If you’ve just received your bachelor’s degree with a major in Accounting, you may be trying to decide whether to begin course work for a graduate degree or sit for the CPA exam. The right answer for you depends on where you see yourself in the next year or two. Take the following two areas into consideration.
Getting Your CPA Certificate Is Important To You. With a concentration or major in Accounting, it’s likely that you have over 120 credit hours overall. Additionally, you’ve probably completed the required core Accounting courses to sit for the CPA exam. Currently, the CPA exam is given in approved testing centers. You can schedule the exam on your own timetable. You can also take the exam one portion at a time. For most people, this is far more preferable than sitting for the entire exam at one time. Taking the test in parts limits the material you have to cover – allowing candidates to focus on specific material. Once a candidate successfully passes all parts of the exam, they get their CPA license after they’ve completed 30 credit hours, bringing their total credit hours to 150.
Having just graduated from college, you should have taken all of the required accounting courses. These are the courses that should have prepared you for most of the CPA exam. In fact, most students take the most important courses during their last 2 years of college, resulting in information that is fresh and top-of-mind. In truth, this may be the best time to prepare for the CPA exam.
If you decide to get a graduate degree, or complete the 30 extra hours needed to get your certificate, the information you gleaned from the accounting courses you took during college, begins to fade. You may actually need to take some refresher courses before studying for your CPA exam.
You Are Interested In Pursuing Other Courses. You may view your accounting degree as an asset to any area of business. Getting a CPA certificate may be less important to you now than studying economics, marketing or business law. You believe that your value as a business person is enhanced by the accounting degree you’ve obtained, but getting a CPA certificate is not key to your future. The extra 30 credit hours you need to get your CPA license can be in any field. So while you haven’t eliminated the possibility of getting you CPA license, now may be the time to further explore your interests.
Your decision is personal. It depends on various factors –
- Your desire to get a CPA license
- Your interest in pursuing other fields
- Whether you want a career in Public Accounting
- Your ability to retain the accounting information you learned in undergraduate studies
- How long it will take you to earn the extra 30 hours needed to pass the CPA exam.
If getting a CPA license is important to you, it may be better to start studying to take the CPA exam as soon as you meet the educational requirements required to sit for the exam.