CPA for Non Accounting Majors: Issues and Solutions

CPA for non accounting major

The US CPA qualification is a globally recognized credential that is useful not only to auditors, but also to financial professionals. Is CPA for non accounting majors and non-accountants a possibility?

It is Getting Tougher … A Lot Tougher

I am an Economics major and only took 1 quarter (2 credit hours) of basic accounting course at school, but I manage to become a CPA by taking extra courses.

I am a living example of how an non-accounting major can become a Certified Public Accountant. State Boards, however, have been tightening up the rules. We need to find creative ways to achieve our goals.

The CPA Exam Requirements

In order to become a CPA, you’ll need to fulfill the 3Es:

  • Education
  • Exam
  • Experience

For education, you must have at least a 4-year bachelor degree together with minimum accounting and business credit hours, as well as 150 credit hour of general higher education. For the exam, you need to pass all 4 parts of the Uniform CPA exam. And lastly, for the experience, you’ll be completing 1 to 2 years of experience that is relevant and properly verified.

In short, for non-accounting majors, the bottle neck is likely:

  1. The minimum accounting credit hours
  2. The 150 credit hour requirement
  3. Relevant experience

1. Fulfull the Minimum Accounting Credit Hours

The most logical way to get around is to pick a state that requires the least accounting courses:

  • Maine: 15 credit hours
  • Hawaii: 18 credit hours
  • Georgia: 20 credit hours
  • Massachusetts: 21 credit hours
  • Alaska: there is a path for non-accounting major

Here is the catch:

Maine. They have lenient accounting educational requirements, but much stricter experience requirements. Maine asks for at least 2 years of public accounting experience with 4,000 hours of audit compilation.

Georgia.  The state board requires these 18 credit hours to be upper-division courses, meaning they only count the intermediate and advanced courses, the ones offered in the third or fourth year of college. In practice, you will need to take a lot more than the required 18 credit hours in accounting to get qualified.

Massachusetts. MA has specific rules on which course to take. In this case the coursework must include financial accounting, audit, management accounting, and taxation.

Alaska. Alaska requires 15 accounting credit hours for accounting majors, 24 hours for those concentrating in Accounting. There is even a path for non-accounting majors (<15 accounting credits) but the candidate MUST have at least 1 year of public accounting experience.

As you see, there are quite a few restrictions from these state boards. So let’s take a look at the second option.

2. Make Up for Accounting Courses + Satisfy the 150 Hour Rule

Remember that I mentioned about the 150 credit hour of general higher education? This is part of the CPA education requirements, meaning that if you have a standard 4-year bachelor degree, that is, 120 credit hours of education, you still need to get 30 extra credits to qualify. Thankfully, for these 30 credit hours, it can be non-degree courses and in any discipline as long as they are taken from a regionally accredited educational institution.

If you are lacking both the 30 credit hours and some accounting courses, then you might solve the two issues together with one solution — take additional accounting courses.

This way, you can reach the 150 credit hours AND fulfill the necessary accounting credits at the same time. The studying helps directly in your CPA exam preparation as well.

Once you reach the standard requirement, you have a lot more state boards to choose from, many with flexible working experience requirement that can accelerate your path to become a fully licensed CPA.

3. Complete the Experience Requirements

As a non-accounting major, chances are that you may not be working as an accountant. If this is the case, then you might need to check out the specific experience requirements before proceeding.

These days, almost all state boards accept a more general definition of relevant experience – public accounting is the most relevant, but accounting in corporate and governmental agencies are now counted. In some cases, academic positions in universities can also be accepted.

To find out more about the experience requirements, potential obstacles and solutions, please check out this link with further explanation on rules and remedies.

Question: Can I Get a CPA with a Finance or Economics Degree?

It depends how many accounting and business courses you have taken, and how willing you are to fulfill the remaining requirements.

Finance Majors

For example, for most finance majors, you are fine with the minimum number of business credit hours. If you also took the time to take some accounting courses as well, you aren’t far off.

Since you may need to work on the 150 credit-hour rule anyway, the easiest way is to make up for those remaining accounting classes in community colleges or other accredited educational institution. Most state boards are okay with community colleges, but make sure you double check as states such as New York requires the core accounting classes to be taken in four-year collages.

Economic Majors

In general, it is tougher because economics and accounting have very few common classes. It is however doable (as mentioned above, I am an economics major). There are no short cuts; you simply have to take enough accounting courses to reach the minimum requirement. The good thing is that the new knowledge should be really helpful in your FAR and AUD exams. As an Econ major, you are familiar with many topics in BEC.

I am Too Old / Too Busy for This. Are There Alternatives?

You might want to check out other global qualifications in accounting and finance.

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification, for example, welcomes bachelor degree holders in any discipline.

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation has even more flexible exam requirement.

In both cases, it helps to have basic knowledge in accounting, but you can work hard and catch up once joining the program.

For Your Further Reading

Ask me a question below, or sign up to my free e-course to learn about the CPA exam application process, and tips on how to get qualified and pass the exam. I have two versions designed for candidates with different background:

For US Candidates
(Those with US degrees, or
graduate/live/work in the US)
For Intl Candidates
(Those who study abroad, or
graduate/live/work outside of the US)


About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites

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  • Tanvir Abid says:

    On your website its written that for New Hampshire, one needs to apply for license in 5-6 years after passing the exam or if outside US within 3 years of passing the exam. I didn’t find any such information on the NASBA or New Hampshire Board of Accountancy website. Does this requirement still hold.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Tanvir,
      I should have got it in the rules i.e. the source document in the New Hampshire state board website, but I will check again and see if it is correct.

      As the rules do change you are smart to check with me, or better yet, check with the state board directly by emailing them. The representatives are typically helpful and responsive.

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention! Stephanie

  • Tirthankar Saha says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have been following the discussions to seek eligibilty criteria information and so far have’nt come across an exact case like mine.

    It would be great if i can get your suggestion.

    My Case: I am a resident of India and have a Bachelor in English (3 year course) from Delhi University (India), Advance diploma in Finance from I.C.F.A.I University (India) and a Certification in Financial Risk Management from G.A.R.P (U.S.A). Advance diploma and FRM are both distance learning programmes.

    In the Advance diploma in finance programme, there was basic level accounting and economics exams.

    How can i get eligible for the exam and license and will my Bachelor in English be considered for some credit points ?

    Thankyou in advance !!

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Tirthankar, I am not too sure whether courses from the advance diploma or certification can be counted in your case. Generally, only courses that are recorded in transcript, marksheets or equivalent issued by an educational institution can be counted. Also, most likely these courses plus your 3 year degree will not be considered a 4-year degree equivalent, and if this is the case you’ll need to take either an additional bachelor degree or a master’s degree, preferably in relevant subject area.

      If you do want to make sure, the best you can do is to invest in an evaluation report which will tell you exactly what is counted and what is not. It will cost you anywhere from US$100-300 (if not in a hurry, go for FACS which costs the least). You will find more info here:

      Best of luck!

  • Eric says:

    Is it smart to get the credits for the CPA without an actual accounting degree? I’m an 30 year old looking at a career change and outside of economics classes don’t have anything business/accounting related. A local community college though does offer a “Certificate of Accounting Concentration” which is supposed to prepare you for the CPA though (looking at the requirements, I believe I would also need additional business credits). I’m tempted to go that route, but it would mean I would not be able to put I have an accounting degree on resume and I’m somewhat worried about that. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you.


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Eric, normally for corporate accounting a “quantitative” major is good enough e.g. math, economics, statistics. If you are a CPA or “CPA eligible” (i.e. able to fulfill the CPA educational requirements), it is even better. So no worries about how people see you without an accounting degree. I am an Economics major and I never had any problem with that.

      But if you are looking to work in CPA firm, esp in the audit department, then it might have an impact, because the vast majority are accounting majors + likely a master’s degree in accounting. But then, if it is say advisory or consulting arm without Big 4, then you don’t need an accounting degree. It all depends. Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Kristina says:

    Thank you so very much for this veritable goldmine of information and advice!

    My situation is similar to Eric’s. I’m currently an adjunct professor, so I possess more than 150 credit-hours of coursework in a field unrelated to accounting, business, or finance (from Canada). The hours for my current gig are insane considering the pay rate, which was fine for awhile but not so fine now that I have children, so I’d like to become a CPA. I’d like a stable, middle-income gig with predictable hours and some semblance of job security and growth. (Thanks so much for your post about considering one’s reasons for entering the profession!)

    My husband and I plan to have another child, so it’s a good time to retrain -on a part-time basis- since I’ll be tending to the kids rather than teaching for awhile. I do, however, wonder about my job prospects once I’ve retrained and passed the CPA exams with the help of wonderful resources like this one.

    Even though I’m a humanities major, I spend a lot of time organizing and analyzing data and suspect that I’d be well-suited to accounting because of my obsessive attention to detail (thanks to years of tedious research related to English law and tracking metric-based student performance).

    Is it sufficient to complete a post-graduate certificate in accounting? The credits from the community college program I’m considering transfer to both a two-year associate’s degree at the college and a four-year bachelor’s at a nearby accredited university. The program requires 33 credit hours, three of which are in business law.

    They also offer volunteer internship classes where students assist low-income families and individuals with their taxes in a CPA-supervised college-to-community initiative. I realize that the internships won’t satisfy the experience requirement for the CPA exam, but I hope it’s the kind of experience employers would consider in lieu of a BBA with a major in accounting. Do you think or know if it matters? Will employers turf my resume because I’m not an accounting, business, or finance major?

    Thanks again for all the wonderful information, planning and examination strategies, and encouragement for us aspiring CPAs!

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Kristina,
      Sorry to reply late, but yes, sounds like a pretty good plan! As mentioned in Eric’s reply, I wouldn’t worry about how your future employee see you as an non-accounting major. If you only go for audit jobs, then yeah, they may screen you out but for all other accounting jobs it isn’t really an issue, based on the experience of my own and many others. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Scarlett says:

    I have an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from many years back. I’ve been out of the workforce for a few years because of kids and am looking into professional degrees and certifications to start a new career. I live in North Carolina where they require 30 hours of accounting classes they also mention a degree related to accounting. Would it be possible to become a CPA just by completing additional non-degree courses in accounting to meet the educational requirements? Thanks!

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Scarlett, I am not familiar with North Carolina, but there are a few states that strictly require accounting degree. For these states you probably need a degree course in accounting. Otherwise, if they don’t specify, you can take non-degree course for that. It’s quite a lot though so you might want to explore community colleges and other more affordable options. You may also find this helpful:

  • Terrence says:


    I have an undergraduate degree in Accounting and a MBA in Management . I am currently taking additional accounting courses as a non-degree student to meet FL accounting course requirement. Will the accounting courses I am taking as a non-degree(enrollment classification) student still count toward satisfying the accounting course requirement for my CPA license?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Yes I think so Terrence. But since I rarely have readers going through Florida, it is best to double check with FL state board. Good luck! Stephanie

  • lorejane says:

    I have a degree in BS in Accounting technology, a certified bookeeper and currently working as a accounting staff. I ‘m planning to apply for CPA . how many credits hours must I need fulfill? by the way I’m from Philippines. thanks

  • Annalee says:

    I’ve been trying to look for a similar case as mine, but it appears there isn’t so I’m leaving a comment here.

    I’m from the Philippines, and moved to Korea 6 years ago. I took Theater and Dance for my undergraduate (no courses taken in business/accounting), but I am currently attending Business School for MBA.

    I took a class in accounting in my first semester in the MBA and fell in love with it ever since. I’m preparing for the AICPA, but the lack of courses is making it difficult to do so.

    I understand that for a non-accounting major like me, it’s best that I take online courses to fill in the 150-hr requirement, or graduate with a masters in accounting. However, there is a catch: in our MBA school, we are required 9 credits of accounting courses to graduate as an MBA with a focus in accounting. I only have one semester left and the accounting classes offered in my school cannot make up for this 9 credit rule, AND the 24/36 credit hour requirements for some states for the AICPA.

    As graduating with a master’s in accounting looks impossible, do you suggest taking online courses to fill in the 150-hr requirement? I would like to take the test in mid 2016, so do you think it’s a good idea?

    Thank you so much for all your hard work. This is making the journey to getting a CPA so much easier.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Annalee, thanks for your note, and glad you find your love in accounting! You can take non-degree courses to make up for that. I generally recommend UNA but it still may not be enough to fulfill your minimum accounting requirements. You can check it out anyway and ask the dean for suggestion:

      Regards, Stephanie

      • Annalee says:

        Hi Stephanie. Thank you so much for your feedback. I checked out UNA and actually sent an email to the dean with no reply </3 I notice that they have the program especially made for those preparing for the CPA, and understand they offer all courses to fill the 150 hr rule. So I'm kinda confused with your comment on: it may still not be enough to fulfill the requirement. I sense my understanding of UNA's curriculum was mistaken?

        Thank you for the feedback.

        • Stephanie Ng says:

          Hi Annalee, given it’s the big Christmas / New Year holiday maybe you can wait for a few days and see? It is for fulfilling the 150 credits so for those it fits your purpose perfectly. It’s only that there may not have enough courses for you to fulfill all your accounting requirements. It looks to me that you are lacking quite a few. Typically, for candidates in your situation, it could be more affordable to take a 1-year master’s in accounting. But I understand you are taking your MBA, so that may not make sense.

          You can still consider it though depending on how many credit hours you think you may be lacking. A one year course typically gives you 30 credit hours. Regards, Stephanie

          • Annalee says:

            Hi Stephanie.
            Thank you so much for the feedback. That makes much more sense now. Yes that’s correct I’m taking the MBA but in my school they literally don’t have accounting classes besides beginner’s financial accounting, so I’m trying to find other ways to fill in the requirements. I understand Massachusette’s allows those with graduate degrees in business to sit in for the test and get a non-reporting license. Since I’m graduating the MBA next semester, I’m looking into Massachusettes and see if I make the cut. I’ve emailed them already and am just waiting for their reply.

            Thank you so much for all your help!

  • Muhammet says:

    Thank you for your advise.
    I have already a 4 years BS degree from Science department(Science Teacher) from turkey and than I got my MBA financial management degree from US.
    Do you think that my courses are enought for CPA 150 credit hours? Because My bachelor degree is not related with accounting or finance .
    Now I am trying get some accounting courses from Community collage but I see like they do not accept major accounting courses from community collage , is that true?

    Please let me know What should I do?
    I live in NY.

    • Cat says:

      Not sure if you already found your answer, but if you don’t have concentration in accounting, I doubt you’ll qualify for the requirements from NY, you need to have certain accounting and business courses, not just 150 credits, check with NYS requirements.

  • Daisy says:

    Hi Stephanie

    I am a Vietnamese who had a Vietnamese bachelor degree and a Dutch master degree (non-accounting). When I sent NIES (CPA’s education evaluation service) my transcripts, they reduced all of my credits by at least half when converting into US credit. i really don’t know why. From what I learned from the internet, one US credit equals 15 hours in class and it’s no difference for Vietnam and The Netherlands. Why did they cut my credits during conversion then? it made me ineligible for CPA exam which is very painful…

    You could give me any advice in this case?

  • Andrew says:

    I will be finishing up my B.S. Business-Finance degree in May, then will be taking 4 more accounting courses this summer to meet the education requirements for the CPA exam. I’ve been in insurance sales for the past 7 years and an looking forward to a change of pace in public accounting. Is it more important to meet the CPA eligibility requirements, or to have an actual accounting degree? I could take a couple more semesters to complete the additional 6 courses needed but to not want to waste my time if I do not have to.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Andrew, if you get your CPA, then the importance of the accounting degree diminishes greatly. So no need to go for that in my opinion. Business-finance degree is close enough. Regards, Stephanie

  • George Kabagambe says:

    Greetings, I need some help. I just graduated from a 4 year engineering course from Uganda but i relocated to Massachusetts, US. I want to do the CPA exam and i was wondering if this degree is enough for me to do the CPA exams. And if not, what should i add on my current degree in order to qualify. Thank you

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi George, it’s good that you have the 4-year degree requirements so you should be lacking accounting credit hours and likely the experience requirements.

      Accounting isn’t hard but do note that this exam is designed for candidates who have spent 5 years of higher education in accounting. Therefore, if you don’t have any accounting course at all, I wouldn’t recommend you go forward unless you are willing to take a master’s in accounting, to get the required credits, and to learn about accounting in general for this exam.


      • George Kabagambe says:

        Hi Stephanie,
        Yes, am willing to take the master’s in accounting. Can you help me recommend any institutions around Massachusetts that offer the master’s degree that would be relevant to cover the accounting credit hours that i would need to be legible for the CPA exam.

        Thanks and Regards,

        • Stephanie Ng says:

          Hi George,
          That’s good, but it’s hard for me to recommend a school without knowing your education, ability and aspiration. If money isn’t a concern, I would go for the best one you can get into, because it will help a lot in landing a good job later on. If the priority is to fulfill the requirements only, then just pick the most affordable or most convenient ones…

          For long term benefits, I would follow the first option myself.

          Regards, Stephanie

  • Prasanthi says:

    I have completed my 3 year bachelor degree in mathematics in year 2002. Durin 2007 -2014 i had been working in an accounting and bookkeeping firm in dubai. Then i gone for ACCA, u.k, and completed 10 out of 14 papers 2016. I have completed MBA (2years)last month, but final semester mark list not yet recived. I heard that it is better to do CPA before 2017, as exam pattern changes.
    Kindly advice , what i have to do for writing cpa before changing exam pattern.
    Thanking you,

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Prasanthi, if you are to stay in Dubai/Middle East, I suggest that you complete your ACCA first, because it is also well recognized there.

      You are correct that there will be a major change for CPA in 2017, but it isn’t the end of the world and I wouldn’t rush to get things done without sufficient time to study.

      But if you think you can do it, your 3 year BCOM + MBA should get you qualified. You may want to check out the experience requirement to choose a state board accordingly:

      Feel free to ask any questions you may have. Regards, Stephanie

  • Melvin G Thomas says:

    Hey, I’m a business grad from Temple University, Philadelphia PA. I started out as an accounting major but switched to business management. However, I have 15 solid accounting credits. And I have over a 150 credits in general. I want to pursue the CPA in my state of PA. I checked my state requirements and they mention 24 accounting credits. The main classes I have yet to take is Intermediate accounting II, auditing and advanced accounting. These 3 classes would total up to 9 credits. These 9 credits along w the 15 credits I have would add up to 24 credits. That would be enough for the PA state CPA right?

  • Ross says:


    My name is Ross, I graduated last year with a bachelors in Business Management. After a year of working in sales, I realized that I would like to become a CPA, I have 150 semester units under my belt due to taking extra classes to boost my gpa but of those credits I only have 6 accounting credits. Should i take the remaining accounting credits required at a local community college then take a review course and then take the CPA exam or should I go for a masters in accounting?I am also located in California

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Ross, taking a master’s in accounting will help quite a bit in the career switch, assuming you go to a good master’s program. But then, it is quite a bit more expensive.

      Taking the courses in community colleges should work if you are only looking for getting the CPA license. I guess the bottom line is whether you want this education taken solely for CPA exam qualification, or for more, e.g. landing you an accounting job down the road. Cheers, Stephanie

      • Ross says:

        Thank you for replying, I want to get a cpa license that will help me land a stable accounting job

        • Stephanie Ng says:

          Either way will take you there, but getting the accounting master’s will be easier for you to land an accounting job. Good luck! Stephanie

  • Abhilash says:


    I have a masters degree in computer science. That said, I full filled 150 credit hour

    So if I take additional accounting courses(approp takes an year), would I be get qualified to sit for CPA exam??
    Do I need to take additional business courses(which would take one other year) too in addition to accounting courses to get qualified to sit for CPA exam.

    And also can you suggest me what would be the best path to get qualify to sit for CPA exam with a masters in computer science degree.


  • Jinny Lee says:

    Jinny Lee

    Hi, I graduated with economic major. Now, I am working in finance department. I like my working and I want to get CPA so I looked it up.
    This information is really helpful. But I have some questions.

    If I want to get CPA in Alaska, I need 15 credits and 1 years public accounting experience, right?
    Can I take the courses and work for public accounting in other state like Georgia ?
    Alaska accept the experience and credits? If it works, Should I take the CPA Exam in there, other states, or online?
    Or do I take the courses and work in only Alaska?

    I hope you can answer me please.

    Thank you

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Jinny,
      Thanks for your note. You can register in Alaska, follow their requirements, and physically sit for the exam in other states. Also, working in another states to fulfill Alaska’s requirement should be ok, as long as your experience is verified by an active US CPA. Some states have more flexible rules, not exactly sure about Alaska’s.

      You can take courses anywhere — online, offline, live classes, doesn’t matter. CPA is a qualifying exam and not a problem. Technically you can just go in and take the exam without taking any courses. It’s only that without taking such review courses, it’s pretty hard to pass.

      Hope I answer your questions? Stephanie

  • Damien says:

    If I have MS in accounting but I do not meet the accounting credit requirement for NY because my BS is in finance, can I still sit for the CPA Exam in NY. I have 18 upper level accounting credit hours, 6 lower level accounting credit hours and I meet the general business credit hours with 36 credit hours.

  • makubuya says:

    hello,am in uganda but i want to enroll for CPA in the next year but i want to know the cost of it from application to the end of it but you done with the bacherors degree in commerce[accounting]

  • Joel Obaseki says:

    Hi Stephanie I graduated in 2015 with a BA in economics from Boston University. I really want to get into accounting. I live in NY. I took 128 credits in college. I want to get CPA for NY. I wanted to know if its possible to to meet the requirement even though i have a economics degree and haven’t taken any accounting courses.I If i go through a master of accounting program in NY which is about 30 credits do you think it will be possible for me to become an accountant.
    Thank you

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Yes Joel, getting the Masters in accounting is the most efficient way to do it. NY does have a relatively straight requirement in that core accounting courses have to be taken in a university (vs community college). Another good thing is that it will be much easier for you to land a job utilizing your school’s career placement program. Good luck!

  • Bonn Brian Banquirigo says:


    Is it possible to take the CPA exam here in the US if your not a CPA in the Philippines?


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Bonn, Definitely (as long as you fulfill the US exam requirements). CPA from the Philippines does not offer exemptions or waivers or any direct benefit in taking the US CPA exam.

  • bea says:

    I have a B.A. in Political Science and Master in Business Administration. I live in California and I want to become a CPA, do I need to go get an AA degree in Accounting, or would an Accounting certificate give me enough classes/hours to qualify for the CPA exam?

    Please provide a route to reach this goal.
    Thank you!

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Bea, you don’t necessarily need an extra degree in accounting, but given the likely many accounting credit hours you need to take, you might as well go for a master’s in accounting. This way, you can make good use of the school’s career placement and land a good accounting job (assuming you go through a reputable accounting program in the US).

      Obviously, taking non-degree accounting courses will be less costly, but it doesn’t have the benefit listed above. You can decide based on the number of accounting credit hours you are lacking. Good luck to a smooth process!

  • Sara Graber says:

    If I have a bachelors in an unrelated field but I get a Masters in Accounting degree, should that be enough for me to be able to sit for the CPA in Maryland? (Education wise, i know i still need the 2000 hours)
    If you don’t know can you at least point me in the right direction to whom may know?


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Sara, there are accounting master’s program that are designed for non-accounting bachelor degree holders, and they are supposed to be an accelerated program covering all the requirements of the state board. Are you taking one of these master’s program in Maryland? If so you are all set (you can check with your school on that). Otherwise, you shouldn’t be far off with a master’s degree in accounting.

      Here is what I have on Maryland:

      Again, your school should be able to provide more info. If not, come back and we can figure it out. Good luck! Stephanie

  • Von says:

    Hello I am in desperate need of advice. I graduated last year with a bachelors in business management, from a university in San Diego, CA. I have been working in sales for the past 5 years and I want a change of careers into a more stable job like accounting. I have no job experience in accounting and the only accounting classes that I have taken during my undergrad is financial accounting and managerial accounting. My question is should I take additional accounting courses from a local community college and try to get an internship, then take the cpa or should I study for the gmat and get a masters in accounting. I eventually want to get my MBA down the road. I also want to own my own cpa firm. But I want to get experience working in a big 4 or medium size firm for the experience. Also what is the best field of accounting I should focus on. What is the best route to take?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Von, if you’d like to have your own CPA firm, then you should go for the master’s in accounting and then work in the Big 4. Try to get in the reputable accounting program — not only that it will fulfill all the CPA exam requirements, but also helps a lot in landing you a good accounting job, and networking opportunities down the road with the alumni. Hope it helps!

  • TOM says:

    I have bachelor in applied math. I had some experiences while interning as the accounting clerk,

    What accounting course I should take to prepare for CPA?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Tom, it depends on the state board you pick but you will likely need to take all the introductory accounting courses, in financial accounting, audit etc. Pretty much an accounting concentration. Yes, quite a lot of work…

  • Emad says:

    I have a bachelors degree in Financial Economics from Hashemite University in Jordan , I want to start my journy with CPA self study as a start , I need to know if my major ( financial economics) will be entitled to CPA , I am working as senior accountant ( acting finance manager ) for Trading company since 8 years now


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Emad, most state boards are fine with non-accounting majors going for the CPA license, but candidates must have a minimum of accounting and business courses. So you need to figure this out, starting with the info above. Hope it helps, Stephanie

  • Sara Graber says:

    Thanks for the info Steph!
    Question, do I need to fill the requirements of group 1 AND group 2 or is it either one??
    Thanks again!

  • Jane says:

    Hi Stephanie I have an undergraduate degree in finance but took some extra accounting courses to fulfill education requirements for cpa while I was studying. However, after nasba evaluated my transcript, it turns out that I need two more core accounting courses. My problem here is that after graduating from university in us, I am going back to my country so that I cannot take additional courses in college in us anymore. In addition to that I apply for new york state board where online wiley courses (you recommed) don’t count for education requirements. Do you have any other recommendation for me to satisfy education requirements?

    I am actually planning to study master degree in Finance (Not accounting since i am more interested in working in finance rather than accounting field) in UK later and I wonder If I take some extra accounting courses there, whether it will still work. Thanks

  • miao says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have a bachelor’s degree (non accounting) from China and also an MBA (non accounting concentration) from the United States. I am currently taking some online accounting lessons and received CEU credits. I am thinking of pursuing a career of CPA, but got stuck at the 150 credit hour requirement. For my case, could you please advise how should I calculate the credits needed and what courses do I need to take to meet the requirement?


  • Basu Reddy says:

    Hi Stephanie

    I have done 4 year bachelors in engineering and 2 year MBA finance in India. Would I be eligible for CPA course? I am doing ACCA also would that help towards CPA eligibility?


  • Melinda says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Wow, thanks so much for posting this article. I was also an economics major and I have completed one and a half semesters of an economics masters. There are some reasons why I would like to cease pursuing economics and pursue accounting instead: for one thing, my heart is just not in economics and I’ve yet to get real experience with it. But I have been bookkeeping for 2 or 3 years and I have really enjoyed the work. For another thing, I would like to live where I am living currently and while there are lots of accounting and bookkeeping opportunities, there are none for economists so I would have to leave.

    Until now I just thought it was an impossible idea to become an accountant and CPA certified because I would not make as much or be as valued as someone with a bachelor’s. But it seems like you are saying that is not the case? I live in Virginia so I think I would have to fulfill their requirements since I don’t think you can just go to another state and take their exam? There is a community college near me that offers an associate’s in accounting- would you recommend that to fulfill the concentration requirement?

    Thank you!!


  • Dan says:

    I do wonder if this thread is still active.

    But I have a question myself. I live in California and I graduated last year with a B.S. in Health Science. I have two years of experience in Life Insurance Sales and Retirement Planning. I also have one year experience in Tax Accounting.

    I am looking into Enrolled Agent, but CPA designation gets a higher recognition by the general population. What would you recommend as a next step? I’m still working at a tax accounting firm as one of the tax accountant.

  • serkan says:

    I plan to take CPA test and certification in Virginia, US where I currently live.
    I am just confused about the educational requirements for sitting for the CPA exam.
    I have my undergraduate degree from Turkey, BA-Economics,
    and graduate degree from University of Houston-TX, MS-finance.

    I know that I might be missing some number of accounting courses to sit for CPA test.
    I will get my international-undergraduate degree evaluated.

    Which authority, which organization will inform me about which and how many hours of accounting coursework I need to complete?
    is it AICPA?

    After I take some additional coursework and complete the number of hours required,
    will I need to get my transcripts re-evaluated again?


  • Chan says:


    I am in Florida, have a BBA majoring in Finance and International Business, and a JD. It is my understanding that some of my JD classes such as Torts/Contracts, Business Organizations, and Sales Transactions count toward the general business course hours requirement.

    My question is whether I should go back to an accredited program to get the requisite accounting hours and get a bachelor’s in accounting, or do I need to get an MBA in accounting?

    My end goal is to be able to provide forensic accounting services to other law firms on the side, while I practice law.

  • Thomas says:

    Hi! Stephanie

    Thanks your website, which is very helpful!

    I hold the degree of Bachelor of Arts (Social Science) awarded by Baptist University, and the degree of Bachelor of Laws/LL.B awarded by the University of Hong Kong, and also Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Accounting awarded by the University of Hong Kong. All my Bachelor degrees are three year programs rather than four year.

    If I want to pursue US CPA, please advise me whether I shall take an additional 4 years bachelor degree, or master degree, or just additional non-degree Accounting courses (offered by accredited educational institute in US) in order to fulfill the education requirement.

    Your advice and help are very appreciated by me!


  • Ryan says:

    I have a 4-year in Business Administration (133 credit hours currently). Would classes like BUS 2101 (Intro to Financial Accounting) count as Accounting credits?

    I realize I need 17 more hours to get to the 150 requirement but would like to take as few Accounting classes as possible. I believe I have 13 Accounting credits, assuming the BUS 2101 & BUS 2102 (Managerial Accounting) courses are acceptable Accounting credits.

    If I take the exams in Maine and want to work in Illinois or Wisconsin, will the Illinois board accept the CPA license transfer?

    Thank you for the help

  • Gezime Zito says:

    I have a 3 years Bachelor diploma in Political Science, which I finished in my country Albania. Also, I have an associate degree in Business Administration from one of the Community Colleges in Massachusetts. Do you think I will be qualified to sit for CPA exam ?
    Thank you in advance!

  • Iqbal says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have an MBA from the American University of Afghanistan, a three years bachelor in Management from India and a CAT (Certified Accounting Technician) certification form ACCA. I also have around 10 years experience in the fields of Audit, Taxation and Accounting in Afghanistan and am currently living in California. Would you please write me how to start transferring my credits for CPA California?


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