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How much education do you need to become an accountant?

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Quick Answer

Education needed to become an accountant includes either a bachelor's or master's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to the right degree, accountants who desire to become certified are required to obtain a state license.

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Full Answer

Accountants are required to have a bachelor's degree in accounting or a closely related field, notes the BLS. Some schools offer internal auditing and other specialized programs related to accounting. Depending on the employer, applicants who have an associate degree or work experience as bookkeepers or accounting clerks may meet the qualifications necessary to become junior accountants. Junior accountants have the option of working their way up to accounting positions.

In addition to being eligible to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, an accountant can become certified to qualify for higher job positions or attain more clients, according to the BLS. Certified Public Accountant candidates have to pass an exam, meet all necessary state requirements and complete the necessary number of semester hours. CPAs are required to complete continuing education in order to retain their licenses.

A school may offer a five-year degree designed to award students with a combined bachelor's and master's degree, notes the BLS. Once an accountant is ready to become certified, his employer may pay the cost of the exam.

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