July 15, 2024

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How Can I Become A Cpa Without A Degree In Accounting?

This post is meant for people who are interested in a CPA

Unlocking the Path to CPA Success

Many aspiring accountants find themselves wondering if it’s possible to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) without a degree in accounting. The good news is that the answer is yes! While a degree in accounting is the traditional route to becoming a CPA, there are alternative paths that can lead you to the same destination.

The Importance of Meeting the CPA Requirements

Before we dive into the alternative paths, it’s important to understand the requirements set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the state boards of accountancy. These requirements typically include a certain number of college credit hours, completion of specific accounting courses, and passing the Uniform CPA Exam.

Exploring the Alternative Paths

1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in a Related Field:

If you don’t have a degree in accounting but have earned a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as finance or business administration, you may still be eligible to sit for the CPA Exam. However, you may need to fulfill additional accounting coursework requirements before being granted a CPA license.

2. Pursue a Master’s in Accounting:

Another option is to pursue a Master’s degree in accounting. This can help you gain the necessary education and credits required to meet the CPA requirements. Additionally, many Master’s in Accounting programs offer specialized coursework that can prepare you for the CPA Exam.

3. Gain Relevant Work Experience:

Some states allow individuals without an accounting degree to become CPAs if they have a certain number of years of relevant work experience. This option is often referred to as the “experience pathway.” To qualify, you may need to work under a licensed CPA and demonstrate proficiency in accounting through your work experience.

4. Obtain a CPA Certificate:

In some states, you can become a CPA without a degree by obtaining a CPA certificate instead of a license. This option typically requires passing the CPA Exam and meeting specific experience requirements. While a certificate may have limitations compared to a license, it can still open doors to various accounting opportunities.

Extra Steps to Enhance Your Success

While these alternative paths can lead you to becoming a CPA without a degree in accounting, it’s essential to take extra steps to enhance your chances of success:

1. Networking:

Build a strong professional network within the accounting industry. Attend industry events, join accounting associations, and connect with professionals through LinkedIn. Networking can open doors to job opportunities and valuable mentorship.

2. Continuous Learning:

Stay updated with the latest accounting practices, regulations, and industry trends. Subscribe to accounting journals, take online courses, and pursue professional certifications to demonstrate your commitment to ongoing learning.

3. Volunteer or Intern:

Gain practical experience by volunteering or interning with accounting firms or organizations. This hands-on experience can provide valuable insights, enhance your skillset, and make you stand out to potential employers.

4. Ace the CPA Exam:

Regardless of your educational background, passing the CPA Exam is essential to becoming a CPA. Develop a study plan, utilize study materials and resources, and dedicate sufficient time and effort to ensure success.


While a degree in accounting is the conventional path to becoming a CPA, there are alternative routes available for individuals without an accounting degree. By fulfilling the CPA requirements, exploring alternative paths, and taking additional steps to enhance your success, you can achieve your goal of becoming a CPA and embark on a rewarding career in the accounting industry.