The licenses required for accounting careers will vary depending on what specific job you want to go into. The most options will be available to you if you become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), though, and there are very specific licenses required for this career designation. Of course some people who are not licensed but have degrees in accounting can become very successful as auditors or accountants in government offices and private companies. But for the sake of this article we will focus on the requirements for becoming a CPA.
If you want to become a CPA you will need to check with the governing agencies in your state or territorial designation. All states require that Certified Public Accountants have at least a 120-credit bachelor’s degree, but most states have additional educational requirements now. You should expect to complete a 150-credit college degree program before sitting for the CPA Exam, as this is what the majority of states require. This degree program must also include a certain number of accounting courses and business courses depending on the specific requirements of your state.
Once you are qualified to sit for the CPA Exam in your state you will need to start studying diligently if you haven’t already. This is a very difficult exam that many people fail, so it is best to take the exam shortly after finishing your college program while everything is fresh in your mind. There are review courses that can help.
If you pass the CPA Exam you will not automatically be granted a CPA license. There are ethics requirements in most states, which will include either another exam or an ethics course that you must take. Most states have experience requirements as well, but once you have passed the exams and fulfilled the other requirements you should not have a problem finding work, after which you will automatically qualify for the CPA license. Your state’s board of accountancy may also require a certain number of continuing professional education hours in a specific period of time to maintain your license.
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