How to Choose College Courses for My CPA License?

Guide to Picking College Courses to Qualify for a CPA License

courses-for-my-cpa-licenseDeciding to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is one of the best career decisions you are likely to make. Even though it requires dedication, perseverance, and strategic planning, becoming a CPA will change your professional life.

One of the critical steps in this process is choosing the right courses to fulfill the educational requirements for obtaining your CPA license.With a myriad of options available, making an informed decision can feel overwhelming.

Drawing from personal experience and industry insights, this article aims to guide you through the process of selecting courses that will not only meet the CPA requirements but also enhance your knowledge and skills in the field of accounting.

How to Choose the College Courses for my CPA License?

As a college student who wants to pursue a CPA license, you have to know the CPA exam and state licensing requirements in order to plan out your college courses to make sure you are eligible for the CPA exam and future CPA license.

Let’s take a look at how to choose your college courses to make sure you will qualify for a CPA license in your state.

Research Your State CPA Requirements

The first step in choosing the right college courses to qualify for your CPA license is to familiarize yourself with the specific educational requirements for obtaining a CPA license in your state.

Generally, candidates are required to complete 150 semester hours of college education, including a certain number of accounting and business-related courses.

However, the exact requirements vary by state, so it’s imperative to check with your state’s Board of Accountancy to ensure you understand what is needed.

Focus on Core Accounting Courses

When selecting courses for your CPA license, prioritize core accounting courses. These are the backbone of your education and will provide the foundation needed to succeed in the CPA Exam and your future career.

Courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, and taxation are typically essential. Ensure that you have a strong grasp of these fundamental areas, as they are crucial for both meeting the educational requirements and excelling in the accounting profession.

Include Business-Related Courses

In addition to accounting courses, you will also need to complete a certain number of business-related courses. These can include subjects such as finance, economics, business law, and information systems.

These courses are important as they contribute to a well-rounded education, equipping you with a comprehensive understanding of the business world and how it intersects with accounting.

Consider Specialized Accounting Electives

Beyond the core accounting and business courses, consider enrolling in specialized accounting electives that align with your career interests.

Whether it’s forensic accounting, governmental accounting, or international accounting, these electives provide an opportunity to delve deeper into specific areas of accounting and can set you apart in a competitive job market.

Evaluate the Quality of the Program and Instructors

The quality of the educational program and instructors plays a crucial role in your learning experience. Research the reputation of the college or university, the accounting department, and the credentials of the instructors.

Opting for programs accredited by recognized bodies, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), can ensure that you are receiving a high-quality education.

Consider Online and In-Person Options

With the advancement of technology, online courses have become a viable option for completing your CPA educational requirements. Evaluate the pros and cons of online versus in-person courses, considering factors such as your learning style, schedule, and the level of interaction you prefer.

Online courses offer flexibility, which can be particularly beneficial if you are working while completing your education.

Plan for the Future

As you select courses for your CPA license, think about the long-term implications of your choices. Choose courses that not only fulfill the immediate requirements but also contribute to your ongoing professional development.

Consider how the courses align with your career goals and how they can enhance your skills and knowledge in areas that are in demand in the accounting profession.

Stay Informed and Seek Advice

The accounting profession is continually evolving, and staying informed about changes in the industry, including updates to the CPA Exam and licensure requirements, is essential.

Seek advice from academic advisors, professors, and professionals in the field to gain insights and make informed decisions about your course selection.


Choosing the right courses for your CPA license is a pivotal step in your journey to becoming a Certified Public Accountant. By understanding the CPA requirements, focusing on core accounting and business courses you can navigate this process with confidence.

You should also consider specialized electives, evaluating the quality of the program, exploring online and in-person options, planning for the future, and seeking advice. Remember, the choices you make now will lay the foundation for your success in the CPA Exam and your future career in accounting.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if a course will count towards my CPA educational requirements?

To ensure a course counts towards your CPA educational requirements, verify with your state’s Board of Accountancy or seek guidance from an academic advisor familiar with CPA licensure.

Is it necessary to complete 150 semester hours before sitting for the CPA Exam?

Requirements vary by state, with some allowing candidates to sit for the CPA Exam after completing 120 semester hours, though the full 150 hours are eventually required for licensure.

Can online courses be used to fulfill CPA educational requirements?

Yes, online courses from accredited institutions are generally accepted for CPA educational requirements, but it’s important to verify their acceptability with your state’s Board of Accountancy.

How do I balance course difficulty when planning my schedule?

Balance your schedule by mixing challenging accounting courses with less intensive courses each semester, ensuring you can dedicate the necessary time and effort to each class without becoming overwhelmed.