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Best Accounting Schools in Maryland in 2021

September 24, 2021 | Staff Writers

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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

If you’re considering a career in business, accounting is one of your best options. This diverse field offers job opportunities in various areas, including finance, investments, taxes, and auditing. In fact, with the right training and experience, accountants can work their way into executive-level positions, including the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) or CFO (Chief Financial Officer) positions.

The first step to starting a career in the accounting field is to obtain a college degree. Fortunately, Maryland is home to a number of colleges and universities that offer accounting degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

If you enjoy working with numbers, are detailed oriented, and have strong ethics, a career in accounting may be the right option for you. This guide will not only provide more information about accounting careers but will also provide tips for finding the right degree program.

Maryland requirements for certified public accountants

In general, an accountant is a professional who tracks, records, and analyzes financial data for businesses, corporations, nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, or some other entity. However, accountants may also handle taxes, payroll, audits, investments, and a range of other duties.

To fulfill these job duties, these professionals must be knowledgeable in all accounting techniques and standard practices, so schooling at the college level is a must.

Undergraduate degree programs

Accounting students must start their educational track at the undergraduate level. Two educational paths are available for students at the undergraduate level, including:

Associate’s degree

Associate degree programs are typically offered by community colleges, but some four-year institutions also offer these programs. It takes about two years of full-time studies and 60 credit hours to complete an associate-level program. Students majoring in accounting take a mixture of general education courses, such as math and English along with business-related classes, including fundamentals of accounting, business law, and economics.

While some employers prefer candidates with a higher degree, such as a bachelor degree, there are still plenty of job opportunities for graduates of an associate degree in accounting program. For example, graduates can find jobs as a bookkeeper or financial assistant.

Bachelor’s degree

Bachelor degree programs in accounting are available at most four-year colleges and universities across Maryland. Typically, a bachelor-level program requires the completion of 160 credit hours, which takes about four years of full-time studies to complete. Students can expect to take general education classes, such as arts and humanities as well as business-specific classes, including business statistics, cost accounting, federal income tax, auditing, and business management. Students may also be required to complete an internship course with an approved company or organization.

Upon graduation from an accredited bachelor’s program, you can find an entry-level position in almost all areas of accounting and business. Completion of a bachelor-level program also makes you eligible to seek out your license as a CPA. In addition to completing a minimum of 120 credit hours at an accredited bachelor degree program, you must also successfully pass the Uniform CPA examination and obtain at least 2,000 hours of CPA-supervised on-the-job training. Students must also complete the online Professional Ethics for CPAs course prior to becoming a licensed CPA in the state of Maryland.

Graduate degree programs

Master’s degree

Graduates of a bachelor’s program can also enhance their education by enrolling in a graduate program. Students who are solely interested in accounting work often work towards earning their MAcc (Master of Accounting) degree. This option is also ideal for students who obtained a bachelor degree in a different field of study, but now want to pursue a career as a CPA. Obtaining a MAcc degree will provide students with the credits they need to sit for the Uniform CPA exam.

Some colleges also offer a post-graduate diploma program that includes all the courses necessary to sit for the Uniform CPA exam and become a licensed CPA. This path typically takes less time and is ideal for those wishing to earn their CPA license as quickly as possible.

Some students who obtained an undergraduate degree in accounting choose to enroll in an MBA (Master of Business Administration) program. While accounting is one aspect of this program, it’s geared more toward the role of administration within the business field. The program includes a variety of topics, including business finance, economics, investments, management, and marketing. Despite which master’s level program, you enroll in, it will take about two to three years to complete.

Doctorate program

Those completing a master’s degree program can choose to move forward and earn a Ph.D. in Accounting or a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree with a concentration in accounting. Doctorate programs can take anywhere from three to five years to complete depending on the program. Doctoral students can expect to take advanced accounting classes, such as advanced research accounting, forensic accounting, and global finances.

Careers for accounting graduates in Maryland

Accountants work for both large and small companies, international corporations, nonprofit organizations, and governmental agencies. In fact, some accountants even provide investment advice and management services for individuals. While the exact duties of an accountant vary from job to job, below is a look at the most common on-the-job responsibilities accountants handle.

  • Prepare and file local, state, and federal tax returns
  • Provide tax advice and tax planning services
  • Audit financial records
  • Track and record all financial transactions in accordance with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)
  • Handle the payroll process
  • Handle accounts receivable and accounts payable
  • Resolve any financial discrepancies
  • Prepare financial statements
  • Complete bank reconciliation
  • Offer financial forecasting and risk assessments
  • Analyze financial reports

In addition to having varying job duties, there is also a wide range of career options in the accounting field. Here’s a look at the top careers in accounting.

Bill collector

Minimum education: High school diploma

Average salary in Maryland: $45,510

Number working in state: 3,190

Bookkeeper

Minimum education: Associate degree

Average salary in Maryland: $47,310

Number working in state: 20,210

Accountant/auditor

Minimum education: Bachelor degree

Average salary in Maryland: $83,950

Number working in state: 23,710

Tax collector

Minimum education: Bachelor degree

Average salary in Maryland: $56,720

Number working in state: 610

Cost estimator

Minimum education: Bachelor degree

Average salary in Maryland: $75,070

Number working in state: 3,940

Financial analysts

Minimum education: Bachelor degree

Average salary in Maryland: $94,510

Number working in state: 9,840

Personal financial advisor

Minimum education: Bachelor degree

Average salary in Maryland: $102,510

Number working in state: 4,250

Financial manager

Minimum education: Bachelor degree

Average salary in Maryland: $148,540

Number working in state: 12,680

Executive/general manager

Minimum education: Bachelor degree

Average salary in Maryland: $133,170

Number working in state: 44,800

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not only does Maryland ($83,950) have some of the highest-paid accountants in the country, but neighboring states, including Virginia ($87,380), Delaware ($81,990), and the District of Columbia ($110,140) also have some of the highest-paid accountants in the United States. In fact, the District of Columbia ranks the highest when it comes to the average accountant’s salary.

Additionally, Pennsylvania to the north has more accountants (50,240) than nearly every state. When it comes to metropolitan areas, Maryland lays right in the middle of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria and the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metros, both of which have some of the highest concentration of accountants in the country.

These statistics show that students graduating from an accounting degree program in Maryland will not only find more job opportunities than most other areas in the country, but they also have access to some of the nation’s highest-paid positions. Ultimately, this makes Maryland a great place to go to school.

Top-rated schools in Maryland with accounting degrees

While you can attend an accounting degree program in any state, there are several great reasons for going to school in Maryland.

Location

Maryland’s prime location makes it an ideal state for college-bound students. No matter what college or university in the state you enroll in, you’ll be just a short drive from the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean or the banks of the Chesapeake Bay. The area is also well-known for having some of the best seafood cuisine in the world. Additionally, the city of Baltimore is home to tons of entertainment venues that offer everything from professional sporting events to concerts to professional conventions.

If mountains are more your style, you’ll find plenty of stunning views and outside activities, such as hiking, boating, and skiing, in central and western Maryland. In fact, 40 miles of the legendary Appalachian Trail runs through Maryland.

Job opportunities

Maryland’s ideal location also provides numerous job opportunities to graduating students. Not only is Maryland within close proximity to major cities, such as Philadelphia and the District of Columbia (D.C.), but the state is also home to several top corporations, including Black & Decker, John Hopkins Medical Institute, Marriot International, and Lockheed Martin.

Students can find numerous internship and job opportunities at these major corporations and others. Best of all, some of the highest-paid accountants in the country work in neighboring areas, including D.C. and Virginia.

Growing economy

Another great reason for going to school in Maryland is the state’s growing economy. Despite its small size, Maryland has the 15th largest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the country, at $428.34 billion.  A strong GDP represents a growing economy, which means that job opportunities for graduating accountants are likely to grow at a significantly higher rate than the national average.

Degree options

College students enrolling in an accounting degree program can choose between 14 private and 14 public colleges and universities as well as over a dozen community and online colleges. Students in Maryland can find degree programs at all levels, including associate, bachelor, master, and doctorate. Many business schools in Maryland also allow undergraduate students to dual major or select a specialized minor or concentration to enhance their degree.

This wide variety allows Maryland students to choose an educational track that best matches their interests, work-life balance, and budgets. Fortunately, Maryland’s schools offer some of the best accounting programs in the country. Here’s a look at several universities that offer the best accounting programs in the state.

University of Maryland – College Park

Location: College Park, MD

Tuition: $11,680 (in-state); $37,792 (out-of-state)

The University of Maryland is the largest college campus in the state. So, it comes as no surprise that the schools’ Robert H. Smith School of Business offers one of the best accounting programs in Maryland. It offers two separate accounting programs, including the public accounting track and the management accounting track.

Loyola University of Maryland

Location: Baltimore, MD

Tuition: $52,130

Loyola University of Maryland also offers an excellent accounting program. Its Sellinger School of Business offers a BBA degree in accounting, with minors available in business administration, marketing, and economics. The school also offers a one-year MAcc degree program as well as a 12-month MBA program.

Morgan State University

Location: Baltimore, MD

Tuition: $5,477 (in-state); $15,949 (out-of-state)

Morgan State University’s Earl S. Groves School of Business and Management offers exceptional undergraduate and graduate programs. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree, whereas graduate students can enroll in an MBA program or work towards earning a Ph.D. in accounting that focuses on research, consulting, and teaching.

Frostburg University

Location: Frostburg, MD

Tuition: $6,700 (in-state); $20,800 (out-of-state)

Frostburg’s College of Business offers both a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor of Art in Accounting degree programs. Graduate students can enroll in the school’s MBA program with concentrations in business analysis, business management, and health care management available.

Mount St. Mary’s University

Location: Emmitsburg, MD

Tuition: $42,200

Mount St. Mary’s Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business offers a bachelor degree program in accounting with minors available in economics and sports management. Graduate students have the option of enrolling in the MBA program or a master-level program in sports management.

McDaniel University

Location: Westminster

Tuition: $46,336

McDaniel University offers a bachelor’s degree program in accounting with minors in business administration, economics, and marketing available. While the school doesn’t offer a graduate program in accounting, it does partner with both John Hopkin’s Carey Business School and Duquesne’s Palumbo-Donahue School of Business.

How to find the right accounting program for you

When choosing which undergraduate or graduate program is right for you, there are several factors you should consider:

Accreditation

It’s crucial that you find an accounting program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. This accreditation is required to obtain a license as a CPA or to attend graduate school.

Minors and concentrations

It’s also important to consider what types of business-related minors and concentrations the schools offer. This is especially important if you think you want to specialize in a specific field of accounting, such as business analysis, forensic accounting, or business management. Always be sure to ask any school you are considering for a full list of all minors, concentrations, and specialty programs it offers. This step will ensure you are able to take the classes you need to reach your career goals.

Graduation requirements

Every accounting program has its own set of graduation requirements. So, be sure to take the time to compare these requirements when selecting a school. For example, one school may require the completion of an internship program where another school does not. You will have to determine if this opportunity is important to you and your future career and if you have the means to complete this requirement.

If you are planning to attend an online school, be sure to ask about the structure of their classes. Find out if you will need to attend class at a specific time or if the coursework is flexible. This step is very important if you have a hectic personal-work life.

Internship opportunities

Maryland is home to many major corporations, so you have the opportunity to complete an internship program that has the ability to advance your career. However, landing a great internship may depend on the college’s partnership with these corporations. Always ask about previous internship opportunities the school has offered and what companies they have worked with in the past.

Most affordable schools in Maryland with accounting degrees

The average in-state college tuition in Maryland is $16,005 per year, which is slightly higher than the national average of $17,345. When you multiply this figure by the number of years needed to obtain your degree, you can see how quickly these costs add up over the course of time.

Don’t, however, let these costs keep you from earning the degree you deserve. There are several steps you can take to reduce the overall cost of college.

Consider community college

One of the best ways to reduce the cost of college is to start at the community college level. Since tuition at community college is significantly lower than most four-year institutions, this step can help you save money on your overall educational costs. You can either enroll in an associate degree or a transfer program. An associate degree is the lowest-level program in the accounting field and prepares students for entry-level positions as a bookkeeper or financial clerk.

A transfer program, on the other hand, is specifically designed for students who want to transfer to a four-year institution immediately after completing the two-year program. When choosing this path, the most important thing is to work directly with your advisor to ensure all your credits transfer to the four-year institution of your choice.

Compare in-state vs out-of-state

Many colleges and universities charge higher tuition for out-of-state students. The reason for this difference is because in-state students, or their parents, have paid state taxes, of which a portion has gone to help fund programs at the school.

The only way to avoid paying these higher fees is by becoming a resident of the state prior to going to school. Most schools require a student to live in the state for at least one year prior to applying for school to be eligible for the reduced tuition. If you already live in Maryland, going to a school in the state can save you a lot of money on tuition fees.

Choose between online vs on-campus

Another solution for students looking to save money on college is to consider taking an online degree program versus one on campus. In many cases, online programs are less expensive than traditional, on-campus courses. For example, tuition fees at the University of Maryland Global Campus, formerly called UMUC, is $7,560 for in-state students and $12,336 for out-of-state students, whereas tuition at the University of Maryland is $11,680 for in-state students and $37,792 for out-of-state students.

Online programs not only help students save money on tuition costs, but it also allows them to save on room and board. Since online students can complete their degree from home, they don’t have to pay extra room and board costs to move on campus.

Online schooling works differently depending on the program. Some schools still require students to attend virtual classes at a specific time and day every week. Other programs provide students with all the resources they need, such as recorded lectures and discussion boards, and students must complete the work by the set deadline. Additionally, some colleges require students to complete an internship at an approved company or organization.

While online programs still require the same level of work, they provide students the opportunity to earn their degrees while still living at home and working. Best of all, most colleges and universities don’t distinguish between online and on-campus programs on the diploma.

Apply for financial aid

Student Federal Aid is a governmental program that provides grant money to some students to help offset the cost of college. Students are not required to repay this grant money. Eligibility for this grant is based on financial need. Students must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and submit it no later than June 30 prior to when they plan to attend school.

Grant amounts vary from student to student but are based on several factors, including financial need, years in school, and tuition costs. Once your application is processed, the government will send a complete financial aid package to the college or university you select. At this point, you will know if you qualify for financial aid and how much support you can expect to receive.

Find scholarships

Scholarships are another great way to offset the cost of college. Like grant money, scholarship funds don’t need to be repaid. While some scholarships are awarded on a needs basis, many are merit-based. For example, students may be awarded scholarships based on academic achievement, sports ability, or unique talent.

There are literally thousands of scholarships available to students every year. With so many options, it can be difficult to find the ones that best match your unique abilities and needs. Your first step should always be to check with your local high school to obtain more information about any local scholarships available.

You should also check with the college or university of your choice to see what scholarships they have available. Finally, there are numerous online scholarship boards that allow you to use filters to find scholarships that match your set criteria.

Many scholarships have strict eligibility requirements and submission deadlines. When applying for any type of scholarship, be sure to read all the necessary requirements and to submit all the required documentation by the set deadline.

Enroll in a work-study program

A work-study program works by allowing students to work for the school. For example, students may work at the student union building and campus gym. In exchange for working, the school covers a portion of the student’s tuition and pays the student a small stipend.

Nearly all colleges and universities that offer on-campus classes have work-study programs available. Many schools only have a set number of work-study spots available, so it’s recommended to apply as soon as possible to ensure you can enroll in the program.

Obtain a student loan

If you are not able to secure enough grants and scholarship money to pay for the cost of college, you can also consider taking out a student loan to help cover these costs. Students completing the FAFSA application may also be eligible to obtain a federally backed student loan. Since these loans are backed by the government, eligible students are typically able to acquire a student loan without a credit check or collateral.

Fortunately, these loans also come with very low-interest rates, but these funds do have to be repaid. Upon graduation, the government will set up a repayment plan with you that’s based on your current income. Your monthly payments will be adjusted as your salary increases.

Students who do not qualify for a federal student loan may still be able to secure a loan for school from their bank or credit union. These loans may come with a higher interest rate depending on your specific situation and must also be repaid.

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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