The time it takes to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) means that candidates require diligence and attention to detail, and in Maryland it is no different. A strict college education in an accounting program, courses covering legal responsibilities to general public accounting and auditing theory, four additional exams for which you must study and pass, and licensure requirements including a certain number of professional development or college courses to maintain your license; the requirements a CPA must meet make earning your CPA quite a distinction.
CPA Education Requirements
Verify institution is approved
First, confirm that the institution you’re attending, or planning to attend, provides a board-approved accounting curriculum. The Maryland Board of Public Accountancy policy is to recognize a bachelor's degree (minimum) or higher level diplomas in an accounting major (or its substantial equivalent from certain subject areas) from a university of college that is a member of one of the following associations:
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and Programs
- American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
If you received your degree outside of the United States, from an international educational institution, your academic credentials must be evaluated to determine whether they fulfill Maryland’s CPA requirements. The only evaluation service the Maryland state board finds acceptable is NASBA International Evaluation Service (NIES).
Sign up for the right courses
All CPA candidates in Maryland must earn n undergraduate degree or higher with a concentration in accounting. While your student advisor can provide assistance in class selection at your school, it’s important to verify you’ve signed up for the right courses, in which students should be learning advanced accounting, decision making, accounting technology, consulting skills, and more as well as preparing you for graduate programs. You’re must complete a total of 150 credit hours or 225 quarter hours of coursework that includes the following specific content:
Group I – Accounting and Ethics Education;
Consists of at least 30 undergraduate semester hours or 45 quarter hours in accounting and ethics. The following courses are required:
- 3 semester hours or 4.5 quarter hours in auditing
- 3 semester hours or 4.5 quarter hours in cost accounting or managerial accounting
- 3 semester hours or 4.5 quarter hours in U.S. federal income tax and ethics
- 9 semester hours or 13.5 quarter hours in financial accounting
- 9 semester hours or 13.5 quarter hours in elective accounting courses
Group II – Business-Related Education
Consists of at least 21 semester hours or 31.5 quarter hours in five of the following subjects:
- Corporation or Business Finance
- US Business Law
- Business Communication
- Quantitative Methods
- Computer Science / Information Systems
It’s important to note that College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST, and Military CLEP or DANTES credits can satisfy educational requirements, so long as you meet degree requirements and the credits appear on your official school transcripts.
Featured Online Programs
Campus and Online Degree Options in Maryland
An associate degree in accounting usually consists of 60 credit hours and provides a basic foundation in the field. Graduates can find entry-level accounting positions as billing clerks, bookkeepers, payroll clerks, accounting assistants, or accounts receivable clerks. Learn More
A bachelor’s degree in accounting generally consists of 120 credit hours and provides an understanding of introductory, intermediate, and advanced accounting concepts. Graduates are usually qualified to apply for entry-level and mid-level employment within the field. Learn More
A master’s degree in accounting often consists of around 60 credit hours and covers more advanced topics. Graduates often find work as auditors, enrolled agents, corporate budget analysts, cost accountants, controllers, tax planners, and financial managers. Learn More
Doctorate or PhD
A doctoral degree in accounting consists of between 90 and 120 credit hours and is often research-intensive. Graduates may be qualified for work in top positions such as professors, CFOs, researchers, managers, and government policymakers. Learn More
Online Degree Programs
Online programs in accounting vary in length and difficulty depending on the degree level sought. Graduates from properly accredited programs can expect to find employment comparable to the degrees earned. Learn More
Uniform CPA Exam Requirements
Prep your application materials
Applicants who intend to sit for any exam section of the Uniform CPA Examination must apply online through Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation website and complete the entire application process, including paying exam fees. Before submitting your Uniform CPA Examination Qualification Review Application, however, you should prepare by:
- Reading the application instructions thoroughly.
- Comparing your completed accounting courses to those accepted by the Maryland Board of Public Accountancy. Do this by utilizing the provided Chart of Subject Matter. While titles of classes may not match, you should find the qualifying course descriptions similar.
- Completing the core course inventory worksheet. While this is not required, the form is designed to help you complete the online application quicker and more accurately, as it follows the same format.
The Uniform CPA Examination Qualification Review Application requires you to report any relevant coursework to qualify for both the Uniform CPA Examination and a Maryland CPA license. Maryland’s application system is simple and you can complete it at your own pace. You’ll also be able to check the status of your application and change your contact information after submission.
There is a $67 application fee. Make sure to print the confirmation page after submission. While you will be emailed a receipt for the transaction, these are the only receipts you’ll receive.
It’s important to remember that it can take up to 90 days for the MD Board of Public Accountancy to evaluate your application. This time varies depending on application completeness, proper documentation, and the number of other applicants.
Once you’ve been approved to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). Your NTS will list the sections of the examination you’re approved to take and will instruct you to schedule your exam date via Prometric. Be advised that Prometric does charge exam service fees.
Testing sites include:
Keep the following tips in mind when you plan and schedule your exam:
- Verify that your name is spelled correctly when your NTS arrives.
- Schedule your test date as early as possible and have several backup dates in mind as alternatives.
- Contact the Maryland Board of Public Accountancy at (410) 230-6258 if you require special testing accommodations.
- You can reprint your NTS on the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy website.
- If you have enough time, consider signing up for a free CPA review course, or check out the many paid review courses available as these can greatly improve your exam scores.
Take the exam
For each section of the Uniform CPA Examination, the exam process takes four hours to complete. Ensure you’re thoroughly prepared for each section. Also, remember to bring your NTS when reporting to your testing center, as it’s required to get past security. You’ll also need two forms of identification, one of which must contain a recent photo.
Wait for results
Once you’ve completed the Uniform CPA Examination, NASBA will send your final grades to the Maryland Board of Public Accountancy. You’ll then receive an email notifying you when your scores become available online. In order to be ready to send in your initial application for licensure, you must complete all four test sections within a 1.5 year period (18 months).
Work Experience Requirements
Secure a professional position
To qualify for a CPA license in Maryland, you are required to work professionally in a government, academic, public practice, or industry position for at least one year (2,000 hours). You’ll need to complete this requirement within three years of applying for licensure. Your experience must be supervised by a current CPA and needs to include accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting services on site in an office or department.
As proof of your work experience, you will need to submit a Report of Practical Work Experience (RPE). You are responsible for completing sections I and III, while your supervising CPA and endorser should complete section II. The form must then be sent to the following address:
Maryland Board of Public Accountancy
500 North Calvert Street – Third Floor
Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3651
Maryland CPA Application Process
Meet CPA license requirements
In order to apply for a CPA license in Maryland, you must meet the following requirements:
- Bachelor's degree or higher in accounting and the successful completion of 150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours on your college transcript
- Passing score on all four parts of the Uniform CPA Examination (at least 75% within an 18 month rolling period)
- Completed RPE form verifying 2,000 hours of professional work experience under a licensed CPA
- Passing score on the Professional Ethics: The AICPA provides a Comprehensive Course. Your course completion certificate should be emailed to the Maryland Board of Public Accountancy.
Once you’ve completed all of the above-mentioned requirements, the Maryland Board of Public Accountancy will meet to review your file. Once approved, you’ll receive instructions via mail on how to apply for your initial Maryland CPA license. The Board meets once a month to review application and you’ll be notified via email once the final decision is made.
Continuing Education CPA Requirements
Take the right courses
In order to maintain your CPA license in Maryland, continuing education (CE) courses are required. Within each two-year renewal period, you must:
- Complete 80 CE hours on any of 23 subjects, including four hours in professional ethics
- Report CE hours during the license renewal process
Accountant Career Concentrations & Salaries in Maryland
Staff accountants are responsible for providing a wide variety of financial services including preparing financial statements, maintaining a company’s accounts, performing account reconciliations, and maintaining payroll records. These professionals are usually expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, but any additional education or certifications can make them more competitive.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
CPAs are upper-level accounting experts who help clients establish and work toward their financial goals. These professionals require bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and must be licensed through the state they work in. The certification process consists of meeting education standards, gaining professional experience, and passing the Uniform CPA Examination. Learn More
Project accountants are responsible for overseeing all financial aspects of a particular project including managing the overall cost, collecting invoices, approving expenses, verifying employee hours, and ensuring deadlines are met. Project types vary from product launches to new facility construction. A bachelor’s degree in accounting is required but earning additional certifications is recommended.
Investment accountants are responsible for maintaining client investments and ensuring adherence to state regulations. They must be very knowledgeable about stocks, bonds, ETFs, currencies, precious metals, and other investment types. These professionals need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, economics, or business. Many also become CPAs or Personal Financial Specialists (PFSs).
Maryland may be a small state, but its accountants are among the top earners in their profession. In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that Maryland accountants had the fourth highest salaries in the nation. Though the state's growth rate trails the national average, their 8.5% rate translates into 1,033 new accounting jobs yearly. Salaries are also on the rise. In 2015, the median salary for accountants was $72,951. In 2017, the BLS showed that accountants were claiming a mean salary of $80,930, with the top 10 percent taking home $124,320 in pre-bonus earnings. With stunning numbers like this, and a fantastic geographical location, Maryland is a perfect state for an accountancy career to flourish.
|City||Annual Median Wage|
|St. Marys County Maryland non-metropolitan||$81,270|
|Garrett County Maryland non-metropolitan area||$61,220|
|Annual Mean Wage||10th Percentile||25th percentile||50th percentile||75th percentile||90th percentile|
Maryland Accounting Frequently Asked Questions
Does Maryland have many accounting jobs available?
According to data provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the state of Maryland had 24,540 jobs for accounting professionals in 2019. The mass majority of these positions were located in the Baltimore, Columbia, and Towson areas. Non-metropolitan regions have significantly fewer opportunities than in bigger cities.
How much can you earn with an accounting degree in Maryland?
Salaries will vary based on an individual’s level of education, years of professional experience, certifications, and job title but the average annual wage for accountants throughout the state was $81,920 in 2019. The cities with the highest reported mean wage were Baltimore, Columbia, and Towson.
Which Maryland accounting programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)?
The most prestigious accounting programs are usually accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This is widely considered one of the best accrediting agencies due to its rigorous accreditation process. The following Maryland institutions have programs accredited by the AACSB:
- Loyola University Maryland
- Morgan State University
- Salisbury University
- Towson University
Are scholarships available for Maryland accounting students?
The University of Maryland offers scholarships for students enrolled in their accounting program, as do many other colleges and universities in the state. Additionally, the Maryland Society of Accountants Scholarship Foundation awards numerous scholarships to Maryland residents pursuing accounting degrees. The Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) provides scholarships to students working toward careers as CPAs.
Do colleges in Maryland offer online accounting programs?
There are a few different online learning programs in accounting to choose from in Maryland. Students seeking a distance learning bachelor’s degree in accounting may be interested in the program offered by the University of Maryland Global Campus. Those seeking a master’s degree in accounting should consider the online program at the University of Baltimore.