logo

Accounting Schools in West Virginia

This overview of accounting schools in West Virginia will help you make a decision on where to pursue an accounting degree to support your future career. The colleges and universities in West Virginia offer a variety of accounting programs to meet the diverse educational needs and interests of students like you. Online accounting degrees such as the Bachelor of Science in Accounting offered by Kaplan University may also be a match for your career goals.

Quick Facts:

  • There are 24 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in West Virginia.
  • 6 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.
  • Highest graduation rate*: Wheeling Jesuit University 62%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Fairmont State University 32%1
  • Highest net price per year*: Bethany College $21,0331
  • Lowest net price per year*: West Virginia State University $6,8741
  • Annual undergraduate tuition range for accounting programs in West Virginia: $9,288-$25,640.2
  • 1 school ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2013 (top 200): West Virginia University (165)
  • 1 school ranked in US News Regional Universities (South) in 2013 (top 100): Marshall University (41)
  • 2 schools ranked in Forbes Top Colleges List (top 500): West Virginia University (382), Wheeling Jesuit University (431)

*For 4-year colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Read on to learn more about your options for accounting schools in West Virginia, including information about potential career tracks and job outlooks for accounting graduates.

Schools with the Highest 2013 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

  1. West Virginia University 41.2%

There was only one school in West Virginia with first-time CPA exam candidates (with an advanced degree). The 41.2% pass rate was lower than the national pass rate of 54.6% for all candidates in the nation (with a bachelor’s or advanced degree). The first-time exam pass rate can provide a helpful metric for comparing the success of graduates from different programs although a small number of candidates at a school may create a misleading percentage. For a full statistical breakdown see the 2013 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Top Masters in Accounting Programs in West Virginia

Marshall University (Huntington, WV)

Marshall University offers a Master of Science in Accountancy that helps students meet the education requirements to become a CPA, with a strong emphasis on electronic and computer auditing. The 30 credit hour curriculum typically takes three to four semesters to complete and is the only Master of Science in Accountancy program offered in West Virginia. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers in public accounting, with courses in Audit Theory and Practice; Accounting Research; Advanced Controllership; and Government and Business Relationships. Admission is open to students from all undergraduate fields of study, though some students may need to complete a foundational core before beginning graduate study. The College of Business at Marshall University is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and offers various merit-based and need-based scholarship and graduate assistantship programs to graduate students. Marshall University is ranked #39 in Regional Universities (South) by US News for its affordable tuition, small class sizes, and diverse education programs.

University of Charleston (Charleston, WV)

University of Charleston offers a Master of Forensic Accounting that has few peers. Designed for working professionals, the program combines traditional and distance learning and can be completed with only seven on-campus visits in as little as fourteen months. Practical applications for accounting theory and knowledge are emphasized in the curriculum, which is taught by instructors who are also active practitioners in forensic accounting. The module-based program groups courses into core areas such as Foundational Concepts & Introduction to Forensic Accounting; Gathering and Analyzing Evidence; and Forensic Accounting Engagements. In the final module students complete a capstone project that integrates students; prior knowledge in a scenario-based project through which students develop a case through all stages of litigation, culminating with mock trial testimony. Admission to the program is competitive and is based on students’ academic performance, recommendations, and a program interview. US News ranks University of Charleston #19 in Regional Colleges (South), making it one of the top universities in the region.

West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV)

West Virginia University offers a Master of Professional Accountancy degree through its College of Business and Economics that promises to prepare students for the challenges found in any career in accounting. Courses in the degree program include Financial Accounting Theory and Practice, Mergers and Acquisitions, Accounting and Business Consulting, and Fraud Detection and Deterrence. Graduates are prepared to take the Uniform CPA exam and achieve full certification as public accountants. The program faculty are active in accounting research and advancement, with a particular record of contributions in the field of forensic accounting. This program holds its own separate accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and has a competitive placement record for its graduates. The College of Business and Economics additionally offers a Master of Science in Finance program as well as a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination for accounting professionals. US News ranks West Virginia University #170 in National Universities.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in West Virginia

Decker & Company PLLC is one of the leading firms in West Virginia, which it attributes to its focus on quality, professionalism, and responsiveness. Suttle & Stalnaker PLLC has grown since its founding in 1973, and now handles the accounting and consulting needs of clients of all sizes. From its offices in Charleston and Parkersburg, Suttle & Stalnaker is a reputable firm to work for, and promises to provide top line service while holding to the highest ethical standards in the industry. Toothman Rice is one of the largest CPA firms in West Virginia, but it prides itself on remaining accessible to clients. With locations throughout West Virginia, Toothman Rice is a comfortable place for recent graduates to begin a career.

How to Become a CPA in West Virginia

The West Virginia Board of Accountancy oversees the process for becoming a Certified Public Accountant in the state. There are five main steps to complete in order to earn a West Virginia CPA license.

  1. Complete a 150 semester hour or 225 quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.
  2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.
  4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  5. Apply for a license.

1. Complete a 150 semester hour or 225 quarter hour educational program of acceptable coursework in accounting.

Candidates for West Virginia CPA licensure must complete a 150 semester hour program of education that includes the award of a bachelor’s degree or higher. The program must include an accounting concentration or the equivalent. The West Virginia Board of Accountancy requires that the 150 semester hours include specific courses in accounting, consisting of:

  • 6 semester hours of financial or intermediate accounting
  • 6 semester hours of auditing or 3 semester hours of auditing plus 3 semester hours of accounting information systems
  • 3 semester hours of taxation
  • 3 semester hours of cost, managerial, governmental, or not-for-profit accounting
  • 9 semester hours of accounting electives

In addition, candidates must take specific business related courses as part of the 150 semester hour program, to include:

  • 6 semester hours of business law
  • 3 semester hours of economics
  • 3 semester hours of finance
  • 3 semester hours of marketing
  • 3 semester hours of statistics
  • 3 semester hours of management
  • 12 semester hours of business-related electives
  • 3 semester hours in ethics (which may be accounting elective or business elective)

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

West Virginia CPA candidates must earn at least one year of experience to qualify for licensure. The experience must use skills in accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, and/or consulting. Practice in public or private accounting, government, industry, not-for-profits, or academia may qualify. All experience must be verified by an actively licensed CPA.

3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

The West Virginia Board of Accountancy has adopted the AICPA professional ethics self-study course and exam to satisfy the ethics requirement for CPA licensure. Candidates can order the required materials through the AICPA website. The final exam score must be forwarded to the West Virginia Board of Accountancy.

4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Uniform CPA Exam is a requirement for CPA licensure in all 50 states. Applicants who intend to sit for the exam in West Virginia should complete the Application for Certified Public Accountant Examination and submit the completed form to the West Virginia Board of Accountancy. Once approved, candidates may complete the four sections of the exam in any order, though all four sections must be passed within an 18 month rolling period. For each individual section, candidates must submit the Intent to Sit for the CPA Examination form.

5. Apply for a license.

The last step to achieving CPA licensure in West Virginia is applying for a license. The West Virginia Board of Accountancy uses the Application for Initial Certificate/License Certified Public Accountant to process new license requests.

West Virginia CPAs must complete 120 hours of continuing education for each three year period after licensure. You can find additional information at the West Virginia Board of Accountancy website.
(Source: West Virginia Board of Accountancy)

West Virginia Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth

27.6%

Accountants and Auditors in West Virginia from 2010-20203

Although fewer accountants and auditors work in West Virginia than in surrounding states, the job market is still competitive, as evidenced by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ finding that average accountant salaries here range between $36,440 and $57,520. The demand for accountants is expected to grow in West Virginia and elsewhere, as the US Bureau of Labor statistics predicts 16% job growth in accounting from 2010 to 2020.

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche: https://colleges.niche.com/search/t-traditional/sm2-accounting/st-wv/
3. Workforce West Virginia: http://www.workforcewv.org/lmi/occproj/longterm/StateWide.htm