Accounting Schools in Washington DC

This guide to accounting schools in Washington DC provides key information to help you choose the right school and degree program to support your career in accounting. The accounting schools in Washington DC offer degree programs in general accounting as well as programs with a specialty focus such as investigative accounting or accounting technology. Online and distance accounting degree programs like the Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Southern New Hampshire University may also be a good fit for your skills and interests.

Quick Facts

  • There are 7 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Washington DC.
  • 3 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.
  • Highest graduation rate*: Georgetown University, 94%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: University of the District of Columbia, 27%1
  • Highest net price per year*: George Washington University, $37,4041
  • Lowest net price per year*: Gallaudet University, $15,1961
  • Annual undergraduate tuition range for accounting programs in Washington DC: $11,986-$41,655.2
  • 3 schools in the Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2013: Georgetown University (16), American University (56), George Washington University (71)
  • 2 schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2013 (top 100): Georgetown University (21), American University (77)
  • 2 schools ranked in Forbes Top Colleges List (top 100): Georgetown University (38), George Washington University (88)

*For 4-year not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Read on to find profiles of popular accounting programs, further information on accounting schools in Washington DC, and career information for future graduates.

Not-for-Profit Schools with the Highest 2013 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

  1. George Washington University 60.3%
  2. American University
  3. Georgetown University

There were four schools in Washington DC that had graduates take the CPA exam for the first time (with an advanced degree). The pass rate at these schools ranged from a low of 21.6% to a high of 60.3%. You can compare first-time pass rate when considering options for a CPA degree program. For a full statistical breakdown, see the 2014 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Washington DC

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American University (Washington DC)

American University offers a Master of Science in Accounting program through its Kogod School of Business. This program prepares students for all aspects of an accounting career from auditing to reporting and consulting. Options for full or part-time study are available, with most students completing the degree in one to three years. The degree typically takes 30 to 37.5 credit hours to complete and includes such courses as Contemporary Assurance and Audit Services; Corporate Financial Reporting: Financial Transactions; and Tax Planning for Individuals and Business Enterprises. Beyond the 15 credit hour core, students complete an additional 15 credit hours of electives in interest areas related to business and accounting and may choose an optional specialization in Financial Reporting and Assurance, Taxation, or Forensic Accounting. The Kogod School of Business also offers Master of Science in Finance and Master of Science in Taxation degree programs for aspiring accounting professionals. The program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. US News ranks American University #75 in National Universities.

George Washington University (Washington DC)

The George Washington University School of Business has a Master of Accountancy degree program meant to build on high quality accounting research. Ethical leadership is emphasized in the program, as are the principles of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The program is designed to be completed in 36 credit hours, though students with qualified undergraduate work may earn the degree with 30 credit hours. Full and part-time study options are available for the program, with such courses as Contemporary Auditing Theory, Financial Accounting, Financial Markets, and Accounting Information Systems and EDP. Courses within each core area of study are designed to help students prepare and qualify for all four parts of the Uniform CPA exam. The Department of Accountancy at the school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. George Washington University is ranked #52 in National Universities by US News in recognition of its student life, leading graduate programs, and overall academic excellence.

Georgetown University (Washington DC)

Georgetown University offers several programs of study for master’s degrees that will prepare students for careers as accountants and leaders. It offers a Master of Accountancy program that comprises 30 credit hours and can be completed in 21-60 months on a part-time basis and as little as nine months if attending full-time. Its Master of Business Administration program offers opportunities for students to specialize in accounting through a variety of electives, including such courses as Cases in Financial Statement Analysis; Corporate Financial Reporting; Forensic Accounting; and Taxes and Business Strategy. The program’s core includes a sequenced program of study across the fields of accounting, finance, management, and leadership. Full-time, part-time, and evening courses of study are available, built around career tracks chosen by the student. Intensive Learning Experiences, which are concentrated one to two-week electives, provide experiential learning and opportunities to work for clients in highly focused business areas. Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business also offers an online Master of Science in Finance that may be of interest to accounting professionals. Georgetown is ranked #20 in National Universities by US News.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Washington DC

As one of the world’s major business centers, Washington DC has a number of prestigious accounting firms headquartered in and around downtown. Matthews, Carter & Boyce is recognized as one of the Top 50 Accounting Firms in Washington DC, and has been named to that list many times since its founding in 1947. Matthews, Carter & Boyce promises its staff opportunities for advancement and competitive benefits. Melrose R. Limerick and Associates P.C. is one of the most respected CPA firms in DC, offering full service to all of its clients.

How to Become a CPA in Washington DC

The District of Columbia Board of Accountancy oversees the process for becoming a Certified Public Accountant in DC. There are four main steps to complete in order to earn a CPA license in Washington DC.

  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. Apply for a license.
  4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

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

Candidates for a CPA license in Washington DC must complete a 150 semester hour program of education that includes the award of at least a bachelor’s degree. The 150 semester hours must include a concentration in accounting, which is defined of at least 3 semester hours in commercial law as well as 24 semester hours in other accounting subjects, to include 3 semester hours each in financial accounting, auditing, cost accounting, and federal income taxes.

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

Washington DC CPA candidates must complete least one year of experience, which may be earned full or part time. The experience must take place over at least one calendar year and consist of 2,000 hours performing services and providing advice incorporating skills in accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, and consulting. Experience gained in government, industry, academia, or public practice qualifies to meet the experience requirement, which must be verified by a licensed CPA.

3. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

Candidates who are ready to take the Uniform CPA Exam may apply to the exam through the PULSE portal maintained by Pearson VUE on behalf of the District of Columbia Board of Accountancy. Once an application has been approved, candidates will receive further instructions on scheduling and taking the exam. All four sections of the exam must be passed within an 18-month rolling period.

4. Apply for a license.

After meeting all licensure requirements, the CPA candidate’s application must be submitted through the PULSE portal maintained by Pearson VUE on behalf of the District of Columbia Board of Accountancy. Note that all fees are required at the time that the application for licensure is completed. Candidates must also be prepared to upload a recent passport type photo to support the application. If desired, candidates may complete the licensing application at the same time as applying to the Uniform CPA Exam.

You can find additional information at the District of Columbia Board of Accountancy website.
(Source: District of Columbia Board of Accountancy)

Washington DC Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth


Accountants and Auditors in Washington DC from 2010-20203

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants in Washington DC make an average annual salary of $86,030, one of the highest averages in the US. More accountants and auditors are employed per thousand jobs in Washington DC than in any other area of the country, indicating the high demand for such professionals in this area. Within the greater DC metro area, over 30,000 accountants are currently employed, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this number to rise over the next few years as financial regulations set in motion by the recent recession take effect. As many of these regulations stem from activities in Washington DC, this area can be expected to remain a top draw for career accountants for years to come.

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-accounting/?type=private&type=public
3. The District of Columbia: https://does.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/does/publication/attachments/DC%20Occupational%20Projections,%202010%20-%202020.pdf