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Accounting Schools in Ohio

The accounting schools in Ohio provide a wide array of master’s in accounting programs for students who are interested in starting or furthering their careers. This overview of accounting schools in Ohio will provide you with information about all of master’s in accounting options in the state, including profiles of select programs, so that you can make the right choice for your educational and career needs. In addition to traditional on-campus programs, you may wish to consider online accounting programs, which some individuals find are a better fit. Continue reading for information on Ohio schools as well as how to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state and career opportunities for graduates.

Quick Facts

For not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Table of Contents
Steps to Become a CPA in Ohio
Ohio CPA Salary and Job Outlook
Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Ohio
Ohio Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison
Select Schools in Ohio with Master’s in Accounting Programs
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
Student Reviews

Steps to Become a CPA in Ohio

The Accountancy Board of Ohio (the Board) oversees the licensing of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in the state. There are seven main steps to complete in order to meet the Ohio CPA requirements and to earn a CPA license in Ohio.

  1. Complete 150 semester hours of college-level education in accounting.
  2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  3. Complete an approved course in professional standards and responsibilities.
  4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  5. Complete the criminal background check.
  6. Apply for a license.
  7. Receive a license.

1. Complete 150 semester hours of college-level education in accounting.

To qualify for a CPA license in Ohio, candidates must complete at least 150 hours of college-level education that is either accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the AACSB that includes the award of at least a bachelor’s degree. The 150 hours must include either 30 total semester hours in accounting or 24 semester hours in accounting above the introductory level. Courses must include:

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

Candidates must also complete 24 semester hours in business subjects such as:

  • Business law
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing

Candidates with a minimum score of 620 on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) who hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting and have completed 30 semester hours of accounting courses may not be required to complete 150 semester hours of education, but additional experience (four years rather than one) will be required.

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

Ohio CPA candidates must earn at least one year of experience (2,000 hours) working in accounting in a public accounting firm, government, business, or academia. Experience requirements may vary according to a candidate’s education level; candidates should carefully review board rules and contact the Board with questions about the requirements. All experience earned must be verified by a currently licensed CPA familiar with the candidate’s experience.

3. Complete an approved course in professional standards and responsibilities (PSR).

The Board requires prospective licensees to take a course in professional standards and responsibilities (PSR) that emphasizes Ohio law and Board rules. A list of approved sponsors for PSR courses can be accessed on the Board’s website. The course must be taken within the year prior to the application.

4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Uniform CPA Exam is developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Candidates may apply to the exam through the NASBA website. All four sections of the exam must be passed with a score of 75 or higher within an 18-month rolling period.

5. Complete the criminal background check.

A fingerprint-based criminal records check is required to obtain a CPA license in Ohio. Fingerprints must be submitted electronically through an approved “WebCheck” vendor. A list of vendors is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website. Note that a vendor who reports to both the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) using the National WebCheck must be used.

6. Apply for a license.

To apply for a CPA license in Ohio, candidates will complete an application on the Board’s website. Candidates must include the appropriate verification of experience form from the verifying CPA with the application.

7. Receive a license.

Finally, after all of the above steps have been completed and verified by the Board, applicants will receive a license and be qualified to practice as CPAs.

CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Once licensed, Ohio CPAs must complete 120 continuing professional education (CPE) hours for each three-year license renewal period ending on December 31. At least 20 hours of CPE should be completed each year. Continuing education subject areas are contingent on licensees’ area(s) of professional competence. You can find additional information on the Board’s website.

Ohio CPA Salary and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that over 47,240 accountants and auditors are currently employed in Ohio, at an average annual salary of $73,380, less than the national average of $79,520.10,11 In the state capital of Columbus and the surrounding metro area, the average salary is a bit higher at $77,330, but still below the national average.10,11 Accounting and auditor positions are projected to grow by 2.5% in the state through 2028, which is a slower rate than the national average for this occupation (6.4%).12

Ohio CPA Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber Employed10Average Annual Salary10
Akron2,610$76,860
Cincinatti9,250$74,990
Cleveland-Elyria11,820$75,330
Columbus11,360$77,330
Dayton2,520$74,800
Toledo2,060$68,970

Top-Ranked Schools with Master’s in Accounting Programs in Ohio

Forbes’ Best Business Schools* 2019

  • Ohio State University (#41)
  • Case Western Reserve University (#52)

*With master’s in accounting programs.

Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Accounting Majors* 2020

  • Miami University

*With master’s in accounting programs.

Public Accounting Report’s Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs 2019

  • Ohio State University (#12)
  • Miami University (#35 tie)
  • University of Cincinnati (#48)
  • Case Western Reserve University (#49)

US News & World Report’s Best MBA Accounting Programs 2021

  • Ohio State University (#10 tie)

Ohio Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison

Below we have compiled a table including information about all not-for-profit Ohio colleges and universities offering a master’s degree in accounting. The graduation rate is for first-time undergraduates seeking a bachelor’s degree, but since it is widely considered to be an indicator of a school’s overall success, we have included it for comparison. Also please note that tuition per credit is based on in-state, on-campus tuition; per-credit rates may vary for out-of-state and online students.

School NameAccreditationCPA Exam Pass Rate6Master’s in Accounting Degree(s)Acceptance Rate13Grad Rate1Online Options?Tuition per Credit
Ashland UniversityACBSP18.2%MBA-AccountingN.Av.Yes$1,130
Baldwin Wallace UniversityAACSB42.9%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)N.Av.65%$633
Bowling Green State UniversityAACSB65.6%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)56.4%61%Yes$445
Case Western Reserve UniversityAACSB58.0%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)67.9%84%$1,380
Cleveland State UniversityAACSB62.3%Master of Accountancy (MAcc);
MBA-Accounting
95.6%46%Yes$608
Franklin UniversityIACBE28.6%MS-Accounting (MSA)N.Av.28%Yes$670
John Carroll UniversityAACSB33.3%MS-Accountancy (MSA)98.6%76%$950
Kent State UniversityAACSB47.6%MS-Accounting68.9%62%Yes$461
Miami UniversityAACSB71.1%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)N.Av.81%$523
Ohio Northern UniversityAACSB35.3%MS-Accounting (MSA)N.Av.77%YesN.Av.
Ohio State UniversityAACSB67.9%Master of Accounting (MAcc)51.7%86%$1,059
Ohio UniversityAACSBN.Av.Master of Accountancy (MAcc)36.7%65%Yes$572
University of AkronAACSB55.3%MS-Accounting (MSA)N.Av.46%$461
University of CincinnatiAACSB47.1%MS-Accounting (MSA)63.3%71%$337
University of DaytonAACSB56.3%Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcc)75%82%$1,070
University of ToledoAACSB52.9%MS-Accounting (MSA)61.9%50%$585
Wright State UniversityAACSB55.6%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)84.1%45%N.Av.
Xavier UniversityAACSB80.0%MS-Accountancy (MSA)81.6%73%$825
Youngstown State UniversityAACSB42.9%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)N.Av.41%$447

  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Select Schools in Ohio with Master’s in Accounting Programs

Traditional Programs

Cleveland State University

Cleveland State University offers an AACSB-accredited Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program that prepares students for careers as accountants in any sector while assuming increasing levels of responsibility across their careers. Students admitted to the program may study one of two specialist tracks in either Auditing or Tax. Both programs require 30 credit hours to complete. Advanced accounting courses offered include Federal Income Tax; Tax & Research Planning; Accounting Policy; and Attest Function. Course scheduling is flexible, with many required courses held during the evening hours. Cooperative education and internships are also available. Traditional financial aid, graduate assistantships, and tuition grants are offered to students who qualify. US News & World Report consistently ranks Cleveland State University among top national universities. An undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher is required for admission and students whose GPA is 3.0 or higher may be able to waive the GMAT/GRE requirement.

Kent State University

Kent State University’s College of Business Administration offers a Master’s of Science (MS) in Accounting program that is academically challenging with a focus on leadership and real-world skills that can be completed in 12 months of full-time study or 24 months of part-time study. Students are prepared to enter professional roles in public, corporate, not-for-profit, and government accounting upon graduation. All students complete an accounting core that includes courses such as Advanced Accounting Systems, Corporate Accounting, Income Taxation, and Professional Issues and Ethics in Accounting. Students choose a concentration in Assurance Services, Taxation, or a combination, earned through the completion of nine focused elective credit hours. Students also have the option to take an internship as part of the program; eligible students may earn academic credit for internships completed while pursuing their graduate degree. The College of Business Administration at Kent State is recognized for graduating students equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen career paths. Kent State University consistently ranks among top national universities by US News & World Report.

Ohio State University

Ohio State University’s (OSU) Fisher College of Business offers a Master of Accounting (MAcc) degree that helps students develop the analysis, teamwork, leadership, and communications skills needed to succeed in an accountancy career. The degree is founded on 10 core credit hours and 21 credit hours of electives, for a total of 31 credit hours to earn the MAcc. Example courses include Tax Research; Financial Modeling; and Accounting for Mergers and Acquisitions. With most of the coursework being electives, students may concentrate their electives in areas of interest for further specialization and career preparation, including Auditing, Financial Reporting, Taxation, or Logistics. Additional learning outside the classroom is made possible through the school’s multiple research and business partnership centers, which connect students and faculty with the business community. Prior work experience or an undergraduate degree in accounting is not necessary for admission, but certain prerequisite coursework is required before entry into the program. The Fisher College of Business additionally offers a Specialized Master’s in Finance. OSU is consistently ranked among top national universities by US News & World Report.

Online and Hybrid Programs

Ashland University

Ashland University’s Dauch College of Business and Economics offers an ACBSP-accredited online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in Accounting. Graduates are prepared to sit for the CPA exam and to become CPAs; they can also choose specialized coursework that will prepare them for other careers including Certified Management Consultants (CMCs), Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs), and Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs). The accelerated program is designed to be completed within 12 months, although a part-time option is also available, which can typically be completed within 16 to 24 months. In addition to this exclusively online format, Ashland offers a hybrid learning option with in-person enrollment at one of the MBA centers and the main campus for local students in the central or northeastern Ohio regions. The same faculty members teach both online and in-person classes, ensuring that online students receive the same quality of education as their on-campus counterparts. Students of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply, and a GMAT/GRE waiver may be offered for students who show signs of success through their application and resume.

Franklin University

At Franklin University, a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) is offered that can be completed online. The MSA at Franklin emphasizes financial and managerial accounting theory but also teaches marketable skills in communication, research, and technology. Graduates will be prepared to seek additional study and take the examinations necessary for professional certifications including Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), or Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Students in Franklin’s MSA program take 10 hours of core courses such as Financial Accounting Theory and Management Control Processes & Systems as well as 16 hours of electives in courses that are aligned with the two suggested pathways of Taxation and Financial Operations, and four hours of the capstone course, Accounting Research Seminar. The goals of the MSA program are to provide quality education to its students; to build a community among students, peers, faculty, and accounting professionals; to assist students in job placement; and to develop alliances with various professional organizations.

Ohio University

Ohio University offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) that can be completed in three formats: an on-campus Full-Time MAcc, a hybrid Professional MAcc, and a 100% Online MAcc. The 30-credit MAcc program is accredited by the AACSB and prepares students for the CPA exam or to enter the workforce following graduation. Students without a bachelor’s in accounting will take a 42- or 45-credit program depending on their background; these tracks include Accounting Bridge coursework before admittance into the program. The Professional MAcc is designed for accounting professionals with or without a background in business and accounting. Through a blend of online virtual coursework and monthly Saturday residencies on the Dublin campus, students in the hybrid MAcc program can complete the coursework in as little as five semesters with a bachelor’s in accounting. The Online MAcc can also be completed in as few as five semesters. Core courses in the MAcc program include Advanced Auditing and Assurance Services; Accounting Theory and Research; and Contemporary Topics in Accounting (Capstone). Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, a current resume, personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.

Additional Resources

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Ohio

  • Clark Schaefer Hackett (CSH): With offices across Ohio, northern Kentucky, and Michigan, CSH offers accounting, audit, and assurance services as well as financial outsourcing solutions and tax consulting.
  • Bober Markey Fedorovich (BMF): A large independent CPA firm with offices in Akron and Cleveland serving privately held and public clients. Offers competitive benefits, a clear career track, and varied work.
  • Jones, Cochenour & Co.(JC & Company): Self-billed as Columbus’s leading accounting firm, offers its clients a full range of accounting and consulting services.

Ohio Accounting Associations

  • The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA): Over a century into its existence, The Ohio Society of CPAs continues to strive toward fair, healthy, and successful business exchanges among the 85,000 accounting professionals it promotes and represents.
  • Accountancy Board of Ohio: Sets the licensing standards for future and current Ohio CPAs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a CPA make in Ohio?

Accountants and auditors in the state of Ohio earn an average salary of $73,380 per year, according to the BLS.10 The north northeastern Ohio and west northwestern Ohio nonmetropolitan areas have the second- and fourth-highest employment of accountants and auditors for nonmetropolitan areas in the country.12

How long does it take to become CPA in Ohio?

Prospective CPAs in Ohio can expect to spend a minimum of six years, starting with a bachelor’s degree, before they get licensed. A bachelor’s degree typically takes around four years of full-time study to complete and is 120 credits. To meet the 150-credit hour requirement, another year or two of study is needed, which may culminate in a master’s in accounting degree. Prospective CPAs will also need to accumulate one year of full-time experience as well as study for and pass the Uniform CPA Exam. A conservative estimate for becoming a CPA in Ohio is around six years, but it may take longer for some candidates.

How many CPAs are in Ohio?

The BLS reports that there were 47,240 accountants and auditors working in Ohio in 2019.10 The greatest number of people in this occupation are employed in the Cleveland-Elyria and Columbus metro areas.10

Student Reviews

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 368-2000
https://case.edu/

Student Review: “I enjoyed the accounting program due to the quality of the professors, the structure of courses, and the helpful advisors. I feel that I gained a thorough education in accounting once I completed the program. I loved my advisor who took me in as a freshman and helped me plan out my four years of undergrad by creating a semester-by-semester plan of what courses to take. The program also helped me with job searches after I completed the program.” -Pengweidong S., student at Case Western Reserve University
stars-4

Cleveland State University
2121 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 687-2000
https://www.csuohio.edu/

Student Review: “My experience at Cleveland State University was wonderful. The program offers classes from all different aspects of accounting that really left with me with such a strong understanding of the field, such as tax, auditing, financial, managerial, and international. The one downside I thought the program was teaching the necessary software. A lot of tools used in the applications were not used or taught in class. So, most of what is taught within the classroom setting are theory and applying that theory to practical situations was a bit impractical. Overall, though, I was very satisfied with my experience and the education I received.” -student at Cleveland State University
stars-4

Ohio State University
281 W Lane Ave
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-6446
https://www.osu.edu/

Student Review: “The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business is one of the top-ranked business schools in the country. It is no surprise that with such high prestige comes a rigorous but fair course load. I had to commute to the school during my first two years, which somewhat hindered my performance. Fortunately, study groups were very easy to come by. Finally, I ended up working in a top 4 firm & am on my way to a very nice fast track. I owe a lot of my professional growth to my school.” -student at Ohio State University
stars-4

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Forbes Best Business Schools 2019: https://www.forbes.com/business-schools/list/2/
3. The Princeton Review. The Best 385 Colleges, 2020 Edition. The Princeton Review, 2019.
4. Public Accounting Report 2019 Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs: https://wpcarey.asu.edu/sites/default/files/par-grad-2019.pdf
5. US News & World Report Best MBA Accounting Programs 2021: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/accounting-rankings
6. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. The NASBA Report on the CPA Exam: Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination, 2018 Edition. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, Inc., 2019.
7. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International: https://www.aacsb.edu/
8. Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP): https://acbsp.org/
9. International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE): https://iacbe.org/
10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Ohio: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_oh.htm
11. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 Occupational Employment and Wages, Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm
12. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
13. US News & World Report Best Business Schools 2021: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools