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How to Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Career News August 22, 2013

Most cushy jobs that involve procedural paperwork require CPA certification. You can find employment with privately held multinational companies and many nonprofit companies as well. Of course, you will be expected to be a Certified Public Accountant, and verified credentials informing those you work with that you’re knowledgeable in a variety of disciplines.

The Work and Education Expected

Much of your workload (and thus your training) will be in internal auditing, forensic accounting, information technology, and tax guidance. The CPA exam is one of the most challenging exams in all of higher learning, but you can study for it by taking a CPA exam review course. The University of Maryland in College Park, among other high-end colleges, offers degrees in CPA, accounting and related courses.

There are also other prerequisites CPAs must fulfill before being allowed to take the exam. Most states require 150 hours of semester-level education, which is slightly more than a bachelor’s degree. State requirements may list the needs for accounting and business hours. Understand, however, that most CPA hopefuls will go on beyond the bachelor’s degree (especially since the semester hour requirement often exceeds the four-year study course) and will go for their master’s degree.

What Does the Course Include?

When it comes to acquiring a license, you must pass the CPA exam and meet all of your hour requirements. Much of education will center on legality, considering that you will be working with highly private and secure data that cannot be compromised. Certification training is one part standard education in accounting, but another part may be legal and technical training. The CPA exam has four parts: audit and attestation, financial accounting and reporting, regulation and business environment.

Once you have earned your degree, you can go on to work in accounting or auditing, and make on average over $65,000 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Larger companies are located in cities, so the best job positions, as well as the best territory for private practice, tend to be located in big cities. BLS also states that the expected growth for CPA jobs is expected to rise consistently, even when compared to the national average for employment.

Continuing Education for Certified Public Accountants

If you do break into this career field, remember that continuing education is just as important as basic education. There are always going to be new laws that will affect you and your clients, and qualified CPA are expected to keep up to date with these changes. CPAs are authority figures, and while your legal liability does have limitations, ultimately, your education and willingness to investigate legalities will endear you to clients who are looking for someone they can trust.

This is a career choice that is predicted to grow, historically stable, and now with these college prep courses, available to anyone willing to put forth the time investment. If you are good with numbers, pay keen attention to details, and are ready for a change, it’s time to think seriously about CPA certification.

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