How To Become a CPA

Becoming a CPA or Certified Public Accountant is a process that requires a certain level of education and expertise in accounting procedures.  Each state varies in the academic and experience requirements to become a CPA so you will need to refer to your specific state’s rules and regulations before you begin the process.

Deciding on a career as a Certified Public Accountant is the first step in a rather lengthy process.  First you will need to meet certain educational requirements.  This can consist of 24 semester hours of accounting at an accredited college or university, plus an additional 24 semester hours relating to general business studies.  In most cases you will need a Bachelors degree; however some states require applicants to have a Masters degree before they qualify to sit for the CPA exam.

Once all educational requirements have been met, or just shortly before your graduation you can begin to study for the CPA exam.  There are classes that exist solely to prepare you to sit for the CPA exam.  They will cost for these classes will be well worth it in giving you the necessary tools to pass successfully.  The price for this will range from $1,000-$2,000 for a full course.

After you have completed the prep course for the CPA exam and studied your regular college course material, you should be well prepared to take the exam.  You will need to contact the appropriate state department in order to obtain the application to sit for the exam.  Once the application is filled out, mail it to the address provided on the application along with any transcripts you received from your college or university.

When your application is received by the governing board that oversees the CPA exam, you will be mailed a notice to schedule which will allow you to schedule your time to take the exam.  Remember to give yourself enough time to review all the material you have learned before you actually sit for the exam.  The CPA exam is a four part exam that consists of Auditing (AU), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Business Regulations (REG).

Each part of the exam costs around $200 to take it.  Always arrive at the testing site at least 30 minutes before exam time and bring your notice to schedule letter and two forms of identification with you.  Take your time and answer each question to the best of your ability once the testing begins.  Remember, becoming a CPA is not easy.  After the exam, you will be notified whether you passed or not and which sections you passed or failed.  You must have at least 2,000 hours of experience under a licensed CPA before you can apply for your own license.


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