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How long does it take to become a CPA?

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The length of time it takes to become a certified public accountant (CPA) depends on an individual's educational load and the requirements of the state in which the candidate seeks the credential. In most states, candidates must complete 150 semester hours of coursework, which is 30 hours more than the typical 4-year bachelor's degree, notes the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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In some states, schools offer a 5-year CPA program that combines both a bachelor's and master's degree. In addition to the coursework required, candidates must sit for a national exam, which is generally the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' exam, and meet other requirements that differ from state to state, notes BLS.

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