How to Become a CPA in Maryland

The economy of Maryland is interesting in that the Maryland government is more concerned with the ways in which the residents are faring economically, than a metric like the Gross Regional Product (GRP- what the state is able to manufacture and sell for revenue). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland households are currently the wealthiest in the country, with a 2016 median household income of $72,483. This is up $20k from the median household income in the country, which is about $53,000. Maryland also has one of the lowest poverty rate in the country at 7.8%.

With such a strong economy through the measure of personal income, CPAs in Maryland are essential to assist these individuals in handling their finances, as well as the government, companies, and businesses that operate in the state. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics from the Department of Labor, the expected growth for CPAs and other financial advisors in Maryland is 10% between now and 2026. In a state that already employs more than 26,000 CPAs, that means many opportunities for employment in the Old Line State in the coming years. Another great reason to be a CPA in Maryland is that 10 of the largest accounting firms located there have been ranked in the Top 100 Firms to Work For in the Country by AccountingToday. Any CPA who was able to land an internship with one of these firms during or after college will have many professional doors opened to them.

MD Quick Facts

*Source: BLS Data

Accounting Programs in Maryland

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant requires everyone to obtain a certain amount and particular type of education from the state where they hope to practice. Many elements of the job of a CPA are the same in each state, but licensing is state-specific for the sake of ensuring that CPAs are clear about the varied state tax laws and guidelines, which are different or do not exist in other states. Almost all states let CPAs practice there temporarily regardless of where their license was obtained with what is called Mobility Rules or Legislation. Some states only allow this temporary license to be valid for a certain number of working hours per month, or stipulate the amount of money a CPA can make outside of their licensing state, while others require that the CPA can only own property in their licensing state, for instance. These agreements vary from state to state, meaning Maryland has agreements like these with some states, but not with others. The website CPAmobility.org is an easy way to find out where Maryland CPAs can practice, and what documentation they must submit, depending on where they wish to practice.

Nationally, people who are applying to become a CPA are required to take a minimum of 150-semester units of college education, in any concentration. They also must engage in accounting related work experience, and pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Once someone is licensed as a CPA in any state, interstate CPA licensing requirements (like those mentioned above) begin to apply, regardless of the type of client services performed, and regardless of how well the practitioner knows about the laws in the next state over.

CPA Certifications in Maryland

To become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Maryland, specific eligibility requirements must be met beyond those of the national minimums. The Maryland Board of Public Accountancy has a website describing these requirements, with links to the relevant statutes, contacts, and in many cases, downloadable and electronic submittable forms for CPA applicants.

In Maryland, the person applying to become a CPA must have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting with 150 educational hours from an accredited post-secondary school. This means that in addition to the 120 hours a bachelor’s degree offers, applicants must obtain an additional thirty hours of upper division coursework in accounting or business. Unique to Maryland, an applicant must have completed 51 semester hours in accounting, business, and related subjects. Including the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree that meets the following requirement: A major in accounting on the bachelor’s level, or its equivalent.

Anyone who wishes to become a CPA in the United States, must sit for and pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (Uniform CPA Exam). The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the body that creates and regulates the exam, and National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) administers it in each state.

The Uniform CPA Exam is the same, or uniform, in every state, however, the requirements for being eligible to sit for the exam, and subsequently passing, determines if you can be licensed in your state.

CPA Licensure in Maryland, Steps Toward Eligibility

To be eligible for CPA licensure in Maryland, candidates must meet these following qualifications:

Source: Maryland Board of Public Accountancy

In addition to the minimum national standards, CPAs in Maryland (and everywhere) must complete continuing professional education (CPE) hours to maintain their CPA licensure. Specific to Maryland, these must be earned throughout the year and reported once every two years. Maryland CPAs must report at least 80 hours for the 2-year period that goes from the date of the initial application until the date two years later, minus one day. Four of these 80 hours must be in the area of ethics in accountancy.

For those CPAs who are also instructors of Accounting, CPE credit is given at the same rate of as hours for non-instructors and instructor credits are limited to 45 hours in a reporting period. They make count credit for presenting on accounting, given that their presentation/lecture is original and they have not given it before. For authors of books or manuals on accountancy, authorship credits are limited to 10 hours for each published article, and this type of credit is limited to 40 hours for a reporting period. CPAs can also get CPE hours for peer-reviewed articles, but credits are limited to 16 hours per reporting period. A peer reviewer may allocate a maximum of 12 hours for an engagement review and 16 hours for a systematic review.

Best Cities in Maryland to Work as an Accountant (Based on Salary)

Source: BLS Data

In the year 2007, federal regulations were passed to allow CPA mobility, meaning if, for example, a CPA had been working with a client for years, and that client moved away or is working in a state they do not live in, that CPA could continue working with that client, even outside of the state the CPA is licensed in. The regulating bodies who govern accounting, and who passed this new regulation are The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

The regulation itself is referred to as Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) and the section dealing with mobility across state lines is section 23, or “no notice, no fee, no escape”. Section 23 is often compared to the driver’s license model. Any driver who is licensed in a U.S. state can, without penalty, drive across the country without applying for new driver’s licenses in each state she visits. If she were to disobey the traffic laws of the state she is visiting outside her licensing state, she can be disciplined by the state where the infraction occurred. The same applies to the UAA, and specifically section 23. The UUA in its entirety was developed and is maintained, reviewed and updated by the AICPA and NASBA. It provides a uniform approach to regulation of the accounting profession.