Professional Certifications

Learn how to become licensed or certified in the accounting field as a CPA, CMA, CFE and more.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The CPA certification is the oldest and most well-known accounting designation in the profession. If you desire to become a CPA, the state of Maryland requires 120 credit hours of higher education to sit for the CPA examination and 150 credits hours to receive the license. This will normally exceed the number of credit hours required to earn a bachelor's degree. Most other states have a similar requirement. You can begin working for a CPA firm upon receiving your bachelor's degree, take the CPA Exam, and subsequently earn any additional credit hours needed for the 150 credit hour requirement. You can take undergraduate or graduate courses in order to fulfill this requirement. You can fast track your way to the CPA exam and maximize your earning potential by completing the combined B.S./M.S. in accounting.

CPA Guidelines in Maryland

See all of the Maryland CPA Exam and Education Requirements.

The TU undergraduate accounting major provides the necessary accounting courses to prepare students for the CPA examination. 

Earning 150 Credits for CPA License

You need 150 credits in order to gain your CPA license. When deciding how to earn those additional 30 credits beyond your bachelor’s degree in accounting (120 credits), we strongly recommend that you approach this decision strategically since the choice can make you a stronger candidate for employment from the outset, plus give you more options later in your career.

You can extend your expertise in your chosen field by pursuing a graduate degree in accounting or supplement your bachelor’s degree by gaining expertise in high-demand fields that complement the accounting profession, such as business analytics, information technology or finance. 

Options to Gain the Additional 30 Credits

Here at TU, we have multiple ways for you to achieve that 150 credit goal. Consider these many options:

  • Accounting Combined B.S./M.S. This program allows you to earn two degrees and achieve 150 credits in as little as five years of full-time study. Students can select this option when applying to the Accounting Major.  If accepted, they then take 9 credits (3 graduate-level courses) in lieu of Accounting electives during their junior or senior year.  These graduate courses apply to both the bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements.
  • Masters in Accounting and Business Advisory Services (joint program with University of Baltimore). This is a 30 credit (10 course) graduate-level degree program.  Students may take courses at Towson University, UB, or online.
  • Masters in Applied Information Technology. This is a 33 credit (10 course) graduate-level degree program that incorporates one or more graduate certificates in specialized content areas. Additional preparatory classes may be required.
  • Masters in Marketing Intelligence. This is a 30 credit (10 course) graduate-level degree program that integrates marketing research, strategy, analytics, data management and interactive marketing. 
  • Business Administration Major: Economics Track. The Accounting and Business Administration Majors share many courses as part of the CBE lower-level and upper-level core. Students will take calculus (MATH 211 or MATH 273) and 21 additional credits (7 courses) in required and elective courses in the Economics Track.  In total, this option will contribute another 24 credits.
  • Business Administration Major: Finance Concentration. The Accounting and Business Administration Majors share many courses as part of the CBE lower-level and upper-level core. Students will take calculus (MATH 211 or MATH 273) and 24 additional credits (8 courses) in required and elective courses in the Finance Concentration.  In total, this option will contribute another 27 credits.
  • Business Administration Major: Financial Planning Track. Accounting and Business Administration Majors share many courses as part of the CBE lower-level and upper-level core. Students will take calculus (MATH 211 or MATH 273) and 21 additional credits (7 courses) in required and elective courses in the Financial Planning Track.  In total, this option will contribute another 24 credits.
  • Business Administration Major: Project Management and Business Analysis Concentration. The Accounting and Business Administration Majors share many courses as part of the CBE lower-level and upper-level core. Students will take calculus (MATH 211 or MATH 273) and up to 21 additional credits (up to 7 courses) in required and elective courses in the Project Management and Business Analysis Concentration.  In total, this option will contribute up to another 24 credits.
  • Business Systems and Processes Major. Accounting and Business Systems and Processes Majors share many courses as part of the CBE lower-level and upper-level core. Students will take calculus (MATH 211 or MATH 273) and 18-21 additional credits (6-7 courses) in required and elective courses in the Legal Studies Concentration. In total, this option will contribute another 21-24 credits.
  • Computer Science Major. The Accounting and Computer Science Majors share few courses. Students will take up to 72-83 additional credits (up to 24 required and elective courses) in the Computer Science Major. 
  • Computer Science Major and Track in Computer Security. The Accounting Major and Computer Science Major/Computer Security Track share few courses. Students will take up to 72-83 additional credits (up to 24 required and elective courses) in the Computer Science Major/Computer Security Track.
  • Economics Major. The Accounting Major and Economics Major share several courses.  Students will take up to 27-28 additional credits (up to 9 required and elective courses) in the Economics Major. 
  • Economics Major and Track in Financial Economics. The Accounting Major and Economics Major/Financial Economics Track share several courses.  Students will take up to 45-46 additional credits (up to 15 required and elective courses) in the Economics Major. 
  • Information Systems Major and Business Track. The Accounting Major and Information Systems Major/Business Track share many courses. Students will take calculus (MATH 211 or MATH 273) and 50 additional credits (16 courses) in required and elective courses in the Information Systems Major/Business Analysis Track. 
  • Information Technology Major. The Accounting Major and Information Technology Major share several courses. Students will take 59 additional credits (18 courses) in required and elective courses in the Information Technology Major.  
  • Computer Science Minor. Students will take 21 additional credits (6 courses) in required and elective courses in the Information Technology Minor.
  • Economics Minor. This is an 18-unit (6 course) minor that includes ECON 201 and ECON 202 as two of the required courses. Since these course are also required course for the Accounting Major, completing the Economics Minor will only contribute an additional 12 credits.
  • Finance Minor. This is an 18-unit (6 course) minor that includes FIN 331 as one of the required courses. Since FIN 331 is also a required course for the Accounting Major, completing the Finance Minor will only contribute an additional 15 credits.
  • Information Systems Minor. Students will take 20 additional credits (6 courses) in required and elective courses in the Information Technology Minor.
  • Information Technology Minor. Students will take 25 additional credits (8 courses) in required and elective courses in the Information Technology Minor.
  • Honors College. The Honors College has selective admission standards. Admitted students follow 24 credit (8 course) curriculum that features interdisciplinary study, research and co-curricular experiences.  Often there is some overlap between the courses taken as Honors College requirements and the CBE lower-level core curriculum.

Ways to Get to 150 Credits (.PDF)

Other Professional Certifications

While the CPA is the most common accounting certification, accounting majors have the opportunity to get certified in other areas related to their field and expertise.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

A CMA is for those who would prefer to work with employers more so than with the public. The exam is four parts and educational as well as practical experience requirements must be met. The exam ensures that an individual is proficient in business analysis, management accounting and reporting, strategic management and business applications.

Learn how to become a CMA.

Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA)

This designation is intended for those that want a career in the finance and investment world. The charter gives a strong understanding of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills. Most CFAs are finance professionals working on Wall Street or for a hedge fund/investment fund, but the certification has responsibilities beyond company management.

Learn more about becoming a CFA.

Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

With a CFE designation, an individual sets his or herself apart as an expert in the anti-fraud field. Passing the exam proves that an individual excels in fraud prevention, detection, deterrence and investigation.

Learn more about becoming a CFE.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

The CIA designation is the only globally accepted certificate in internal auditing. In order to qualify for the program to achieve the certificate, an individual must hold a bachelor's degree and work 24 consecutive months in an internal auditing field.

Learn how to become a CIA.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

CISA is a designation issued by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). This designation is the global standard for professionals who have a career in information systems, in particular, auditing, control, and security.

Learn more about CISA.

Enrolled Agent (EA)

If your career goal is in either tax preparation or internal tax work for a company, this would be a good credential to obtain. Created by the IRS, the enrolled agent certification is used to demonstrate one’s knowledge of the U.S. tax code and the ability to apply its concepts. 

Learn more about becoming an EA.

TU Accounting CPA Exam Results by Class Year*

YEAR OF GRADUATION TOTAL GRADUATES (B.S. & M.S.) PASSED CPA EXAM IN MARYLAND PERCENT PASSED
2011 156 44 47.6%
2012 129 40 42.9%
2013 149 37 39.1%
2014 148 32 44.7%
2015 165 27 42.5%
2016 164 29 34.7%
2017 195 17 39.5%
2018 186    

*These figures were compiled from annual editions of NASBA Annual Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance, Nashville, TN: National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, Inc.