Key Reasons Why the CPA Exam Should Be Taken During College
There’s a famous John Lennon song that says, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” For many accounting graduates who keep putting off sitting for the CPA exam, the song rings true. As life unfolds after graduation, it also
becomes more complex. The grueling CPA exam can sometimes be placed on the back burner. Months turn into years, years into a decade or two – in seemingly no time at all. In that time, while an accountant may be gathering valuable practical
skills, the book knowledge needed for the exam can grow rusty. When weighing the pros and cons of exactly when you should take the CPA exam, consider the following points.
1. A Few CPA Facts
The CPA exam has a pass rate that hovers right around 50%. After hundreds of hours of study, test preparation, and intense reviewing, still only about half of the applicants actually pass. Most professionals do not take the exam while in school, which
might play a role in the low pass rate. In today’s economy it is important to graduate from college with every possible competitive advantage. Sitting for the CPA exam while in college can definitely provide that competitive edge and determination
employers are seeking in new hires. Currently there are just over 300,000 CPA’s who are active members of the American Institute of CPAs which represent constituents from 128 countries. The need for qualified accountants, particularly those
with the CPA credential, is expected to continue to grow. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the field will see sustained growth of 16% throughout the next decade.
For CPAs with specialized credentials in niche specialties like forensic accounting, the need may be even greater.
Through professional networking and ongoing education in the accounting industry, CPAs can expand their areas of specialty to be more competitive in many areas of business growth, both domestically and abroad. Becoming a CPA brings
prestige and increased opportunities across the globe, so why not leave college with that advantage already in the briefcase? Obtaining the credential is sure to help you find employment right out of college earning a higher salary with
better benefits than the average accountant.
2. The CPA Credential Complements the Accounting Degree
Because competition for top jobs can be tough, it only makes sense to gain as much practical experience as possible while still in school. At the same time, employers are always looking for new hires with
a serious commitment to the field. Gaining practical experience and passing the CPA exam while still in college demonstrates a deep level of maturity and professional dedication, which may sway a potential employer in your direction during
an interview process. Earning the CPA credential provides definitive proof that a student has mastered the core set of knowledge deemed necessary for long-term proficiency in this field. There is no professional down side to taking the exam
while completing your degree. The
3. Using student life to its fullest can help increase future success
While in school, students have access to a wide range of resources and are typically in the academic mindset needed to prepare for an exam as tough as this one. Going through a review course with
peers who may already be study partners can boost morale and perpetuate progress toward completing the exams successfully. As a student, there is generally a greater degree of flexibility built into a schedule than exists once a career has
gotten into full swing. As a result, the concentrated time needed to devote toward exam review may be easier to manage while in school. On average, those preparing for the CPA exam spend between 400 – 500 hours in the review process, and when
coursework is fresh in the mind, the review process can be further enhanced. Reputable online review courses provide additional help for students desiring to further maximize
their study time.
Life in the Fast Lane
Life after college can get in the fast lane quicker than many graduates may anticipate. Once student loan invoices start rolling in and family responsibilities escalate, it can be exceedingly difficult to carve out the focused time needed to successfully
prepare for the CPA exam. For this reason, more and more students are tackling the CPA exam while completing their accounting degrees. By doing so, students may increase their chances of being highly competitive for top jobs in highly desirable
settings throughout the world.