The Evergreen State ranks 3rd on the U.S. News & World Report Best State for Business list, and you don’t have to look very hard to see why. Nine different Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the greater Seattle area, all of them household names, including familiar favorites Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, and Costco.
These are the kinds of companies that define entire industries, and the forest of startups and suppliers that has grown up around them have pushed the state right to the top of national lists tracking GDP growth. In fact, research and analytics firm IBISWorld has Washington pegged at number one for state GDP growth.
Job growth is just as voracious. You don’t have to look too hard to find highly-trained CPAs here in high-paying positions. The U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored resource, O*Net, expects this to be the case at least through 2028, forecasting a supersonic 15 percent job growth rate for accountants and auditors here.
You will see many of those positions opening up at the tech and retail giants that cemented the region’s place on the map, but there are also a lot of newly minted millionaires walking around that need investment and portfolio advising, retirement planning assistance, and tax prep advice. So there is tons of work for prominent local accounting firms like Spokane’s Anastasi, Moore & Martin, Bellevue’s Novogradac, or Moss Adams in Seattle; and there’s still room for CPAs who have what it takes to go independent too. It all starts with a CPA license.
Learn exactly how you can become a CPA in Washington.
- Get Your Education in Washington
- Take the Uniform CPA Exam in Washington
- Gain the Necessary Experience in Washington
- Get Your Washington CPA License
- Continuing Education in Washington
1. Get Your Education – Meeting CPA Degree Requirements in Washington
a. Request information from Washington colleges and universities offering degrees in accounting. The Washington Board of Accountancy (WBOA) requires that all CPA candidates hold a bachelor’s or higher degree and complete 150 semester hours of college credit.
With most bachelor’s degrees in accounting consisting of 120 semester hours, going on to earn a master’s in accounting or post-baccalaureate certificate is the standard way to get those 30 additional credits required to become a CPA in Washington. Many of these programs are available entirely online. You can also find specialized five-year CPA track programs that offer a blended bachelor’s and master’s curriculum designed specifically to give you the 150 semester hours you need to meet CPA requirements in Washington.
b. The WBOA recognizes all accounting degrees and additional credits in business and accounting earned through colleges and universities around the country that hold standard institutional accreditation through one of these regional accreditors:
- Accrediting Commission for Independent Colleges and Schools
- Middle States Association of College and Secondary Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Higher Learning Commission
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
If you graduated from a non-accredited U.S. program of if your degree was earned outside of the U.S., your education must be evaluated by a Board-recognized evaluation service. A complete list may be found here. Results of your chosen agency’s evaluation of your college credits should be sent directly to CPAES.