motivation for some learners.
Those choosing to pursue online accounting degrees in West Virginia include working adults, students who have been out of school for a long time, and anyone trying to balance multiple responsibilities. Many students prefer the flexibility and convenience that online programs offer. Instead of attending an in-person class at a specific time and place, most distance education programs let learners log on asynchronously, allowing them to complete coursework when convenient.
Hybrid programs combine aspects of online and in-person learning. The amount of online learning available in hybrid programs varies by school. In some cases, students take some classes online and some in person. Other programs offer classes with some parts online and some on campus.
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education
|Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses||Enrolled in Some but Not All Distance Education Courses||Not Enrolled in Any Distance Education Courses|
|West Virginia Students||41.6%||16.4%||42%|
|United States Students||16.3%||18.4%||65.3%|
Paying for Your Accounting Degree
Students pursuing accounting degrees have several financing options to pay for their education. A four-year college degree costs less in West Virginia than in many other states, and learners who can pay in-state tuition save significantly compared to out-of-state students.
Explore financial aid opportunities like scholarships, grants, fellowships, and student loans. Scholarships and grants don't need to be repaid. Fellowships typically pay a graduate student to pursue academic work in their field. The federal government offers low-interest loans to undergraduate and graduate students to help offset the cost of college.
Average Cost of College Tuition and Fees in West Virginia, 2017-2018
|Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)||$7,619||$9,037|
|Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)||$21,032||$25,657|
|Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)||$12,341||$30,731|
|Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)||$4,077||$3,243|
|Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)||$9,410||$7,971|
In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition
In-state tuition costs much less than out-of-state tuition in West Virginia. Students who can find a way to qualify to pay in-state tuition can save significantly compared to those who pay out-of-state rates. The average in-state tuition at a four-year public school is $7,619, compared to the $21,032 an out-of-state learner would pay for the same education. Students attending public two-year colleges also pay much less for in-state tuition ($4,077) than out-of-state tuition ($9,410). Private four-year colleges charge the same tuition regardless of residency status.
The Southern Regional Education Board's Academic Common Market state reciprocity agreement allows students in nearby states to pay in-state tuition rates for select undergraduate and graduate degree programs in West Virginia. Participating states include Tennessee, Texas, Kentucky, and Virginia.
West Virginia's Cost of Living
Living in West Virginia is less expensive than in many other places. The state ranks as the 16th most affordable state in the country, with a cost of living index score of 92.4; comparatively, the national average affordability score is 100. This low cost of living can prove beneficial to those who attend college in the state.
Other School Selection Criteria
Besides the factors mentioned above, a variety of other key criteria may impact the selection of the right school for you, regardless of state. Depending on your situation you may want to consider one or more of the following when making your decision:
Explore Our Rankings For the Best Accounting Programs at Each Level
Careers for Accounting Graduates in West Virginia
West Virginia's historic dependence on mineral resources and the energy sector has negatively impacted the state's economy. The state's coal industry has been steadily declining with growing concerns about the environmental impacts of relying on fossil fuels.
Major industries include chemicals, biotech, and healthcare. All of these industries need workers with accounting degrees to help them find ways to reduce costs and keep track of financial information. Ernst and Young, one of the "Big Four" accounting firms, has an office in Charleston, West Virginia.
Below, we discuss potential accounting careers in West Virginia, including information about the availability of jobs and average salaries. We also explain the requirements for becoming a CPA in the state, answer some frequently asked questions about earning an accounting degree in West Virginia, and include a list of some of the best accounting schools here.
Select Accounting Careers in West Virginia
Personal Financial Advisors
Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks
West Virginia Employment Trends
Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Potential salary is not the only reason to consider a career, but it's useful to understand which degree you need to pursue different accounting professions. Level of compensation typically increases as the level of education required goes up.
For those with associate degrees, becoming a credit counselor is the best-paying career in the state. Bachelor's-holders who pursue cost estimation earn salaries almost equal to the national average. Earning a master's degree in accounting opens the door to the most varied and lucrative career options for accounting professionals in West Virginia, including work as financial advisors and financial managers.
West Virginia Requirements for Certified Public Accountants
The requirements for becoming a certified public accountant vary, because each state sets its own rules and regulations for licensure. Students hoping to become CPAs should check the rules of the state in which they hope to practice before graduation. West Virginia requires CPAs meet the following criteria to receive their license:
See the West Virginia Board of Accountancy for more information about becoming a CPA in the state.
Frequently Asked Questions About Accounting in West Virginia
Is accounting a good career in West Virginia?
Yes. West Virginia offers a variety of promising accounting careers. The best-paying accounting careers in West Virginia include financial manager and personal financial advisor.
How much do accountants earn in West Virginia?
Salary expectations for accounting professionals vary by experience level, type of degree held, and industry. The BLS reports accountants in West Virginia earn a mean annual wage of $67,340.
What accounting jobs are there in West Virginia?
Accounting careers in West Virginia include accountants and auditors, financial managers, personal financial advisors, and cost estimators. Other accounting jobs in the state include bookkeeping and auditing clerks, payroll clerks, credit counselors, and tax examiners and collectors.
Can I get an accounting degree in West Virginia?
Yes. Many colleges offer accounting degrees in West Virginia, including at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. levels.
Does West Virginia have online accounting programs?
Yes. Students have several options to earn a West Virginia online accounting degree. The state offers a variety of partly and fully online accounting degrees.
West Virginia Accounting and Education Organizations
West Virginia Society of CPAs
WVSCPA promotes the CPA profession in West Virginia. The group produces a newsletter, runs a career center, and offers networking events and other opportunities for students and professional CPAs.
West Virginia Public Accountant Association
This organization is an IRS-accredited continuing professional education provider CPAs, enrolled agents, and registered tax return preparers. The group hosts an annual conference and other events.
West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
The Commission supports students and colleges in West Virginia with issues like financial aid, student affairs, academic affairs, and policy and planning.
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