See your life as a CPA. Build your FutureMe.

Get updates when questions are answered

I am 26 and graduated in 2006 with a bachelors degree in marketing. I am very interested in pursuing an accounting career and obtain my CPA. How do I get started? Do I need to take undergraduate classes in order to be qualified?

I could not be more supportive of your consideration in broadening your career opportunities by pursuing a license as a Certified Public Accountant.

My background includes a path similar to yours. While I started my accounting coursework from day one upon entering college, my feeling was that the future was going to require a broader skill set. I believed even CPAs were going to be called upon to market themselves and their firms. Merely relying on marketing firms or hired marketing talent would not be sufficient. Those that can market themselves will be ahead of those who do not.

It turns out I was right. My combined Marketing / Accounting course work and professional experience provides a comfort level others do not have, whether it is creating web site disclosures or speaking in public. I strongly encourage those starting their education to put their attention toward rounding out their college experience by focusing on more than just their accounting major course work and adding a second major as I did.

Your situation in considering such a move after graduation will add some challenge to completing this journey.

First I would suggest you try to obtain some work experience in the accounting field and ensure this is truly where your heart is. At the same time it is critical to conduct some research to determine the requirements to sit for the CPA examination in your state and then to become Certified. In most states I am familiar with the requirements are established by State Statute and the enforcement of the Statute is delegated to a State Government body. In my case the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy has the responsibility to detail the educational and professional requirements to become a CPA.

So you first need to determine in which State you want to live and work and or establish your practice. I would be fairly certain that state will have an Accountancy Board with a website that will disclose the requirements I mentioned.

Many states require that you have approximately 150 semester hours in college level coursework including upper level accounting courses. In many cases this may require a Master's Degree. The 150 semester hours are not all in accounting hours so as I stated before, chart a course where non-accounting hours provide you specific skills you may need for your future. Also be aware that states may require professional work experience under a CPA before you will be issued your license.

Once you have determined what your state requires you will have to obtain a transcript of your coursework and determine what hours you have satisfied and what courses you still must satisfy in order to be permitted to sit for the CPA exam.

I hope this reinforces your desire to pursue this field. Your first step is to determine your permanent state of residency and find the appropriate governing body that oversees the accounting profession. They should have a web disclosure detailing what you will need to make the transition to the field of accounting.

Best of luck!

Colleges & Classes, CPA Exam & Certification