Accounting Directory


Education Requirements for an Accounting Career.

Depending on the specific position that is desired, the education requirements for a potential accountant can differ. There are four classifications of accountants in the United States: Certified Internal Auditors, Certified Management Accountants (CMA), Accredited Business Accountants, and Certified Public Accountants. There is a large difference between accountants who are CPAs (certified public accountants) and those who are not. A CPA will need to complete requirements that can change from state to state. An Accredited Business Accountant requires the least amount of formal education to legally practice. In fact, there are no educational requirements for this designation. A person will only need to pass the examination and have at least 3 years of work experience in the field of accounting.

The educational requirements of a CPA vary depending on the specific state in which a person lives. Most states require that a person complete a bachelor's program and have both one year of additional academic study as well as 5 years of study (commonly known as the 150-hours rule) that can be completed as part of working for an accounting firm. This will make a person eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. Passing this examination is a requirement of any professional CPA. Some states allow a person to take the Uniform CPA Exam prior to completing the 150 hours of additional study. In addition to the educational requirements of becoming a CPA, classes must continue after the position has been reached. Although each state may vary their requirements a little bit, every CPA must enroll in continuing professional education, or CPE, courses to renew their license. Most states ask that the CPA perform 120 hours or more of CPE each three years, with each year having a minimum of 20 hours. This can be completed by any number of methods, including the following educational opportunities: seminars, college classes, or self-study. In addition, many states also require an ethics course to be completed with each renewal of the license.Like the Accredited Business Accountant, a CIA does not necessarily require a formal education, but a person who wishes to hold this title must be able to show that they have intricate knowledge in dealing with internal audits. Continuing professional education courses are also a requirement on an ongoing basis. A CMA needs to have completed a bachelor's degree, but the field of study is not important as long as they are capable of passing the examination test. Similar to a CPA, a CMA will also need to complete continuing professional education. The requirement for this is 30 hours per year, with at least 2 hours devoted to the topic of ethics. To be certified as a CMA, the applicant must be a member of the IMA and comply with the IMA's Statement of Ethical Professional Practice.

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