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Is the EA (Enrolled Agent) a Legit Credential in Tax?

How does being and Enrolled Agent compare to being a CPA at your firm?  Are EAs and CPAs fairly equal, or are EAs second-class citizens?  Are opportunities for promotion limited, and if so, at what level are you hitting a non-CPA ceiling?  Are Enrolled Agents at your firm pressured to take the CPA exam if they are eligible?  Do clients and targets even care about the distinction?  Does it make a difference in your exit options if you want to go into industry?