Do You Have Time for a CPA?
Is going back to school for a CPA worth it, or will an
accounting degree suffice? There are a lot of worries
that go into heading back to school for a CPA.
For one, many wonder how tough it is going to be to
start over. Will the salary ever be worth the time and
money it took to go back to school?
For another, is it too late, how much money do they
make, and is there room for you? The certification
takes you through the accounting program—making
that step inevitable—but if you don’t get compelling
answers, you may decide to stop at the Bachelor of Accounting.
CPA World: Your Benefits
The CPA world has a lot it can offer you. Money is not an issue if you work hard.
You can earn a nice salary every year, but it’s going to cost you to get there. CPA’s have to not only go
through 150 credit hours in your undergrad to sit for the exam, but you’ll also have to maintain your
education level to take follow-up exams in the future.
All of that costs money. If you’re wondering if you will making enough money to be worth the change,
then the answer is a definite yes.
The question that isn’t being asked, but which should be considered, is do you want to go into that
much more financial debt to reach these goals? If you’re okay with going in a bit deeper to get your CPA
(and are willing to work hard to move up in the CPA world) then finances shouldn’t be a problem.
Once you answer that question, you should have some clarity on the side of finances to make your
decision. You will still want to consider the average salary of the Accountant in today’s market to help
you make an informed decision.
Job Growth: You Will Always
Need an Accountant
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
accountants and auditors made a median
salary of $61,690 in 2010. That translates to
about $30 per hour.
You still have to work your way up to that salary, but that’s not bad money for a bachelor’s degree. The
job outlook is projected to grow by 16% from 2010 to 2020, meaning that new jobs will be created for
your shoes to fill.
As for how difficult will it be to obtain, it’s not quite like becoming a doctor. A CPA is a certification that
is earned based on your bachelor’s degree, real world
experience, and a bit of extra education.
You don’t have to go on to get a doctorate 5 years after
your bachelors. Specifics differ based on the state you plan
to take the test in.
Check with your local certification website to find out what
would be required of you. You should take that into
The final concern is a doozy. Is it too late for you to go
When Is It Too Late?
There is no hard rule regarding when you’re “too old” to try something new. Plenty of people begin a
new (difficult career) late in their lives.
They say that old dogs can’t learn new tricks, but luckily, you’re human. People start new hobbies and
careers all the time.
The question becomes, are you willing to put in the work to adjust? If you are, then going back for a new
career shouldn’t be a concern.
Colleges like Stevens Henager facilitate the return to school for accounting degrees all the time. Find the
right location that works for you and get back to it.
If you’re still on the line about getting a CPA or not, remember that it never hurts to get an extra
certification. It only makes you a more valuable employee.
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver, Fd, The half-blood prince