Jobs in the District of Columbia are largely found in the public sector. The government is by far the largest employer, and while there is a private sector, it is heavily focused on government. The big 'industries' include associations, lobbying firms, law firms and banking. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' January 2017 figures, the number of jobs in the private sector increased by more than 50% over the course of the previous year. The unemployment rate stands at 5.8 percent as of September 2017.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that, as of May 2016, there are 11,080 accounting jobs in the District of Columbia and that the average wage for an accountant is $93,210.
The professional and business sector employs the most people, although education and healthcare are also prominent industries. The largest non-government employers include law firms like Arnold Porter and Patton Boggs, as well as non-profits and associations of all stripes, including the AARP and the National Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The largest lobbying firms include Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Cassidy & Associates. Companies that are pursuing independent businesses include Blackboard IT, the Carlyle Group, Cogent Communications and Pepco Energy. Thus, opportunities for accountants are available in a wide range of environments.
The Washington DC State Board administers the certified public accountant (CPA) exam to candidates who have completed at least three semester hours in commercial law and 24 hours in accounting subjects. Unlike in many states, you do not need to pass an ethics exam to be licensed; however, licensure does require 2,000 hours of work experience under the supervision of a CPA. The Accountant Mobility Act allows CPAs licensed in one of the 50 states to practice in the District of Columbia.
The Greater Washington Society of CPAs (http://www.gwscpa.org), which was active in promoting the Accountant Mobility Act, is involved in many issues important to accounting professionals and offers networking and continuing education opportunities. Also active in the District and surrounding areas is the Potomac & Chesapeake Council of the Institute of Management Accountants (http://pccouncil.imanet.org).