Accounting Schools in South Carolina

The following guide to accounting schools in South Carolina will provide you with the information you need to compare not-for-profit schools and make the right choice in selecting an accounting program that is a match for your personal skills, goals, and interests. South Carolina has private, public, and state schools offering graduate degrees in accounting both on campus and online. You will also find out how to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as well as employment and salary information in the state.

Quick Facts

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

Table of Contents

Steps to Become a CPA in South Carolina

The South Carolina Board of Accountancy (the Board) oversees the process for becoming a CPA in the state. There are six main steps to complete in order to earn a CPA license in South Carolina.

  1. Complete 150 semester hours of acceptable college-level 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.
  6. Receive a license.

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

The Board requires CPA candidates to have completed 150 semester hours of education that includes the award of at least a bachelor’s degree. A major in accounting is also required, consisting of at least 36 semester hours in accounting courses covering financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation, and auditing, of which 24 semester hours must be at the junior level or above. Candidates must also have at least 36 non-duplicative semester hours in business courses.

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

Prospective South Carolina CPAs must earn at least one year (2,000 hours) of experience to qualify for a license. The experience may be earned through either full-time or part-time work. A maximum of 40 hours may be counted per calendar week. Experience gained through public, private, or government employment must be supervised by a currently licensed CPA. Experience may only be accrued after the candidate has completed the 24-semester hour core accounting education requirement. Experience in academia must amount to five years of full-time teaching or the equivalent in semester hours of part-time teaching. Experience gained in academia must also include teaching accounting beyond the principles level at an accredited college or university for at least three of the full five years.

3. Complete the AICPA ethics course and exam.

South Carolina CPA applicants must complete an ethics examination approved by the Board. The Board currently uses the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course course and exam to meet this requirement. All materials in the course are self-study and can be ordered through the AICPA website. The course and exam must be passed with a grade of 90% or higher to qualify.

4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

CPAs in all 50 states must first pass the Uniform CPA Exam developed by the AICPA to become licensed. South Carolina currently uses the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to administer the exam. Once a candidate has completed 120 semester hours of education with 24 hours in both accounting and business, the candidate may apply to the exam through the NASBA website. All four sections of the exam must be passed within an 18-month rolling period with a score of at least 75 to receive credit for passing the exam.

5. Apply for a license.

Once all the requirements for licensure are met, a candidate may apply for a license. Candidates should complete the online electronic CPA licensure application and submit it with all necessary documentation and fees to the Board.

6. Receive a license.

After the Board has reviewed all application materials, a CPA license will be granted to practice in South Carolina. Once submitted, applicants can track the progress of their application through the Board’s web portal and print their license once it is issued.

CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Once licensed, CPAs must renew their licenses and submit proof of continuing education (CE) by February 1 of each renewal year. South Carolina CPAs must complete at least 40 hours of CE per year. Of the 40 hours, no more than 20 may be in self-study programs, and no more than eight may be in personal development subjects. During each three-year renewal period, CPAs must complete six hours of CE in ethics, two of which are specific to South Carolina Rules and Regulations. You can find additional information on the Board’s website.

South Carolina CPA Salary and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that there are around 15,980 accountants and auditors currently working in the state of South Carolina.10 The average salary for South Carolina accountant and auditors is $67,740 per year.10 The Columbia area has the highest employment level for accountants and auditors in the state, with 3,900 accounting professionals, while the highest average salaries in the state are found in the Spartanburg area, where accountants earn an average annual salary of $77,61010 Accountant and auditor positions are projected to grow by 11.9% statewide through 2028, a rate of growth significantly faster than the national average.11

South Carolina CPA Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber Employed10Average Annual Salary10
Charleston-North Charleston3,230$63,980
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort590$75,400
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC810$61,590

Top-Ranked Schools with Master’s in Accounting Programs in South Carolina

Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Accounting Majors* 2020

  • Clemson University
  • College of Charleston

*With master’s in accounting programs.

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

  • Clemson University (#50)

South Carolina Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison

Below we have compiled a table including information about all not-for-profit South Carolina 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 Rate12Grad Rate1Online Options?Tuition per Credit
Clemson UniversityAACSB54.0%Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcc)81.7%84%$533
Coastal Carolina UniversityAACSB52.9%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)N.Av.47%$598
College of CharlestonAACSB63.0%MS-Accountancy85.2%66%$574
University of South Carolina-ColumbiaAACSB73.0%Master of Accountancy (MACC)N.Av.77%$528
University of South Caroline-AikenAACSBN.Av.MBA-AccountingN.Av.39%Yes$467
University of South Carolina-UpstateAACSBN.Av.MS-Business Analytics-Accounting Analytics (MSBA)N.Av.48%$572
Winthrop UniversityAACSB45.0%MBA-AccountingN.Av.63%$638

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

Select Schools in South Carolina with Master’s in Accounting Programs

Traditional Programs

Clemson University

Clemson University’s School of Accountancy and Finance has a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) program, which typically meets the South Carolina educational requirements for a CPA license. The 30-credit hour program may be taken on a part-time or full-time basis, with full-time study taking as little as one year to complete. The curriculum consists of five core classes and five electives. Core coursework includes courses in Ethical, Professional, and Societal Responsibilities; Advanced Accounting Problems; and Law for Professional Accountants. Elective coursework can be used towards optional concentrations in either tax or audit. Competitively awarded assistantships and fellowships are available to academically qualified graduate students. Students are required to take four no-credit exam review courses to prepare for the CPA exam. Applicants for the MPAcc program must have a bachelor’s degree and previous upper-level business and accounting coursework and must submit a GMAT score. The GMAT may be waived if an applicant has five or more years of professional accounting experience or at least nine semester hours of upper-level accounting coursework with a minimum 3.4 GPA and an overall minimum 3.4 GPA. Clemson undergraduate accounting students may enter the program early and count up to 12 credit hours towards both degrees.

Coastal Carolina University

The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics at Coastal Carolina University’s Wall College of Business offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program that meets the needs of students both with and without a background in accounting. The 30-hour program will help students meet the educational requirements for professional certifications such as a CPA license or Certified Management Accounting (CMA) certification. Students in the MAcc program can follow one of two tracks, Taxation or Assurance. The curriculum consists of nine classes of core coursework, three credit hours in the chosen track, and one elective. Core courses include Fraud Examination, Governmental Accounting, and Law for Accountants. Admission to the program requires an undergraduate degree with at least a 3.0 GPA and completion of the GMAT in the last five years. The GMAT may be waived for students who received a 3.5 or better GPA in 300 and 400 level accounting coursework. A degree in business or accounting is not a requirement, but admission does require the satisfactory completion of prerequisite undergraduate business and accounting coursework.

College of Charleston

The College of Charleston offers a one-year Master of Science (MS) in Accountancy that prepares students for CPA licensure in South Carolina and to take on leadership roles in business. The program offers students two specialization tracks, in Financial Reporting/Assurance or Taxation. Students may also elect to add a specialization in International Accounting to either of the core tracks. The International track features European study abroad courses to develop an understanding of global accounting and commerce. The 30-credit hour program includes two required courses, Accounting Theory and Contemporary Accountancy Issues. The remaining coursework is chosen as electives to complement students’ career goals and interests. Admission into the MS Accountancy program requires a bachelor’s degree, a GMAT score, and completion of all prerequisite coursework. A bachelor’s degree in accounting is not necessary, but all prerequisite coursework must be completed before an application will be accepted. Graduates of the program have gone on to work for firms such as Ernst & Young, KPMG, Bank of America, and Deloitte.

University of South Carolina

The Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina (USC) offers a 30-credit hour Master of Accountancy (MACC) degree that includes focused preparation for the Uniform CPA Exam. Students with prior coursework in accounting can complete the MACC program in a year or less. MACC students will choose a track in either Business Measurement and Assurance or Taxation, which will determine their core curriculum. Elective courses are divided into specializations such as Advisory/Consulting Services, Finance: Corporate Investments, and Entrepreneurship. Students undertake advanced study in accounting with courses such as Legal Issues for Accountants; Accounting Research and Communication; Cost/Managerial Accounting II; and Taxation of Corporations and Partnerships. The program offers individualized study programs centered around helping students pass the CPA exam, integrating breaks in the program to allow students time to study for and take the exam. Admission to the program is open to students who hold an undergraduate degree in any field and have taken the GMAT. Non-business majors may find it necessary to take prerequisite courses.

University of South Carolina Upstate

University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) with a track in Accounting Analytics for accounting majors seeking to pursue analytics-oriented positions and meet the requirements for CPA licensure in South Carolina. The 30-credit hour MSBA is available on a full- or part-time basis and can be completed as little as one year of full-time study. MSBA Accounting students take 21 credits of core courses and nine credits of accounting courses. Accounting courses cover subjects such as Accounting Analytics; Advanced and International Analytics; and Financial Statement Analytics. The accounting electives, paired with an undergraduate degree in accounting, should fulfill the necessary coursework for a CPA license. Admission into the program requires a bachelor’s degree or higher and the completion of the GMAT or GRE. An undergraduate business degree is not necessary for admission; however, the accounting specialization is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. The testing requirement may be waived for students with sufficiently high GPAs.

Online and Hybrid Programs

University of South Carolina Aiken

The University of South Carolina Aiken (USC Aiken) offers its Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Specialization in Accounting completely online. The 12-month program requires 36 credit hours to complete and emphasizes both developing accounting skills and integrity in its graduates. The program schedule allows students to start throughout the year to accommodate working professionals. Students with an undergraduate degree in accounting need to take 15 credit hours of core courses, 12 credit hours of advanced courses, and six credit hours of accounting courses. Accounting courses in the program include Accounting for Decision Making; Advanced Accounting Topics; and Information Systems and Analytics for Accounting and Finance. The curriculum culminates in a three-credit-hour capstone course called Business Vision, Innovation, and Strategy. Admission into the program requires an undergraduate degree with a 2.0 GPA or higher. Students without an undergraduate degree in business may need to take four foundation classes prior to enrolling in the program.

Additional Resources

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in South Carolina

  • Elliot Davis, LLC: Employs over 700 accounting professionals throughout the Southeast, offering accounting, tax, assurance and consulting services.
  • Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, P.A. (BPS): One of the largest accounting firms in the Southeast, BPS offers accounting, tax, and business advisory services to private businesses and families.
  • Forvis: One of the top 10 accounting firms in the country, Forvis offers a range of tax, advisory, assurance solutions across a wide array of industries.

South Carolina Accounting Associations

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a CPA in South Carolina?

To become a CPA in South Carolina, you must complete 150 semester hours of acceptable college-level coursework in accounting. You must also complete one year of work experience as well as the AICPA ethics exam and the Uniform CPA Exam. Finally, you must submit all necessary paperwork, fees, and an application to the Board.

How much does a CPA make in South Carolina?

The BLS reports that the average salary for the 15,980 accountants and auditors in South Carolina was $67,740 in 2019.10 Accountants in the Spartanburg metropolitan area earn the highest salaries at $77,610.10

How many CPAs are there in South Carolina?

According to the BLS, there are 15,980 accounting professionals in the state of South Carolina. The Columbia metropolitan has the highest employment in the state at 3,900 accountants and auditors.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.

University of South Carolina – Beaufort
801 Carteret St
Beaufort, SC 29902
(843) 208-8000

Student Review: “The accounting degree program at the University of South Carolina – Beaufort was extremely beneficial. The professors were engaging, knowledgeable, and sincerely cared about our success in life. They would hold study sessions outside of class and office hours and always made themselves available for additional questions. The professors were also able to help many students find beneficial internship opportunities beyond what the university could locate for us. While offering only the minimum number of courses to attain an accounting degree, the accounting program provided me with the knowledge as well as the skill set to truly succeed in the working world. In light of this, my only suggestion would be for the university to provide a greater selection of accounting classes. This would bring the accounting program from excellence to perfection.” -Jordan G., student at University of South Carolina

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/documents/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, South Carolina: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sc.htm
11. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
12. US News & World Report Best Business Schools 2021: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools