New Certificate in Accounting an Asset in Pursuing CPA

Certificate in Accounting Program

Individuals interested in making a career change to accounting will be able to take a major step toward that goal with a new program being offered at Southern.

accounting classThe certificate in accounting program, scheduled to begin at the start of the fall 2014 semester, is designed for college graduates who have a degree in a discipline other than accounting. Students will take eight required courses in undergraduate accounting for a total of 27 credits. Admission to the program requires a minimum GPA of 2.3 at the undergraduate level, along with a bachelor's degree.

"The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a highly regarded, dynamic and lucrative profession," says Janet Phillips, chairwoman of the Accounting Department. "There is tremendous demand for CPAs both because employment opportunities for accountants and auditors are anticipated to grow rapidly, and because of the expected exodus of soon-to-be-retired CPAs. The new certificate program is an excellent avenue to aid in the pursuit of joining the accounting profession as a second career."

A 2012 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13.1-percent growth between 2012 and 2022 for accountants and auditors. The national median annual salary for an accountant in May 2012 was $63,550.

Phillips says the program is geared toward two populations of students already holding undergraduate degrees; those with a non-accounting, business degree (such as marketing, management or finance), and those with a degree in a non-business field.

"Students who have an undergraduate accounting degree and are looking to advance their education would be better served by the MBA program with a concentration in accounting," she says.

Phillips notes that becoming a licensed CPA is a multi-step process. First, individuals must meet the minimum education requirements to take the exam. The certificate in accounting will enable them to do so provided that they also have 22 credits in general business courses outside of accounting. Second, students must pass the CPA exam. Third, students must gain two years of experience working full time for a CPA, as well as having accumulated at least 36 credits in accounting; 30 credits in general business courses and a total of 150 overall credits. Individuals also must pass a self-study ethics course in Connecticut.

The exam for CPAs in Connecticut includes four sections – auditing and attestation; financial accounting and reporting; regulation, and business environment and concepts.

"The new SCSU certificate of accounting program is a practical, accessible and affordable means to begin meeting qualifications to become a Connecticut CPA," Phillips says. "The certificate is evidence of the SCSU School of Business's commitment to meeting the needs of the state workforce and emerging economy."

For further information about the program, call the Accounting Department at (203) 392-5691.