There is always a demand for certified public accountants. Businesses and individuals rely on accountants to prepare financial statements, provide consultation, prepare tax returns, audits and analyze payrolls. Accountants take the logistical work off the hands of those who otherwise may have difficulty interpreting complex financial data and preparing them correctly.
CPA Degree Requirements
Being a certified accountant opens the doors for many opportunities. However, there are many CPA degree requirements and experience needed to satisfy the State Board of Accountancy. If you have your eyes set on becoming a CPA, then you need to know the type of schooling that is required. The exact requirements may differ from state to state, but generally consist of the following:
- To earn your degree, you will need to complete 150 semester hours of instruction. Keep in mind that this is 30 hours more than what you need for acquiring a typical bachelor’s degree.
- Be sure to check what the specific requirements are for your state, as some require a certain number of semester hours for courses like accounting and business instruction.
- There is more than one approach to earning your accounting degree. Some students acquire their degree in accounting while others may elect to obtain a business degree and then pursue an MBA with a concentration in accounting.
- Once you have met the educational requirements, you will then be eligible to take the CPA exam. This is a rigorous 14-hour computer-based test comprising of four sections that consists of regulation, auditing & attestation, financial accounting & reporting, and business environment & concepts. The test includes multiple choice questions, essays and questions that test comprehension of potential workplace situations.
Top Universities For Accounting
The school you attend for your training will depend on your state of residency. Some of the top accredited schools that offer accounting programs include the following academic institutions:
- Devry University
- Westwood College
- University of Notre Dame
- New York University
- University of Michigan
- Brigham Young University
- University of Southern California
- University of Pennsylvania
Most universities also offer online courses where all or a portion of classes can be completed in an online format. This allows students to learn at their own pace and also helps them save money on expenses like room, board and travel costs. Some of the top schools with an online accounting program include:
- Kaplan University
- Liberty University
- Penn State University
- Indiana Wesleyan University
- Rasmussen College
- University of Minnesota Crookston
What Comes Next?
Okay, so you have gone through the academic rigors of acquiring your degree. You are now a CPA with the educational credentials to back it up. However, this does not mean that you will automatically find employment. Most businesses will only entrust their financial information to accountants with work experience. At this stage, it may be helpful to look for a registered apprenticeship program in your state. This is an excellent way to earn a paycheck while gaining some much needed hands-on experience in the process. This also allows you to add some padding to your CV and work portfolio. Some apprenticeship programs may also be completed while in school and may even be counted towards your academic credit.
As an accountant, your clients are counting on you to deliver accurate work. This is a job where number crunching and attention to detail should be two factors that are second nature to you. Whether you choose to work for an accounting firm or opt to start your own is up to you. Once you have earned your degree and gained some real-world experience in the field, then you have many outlets in which you can further pursue your career.
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