CPA Salary

CPA Salary

Source: 401K


Certified Public Accountants are accountants who have passed the Uniform CPA Examination and have also satisfied state requirements for education and experience. For more information, see CPA Requirements.

Though CPAs can perform all accounting functions, their primary expertise is in auditing finances to ensure that individuals and businesses meet business and legal standards. In addition, only CPAs can prepare certain reports such as those submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.


According to the PayScale Report as of June 2013, CPA salary varies by experience as follows.

  • New professionals earn $34,963 to $60,466 annually.
  • At one to four years of work, they make $38,487 to $64,564.
  • Five to nine years grants $45,123 to $85,472.
  • At 10 to 19 years, they earn $49,025 – $114,452.
  • And at 20 years or more, CPAs receive $49,087 – $147,163.

The following table compares the upper range of CPA salary with that of accountant salary to reveal how much the former is greater than the latter. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants asserts that the difference in pay averages from 10 to 15 percent. However, the table shows a far higher disparity especially with greater experience, when CPAs occupy upper management positions such as chief financial officer or treasurer.

Experience CPA Salary Accountant Salary
Under one year
$60,466 $552,527
1 to 4 years $64,564 $57,355
5 to 9 years $85,472 $64,083
19 to 19 years $114,452 $69,836
20 years $147,163 $77,688


The mean CPA salary differs by location as follows:

  • For states, CPAs earn $45,863 to $103,552 in California;$44,291 to $102,803 in New York; and $39,734 to $91,130 in Texas.
  • For cities, CPA salary runs $44,631 to $117,446 in New York City; $44,652 to $94,307 in Chicago; and $47,566 to $127,745 in Los Angeles. New York and Los Angeles are the two largest


PayScale Report: Salary for CPA Jobs
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants: Salary and Demand

35 Responses to “CPA Salary”

  1. Liane Markus says:

    Good thing you were able to show the break down on how to compute their salary. I think many people will be having their own opinion abut this concern but at least you have shared this blog to us.
    Liane Markus recently posted..קבלהMy Profile

  2. Jeremy Ruggles from Internet Marketing Tips says:

    Hey Leo,

    I like the site! I’m attending school for accounting right now, it looks like I made a good choice from the salary stats you have posted. Sorry it’s taken me so long to come over and check your site out. I can see that I have been missing out.

    Keep up the goo work around here, Leo!

    Talk again soon,

    Jeremy Ruggles @ Internet Marketing Tips recently posted..My First Interview Over Skype – Learn With MeMy Profile

    • alocsin says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Jeremy. I’m honored you took a peek. Accounting is not only high-paying but also in high demand, making it an excellent course of study.

  3. Adolf from IT Services Melbourne says:

    I want to finish my MBA to become an professional and earn like that..!

  4. jay says:

    wow that’s really high.
    i have a daughter who is in freshman college now but is not so interested in accounting :(
    well, cant force children to study something they dont like.

  5. Jasmin says:

    wow, amazing…I believe the differences are very consistent …and it surely worths passing the CPA Examination.

  6. Cadense says:

    This is reference, review and statistics are important to know their abilities and experiences. CPA is not an easy job, so it is also important to know this kind of information. It’s interesting for the Accountants because of the breakdown statistics information provided by them.

  7. katherine says:

    Your stastistics show that it is worth to be a CPA but I am sure it will take very hard work and despiration for being a CPA. Quiet good information you have shared here, seeing the salary of CPA many teens will get inspired with it. It really make a big difference in a nrmal accountant and a CPA. Thank you for this good stuff here.

  8. Emily Blake says:

    I think it’s an irrefutible fact that CPA’s get paid more than accountants. The certification itself is brutal and doesn’t necessarily dictate knowledge of the individual, but it does go a long way to proving that this person has dedication and tenacity. I think that that is what a lot of managers see in CPAs.
    Emily Blake recently posted..Forensic Accountants VS Certified Fraud ExaminersMy Profile

  9. Parker says:

    It is really huge difference between the salary of a normal accountant and a CPA. I am sure that after reading your blog many people were thinking to be a CPA but they never know that its not a cake walk. I appeared for the CPA Examination but didn’t succeed and got 83 marks. I’ll definitely try again my luck and my hard work. There are three tries and this is my second, I am quiet confident this time that i’ll make it this time. Wish me luck. :)

  10. Karen from Best Blenders says:

    Interesting breakdown of the differences in salary – goes to show the importance of taking certifications, and I guess that’s true in any field, not just accountancy. I’m in the Uk and our chartered accountants (equivalent of CPA) earn about $150k at senior level, but that would be offset by our higher cost of living.
    Karen@Best Blenders recently posted..Waring Blender – Waring PBB25 Professional Bar BlenderMy Profile

  11. Chris says:

    Wow, the disparity in pay across the board is pretty wide. But, it certainly seems worth it to go the extra mile and become certified.
    Chris recently posted..EMT SalaryMy Profile

  12. Chloe Vazquez from government grants application says:

    I never knew so much information about CPA and accountant salary. I always thought that they both are the same. I am happy to know these information. Keep going with your good works. :)
    Chloe Vazquez @ government grants application recently posted..Housing Aid for Single MothersMy Profile

  13. Jenny from assignment writing service says:

    Thanks for the useful info. I never knew there was any difference between CPA and accountants salary.
    Jenny@assignment writing service recently posted..Expository Essay Writing – Basics and FormatMy Profile

  14. James Brown says:

    Nice post!… CPA Salary is bigger than normal accountant.. of course if you want to have Bigger salary for accountant you have to pass the exam. :)
    James Brown recently posted..How to get thousands of instant forum backlinks for $0.001 each and have them indexed quicklyMy Profile

  15. There is a pretty staggering birth between the new CPA’s salary and that of one that has 20+ years of experience but if you look at the bottom end pay of the most experienced CPA’s this isn’t actually the case at all. I wonder what accounts for the disparity in pay between CPA’s with at least two decades of experience.
    sasha@personal injury lawyer in Vancouver recently posted..Choosing the Right Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer – 10 TipsMy Profile

  16. Lucy Mona says:

    Very smart salary of CPA! There are a big difference between CPA and accountants salary. I just pleased to know these information. Thanks for this allocation. :lol:
    Lucy Mona recently posted..M.I.S Aynob Cottage Apartment Nakhalpara, DhakaMy Profile

  17. Dave Hansen says:

    Thanks for posting these salary comparisons, I’m assuming these are all US salaries in USD?
    Dave Hansen recently posted..Observe Online Motion pictures NowadaysMy Profile

  18. Nelson says:

    The difference in salaries of accountant and a CPA is huge. Average $30,536 to $60,366 annually is still a good salary for a fresher CPA. I know few accountants who said passing this exam is not that easy, what do you say?

  19. Dan Robins says:

    Hi, I contemplated learning for a computer science and becoming a programmer, but decided
    to study accounting – because i a long term profession. I know the exams are very hard- but I’m sure I’ll pass them – even if it takes a few times. If you’re good and hard working – you’ll be earning
    great salaries in 5-10 years.
    Unlike programming, in this profession age is not your enemy. When you become older you are more respected in the market.
    Dan Robins recently posted..How to buy your first apartment refrigeratorMy Profile

  20. Rose Walsh says:

    CPA may be earning more than accountant but the exams are darn difficult to get through. The lucrative earning is indeed an incentive for the hard work well paid off. My friend got lucky the second time and she said life could never be better.
    Rose Walsh recently posted..Check printing – if you need to know more abut check for printing then check this outMy Profile

  21. Danilo Petrozzi from consulente says:

    That’s pretty high! How can a new CPA earn 30k/year with no experience?

  22. Ana from Accounting Courses says:

    This again proves that accounting career is very promising, however it is essential to devote much time and energy to professional development, always get plenty of knowledge and practical experience. In my opinion sales skills are also becoming more and more important for CPA’s
    Ana@Accounting Courses recently posted..Why Learn Accounting – Watch This Video If You Have Not YetMy Profile

  23. Ashley says:

    Thanks for the useful information. The difference in salary is big, but we must remember that the CPA has to work very hard to obtain the certificate. As you mentioned the exam is very difficult. Keep up the good work.

  24. Adam from brain supplements says:

    Its worth studying and taking the CPA exam in the long run. When I was a teenager I had a cousin whose boyfriend finally passed on the 5th try. That was 20 years ago …I guess it was worth it.

    See what a little tenacity can get you?

    Experience CPA Accountant
    20 years $147,163 $77,688

  25. James says:

    Considering the investment of time and finances involved to become a CPA it’s amazing the difference in salaries. This just reinforces to me that the road to go down is the accounting path. The difference in salaries that you have projected makes it impossible in my opinion to financially justify any other decision. Nice to see everything in a clear and concise layout. Appreciated.

  26. howard from photographer Yorkshire says:

    I cant believe that there is such a difference between the two, its really interesting post and i guess you made lots of people to double consider their decisions. If someone decides to become a CPA well as you said they need to work hard and earn it. Great post.

  27. rebecca from wedding jewellery says:

    Thanks for the information. your article has been very helpful. My Husband is right now studying to be an accountant, i will make him double check his decision before he moves forward with his career.
    rebecca@wedding jewellery recently posted..The Perfect Wedding Awards 2013My Profile

  28. MMD from IRA vs 401k Central says:

    This is really some helpful information. In my retirement years I am strongly considering taking on a different type of job, and it may possibly be in an alternate career field. Having always had an affinity for money and organization, the thought of becoming an accountant and getting my CPA has been of interest to me. It helps to see how much they are currently making so that I can weigh it against what I currently make in my present profession.
    MMD @ IRA vs 401k Central recently posted..Can I Borrow Against My 401k Plan? Not If You Can Help ItMy Profile

  29. Nurul Huda from cetak spanduk Jakarta says:

    Certified Public Accountants are needed by many companies. Not only that, the academics who have graduated from this field are also very in need by government to manage finances in the state. May those who graduate with the best results, it can be placed in a very large company.

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