How Do I Become a CPA?

how to become a cpa

Becoming a CPA can help you prove to prospective employers that you are a skilled accounting professional. When you earn your this certification, you can show the big firms that you are seriously committed to the discipline and stand out against the competition with experience but no license. If you want the prestige and the respect that comes with this designation, you will need to work hard as an accounting student first. With the appropriate academic and technical training, you will be able to meet the requirements to sit for the CPA exam in your state. If you are interested in mapping out the route that you will take to become a CPA, here are the steps that you must take.

Meeting the Technical Training Requirements to Sit for Your CPA Exam

The technical training requirements vary from state to state, and these requirements can also change each year. In most states, you are required to complete at least 150 hours of post-secondary instruction at an accredited school before you can apply to sit for the exam. This 150 hours requirement is technically 30 hours beyond the requirements to earn the average Bachelor’s degree, so some students may need to enter a graduate program before testing to become a CPA. Other states, with less stringent requirements, will allow students to test with 120 hours of instruction under their belt. All students must also meet the specific course requirements, which state that the student must have 35 hours of accounting and 25 hours of business coursework within the total.

You are not necessarily required to have a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting to take the CPA exam. If you take another degree program that is relevant, you can sit to test for your certification as long as you have the appropriate number of accounting and business credit hours under your belt. Some test takers have a business degree and an MBA in accounting, others qualify test test with only a Bachelor’s in Finance or Business.

Applying for and Preparing for the Examination

You should always learn about a licensure exam before you sit to take it. The CPA exam actually consists of 4 different tests. You will take each section one at a time, and all of the tests must be completed within an 18 month period. It is important to research the blackout dates before you start applying for the exam. After you know the months and dates that you can test based on the quarter, you can submit your application to test. With the application, you must present academic documents and pay all of the required fees. If you are approved, you will receive your Notice to Schedule, where you will be given a test window where your NTS is valid.

It is very important that you arrive to the testing center prepared. You must have the proper forms of identification, check-in with time to spare, and follow the rules of the testing center at all times. It is best to arrive at least 30 minutes early so that you can sign in without losing any time. Remember to time all of your test dates within the 18 month period, and become a CPA so that you can compete and raise your lifetime earning potential doing what you love.