How to Become a CPA
For those seeking a lucrative and in-demand profession based on numbers and math, as well as potential involvement in the world of business, then learning how to become a CPA will be a great decision. CPAs, or certified public accountants, are licensed accountants who have successfully passed a fairly rigorous standards process to advance their careers and open up the doors to more job opportunities and advancement.
The first step in the process for how to become a CPA will be to ensure you’re the right kind of person for this field. If you struggle with math and numbers, and you don’t like working those kinds of problems and figures, then being a CPA won’t be for you, simply put. However, if that has always been a strong point for you, and it’s something that you’re comfortable with, then you’ve already passed the first test in your journey and can begin thinking about moving ahead.
CPAs are all required to have a bachelors degree. Most commonly, individuals will graduate with an accounting degree, however, you may have chosen a business or finance diploma, perhaps with a minor in accounting. Your choice will largely depend on whether you knew from the start you’d like to become a CPA, and also what your intentions are in the field.
This is important to think about as well as you career plan. Is your end goal with gaining CPA licensure to be a full-time accountant, either for your own business or with a large firm? Or do you want this kind of background to potentially enter the business or entrepreneurship realms? These questions will help you choose the right bachelors degree program, as well as the right postgraduate program, if applicable.
One major question that people have as they learn how to become a CPA is whether or not they need a masters level diploma. The short answer is that no, they don’t, however, the majority of states require CPAs to have 150 credit-hours of education, as opposed to bachelors degrees which are based on 120 credits.
Therefore, many people decide they may as well obtain a masters while they’re at it, and they get a masters in accounting or business administration. However, many accounting bachelors programs are actually 5-year programs designed to get you all of those credits at once without a masters.
Once you’re done with that educational path, the next step for how to become a CPA is to pass the CPA exam. It’s an intense four-part Uniform CPA Examination, which is given by AICPA, or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Less than half of people pass all four parts in their first try, and that’s not a necessity. The requirement is simply that you need to pass all four within 18 months.
From there, to gain your full CPA license, you may need on the job experience, and you’ll need to maintain your status with ongoing education credits. If you can make it through this, then you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of a career as a CPA.
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