How to Become a CPA Without a Degree in Accounting It Can Be Done!

You can also take two, three, or all four of the exam sections in a single session. PrepScholar Admissions is the world’s best admissions topic no 556 alternative minimum tax consulting service. We’ve helped thousands of students get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League.

However, you can check on the CPA requirements in your state before deciding what accounting degree with work for you. The educational and experience requirements for CPA licensure typically take at least 5-6 years to complete. Candidates from non-accounting backgrounds and those who earn their degrees on part-time schedules face longer timelines. Georgia requires all candidates to have 2,000 hours of experience in one year, supervised by an active CPA in business, industry, or public accounting.

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  • Plus, you have the option of getting your bachelor’s and master’s degrees at different schools, if you prefer.
  • First of all, even with all the costs that come with taking and preparing for the CPA exam, it’s still going to be  less expensive than earning a master’s degree.
  • During summers, you should aim to get accounting-related work experience by interning at accounting firms.
  • It’s not easy to get your CPA license without an accounting degree, but it is completely doable.
  • You can also prepare for the exam and complete it in less time than it would take to finish grad school.
  • Will accounting firms take you seriously with just a bachelor of science?

This means that remedial courses like accounting 101 and 102 don’t count toward the 18 credit hours. Hawaii requires 18 credit hours of accounting coursework and has relatively loose experience requirements. Maine only requires 15 credits of accounting classes, but it also has much more stringent experience requirements. Candidates must fulfill at least 4,000 hours of relevant work supervised by a CPA before they can become certified. Becoming a CPA with just a bachelor’s degree definitely has its advantages.

Most states require that CPA candidates have a bachelor’s degree in accounting in order to sit for the exam, but not all of them. This means that you have to sit for the exam in one of these states. If CPA seems like a tall order, various accounting certifications exist that don’t require a degree.

What qualifications do you need to be an accountant?

Many accounting firms offer roles for students or those in the early stages of their careers who don’t yet have extensive educational qualifications. Beyond the exam and educational milestones, CPA candidates must fulfill work experience requirements. The specifics vary from state to state, so it’s imperative to check with your local State Board of Accountancy. Most states also need candidates to take an ethics exam covering topics from the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct as part of their CPA license requirements. In most cases, you’re required to pass the ethics exam (usually with a score of at least 90%) within a year of two of passing the CPA Exam.

  • If you’ve always dreamed of building an empire, starting your own firm can take your business even further.
  • Most states expect candidates to write the AICPA ethics exam as a part of their CPA license requirements.
  • Other states make the 150-hour rule part of their CPA test requirements.
  • And an MBA is a general business master’s program, but you can take extra accounting classes.
  • If CPA seems like a tall order, various accounting certifications exist that don’t require a degree.
  • Eventually, all states will require a bachelor’s degree in accounting to sit for the exam.

Depending on the state you reside in, you may be required to take an ethics exam. This exam would typically include content from the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct, but some states may also have their own mandatory ethics exam that is specific to that state. Annual ethics exams are also mandated by some states to ensure ethical requirements are reviewed on a regular basis. After you pass the CPA exam, your state may have other requirements you need to pass before you can get your CPA license.

Our new student and parent forum, at, allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. You can also get your master’s in accounting at a school other than the one you got your undergrad degree at. As part of your application, you may be required to submit standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, etc. the same way you did for undergrad. Getting your master’s in accounting at a new school often takes longer (two years rather than one), but it can be less intensive because your schedule is more spread out. Careful planning and perseverance will never lead you astray, especially when it comes to the CPA Exam.

ACCT 201 Accounting Principles I

As accountants gain experience and move into managerial roles, they may become financial controllers and run their organizations’ accounting departments. The BLS reports a median annual salary of $131,710 for financial managers like controllers, projecting that these jobs will grow by 17% from 2021 to 2031. Location, industry and seniority can affect how much accountants earn.

Again, it’s important to look at your individual state to see what you need. Getting your CPA license is a great way to improve your career options and income potential. To help you plan out your next steps, we’re providing you with an overview of the prerequisites you may need for the CPA Exam and the steps to obtain your license after you pass. Broadly speaking, accountants help organizations and individuals manage their financial records and make smart choices with their money. Once you are verified for the CPA exam, you must pass all four sections of the test within that window.

Any Accounting Certification Alternatives to the CPA?

To help CPAs keep up, the AICPA and local regulatory boards enforce continuing professional education (CPE) guidelines. Because of their advanced technical skills and strict adherence to ethical principles, CPAs stand out. In fact, many organizations require their high-level accounting administrators to be CPAs in good standing. But if you’re wondering whether you should pursue your own certification, here are a few ways it can help your career in the short and long term.

Each section takes four hours and includes multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations. The scores are weighted based on difficulty, but they are not curved. Of course, it’s a little hard to compare CPA vs. masters in accounting salary averages because one is a degree and one is a certificate. Taking the CPA Exam is never cheap, but the cost (around $3,000) is substantially less than any master’s program — a much better ROI for many accounting professionals. Although the CPA exam is notorious for its wide coverage, it only touches upon the “surface” of each topic.

Understanding the CPA Requirements

The time you need to spend studying is a lot less than what it takes in a master’s program. Most candidates manage to take and pass the CPA Exam with a demanding full-time job. Also, if you are committed, it is possible to complete the whole process within 6-12 months. Depending on your state’s regulations, the topics of these opportunities can cover anything from technology to sustainability to leadership. A certain number of CPEs may have to be directly related to accounting or topics like ethics.

Compared to other accountants, CPAs have more professional responsibilities and privileges. Only CPAs can represent people and companies before the IRS, act as external auditors and file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Many employers prefer their accounting candidates to hold CPA licensure.

The total time it takes to earn a master’s in accounting depends on your pace and previous degrees. For instance, if you don’t have an undergrad accounting degree, you might have to take some extra coursework to get caught up. If you go to class full-time, you can probably earn a master’s degree in accounting in 1 to 2 years. You can also find a master of accounting online program, as well as ones that allow you to take classes part-time on your own schedule. Instead of a full accounting degree, some states simply require candidates to have a certain number of accounting credits to earn the CPA license. Usually, these state boards ask for about 24 credit hours in accounting.

Within those 18 months, there are several windows to retake tests, but you cannot retake a section in the same window. After receiving your test scores, you must wait 24 hours to reapply for the same section. The CPA exam uses a weighted scoring system that accounts for question difficulty. Sections that include only multiple choice and task-based simulations split the weighting equally between the two question types. An exception applies to the business environments and concepts section, which is the only portion of the exam to include written response questions. The format is computerized, and you can take a 15-minute break during each section.