Getting into an accounting degree program is not easy. You'll need some business
knowledge, good computer skills and high marks. But it's not all about
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) says candidates
must also be creative thinkers and have good people skills.
"Good written and verbal communication skills are essential to an
accounting career," says Anne Christensen. She is an accounting professor
at Portland State University. "Students also should strive to master computer
basics such as word processing, spreadsheets and locating information on the
World Wide Web."
Many accounting professors say high school courses such as English and
computer science will help prepare students for university accounting
Extracurricular activities are important, too. "Students who get
involved in drama learn to speak well and present themselves in front of an
audience," says Christensen. "Most extracurricular activities will enhance
a student's performance in accounting and other professional careers."
Most accounting positions require at least a bachelor's degree.
There are some accountants who remain uncertified, but many more are state-licensed
certified public accountants (CPAs). Qualifications for CPA certification
vary between states. Several states require candidates to complete 30
hours of college coursework beyond the usual bachelor's degree.
All states use the four-part Uniform CPA Examination prepared by the AICPA.
This two-day exam is extremely difficult. Only about a quarter of those who
take it pass all parts.
Besides tuition, textbooks are the biggest expense in an accounting
program. First- and second-year students can save themselves some cash by
picking up used textbooks. But used third- and fourth-year books are tough
to find because senior students tend to hold on to them.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see Accountants
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