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 specialty focuses such as investigative accounting or accounting technology. Online and distance accounting degree programs may also be a good fit for your skills and interests.

Quick Facts

  • There are 8 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Washington DC.
  • 4 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.
  • Highest graduation rate*: Georgetown University, 95%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: University of the District of Columbia, 28%1
  • Highest net price per year*: George Washington University, $37,6381
  • Lowest net price per year*: Gallaudet University, $15,2701
  • 3 schools ranked in Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2017: Georgetown University (17), George Washington University (54), American University (66)
  • No schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.
  • 4 schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2019 (top 100): Georgetown University (22), George Washington University (63), American University (78), Howard University (89)

*For four-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 2015 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

  1. Georgetown University (69.2%)
  2. George Washington University (65.1%)
  3. American University (54.2%)

In 2015, there were three schools in Washington DC that had graduates with an advanced degree take the Uniform CPA Exam for the first time. The pass rate at these schools ranged from a low of 54.2% to a high of 69.2%. The average national pass rate in 2015 was 48.4% nationwide (for candidates with a bachelor’s or advanced degree). You can compare first-time pass rate when considering options for a CPA degree program. For a full statistical breakdown, see the 2015 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Washington DC

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American University (Washington DC)

American University offers a Master of Science (MS) 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 program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The Kogod School of Business also offers MS in Finance and MS in Taxation degree programs for aspiring accounting professionals. US News ranks American University #78 (tie) in National Universities.

George Washington University (Washington DC)

The George Washington University School of Business has a Master of Accountancy (MAccy) degree program meant to develop students’ skills in 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 (AACSB). George Washington University is ranked #63 (tie) 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 Science (MS) in Finance program that comprises 32 to 36 credit hours and can be completed in 21 months. This degree can be completed entirely online. Georgetown also offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program that provides opportunities to specialize in accounting through a variety of electives, including such courses as Corporate Financial Reporting, Performance as Value Creation, 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 is ranked #22 (tie) 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 three semester hours in commercial law as well as 24 semester hours in other accounting subjects, to include three 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 at least 2,000 hours of experience, which may be earned full- or part-time. The experience must take place over at least one calendar year 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 online portal maintained by 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 online credential management platform on the District of Columbia Board of Accountancy website. 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.

Once licensed, CPAs in Washington DC need to complete at least 80 hours of continuing education each two-year renewal period. You can find additional information at the District of Columbia Board of Accountancy website.

Washington DC Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth


Accountants and Auditors in Washington DC from 2016-20262

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants in Washington DC make an average annual salary of $96,880, the highest average in the US.3 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.3 Within the District of Columbia, 10,860 accountants and auditors are currently employed, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this number to rise by 6.6% through 2026.2,3 This area can be expected to remain a top draw for career accountants in the coming years.

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): https://projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, 13-2011 Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm