COD Offers CPA Exam Preparation Courses
By Mary Vanco
College of DuPage offers two certificates for people who want to meet the educational requirements for taking the Certified Public Accountant exam.
The Advanced Accounting Certificate and the Business Environment and Concepts Certificate help business and non-business majors complete the necessary credit to sit for the CPA exam, said Kathy Horton, CPA, CMA, professor of Accounting.
“The CPA is the gold standard of achievement in the accounting profession,” she said. “A CPA can work in large or small private or public firms, for the government or in education. What many people outside of accounting don’t realize is how crucial accountants are to communicate financial information within a company or to the public.”
According to Horton, to earn a CPA license means “meeting the requirements of the four E’s: education, exam, experience and ethics.” A candidate needs to complete at least 150 college credit hours, including a specified number of accounting and business hours, and obtain a baccalaureate or higher degree, to meet the education requirement.
CPA Examination candidates who have earned their baccalaureate in a business-related major such as management or marketing can work toward the Advanced Accounting Certificate. Horton points out that non-business majors may also work toward CPA exam eligibility with the Business Environment and Concepts Certificate.
“These certificate program courses prepare the CPA Examination candidates with the hours and the content that the exam requires,” she said. “Our upper-level accounting courses are the same as those offered at a four-year institution but are bundled together as a certificate program.”
Horton and the six other full time accounting professors at COD prepare candidates to take the rigorous CPA exam. They often receive emails from students who compliment the challenging COD program as excellent preparation for the exam.
“The exam is in four parts and candidates have 18 months to take all four sections. It’s an intense exam where the pass rate is less than 50 percent, but our students do very well,” she said.
In addition to education and passing the exam, CPA candidates must also work in the profession to gain experience and complete a separate test on ethics. “Businesses and the public depend on having reliable and capable people with integrity when financial information is at stake,” Horton said.
Students interested in taking courses for either certificate program may jump in any semester, whether it is online or in the traditional classroom.
“Our students are usually in their 30s and 40s and are working, so classes are offered during the evenings and on Saturdays,” she said. “There are so many options at COD.”