When it comes to a pro-business tax climate, South Carolina seems to have it all. The state boasts of no state property tax, no inventory tax, no local income tax, no wholesale tax and a corporate income tax of only 5 percent.
It all adds up to the state being a good place for businesses to settle. So much so that Forbes named the city of Charleston as the 36th best place for business and careers in the nation. In terms of job growth, the city ranks 12th in the country.
That's good news for graduates of South Carolina accounting schools. Many finance occupations will see above average growth in the coming years, and many positions will likely offer competitive salaries and benefits.
For busy adults, the good news is that preparing for these jobs can be, in some cases, done from the comfort of your own home. South Carolina accounting programs are increasingly making use of the internet and offering degrees that can be completed either partially or fully online.
What Should I know about Online Accounting Programs in South Carolina?
South Carolina students have their choice of programs from a variety of public and private schools. Some, like Greenville Technical School, offer certificates and associate degrees designed to get graduates into the workplace quickly. Others, such as the University of South Carolina, are focused on offering the bachelor's and master's degrees that may be necessary for advanced positions.
Not all South Carolina accounting programs are online, but the following is a list of institutions that offer distance learning options. Some schools have programs specifically in accounting while other have degrees in business administration that may offer an accounting component.
- Limestone College
- Southern Wesleyan University
- Anderson University
- University of South Carolina
- North Greenville University
Other schools offering an online accounting education include fully online colleges and out of state institutions that enroll South Carolina students in distance learning programs.
What's the Accounting Career Outlook in South Carolina?
Most accounting and finance-related jobs in South Carolina seem to be growing at an above average pace, according to government data. However, some positions should see particularly high demand in the coming years. For example, personal financial advisors have an estimated growth of nearly 36 percent from 2012-2022.
Here's a closer looking at accounting and finance jobs in the state.
|Position||Employment in South Carolina (2014)||Average Salary in South Carolina (2014)||Expected Job Growth (2012-2022)|
|Accountants and Auditors||13,870||$59,240||12.8%|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting or Auditing Clerks||20,960||$33,540||13.1%|
|Personal Financial Advisors||2,190||$92,890||35.9%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
However, statewide averages don't tell the whole story. Incomes can vary by region within the state as the following 2014 average accountant salaries, broken down by metropolitan area, demonstrate.
- Charleston: $59,050
- Columbia: $54,960
- Greenville: $66,960
- Myrtle Beach: $50,900
- Spartanburg: $61,950
The Charlotte metropolitan area in North Carolina may also employ South Carolina workers, and these individuals earn significantly more than their counterparts elsewhere in the state. In 2014, accountants and auditors in the Charlotte area earned average annual salaries of $76,390.
Accounting Specializations in South Carolina
Some South Carolina accounting schools allow students to specialize their studies in order to pursue a particular career path. They may be able to concentrate their classes in one of the following areas, among others:
- Internal auditing
- Public and corporate accounting
- Financial analysis
Graduates of South Carolina accounting programs can also specialize by pursuing voluntary certifications from industry groups. The following are a few examples of the many designations available.
- Certified Management Account
- Certified Financial Planner
- Certified Fraud Examiner
- Certified Internal Auditor
- Certified Public Accountant
A Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, may be the most valuable certification available in the field. It's also required for any accountant who files reports with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
Earning a CPA designation is a rigorous process and each state has specific educational requirements for candidates. To sit for the CPA exam in South Carolina, students must have credit for at least 120 semester hours completed through an approved program. To be licensed, applicants must have 150 semester hours credit of schooling, including 24 hours of upper level classes in accounting and 12 hours of upper or lower level business courses.
Given the pro-business tax climate of South Carolina, it seems likely accountants and other financial occupations will continue to be in demand in the years to come. Contact one or more of the South Carolina accounting programs listed below to find out how to get started on your degree and whether you can study from the comfort of your home.
1. Projections Central, Long-Term Projections, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
2. Occupational Employment Statistics, South Carolina, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sc.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition
4. Frequently Asked Questions, South Carolina Board of Accountancy, http://www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/accountancy/index.asp?file=faq.htm#licensingreqs
5. Accounting, College of Charleston, https://www.cofc.edu/academics/majorsandminors/accounting.php
6. Pro-Business Environment, South Carolina Department of Commerce, http://sccommerce.com/sc-advantage/pro-business-environment7. Charleston, SC, Best Places for Businesses and Careers, Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/places/sc/charleston/