If you have begun investigating how to become a CPA, you will find that the requirements vary depending on the state in which you live or work. However, there are some general rules that apply for becoming a CPA anywhere in the United States.
To become a CPA you will first need to pursue a college degree. Generally you need at least a bachelor’s degree, though most states now require five years, or 150 credit hours of credit. You don’t necessarily need to obtain a degree in accounting, but you will need a designated number of semester hours in accounting, and a certain number of semester hours in general business courses. Obtaining a degree in accounting or a degree in business with a concentration in accounting may be the best way to satisfy these requirements.
Once your education requirements are met, you will need to take and pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Though the exam is the same throughout the country, the requirements to sit for the exam vary from state to state. You may need a certain number of college semester hours in order to sit for the exam. Some states will let you sit for the exam before you have completed all of the education requirements, though there may be a time limit after the exam in which to obtain the remaining credits.
The CPA exam is a very challenging exam with a very high failure rate. You will need to study hard to have a chance at passing it. To improve your chances of success, you may want to consider taking a CPA Exam Review Course. The investment of time and money will pay off when you pass the exam quicker, which will fast track your path to becoming a CPA.
How To Become A CPA
The next requirement you need to familiarize yourself with when learning how to become a CPA is the experience requirement. How much and what type of work experience is needed to become a CPA depends on the state. Normally a year or two of experience is required. Depending on your state, there may be a requirement to work in public accounting, i.e., as an auditor with a public accounting firm, but other states will allow more general accounting work, such as in the private sector or with the government, to meet the experience requirement. Often there is a requirement that the work be supervised by a licensed CPA.
Most states now also require that a CPA applicant take an ethics exam. Your state’s Board of Accountancy can tell you exactly how to become a CPA in your state. You can also consult the accounting department at the college you attend or plan to attend.
Once you have satisfied all of the requirements of becoming a CPA, you will have to earn Continuing Professional Education credits, or CPE’s, in order to keep your CPA license. CPE’s can be obtained through attending classes and through home study. CPE requirements vary from state to state, so you will need to familiarize yourself with the requirements for the state in which you plan to practice accounting.
Becoming a CPA is not easy, but the rewards can be great. If you are interested in pursuing a career path that offers many high-paying opportunities, begin the process of learning how to become a CPA in your state today.