Change Your Life for the Better by Becoming a CPA

  •  Updated:Nov. 11, 2019
  • Bryce Welker, CPA
  • CPA Review Courses
  • You’re our #1 priority.
    100% of the time.

    We believe everybody should be able to make online purchases with confidence. And while our website doesn’t feature every test prep company or review course in the universe, we’re proud that the advice we offer and the information we provide is accurate, truthful, objective - and entirely free.

    So how do we actually make money? It’s simple, our partners compensate us. While this may influence which products we review and write about, and where they show up on the site, it absolutely does not influence our recommendations or guidance, which are formed by hundreds of hours of research and analysis. Check out our partners here.

    What’s the bottom line? We’re on your team and are passionate about helping you achieve your career goals, even if it means we don’t make a dime.

Change Your Life for the Better by Becoming a CPA

Becoming a CPA has proven to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The sacrifice and the monumental effort seem trivial when compared to benefits I’ve reaped. I received plenty of job offers from both the private and public sectors, as well as other opportunities that simply would not have been possible before. 

The first time I wrote about this, I was doing so from the 84th floor of the Baiyoke Tower, the tallest building in Thailand. I was able to make the beautiful Asian country my home for more than a year, which was a direct result of getting my CPA license—it gave my clients the confidence that I could do my work anywhere in the world. This flexibility in being able to travel the world while still working is just one of the many ways becoming a CPA will change your life for the better.

Now, years later, I’m still reaping the benefits of that decision to become a CPA. I own my company and I’m able to help others navigate the difficult journey to becoming a CPA. I have an amazing life and I’m lucky enough to be able to share my story with you to help you get the most out of your studies and career. Let’s look at the numerous benefits and take a glimpse at how you even begin the process to become a CPA.

Benefits Of Being A Certified Public Accountant

Stack that Paper

Let’s start with the positives. And while I’m a big fan of the philosophy that money doesn’t buy happiness, I think it’s fair to say that it does afford us the freedom to pursue happiness. And becoming a CPA will definitely increase your earnings. Many companies offer their employees a large bonus upon receiving their CPA license, generally anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. That’s a pretty nice chunk of cash, but a bonus like that is really just the tip of the iceberg when compared to the long-term gains from having a CPA salary versus having a normal accountant salary. While the bonus will generally cover the cost of your cpa course plus a little extra, your lifetime earnings potential significantly increases with the CPA designation next to your name. 

The Robert Half Salary Guide for 2017 has CPAs making 5-15% more than those that lack the CPA credentials. That can create a pay gap of over $50,000 over time that can result in a CPA making $1,000,000 more over the course of an entire career. And that’s just the basic gig in accounting. CPAs are much more likely to be promoted above regular accountants.

Skyrocket Up The Ladder

The managerial world of accounting is populated by more CPAs than not, meaning the path to the top is often more open to CPAs. Going through the process takes dedication and sacrifice that all the big firms recognize and reward. When you become a CPA, you’re putting yourself into an exclusive club.

Work For Yourself

But maybe you don’t want to make money for other people. Maybe you want make money for yourself, like I do. Becoming a CPA is your path to freedom. Once licensed, you can open up shop and start a firm of your own!

Some of my close friends have gone this route recently, and although they are only scraping by with business from a handful of friends and family, they are absolutely loving it compared to the corporate jobs they just left. I love hearing about that, because I did the same thing and I couldn’t be happier. Working for myself has been the best thing I’ve ever done.

High Demand

But if you don’t want to deal with the stress of owning your own business, know that there is plenty of demand. Almost every business in America needs the services of a CPA. This is one of the most secure fields in the country. You’ll always be needed and there isn’t a city or town anywhere in America that won’t have need of CPAs.

Process To Become A CPA

For the Student

Still in school? First off, good for you for looking ahead! To get started on the path to becoming a CPA, your first step will be to finish school. Getting a bachelor’s degree in accounting will earn you about 120 credit hours. You need to go to grad school to get the remaining 30 credit hours you need to have the minimum requirement of 150 semester hours.

Some of you may be lucky enough to be in a 5 year bachelor’s and master’s degree program, which will help you knock out that requirement quickly and in one place. For the rest of you, you can get a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a specialization in accounting, Master of Science in Accounting, or a Master of Arts in Accounting.

Get to Work

After you graduate, you have to join the workforce. Lucky for you, there’s tons of entry level accounting jobs out there in either public or private firms or in an accounting department for any business. This will get you started in the world of accounting and believe me, you’re going to be put to work! Once you get started, you’ll be knee-deep in it, toiling away but gaining valuable experience that will often be aligned with one or more sections of the CPA Exam. So don’t look at it as time wasted. And you’ll see if you’ve the stomach for accounting in general.

If you join the workforce by working for a large private firm, you might even be so lucky as to get your CPA Exam fees and even study materials covered by the firm. Even public firms, have plenty of reimbursement programs or scholarships available for the struggling fledgling accountant. Also, it will make your CV stand out after graduation. Check out this accounting resume example to get a better idea.

CPA Exam Prep & Review Courses

Look, there’s no way around this. You have to get a review course, and you want to get one that suits your learning style. And if you somehow got through all that schooling without figuring out your preferred learning style, you should definitely figure that out. It’ll help you cut down the amount time you’ll need to study for the CPA Exam. Which is crucial, because if you’re like most of us who’ve successfully passed the CPA, you’re likely holding down a 50 hour work week, making efficiency the key to success.

After you know what style of learning is best suited for you, read through my reviews of the top CPA Exam review courses to find the one that’s going to help you pass the exam. I had to figure all this out the hard way, which is why I’ve tried to compile everything you need to know to become a CPA. It’s a long and difficult path that’s full of sacrifice and tons of discipline, but believe me, it’s worth it.

Don’t forget to check out my CPA study guide to supplement your review course studies so you can pass the CPA Exam on the first try!

Compare the Best CPA Review Courses

78 Comments
  • Christina Derby
    Posted at 19 June, 2018 10:22 AM Reply

    Hi Bryce, I need your opinion. I have had my Bachelors Defree in Accounting for 25 years now. I have never worked for a CPA firm but o have done numerous accounting and taxation jobs. I am 53 yrs old and am wondering if I should get my CPA or my Masters in Taxation. I like the tax world. What do you think?

    • Bryce Welker, CPA
      Posted at 27 June, 2018 20:25 PM Reply

      Hi Christina, all states now require 150 college credits to get your CPA license so I would definitely recommend starting with your Masters in Tax and if you are able to handle the workload then also go for your CPA! From my experience talking to lots of accounting firms they definitely seem to favor a CPA license over a Masters degree in Tax, so having both would give you a huge advantage. Cheers, Bryce

    • Dalia
      Posted at 4 April, 2018 19:01 PM Reply

      Hello- You mentioned working in Thailand - as well as having flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. Could you please elaborate how that was possible (aren't there restrictions on where you can service clients based on which state you obtained your license)? Thanks so much! Dalia

      • Bryce Welker, CPA
        Posted at 27 June, 2018 20:32 PM Reply

        Hi Dalia, my clients were small business owners so I didn't actually need my CPA license to work with them since I wasn't in the Public company sector. That being said, I would have never landed them as clients if I didn't have my CPA license in the first place and it opened a TON of doors for me to expand my business and get referred to other clients. Cheers, Bryce

      • Nicole
        Posted at 9 January, 2018 12:22 PM Reply

        [* Shield plugin marked this comment as "trash". Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (comment token failure) *] Hey Bryce in your opinion do you think getting a Masters Degree is better in the long run. Do frims like the Big 4 want you to have that?

        • Bryce Welker, CPA
          Posted at 16 January, 2018 21:53 PM Reply

          Hi Nicole, All states now require 150 college credits to get a CPA license which is the same amount needed to get your Masters degree. Cheers, Bryce

        • Hazem
          Posted at 15 September, 2017 15:23 PM Reply

          Hey Bryce I started taking CPA last month in KPMG Academy in Jordan they teaching us CPAexcel by Wiely ... and i'm very confused about how to study abd what is the perfect time to book a window , i am studying FAR nowadays , and by the way i deactivated my FB account and i'm spending most of my time trying to force my self in studying or browsing in your Website...

          • Bryce Welker, CPA
            Posted at 20 September, 2017 12:14 PM Reply

            Congrats Hazem! Deleting your Facebook is a huge step and will give you much more time to study, great job!

          • w03chu
            Posted at 30 January, 2017 07:55 AM Reply

            I want to be a CPA when I grow up too! Right now I'm only a freshman in Accounting 2 😅, but I am very interested in it!

            Post A Comment

            Exclusive Offer

            SAVE $950! Surgent CPA Review Ultimate Pass Discount

            41 uses today
            Expires: 11/12
            Exclusive Offer

            Save $1,000 Off Roger CPA Elite Course

            35 uses today
            Expires: 11/17
            Exclusive Offer

            Save $800 with Wiley CPAexcel Platinum

            38 uses today
            Expires: 11/13

            Save up to $500 OFF the Becker Pro CPA Review Package

            36 uses today
            Expires: 11/13

            Gleim CPA Premium Review Course Discount – Save $600

            37 uses today
            Expires: 11/13

            Save $310 – Fast Forward Academy CPA

            40 uses today
            Expires: 11/11

            SAVE $239 On Yaeger CPA Review

            38 uses today
            Expires: 11/17

            Crush Exclusive: Save $200 Off Universal CPA Review!

            40 uses today
            Expires: 11/13

            Save $1,100 off Surgent CPA Review if you’ve failed the exam

            34 uses today
            Expires: 11/13

            SAVE $725! Surgent CPA Review Premier Pass Discount

            40 uses today
            Expires: 11/15

            SAVE $350! Surgent CPA Review Essential Pass Discount

            41 uses today
            Expires: 11/13

            Save $300 Off Roger CPA Premier Course

            39 uses today
            Expires: 11/13

            Wiley Gold CPAexcel Discount Code – $277.50 OFF!

            36 uses today
            Expires: 11/17

            Wiley Silver CPAexcel Discount Code – $255 OFF!

            41 uses today
            Expires: 11/17

            Save up to $250 OFF the Becker Premium CPA Review Package

            33 uses today
            Expires: 11/13

            Save up to $50 OFF the Becker Advantage CPA Review Package

            39 uses today
            Expires: 11/13

            Wiley Platinum CPAexcel Discount – $367.50 OFF!

            41 uses today
            Expires: 11/17

            SAVE 20% – Roger CPA Review – Audio Course

            33 uses today
            Expires: 11/17

            SAVE 20% – Roger CPA Review – Fresh Start Special

            33 uses today
            Expires: 11/17

            SAVE 20% – Roger CPA Review – CRAM Course

            39 uses today
            Expires: 11/17

            Roger CPA Financing Offer – As low as $183/month!

            40 uses today
            Expires: 11/17

            Roger Weekly Discounts – Up to $800 OFF!

            36 uses today
            Expires: 11/17

            Surgent CPA 0% Financing – $49/Month!

            38 uses today
            Expires: 11/17

            Surgent CPA 5-Day FREE Trial Offer

            38 uses today
            Expires: 11/20

            Wiley CPAexcel Weekly Discounts – Up to $500 OFF!

            40 uses today
            Expires: 11/17
            View More