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CPA Requirements: Meeting the 150 Credit Rule on a Budget

Happy Friday, people! Is it a blackout month yet? I guess not. But hey, we have a good question I received via Twitter yesterday to talk about. If you have a CPA exam question, life question, career question or general insult to hurl at me, tweet or email me.

Done w/ exam but do u have any recs on getting 150 cred other than grad school. I don’t want to pay the $$ for it. #cpahelp

Ahhh, the good old 150 rule. Intended to turn bright-eyed young accounting students into skilled leaders of the industry, the 150 rule has driven a lot of you right off the steaming pile of debt. But unless your state actually requires a Master’s (I can’t name a single one that does), there is absolutely no reason to take that route unless you feel that it will improve your salary prospects or if you can afford it. Otherwise? Please.

So. What’s a 4-year-college underachiever to do?

The truth is that many state boards accept credits from any educational institution recognized in that state, meaning you can easily sign up for 30 units at community college and meet the 150 unit requirement for licensure. Now, the key here is to take classes that you think will round you out as a human being, actually be interesting, or at least inspire you to show up for class. In my experience taking night classes at a community college back in the day, community college professors can actually be a lot more fun than the professors you might be used to. Many work in the industry or field that they will be teaching you about, which allows them a real world practical experience that many academic accounting professors might not have (sorry, guys, you know I’m right). If you are single, you can also definitely find some tail at community college, so there’s another bonus.

Community college will be your cheapest option (if recognized by your state board), but if that isn’t something you’re able to do, there are always online colleges. A lot of these are for-profit, overpriced and not always fun to attend, though I can’t say that from personal experience. I’ve heard stories, mmkay? If you have the money, there’s nothing wrong with enrolling to take some online classes this way but it is definitely more feasible for the left-brainers out there.

Whatever you decide to do, take the opportunity to get creative with your education. Those additional units are meant for you to advance your knowledge so you can be better at your job protecting the public trust or whatever it is you’re meant to do when you get your CPA. A fucking art class wouldn’t kill you, it rounds you out.