Do you like the idea of going into business for yourself?
As a CPA, you can have your own clients or enjoy the security of working for a corporation. After you get a little bit of experience, you’ll be able to charge double, and even triple for your services.
However, there’s a reason CPAs can charge so much. Qualifying for a license takes hard work, and the CPA exam is no joke! If you’re serious about paving the way for your career, you’ll want to get started right away. How long does it take to become a CPA? Read on to find out.
About 7 Years
How long does it take to become a CPA? Becoming a CPA isn’t going to happen within a few months.
Instead, the process takes around 7 years, depending on how much education you already have. The requirements for a CPA license will be different depending on the state you reside in.
Typically, however, most states require 150 hours of eligible college credits. A typical bachelor’s degree is 120 hours. In addition to the educational requirements, you’ll also need on-the-job experience.
Many states require at least 2 years of work experience in a full-time capacity. After completing 2 full years of work experience, you will be allowed to sit for the CPA exam.
To get an idea of the freelance and contractor job opportunities you’ll have, look at job boards like https://www.taxfyle.com/freelance-cpa-jobs. It can be motivating to see the different ways you can customize your CPA career.
Tips for High School Students
Are you still enrolled in high school? Start taking all of the courses necessary for a college-prep program. You’ll want to have 4 years of English, and math along with classes like physics, chemistry, and history.
Begin looking into the specific requirements that colleges you are interested in have set up. If there are unique prerequisites that your school offers now, do whatever you can to enroll in them. After making sure you have suitable courses, keep earning top grades and taking advanced placement classes whenever possible.
We also suggest hiring a tutor so that you can score as high as possible on SAT. This will help prepare you for rigorous college courses and give you more scholarship opportunities.
Bachelor’s Degree Requirements
Your credit hours have to go towards an official bachelor’s degree in finance. But you don’t necessarily have to get a degree in accounting.
Instead, you could go after a degree in business, concentrating on accounting. We suggest continuing your education until you’ve at least earned your Master’s degree. You’ll be able to set yourself apart from many other applicants in the job pool while also making more from the start.
Best Bachelor Degrees for CPAs
Along with business, what other bachelor’s degrees could you get?
Here’s a shortlist of the best degrees that will help prepare you for taking the CPA exam:
- Bachelor of accountancy
- Bachelor of Science in accounting
- Bachelor of Business administration and accounting
Take things one step further by looking for courses that can help you with auditing, cost accounting, and managerial certifications. We also suggest looking for opportunities to learn about generally accepted accounting principles and international financial reporting standards.
If finances are an issue, you can check out these tips for applying for financial aid. Next, let’s look at becoming a CPA with job experience.
Earning Job Experience
Once you meet all the educational requirements, it’s time to head into the workforce. We suggest starting off working for a public or private accounting firm.
Some states require you to work with another CPA under direct supervision. Whereas, other states want you to work directly under a public accounting firm. Double-check your state’s requirements before taking on any internships.
The amount of job experience you’ll need will depend on your residency. If you have extra college credits you might be able to skip some of the work experience requirements.
Succeeding in a CPA Career
You sit for the exam, and you’re finally working as a licensed CPA. What skills will you need to succeed in your new CPA career? For starters, you’ll need to stay up to date with all of the current tax laws and any new mandates.
Tax laws and mandates are constantly changing, so prepare to be a lifelong learner as a CPA. Next, you’ll need to be an excellent communicator. You’ll need to be able to present detailed tax information quickly and concisely.
You’ll also want to brush up on your technical abilities. Companies will expect you to master their software systems right away. You can start off by taking courses online to learn about Excel and different Microsoft suite products, along with other Google products.
Learning different interfaces and platforms will give you an edge when taking on the company’s software. We suggest also looking into accounting technology trends that are revolutionizing the industry. You’ll be able to secure your career when you understand the automated processes you’re up against.
By letting clients know the personalized touch that you can provide, you’ll be able to sell your services to more people. That’s where the last character trait comes into play, emotional intelligence. If you’re not good at relating with other people and engaging them in conversation, you’ll struggle as a CPA.
A big part of succeeding in your career is having compassion and understanding when dealing with clients. Employers place emotional intelligence high on priorities when working with a professional CPA.
How Long Does It Take To Become a CPA? Answered
Now you finally know the answer to the question, how long does it take to become a CPA? Between meeting all of the education requirements and heading into the workforce, becoming a CPA isn’t a fast process.
You’ll likely need to complete at least 150 hours of education, including undergraduate and graduate studies. The good news is, after 7 years, you’ll have a promising career.
So don’t wait to start on your journey! Talk to a college admissions officer today, and see what financial aid opportunities you might qualify for. To learn more tips, read another article. Happy learning!