If you would like to pursue a career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you must first learn how to specialize as a CPA. The CPA designation is a professional credential that is granted by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and that can help you get respect in the field as a specialist in accounting. When you take the time to earn your CPA license, you are showing employers and the public that you are a professional who has achieved a level of expertise and who is more proficient that the standard accountant. You can also work your way to upper-level positions and increase your earning potential.
While all of these advantages stand out on their own, when you combine them you can see why so many accountants decide to spend extra time specializing their education to become eligible for the CPA exam. If you would like to learn how you can specialize your formal accounting degree to ensure that you will be a candidate to take the standardized exam, read on.
Complete an Undergraduate Degree
Knowing what you want to do when you graduate is extremely important early on when you are taking classes to earn your bachelor’s degree. While you do have the option to take an advanced MBA program as a non-accounting major, the coursework that you complete as an undergrad will count towards the credit requirements to earn your CPA license. You should build a foundation and a basic skill set by taking introductory courses, and then more concentrated courses. This is why it is so important that you complete your bachelor’s degree as an accounting major if you are sure you want to be a CPA.
Enrolling in a Specialized Master’s Degree Program
Next, you will need to build your knowledge to be proficient or advanced. In most states, you must actually have 150 semester hours of instruction and at least 30 hours of instruction in accounting before you can test, according to CPA Review. The requirements vary by state, but in most states it’s necessary for students to enroll in a graduate accounting program before they can meet the credit requirements.
When you choose a graduate program majoring in accounting you will have the option to select a specialization. CPA’s work in public accounting, but there are several different areas that you can specialize in that fall into this spectrum. Some of the most popular specializations that are available include:
- Personal Financial Planning
- Business Valuation
- International Accounting
- Environmental Accounting
To specialize, you can take an accounting program with an emphasis on the specialty of your choice. Or you can choose classes that interest you. It can be helpful to meet with a counselor if you are not sure which courses you should schedule when you know which area you would like to work in.
Related Resource: MBA in Accounting
You do not just have to fit one stereotype to work in accounting. There’s a long list of different careers and titles in the field that you can pursue once you have a CPA license. Make sure that you browse all of the options and choose the right graduate program so that you can specialize in a CPA degree program that’s best for you.