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How to Become a CPA without an Accounting Degree

Can you become a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) without an accounting degree?

Posted: 15th November 2022 by Finance Monthly
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The answer is yes. To be eligible for a CPA examination, all you need is a Bachelor’s degree. Of course, someone with a degree in accountancy may have it easier to pass their exams, but this depends on your learning capacity and determination.

But if you’re looking to develop your career in a field that’s reliable and growing, taking your CPA license is a good decision. As more people turn to entrepreneurship and the world of business becomes more dynamic, people will need the services of a reliable accountant. 

Still, be prepared to put in the effort because the path to earning your CPA license is quite rigorous and requires a lot of effort. To help you out, here are a few tips to consider:

Check the Education and Other Requirements in Your State

Due to an ever-changing domain and the expanding body of knowledge required from a professional accountant, CPA candidates must have at least 150 semester hours of education (valid in most states). This way, the candidates show they have the right level of technical competence and skills required to occupy such a position. 

To get the required hours of academic experience, candidates with a Bachelor’s degree should take some accounting and business courses at the graduate level. CPA testing organizations also accept undergraduate accounting degrees or MBAs with a focus on accounting.

Overall, the idea is that candidates for the CPA exam need to have a mixture of accounting, business administration (it helps to know how to make a business plan), and people skills (you’ll have to communicate with customers) to be successful in the field. Plus, non-accounting majors may also have to fulfill work experience requirements, which are different from one state to another. 

Ace Your Exams

Even though there are some fears out there regarding financial automation, getting your CPA license and establishing a practice is still a powerful career move. Businesses will continue to need the help of a human accountant for years to come, so you shouldn’t put off the exam. 

Still, before you do this, there are a few steps to take. First, make sure you meet all the requirements for licensure based on your state since you can only practice in the state(s) you are licensed for. 

Second, make sure you have access to the best learning materials and resources designed to fit your needs. For this, you should read different CPA prep course reviews to understand if they fit your learning style and meet your time requirements and constraints. 

Third, keep in mind that the CPA examination is complex and includes four sections: 

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)

To pass the exam, you have to answer multiple-choice questions and solve task-based simulations that will test your ability to read, comprehend, and act according to the instructions. You also need at least 75 points on each section but don’t despair if things don’t go right on the first try.

The CPA exam is challenging, and it will test your determination to become a professional accountant (which is a tough job, to begin with). The good news is that you can retake the exam as many times as you need within 18 months from your first try. 

Wrap Up

CPAs need a wide range of skills outside the finance and technical realm, which is why the licensure process is challenging. However, if you like the domain and want to follow this career path, the lack of an accounting degree shouldn’t stop you from trying.


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