5 Steps to Becoming a CPA

August 15th, 2013 by

A CPA, or certified public accountant, is one of the most respected and impressive titles in the field of accounting. In order to become a CPA, you will have to study longer than if you simply wanted to become an accountant or bookkeeper with a small business. Thanks to the lucrative salary potential of a CPA, however, it might be worth it to put in the extra time and effort.

Thanks to the availability of online courses, even busy individuals can pursue their career goals and become a CPA. Discover the five key steps toward become a certified public accountant.

1. Enroll in an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

This is the first and most important step on the path towards becoming a certified public accountant. In order to enroll in an online bachelor’s degree in this field, you will need to submit your high school transcripts, fill out an application and write an admission essay. You may also need to have SAT or ACT scores as well as references. The degree program will take an average of four years to complete, and it will prepare you for most careers in this industry.

2. Complete Additional Credits or Master’s Degree Online

In order to become a CPA rather than just an accountant, you will need to get education beyond the undergraduate level. To qualify as a CPA, the general rule is that you need 150 credits, or 30 more than in a traditional bachelor’s degree. You can opt to stretch your bachelor’s studies to five years, or you can opt to earn a master’s degree. Generally, the second option will be the best bet.

3. Gain Work Experience in the Field

Many states require that accountants have relevant work experience before they can take the CPA exam. Once you have a master’s degree or the equivalent of 150 undergraduate credits, you can start working at an accountancy firm or in finance as an in-house accountant.

4. Sit and Pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination

Once you have some work experience as an actual accountant, you will be ready to take the qualifying exam to become a CPA. The Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, offered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, is held at staggered times throughout the year in many major cities. With a passing score, you can apply to become an official CPA.

5. Submit Paperwork and Back in Your Success!

With the necessary education, work experience and passing score on the exam behind you, it is time to complete the final step toward becoming a CPA. Each state has slightly different requirements, but they will typically expect you to submit an application form, copies of your educational degrees, references from your work experience and proof of your exam score.

As a CPA, you will have dozens of incredible opportunities in the world of accounting. In order to achieve your goals, you will need to start with the first step of applying for a degree through an accredited online college. Visit to find out more.

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *