Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the industry standard for those who aspire to high-level accountancy positions. As the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) puts it:
"The CPA credential is highly regarded. To a potential employer it means high ethical standards as well as measurable experience, education, and skills."
The process you have to go through to become a CPA varies somewhat state by state. Acquiring your CPA certificate in Texas involves meeting specific requirements such as educational attainment, passing national and state exams, and work experience. The online Master of Accountancy degree program offered by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) can help Texas accountants meet upper-level CPA education requirements. Plus, the online design of this program allows students to continue working while earning their degree. This means students can conveniently complete their CPA education requirements and necessary work experience at the same time.
What Steps Are Involved in Becoming a CPA in Texas?
The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA) website lists the requirements for CPA certification in Texas, along with further details and resources for each component. Here are the basic components:
- Submit an Application of Intent, through which the TSBPA judges if you are of "good moral character" and have met education requirements.
- Once you have met all requirements and your Application of Intent is approved, you may submit your Eligibility Application. Approval of this application is necessary in order to pay for, schedule and take your Uniform CPA examination. The Eligibility Application and approval process involves TSBPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
- Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
- Prove you have acquired the required one year of work experience under a certified CPA.
- Pass TSBPA's exam on the board's Rules of Professional Conduct.
- Take an Oath of Office.
- Pay all associated fees (which exist for every step of the above process as well as the final certification application).
What Are the Education Requirements in Texas?
Every state and jurisdiction requires Uniform CPA Exam applicants to have completed at least a bachelor's degree totaling no less than 120 credit hours. Texas' education requirements go a bit further, requiring applicants to have completed 150 credit hours, including a significant amount of specified coursework in both high-level accounting and business subjects.
A portion of these courses must be completed in the traditional classroom setting, and a portion may be completed online (such as through Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's online Master of Accountancy degree program). In fact, the first example TSBPA gives for meeting educational requirements is for applicants to "complete a master's degree or higher degree conferred by a university that is recognized by the Board."
Applicants must also have completed a TSBPA-approved ethics course before approval of their Application of Intent. TSBPA's approved courses may be found here. TAMU-CC's bachelor's-level Accounting Major Professional Program includes one such approved course: "Ethics for Accountants and Business Executives." As a note, an approved course on the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct must be taken before final application for CPA certificate issuance if more than two years have passed since the applicant took an approved ethics course.
What Is the Uniform CPA Exam?
The Uniform CPA Exam is the national standard exam for CPA applicants. The exam is designed and scored by AICPA and administered by NASBA in conjunction with state accountancy boards and Prometric. The exam covers four main areas integral to accounting and business knowledge, skills and ethics. The four component sections may be taken at different times, allowing applicants to focus on each individually. These four sections are:
- Auditing and Attestation
- Business Environment and Concepts
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
Detailed information on processes, fees and scheduling involved with taking the Uniform CPA exam in Texas can be found in TSBPA's informational publication "Completing the Eligibility Application: The Four Steps."
Clearly, becoming a CPA in Texas is a somewhat lengthy process. Yet the steps involved are straightforward and clearly laid out. Understanding this state-specific process is critical if you wish to pursue CPA certification in Texas. And earning your online Master of Accountancy from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi can provide much of the education, knowledge and experience necessary to obtain this essential accounting credential.
Learn more about TAMU-CC's online Master of Accountancy program.
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