Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Maryland
The Maryland Board of Public Accountancy grants CPA licenses to candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree from a program consisting of 150 semester hours of credit, with hours distributed among accounting, auditing, business, and ethics courses as determined by the Board. Because traditional bachelor’s degree programs consist of just 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting serves as the most effective way to earn the 30 additional credit hours in advanced coursework required for CPA licensure in Maryland.
Maryland’s CPAs often work for top accounting firms with offices in the greater D.C. metro area, including the “Big Four” international assurance and business consultation firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers, located in McLean, Virginia, and KPMG, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young, all with offices in our nation’s capital.
The biggest accounting firms with Maryland addresses are found in Bethesda, Rockville, and Greenbelt and include Reznick Fedder and Silverman, RSM Mcgladrey, Clifton Gunderson, and American Express Tax and Business Services. Combined, these major firms employ thousands of CPAs in both Maryland and the D.C. metro area.
Municipal and state government accountants in Maryland track spending at all levels, from Prince George’s County Office of Finance in Upper Marlboro to the Maryland Department of Human Resources in Easton and the Defense Information Systems Agency in Fort Meade.
Individuals interested in becoming management accountants, internal auditors, financial controllers, or cost and capital accountants will find their services indispensable to any business organization. The biggest employers of corporate accountants in Maryland continue to be aerospace engineering and defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corporation and Fortune 500 companies like Constellation Energy in Baltimore and Marriott International in Bethesda.
Forensic accountants who work to investigate and prevent fraud are found in governmental agencies throughout the state. FBI offices in Baltimore, Beltsville, and Annapolis all employ certified fraud examiners, as does the Department of Defense offices in Hanover and the Aberdeen and the Securities and Exchange Commission in nearby Washington, D.C.
Find out more about CPA requirements in our step-by-step guide on how to become a CPA in Maryland.
Salary and Employment Facts About Accountancy in Maryland
Maryland, particularly the section of the state centered on Baltimore, the axis of the Washington/Philadelphia corridor, is ideally positioned for all sorts of commerce which, in turn, requires all kinds of accounting professionals in every area of expertise.
As a result, the number of accounting positions in Maryland is steadily increasing, and the state’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation expects their numbers to grow by 9.5% between 2018 and 2028. During this ten-year period, the Department projects about 3,630 job openings in accounting every year in Maryland due to a combination of new job growth, natural job turnover, and retirements.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors in Maryland earned a median salary of $76,250 as of May 2020. But there’s more to this salary picture than just a general number…
Salaries for Accountants in Maryland Working in Different Specialized Roles
The BLS also provides a great deal of insight into what accounts and auditors in Maryland are earning in different industries and at different levels, as salaries in accounting are affected by everything from industry and company size to employee experience and specialized skills.
Note that the following BLS numbers from May 2020 don’t include bonuses, stock options and other incentives that can add considerably to base salaries, particularly among accountants in specialized positions and leadership and executive roles.
Corporate Staff Accountants, Bookkeepers, and Accounting Clerks
Salaries for corporate staff accountants in the financial services industry come in strong, even for those who are fairly new to the profession. For example, the BLS reports that those with little experience (25th percentile) earned about $36,510 as of May 2020, while those at the median level earned $45,830.
The most seasoned corporate staff accountants with specialty credentials and leadership/management roles earned between $56,200 and $66,980 in Maryland during this time, which represents the 75th – 90th percentile.
Part-accountant, part-investigator, forensic accountants enjoy strong salaries that match their expertise. In Maryland, they earn about $101,780, which represents the 75th percentile among all accountants and auditors in the state. In the major metro area of Baltimore, the average salary for these accounting pros is similar, at $100,060.
Controllers and Other Financial Managers
With a specialization that’s focused on assuring internal controls are established and enforced, it’s no wonder that controllers and other financial managers in Maryland enjoy a median salary that’s well into the six figures: $137,490. Those in the 75th percentile earn about $172,690, while those in the top 10% earn more than $208,000.
CPAs and Auditors
Public accounting is a varied and complex animal, requiring professionals ranging from tax experts to external auditing and assurance specialists. At the highest level, these pros carry a senior manager or director title and the prestigious CPA designation. As of May 2020, these professionals earned about $129,940, which represents the 90th percentile among all accountants and auditors in the state.
In metro areas like California-Lexington Park and Baltimore, average salaries for these accounting professionals remain competitive, at $133,450 and $129,050, respectively.
Accountants in Executive Roles
The top earners in accounting are naturally those who have long since left the accounting department and now hold executive titles in corporate leadership like Chief Financial Officer.
Maryland’s accounting executives earn $197,770 at the median level, while those in the 75th percentile and above earn salaries that exceed $208,000.
Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in Maryland’s Urban and Rural Areas
The metro areas of Baltimore-Columbia-Townson and California-Lexington Park come out far ahead in terms of pay, according to May 2020 stats from the BLS, earning as much as $30,000-$40,000 more annually than their colleagues in other metro areas at the median level.
(This broad classification includes accounting professionals in different areas of specialty, with different credentials, and with varying levels of experience.)
Salaries for Tax Preparers Throughout Maryland
Maryland’s California-Lexington Park region surges ahead the state’s other metro regions for its salaries for tax preparers at the median level, coming in about $20,000 more compared to the Hagerstown-Martinsburg and Salisbury metro areas and about $10,000 more compared to the Baltimore metro area. However, the highest paying region for tax preparers at the highest point on the pay scale remains the major Boston metropolis.
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job growth data for Accountants and Auditors, Financial Managers, Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks, and Chief Executives. Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed April 2021.
Job growth projections sourced from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and reported in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2018-2028) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.