Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Texas

The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy grants certified public accountant licenses to qualified candidates. To be eligible for licensure, CPA candidates are required to earn at least 150 semester hours of college credit within a bachelor’s degree program or higher before passing the Uniform CPA Exam and gaining a year of supervised experience. With most bachelor’s programs consisting of just 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting can provide the additional credit hours in advanced accounting coursework required for licensure in Texas.

Texas CPAs are found working for the many local and regional CPA firms in the state. Many also work for international firms with a presence in the state, including Baird, Kurtz and Dobson, which has offices in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, and Clifton Gunderson, which has offices in Austin and Houston. A CPA license, often coupled with specialty certification, allows these professionals to serve as tax consultants and financial analysts in the Texas offices of global financial services firms like JPMorgan Chase or as forensic accountants who investigate fraud under the auspices of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Find out more about CPA requirements in our step-by-step guide on how to become a CPA in Texas.

Accountancy Job Trends in Texas

With its concentration of big industry and big business, Texas is a major player in global commerce. Accountants familiar with International Financial Reporting Standards are needed to facilitate international trade for globally recognized companies like Marathon Oil, and engineering and construction giant URS Corporation, both of which have a strong presence in Texas.

Fortune 150/Global 500 petroleum refining company Tesoro Corporation, which is headquartered in San Antonio, and industrial hygiene services company ALS Environmental, with offices in Houston, both employ environmental accountants and auditors. The proliferation of oil and natural gas exploration in Texas necessitates the services of these specially trained professionals to help ensure compliance with environmental regulations so as to avoid EPA fees that could otherwise work to erode the bottom line.

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Texas Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts

From Austin’s booming tech sector to legacy industries like oil and gas exploration and extraction, Texas is a place with big opportunities for accounting professionals at nearly every level.

The Texas Workforce Commission forecasts one of the largest increases in accounting jobs in the nation —18.8%—between 2018 and 2028. During this ten-year period leading to 2028, the state should see about 15,480 job openings for accountants due to a combination of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Texas’ accountants earned a median salary of $73,420 as of May 2020.

Salaries for Accountants in Texas Working in Different Specialized Roles

Statewide numbers and averages offer only a limited perspective in a state that’s the size of France, though. There’s a lot of differences between a small-town tax accountant working in the Panhandle and a big-time financial services specialist grinding it out in a Houston skyscraper. Fortunately, the BLS also breaks down salaries for the state’s accountants based on a variety of factors like experience, industry, and role/title.

Note that the following BLS numbers from May 2020 feature only base salaries and not salary incentives like bonuses and stock options that can add a considerable amount to an accountant’s overall salary package.

Corporate Staff Accountants, Bookkeepers, and Accounting Clerks

Financial services typically attract well-qualified candidates, even at the staff accounting level. With just a couple of years of experience, you’ll earn about $33,140 as a corporate accountant in Texas, which represents the 25thpercentile. With a few more years of experience, you can expect to earn closer to the median level, which is $41,150. Seasoned corporate accountants and those in senior-level roles earn salaries at the upper end of the pay scale, which is about $50,830 – $61,850 (75th – 90th percentile).

Forensic Accountants

Forensic accountants have a unique skillset and mindset that come together to deliver a particularly valuable service to employers – and their salaries reflect this. In Texas, forensic accountants earn about $96,080, which represents the 75th percentile among all accountants and auditors in the state.

In many of the state’s metro areas, salaries for forensic accountants are even stronger. For example, in Amarillo, they earn about $101,010, while in the DFW metro area, the average salary is about $99,970.

Controllers and Other Financial Managers

Controllers have both expertise and experience, which is why median salaries for these pros almost always exceeds the six figures. In Texas, the median salary for controllers and other financial managers is well into the six figures—$134,030, to be exact. At the 75th percentile, they earn about $183,170, while those at the top of the pay scale (90th percentile) earn salaries that exceed $208,000.

Salaries for controllers are even higher in many of the state’s major metro areas like DFW, which reports a median salary of $145,540.

CPAs and Auditors

Public accountants command a wide variety of salaries, heavily dependent on the industry they specialize in, the size of the firms they deal with and, more than anything, whether or not they hold a CPA. CPAs holding director-level positions in audit and assurance firms are at the top of the field in terms of pay. Texas CPAs earn about $123,770, which represents the top 10% of all accountants and auditors in the state.

In many metro areas, CPAs enjoy even stronger salaries. For example, in Amarillo, they earn about $142,070.

Accountants in Executive Roles

There is no one further up the accounting department ladder in corporate management than the CFO. With years of experience under their belt and specialized credentials that nearly always include the esteemed CPA designation, they command top dollar in the accounting world. In Texas, accounting executives at nearly every level earn salaries that exceed $208,000.

In Corpus Christi, accounting executives earn a median salary of $184,200, while in places like McAllen, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Waco, median salaries exceed $208,000.

Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in Texas’s Cities and Rural Areas

The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington is ranked fifth in the nation for its employment level of accountants and auditors as of May 2020, followed by the Houston-the Woodlands-Sugar Land in sixth place.

(This is a broad classification that includes accounting professionals in different areas of specialty, with different credentials, and with varying levels of experience).

Tax Preparer Salaries Throughout Texas

Salaries are all over the place for tax preparers in Texas. For example, in some parts of the state, median salaries are as low as $18,000 (Killeen-Temple) and as high as $86,000 (College Station-Bryan).

Area Name
Annual median wage
Austin-Round Rock
Beaumont-Port Arthur
Big Thicket Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area
College Station-Bryan
Corpus Christi
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington
El Paso
Hill Country Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land
North Texas Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area
San Antonio-New Braunfels
West Texas Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area


May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job growth data for Accountants and AuditorsFinancial ManagersBookkeeping, 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 Texas Workforce Commission and reported in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2018-2028) database –

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