Certified Public Account (CPA) salary in the US

Like most professional jobs, your salary may be informed by where you work, and the CPA salary in the US is no exception. Employment opportunities vary as well, depending on the kind of specialization. Companies and the government require great accounting professionals as the financial industry is evolving. This is, however, impacting positively on the CPA salary in the US. In this post, we are glad to talk about some of the critical aspects of a Certified Public Accountant CPA, from CPA salary, entry-level CPA salary, CPA vs. non CPA salary, CPA salary in the US, and every other thing in between. Sit tightly as we are about to walk you through one of the highly in-demand professions in the US.

Certified Public Account (CPA) salary in the US

How to Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Obtaining certification as a certified public accountant or CPA is a difficult but worthwhile endeavor. Obtaining a CPA license is the ultimate goal for many accounting students. It takes time, dedication, and perseverance, but it can lead to better work prospects and security, a higher wage, and a plethora of promotion options in the long run. Businesses and the government both require great accounting professionals as the financial industry evolves, thanks to worldwide prospects, ever-changing regulatory regulations, and complicated corporate acquisitions.

A CPA license is the industry standard for guaranteeing that accounting professionals have the education and experience necessary to maintain the highest financial and ethical standards. But what’s the difference between an accountant who is also a CPA and one who isn’t? Hold on, we’ll explain the differences between these two professions and why you should become a CPA rather than a non-certified accountant as we progress.

What are the General Requirements for Becoming a Certified Public Accountant?

Obtaining a CPA license is a difficult task. It’s a time-consuming process that ensures the highest fiscal and ethical conduct standards. If you want to improve your earning potential, advance your career, or work for a large corporation, you should devote time and effort to obtaining your CPA certification. These are the minimum criteria, however, they differ per state. We’ll go through each of these requirements in detail for the state of Ohio so you can get a better understanding of the procedure.

1. Comply with the Ohio CPA Education Requirements.

In Ohio, you must finish 150 semester hours of authorized study to become a CPA. You’ll need to take 30 semester hours in accounting, with 24 hours above the introductory level. The following courses must be taken as part of this concentration:

  • Auditing, not including internal auditing
  • Financial accounting
  • Management and cost accounting
  • Professional ethics for CPAs
  • Taxation

Another business curriculum must also meet minimal education standards. Business law, economics, finance, management, and marketing are examples of such courses. You may not need all 150 credit hours if you pass the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) with a minimum score of 620 and have an associate or bachelor’s degree with at least 30 hours of accounting education. Still, you will be needed to gain additional experience.

2. Complete the State of Ohio’s Experience Hours Requirement.

Candidates for CPA in Ohio must work in the field for at least a year. Working at a public accounting company, for the government, for business, or in academia can all count toward this experience. The amount of experience required varies depending on your educational level. The most straightforward way to guarantee that the experience requirement is met is to read the board rules carefully and contact the Ohio Accountancy Board with any queries.

3. Pass an Approved Professional Standards and Responsibilities Course.

The Ohio Accountancy Board mandates that you take a professional standards and responsibilities (PSR) course that focuses on Ohio law and accounting board guidelines. The Accountancy Board of Ohio maintains a list of recognized sponsors for PSR courses.

4. Obtain a passing score on the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Ohio Accountancy Board employs NASBA to handle the Uniform CPA Exam application and testing procedures. The NASBA website is where you can apply to take the exam. Within an 18-month rolling period, all four exam components must be passed. The CPA exam is divided into four sections, each of which can be completed in any sequence. The CPA exam is divided into four sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD): This division encompasses all public accounting auditing and assurance services. It assesses your understanding of the AICPA’s professional code of conduct, auditing, reviews, compilations, and attest engagements.
  • Accounting and Reporting of Financial Information (FAR): The FAR test has the greatest information of any exam component. It covers all aspects of financial accounting and reporting, including the FASB framework, financial statement preparation, US GAAP regulations, and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) rules.
  • Regulation (REG): REG is the only exam that doesn’t explicitly cover accounting topics. Rather, it concentrates on corporate and individual taxation and business law and ethics.
  • BEC (Business Environment and Concepts): This test examines the environment in which firms operate. It covers macro-and microeconomics, cost accounting, management, and information systems, among other topics.
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Each section of the exam is divided into tests, which contain multiple-choice questions or task-based simulations. To pass the exam, you must thoroughly study the topics for each component to achieve the required score of 75 (on a scale of 0 to 99) in each of the four areas. Each section should take between 100 and 180 hours of study time. In addition to individual study, many examinees prefer to take a test preparation course.

5. Conduct a criminal background investigation

In Ohio, obtaining a CPA license necessitates a criminal background check. The records check is based on fingerprints, and fingerprints must be submitted online through a “WebCheck” vendor-approved. Both Ohio and federal records are included in the background check.

6. Obtain an Ohio CPA license.

The Application for Original Ohio Certificate of Certified Public Accountant is the final step in getting a CPA license in Ohio. With your application, you must include the relevant verification of experience paperwork. To keep your CPA license current, you must complete 120 hours of continuing education every three years. Your area of professional activity determines subject choices for continuing education. Additional information is available on the Ohio Accountancy Board’s website.


How to Obtain a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License

Obtaining a CPA license is a difficult task, but with attention and effort, it may lead to a long and rewarding career in an industry that is expected to increase by 10% by 2026. (much faster than average). You’ll also make significantly more than non-certified accountants, both at the start and during your career, and you’ll have virtually endless growth opportunities.

Obtain an accounting bachelor’s degree.

Obtaining a BS in Accounting is the ideal first step toward becoming a CPA. The BS in Accounting program at Franklin University is designed to meet the professional standards required of CPAs. It will provide you with the required coursework and industry-standard tools and simulations identical to those seen on the CPA test. You can complete 100% of your coursework online or on one of our campuses. With a Master’s Degree or an Additional Bachelor’s Degree, you can complete your 150 semester hours. If you already have a BS in Accounting and need to earn enough credits to meet the 150-hour requirement, you can pursue a master’s degree or another bachelor’s degree in a related field.


How To Get Your CPA Certification If You’re Not An Accounting Major

If you’re not an accounting major but still want to become a CPA, there are measures you can take to get started. You’ll need to meet the educational and experience standards, but you can do it with a strategy and a lot of hard work. Furthermore, because different states have varying CPA requirements and different degrees have varied learning speeds, you can select the best path for you by reviewing the facts below. The CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation from the United States is internationally recognized and beneficial to both auditors and financial professionals. Is it possible for non-accounting majors and non-accountants to achieve the CPA? We’ll answer that question (yes) and show you how to get your CPA regardless of your Major.

CPA Exam Requirements

Understanding the CPA exam standards that everyone must fulfill is the first step in learning how to get your CPA license without a degree in accounting. To meet the licensure criteria, all CPA candidates must meet the 3 E’s:

  1. Education: complete a four-year bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 150 credit hours in general higher education and a minimum of 30 credit hours in accounting and business.
  2. Exam: pass the Uniform CPA Examination in all four parts.
  3. Accounting experience: a minimum of 1-2 years of relevant and verifiable accounting experience is required.
  4. Some state boards also impose an additional requirement: passing an ethics exam. To complete this fourth E, you must pass whichever ethics exam your state board employs, whether it’s the AICPA’s Professional Ethics Exam or one designed by the state board.

These requirements will most likely cause problems for non-accounting majors in the following areas:

  1. The number of accounting credit hours required.
  2. Work experience that is relevant

A Non-Accounting Majors’ Guide to Becoming a CPA

Complete the required number of accounting credit hours

The most straightforward way to become a CPA without an accounting degree is to choose a state board that requires the fewest accounting courses as part of their CPA exam requirements. These state boards require the people to take the exam:

  • Maine (15 credit hours): While Maine’s accounting education requirements are more moderate, its experience requirements are substantially stricter. At least two years of public accounting experience, including audits, reviews, compilations, advisory/consulting services, tax preparation, or tax counseling.
  • Hawaii (18 credit hours): Students with an accounting emphasis and those with bachelor’s degrees in other fields are accepted by the Hawaii state board. Within the first two criteria, those who do not major in accounting must also complete 18 semester hours of upper-division or graduate-level accounting or auditing studies.
  • Georgia (24 credit hours): The Georgia state board of accountancy only counts upper-division credits toward the 24-hour education requirement. Upper-division courses are intermediate and advanced courses that are only available in the third and fourth years of college. To qualify for the CPA certification in Georgia, you’ll need to study more than 24 credit hours in accounting.
  • Massachusetts (30 credit hours): Massachusetts is fussy about which courses you take, but not the same way as Georgia. This state board is more concerned with the topic matter than with the course level. Some of your 30 credit hours must come from financial accounting, auditing, management accounting, and taxes courses in this situation.
  • Alaska (24 credit hours): Students with an accounting emphasis and those with bachelor’s degrees in other fields are accepted by the Alaska state board. Candidates are eligible to take the exam if they are nearing completion of their accounting degree, have a bachelor’s degree with 15 accounting credits, or have one year of public accounting experience. Licensure is not one of these choices. Meeting the educational standards of these state boards is doable, but it is difficult.
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CPA Salary in the US

CPA salary in the US are often in the upper five figures, with senior CPAs in management earning six figures. So, if you’re a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, or an entry-level accountant looking for a higher salary and greater responsibilities, a certified public accountant qualification might be worth considering. If you’re an accountant, a CPA income is higher, and the certification will help you advance in your career. A CPA license opens opportunities for a variety of well-paying jobs. Obtaining a CPA license (and a CPA salary) takes a major time and energy investment and a commitment to ongoing study, so it’s vital to grasp the possible pay-off before pursuing it.

Certified public accountants work in the corporate and public sectors and the federal government in fields like forensic accounting, tax preparation, auditing, bookkeeping, and information technology. Being a CPA can lead to a position as a chief financial officer or a well-paid tax accountant with the correct amount of experience. Although the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) indicates that a CPA normally makes more, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not break out CPA wages from its reporting on accountants and auditors. In 2020, the median income for an accountant was $73,560.


Careers in Accounting vs. CPA

While all CPAs are accountants, not all accountants are CPAs, and becoming an accountant is easier than becoming a CPA. Most states, according to the AICA, which administers and scores the exam, allow anyone to call themselves an accountant. Meanwhile, CPAs must meet “educational, experience, and ethical standards” and pass the Uniform CPA exam to be granted a license. Candidates must finish 150 semester hours of education and any other state requirements. Depending on the program, this may require an undergraduate degree, specific graduate courses, a master’s degree in accounting, or an MBA with an accounting specialization.

Companies recognize the higher standard that CPAs are held to at the end of the day. CPAs are the only people who can do the mandatory audits at public firms once they have been licensed. Because of the rigorous criteria of the CPA designation, they are often more educated than their counterparts. In light of this, broad accounting salaries are deceptive. Only a CPA can prepare an audited financial statement, which is a significant distinction between an average accountant and a CPA. This is one of the main reasons CPAs are in high demand among large corporations requiring audited financial statements.

Certified public accountants can work for international financial firms or the government, and they often earn more than non-certified accountants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median US compensation for accountants and auditors was $71,550 in May 2019 (the most recent data is January 2021). Individuals in the worst ten percent earned $44,480, while those in the top ten percent made $124,450. Because the term “accountant” encompasses a wide range of employees with varying levels of responsibility, this is a big range.

CPAs are typically the senior accountants and auditors in positions of significant responsibility. CPAs are normally on the higher end of this income range because they take on more responsibility. According to the American Institute of CPAs, CPAs may have greater flexibility than their counterparts due to the cyclical nature of their jobs (i.e., certain seasons of the year are busier than others).

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Salary Ranges in Accounting

People who work in accounting without a CPA designation can find a variety of occupations and earn a variety of salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for accountants working in the areas of bookkeeping, tax preparation, and payroll services was $73,180 in 2020.

1. Insurance firms and financial institutions

Accountants in general services accounting for insurance companies and finance-oriented organizations are well compensated. Using the same BLS statistics as before, the median annual wage for individuals who work in tax preparation is $78,600, which is slightly more than those who work in accounting.

2. Government Jobs

Government accounting jobs pay a lot of money, with a typical annual salary of $72,260. As of 2020, the government employed roughly 8% of all accountants and auditors.

3. Junior Accountant/Tax Associate

Many accounting graduates will be able to obtain work as a junior tax associate or accountant right away. Tax-related disciplines might serve as a stepping stone to higher-paying positions. A junior tax associate will need to be familiar with federal, state, and local tax regulations and how to file tax returns and other tax-related documentation for people and businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the yearly median pay in 2020 was $55,640.


Scales for CPA salary in the US

Because most persons obtain a CPA to take on more responsibilities and management roles, their incomes will far exceed those of most accounting graduates. Indeed found an average base income of $81,500 in 2021 based on data from all job posts on the job board, which included “CPA.” According to Accounting Today magazine and the AICPA can earn up to $150,000. In addition, the expertise and education required to become a CPA can lead to additional positions such as business comptroller or certified financial officer.

1. CPA salary in the US (CPA Entry-Level)

Entry-level CPAs earn between $40,000 and $60,000 on average, depending on the size of the firm, according to Accounting Today magazine, a renowned trade newspaper.

2. CPA salary in the US (CPA Senior-Level)

Depending on their expertise, a CPA with more than five years on the job can earn anywhere from $66,000 to $110,000.

3. Director or Manager with a CPA

According to Accounting Today’s statistics, CPAs who go to management or a director’s role often make $66,000 and $150,000. Other senior positions for experienced CPAs include executive management positions, which can pay six figures. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median compensation for chief executives in 2020 was $107,680.


Certified public accountants are usually in-demand, and a good CPA can pull in a high five-figure salary and if they decide not to work for a large company, they could set up shop on their own. This career offers work opportunities in various public and private sectors, from the government to information technology. We are hopeful this post helps you. Keep in mind that Certified public accountants are in-demand and often more educated than general accountants. Still, they work long hours, especially during tax time, if they work in taxation. The higher salaries usually mean more responsibilities at work, which could cause stress, but it depends on the individual. Overall, it is worth all the effort and work.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does a Certified Public Accountant Make in Each State?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas, California, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania are the states with the most accountants and the highest wages. Keep in mind that these figures indicate accountant incomes, as the BLS does not distinguish between CPA and regular accountant jobs. The following is the average pay for CPAs in the top five states: According to the most recent annual BLS report from May 2020, the most expensive states are New York ($101,440), California ($88,130), Texas ($80,170), Pennsylvania ($77,810), and Florida ($74,960).

What Does a CPA Get Paid in a Year?

It is dependent on your residence and place of employment. In New York, a CPA can earn more than $90,000, whereas a junior accountant can only earn around $50,000.

Can CPAs Earn a Six-Figure Salary?

Senior CPAs in management roles typically make more than $100,000 monthly. Most CPAs may anticipate making well into the six figures.

How Much Do Big 4 CPAs Get Paid?

According to revenue, the “Big Four” refers to the four largest accounting companies in the United States. Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler are the four firms (KPMG). All four organizations offer tax and management consulting, legal advisory services, valuation, market research, and assurance. According to the Corporate Financial Institute, all four businesses’ entry-level accounting wages start at around $45,000.

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