Accounting Schools in West Virginia
This overview of schools that offer graduate-level accounting programs in West Virginia provides information on all the universities offering such programs in the state. These schools offer a variety of high-quality programs that can be taken in-person or online to meet the diverse educational needs and interests of students. Since there are only a few schools that offer master’s in accounting degrees in the state, students may wish to look at online programs from around the country as well as programs in neighboring states like Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Continue reading to learn more about the accounting schools in West Virginia, how to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state, and career opportunities for accounting graduates in West Virginia.
- There are 22 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in West Virginia.1
- 4 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
- No schools were ranked in Forbes’ Best Business Schools 2019.2
- No schools were ranked in Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2020.3
- No schools were ranked in Public Accounting Report’s Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs 2019.4
- No schools were ranked in US News & World Report’s Best MBA Accounting Programs 2020.5
- 1 school had a 2018 CPA exam pass rate at or above the national average of 51.9%.6
- 2 universities and business schools are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.7
- 1 school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).8
- 1 school is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).9
For not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.
Table of Contents
- Steps to Become a CPA in West Virginia
- West Virginia CPA Salary and Job Outlook
- West Virginia Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison
- Select Schools in West Virginia with Master’s in Accounting Programs
- Additional Resources
- Frequently Asked Questions
Steps to Become a CPA in West Virginia
The West Virginia Board of Accountancy (the Board) oversees the process for becoming a CPA in the state and regulates licensed accountants. There are six main steps to complete in order to earn a West Virginia CPA license.
- Complete 150 semester hours of college-level education in accounting.
- Accumulate the required hours of experience.
- Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
- Complete a criminal history check.
- Apply for a license.
- Receive a CPA license from the Board.
1. Complete 150 semester hours of college-level education in accounting.
Candidates for West Virginia CPA licensure must complete 150 semester hours of postsecondary education that includes the award of a bachelor’s degree or higher and includes an accounting concentration or the equivalent. The Board requires that the 150 semester hours include 30 hours of specific masters-level courses in accounting, including:
- Financial or intermediate accounting (three hours)
- Auditing or accounting information systems (three hours)
- Taxation (three hours)
- Cost, managerial, governmental, or not-for-profit accounting (three hours)
- Accounting electives (nine hours which may include a three-hour ethics course to meet the ethics requirement)
In addition, candidates must take three hours of business law and 27 hours of specific business courses as part of the 150-semester hour program, to include:
- Economics (three hours)
- Finance (three hours)
- Management (three hours)
- Marketing (three hours)
- Statistics (three hours)
- Business-related electives (12 hours which may include a three-hour business ethics course to meet the ethics requirement)
2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
West Virginia CPA candidates must earn at least one year of public accounting experience in the four-year period immediately preceding the application in order to qualify for licensure. The experience must involve the use of skills in accounting, attestation, 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. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Uniform CPA Exam is a requirement for CPA licensure in all 50 states and is administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Before completing the Application for Certified Public Accountant Examination, applicants should send their transcripts to the Board and download and print the online character reference form. Once the application is submitted and approved, candidates may schedule and complete the four sections of the exam in any order, though all four sections must be passed within an 18-month rolling period with a score of 75 or higher. For each individual section, candidates must submit the Intent to Sit form found on the Board’s website.
4. Complete a criminal history check.
The next step to achieving CPA licensure in West Virginia is completing a criminal history check. Applicants must schedule an appointment on the Board’s website for electronic fingerprinting and use the code provided. Candidates should bring acceptable identification to the 10-minute fingerprint appointment.
5. Apply for a license.
Once all licensing requirements have been met, the applicant can begin the application procedure. First, all candidates should scan and submit the completed Experience Verification Form found on the website along with the Certificate Order Form and pay the application fee. If final transcripts were not previously submitted for CPA exam approval, these should be submitted directly to the Board at this time. Finally, the Application for Initial Certificate/License can be completed electronically.
6. Receive a CPA license.
After the application has been approved by the Board, Uniform CPA Exam scores have been received, and the fingerprint background check has been completed, a certificate and license will be issued to applicants and they can begin practicing as CPAs.
CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information
West Virginia CPAs must complete 120 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) for each three-year period after licensure. New licensees must complete at least 40 CPE hours during their first full year as a CPA and at least 20 the second full year. In general, the Board recommends 40 hours of annual CPE, but 20 are required in any given calendar year and must be reported by January 31 of each year. Four of the 120 hours must include a program in ethics from an acceptable course provider. Licenses expire annually and must be renewed each year by the annual June 30 deadline. Additional information can be found on the Board’s website.
West Virginia CPA Salary and Job Outlook
Currently, around 4,250 accountants and auditors work in West Virginia which is considerably fewer than in surrounding states.10,11 The annual salary of $67,340 for accountants in the state is also lower than the surrounding states and the national average of $79,520.10,11 Interestingly, two metropolitan areas in West Virginia and surrounding areas rank highest in the concentration of accountants nationwide: Parkersburg-Vienna and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria.10,11 The employment of accountants and auditors in the state is projected to increase at a pace of 7.3% through 2028, faster than the national average of 6.4%.12 At this rate, about 430 average annual openings will be available in the field to Virginians each year through 2028.12
West Virginia CPA Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed10||Average Annual Salary10|
|Northern West Virginia nonmetropolitan area||730||$67,390|
West Virginia Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison
Below we have compiled a table including information about all not-for-profit West Virginia 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 Name||Accreditation||CPA Exam Pass Rate6||Master’s in Accounting Degree(s)||Acceptance Rate13||Grad Rate1||Online Options?||Tuition per Credit|
|Marshall University||AACSB||N.Av.||MS-Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA);|
|West Liberty University||IACBE||N.Av.||MBA-Forensic Accounting||N.Av.||45%||Yes||$460|
|West Virginia University||AACSB||57.6%||Master of Accountancy (MAcc)||83.1%||61%||—||$490|
- — indicates none.
- N.Av. indicates no data available.
Select Schools in West Virginia with Master’s in Accounting Programs
West Virginia University (WVU) offers an AACSB-accredited Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree through its College of Business and Economics to prepare students for the challenges found in any career in accounting. The MAcc is targeted toward students with undergraduate degrees in accounting, but candidates with degrees in other disciplines can be admitted after meeting specific prerequisites. Students may choose an area of emphasis in Assurance, Forensic and Fraud Examination, Business Data Analytics, or Tax. The 30-hour curriculum can be completed in as little as 12 months and requires a GPA of at least 3.0. Graduates of the program should be qualified to take the Uniform CPA Exam and achieve full certification as public accountants. Courses in the degree program include Financial Accounting Theory and Practice; Mergers and Acquisitions; Accounting and Business Consulting; and Fraud Detection and Deterrence. The College of Business and Economics additionally offers a Master of Science (MS) in Finance program as well as a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination for accounting professionals.
Online and Hybrid Programs
Marshall University (MU) offers a Master of Science (MS) in Accountancy that can be earned completely online. This 30-credit hour program typically takes three or four semesters to complete and satisfies the education requirements to become a CPA. The curriculum is designed to prepare candidates for careers in public accountancy, business, and academia. With a strong emphasis on electronic and computer auditing, the curriculum includes courses such as 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. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and conditional admission may be granted to students still earning their bachelor’s degree. The College of Business at MU is accredited by the AACSB and offers various merit-based and need-based scholarship and graduate assistantship programs to graduate students.
West Liberty University’s Gary E. West College of Business provides an online MBA option with a concentration in Forensic Accounting for students who require a more flexible schedule. The online MBA can be completed in 20 months or students can attend some classes in person to finish more rapidly. Prospective students may include those who already possess a bachelor’s in accounting, students with a degree in another field, or business owners who wish to expand their accountancy knowledge base. Students may begin the program in January, May, or August and must enroll in the Social Responsibility & Business Ethics course during their first semester as well as a no-cost, non-credit bearing MBA orientation course. The 30-credit hour program aims to prepare students for the CPA exam and both the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) credentials. Students complete advanced courses in business that focus on a broad range of topics in the field, including Internet-based fraud and regulatory principles. Courses include Information Technology Management, Global Economics, Integrative Marketing Management, and Strategic Human Resource Management.
Wheeling University (WU) offers an ACBSP-accredited Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) online for undergraduate accounting majors aiming to meet the 150-hour education requirement established by the AICPA. Applicants must have completed specific courses as part of their undergraduate degree with a minimum grade of “C” and hold an overall GPA of at least 2.8. The 30-semester hour program was designed to meet each requirement needed to sit for the CPA exam in West Virginia. The MSA curriculum consists of eight required courses, including Ethical Environment of Business, Managerial Economics, and Management of Financial Resources. Two additional electives are required, which students may choose from the following courses: Advanced Information Systems, Contemporary Accounting Theory, Internship in Accounting, and an MBA elective with approval of the Director. No thesis is required. A traditional in-person version of the program meets in the evening once a week.
Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in West Virginia
- Decker & Company PLLC: One of the leading firms in West Virginia with a focus on quality, professionalism, and responsiveness.
- Suttle & Stalnaker PLLC: Founded in 1973 and with offices in Charleston and Parkersburg, this firm handles the accounting and consulting needs of clients of all sizes.
- Baker Tilly: With locations throughout West Virginia, it is one of the largest CPA firms in the state, priding itself on remaining accessible to clients.
West Virginia Accounting Associations
- West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (WVSCPA): Organized in 1919, this Society aims to offer a support system for members to advance their careers through an established network of accounting professionals and contacts in government, education, and publishing.
- West Virginia Public Accountants Association (WVPAA): This organization consists of tax preparers, lawyers and accountants who work together for lobbying purposes and to provide continuing education opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much experience do I need before I can become a CPA in West Virginia?
All candidates for licensure in West Virginia must complete one year of experience in public accounting no more than four years before applying for their license. Acceptable experience may include work in accounting, attestation, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills. This experience can be in private or public practice, government, academia, or industry. All candidates must have their experience verified by a licensee and submitted to the Board.
What are West Virginia’s CPA education requirements?
Each prospective CPA must obtain at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university. 150 hours of college-level coursework are required for licensure, so most candidates must complete coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree in order to meet the education requirement to become a CPA in West Virginia. Many candidates accomplish this by obtaining a master’s in accounting. Candidates must also pass specific courses which are reflected on their transcripts and submitted to the Board.
What are the steps to becoming a CPA in West Virginia?
All candidates must complete the education requirements detailed above and accumulate at least one year of experience in accounting. Next, candidates must take the Uniform CPA Exam and pass all four sections. Applicants must also complete a criminal history check and character reference form and submit these documents with their application for licensure. Once their application is approved, they will receive a CPA license and certificate from the Board.
How much do accountants make in West Virginia?
Accountants in West Virginia earn an average annual salary of $67,340 according to the BLS.10
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 Accounting Programs 2020: 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/about
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, West Virginia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wv.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.org/Projections/LongTerm
13. US News & World Report Best Business Schools 2020: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools