Want to Pass Your CPA Exam? The Answer Is Going to a Community College

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of accountants and auditors will grow faster than average for all sectors through 2024. Even now, CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is one of the growing and top-tier accounting careers.

Key Takeaways

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of accountants and auditors will grow faster than average for all sectors through 2024. Even now, CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is one of the growing and top-tier accounting careers.

The CPA credential helps in enforcing the professional standards in the field of accounting. Licensed CPAs can pursue careers in public or corporate accounting, as well as in government services.

However, becoming a CPA is a challenging task. Ultimately, you must first pass very rigorous requirements, one of which is to complete credits.

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So, if you are an accounting professional or a student pursuing a CPA, you don't need to spend a lot of time researching how to obtain your required credits when you don't want to go after another degree.

Since we have it right here for you. And, certainly, community college is a feasible choice to earn your CPA credits in the least amount of time.

Want to take advantage of online courses?

Unmudl offers courses from leading community colleges.

What is a CPA, and Why Does it Matter?

CPA stands for a certified public accountant, and it is a credential given to licensed accounting professionals. Each state's Board of Accountancy issues the license. It is a professional exam designed to increase the abilities and knowledge of individuals working in accounting.

Passing the CPA exam and completing licensure criteria in the state where you want to practice are the two most significant parts of becoming a CPA. New CPAs can earn 10% more than non-CPAs, and job growth is above average. A CPA's annual pay in the United States is $70,000 on average.


A Certified public accountant (CPA) must obtain the qualification of bachelor's degree in business administration, finance, or accounting. Individuals must have completed 150 hours of education, passed the Uniform CPA exam, and had at least two years of public accounting experience.

In the United States, licenses are issued by the 55 state boards of accountancy, with most states having their board administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants( AICPA) in their jurisdiction.

Testing windows, exam scoring, and passing rates for CPA

This computer-based exam is administered once every calendar quarter, with the months of testing referred to as testing windows. You may take any or all components of the CPA Exam at any time and in any order.

It's interesting to note that community colleges outperform universities in terms of CPA test passing rates. In the United States, there are numerous community colleges on the list that beat significant state universities in terms of percentage and highest CPA scores.

Let's look at why people choose community colleges for CPA.

Why is community college a better choice for becoming a CPA?

Obtaining your CPA license involves consideration of a number of factors. Of course, one of the first decisions you'll have to make is whether to pursue your CPA requirements at a community college or a four-year university. After all, it should help you in achieving your future professional success. 

Let's take a look at why community college can be a workable solution for meeting your requirements.

A quicker way to get the credits 

Bachelor’s degree students usually graduate with 120 credit hours. However, to be licensed as a CPA in all 50 states, they must complete 150 hours of education. 

Students choose to jump into a graduate-level program focused on that very subject which is double-majoring or degreeing-up to seek a master's to earn the 30 additional hours required to get licensed down the road. 

Although local community colleges with reputable accounting programs seem to be a faster route to close the gap of the last 30 credit hours with dedicated programs to help students prepare for the CPA Exam (including reaching the 150-hour requirement) in a shorter time.

The flexibility of the community college program

Community colleges have flexible class schedules that can be in-person or online are some of the key reasons people choose community colleges for CPA. Flexible class schedules are designed to fit with your work and academic life while also keeping up with your career development.

Smaller class sizes

Smaller class sizes encourage focused learning, individualized attention from instructors, more conducive to discussion and hands-on learning produces more timely and useful feedback, hence helping your academic performance.

Lower cost

The overall cost of a community college program is thousands of dollars cheaper than a four-year public college program which represents a great chance to save on some cash. Some even offer free education.

Higher passing rate

A study called  “Is Community College CPA Examination Preparation Effective? Some Evidence to Date from Texas “ by Gordon Heslop Texas A&M University-Commerce.

The aim of the study was to compare the CPA examination results from the community colleges to the overall Texas results and show that such course offerings have provided an avenue for many students to successfully study for, and pass, the CPA examination. 

It concluded that amongst the community colleges, Austin Community College has 42.23% of all the sections passed during the six-year period, and has the highest pass rate percentage at 60.14%. This pass rate is higher than the average for all Six accounting accredited state board schools.

Community colleges have a greater passing percentage than many state universities, as per data provided by Farhat Lectures. In Alabama, for example, many community colleges had a passing score of approximately 60%. 

Similarly, Arkansas and Colorado states have community colleges with a comparatively high passing rate with an average passing score of 67%. Colleges in Connecticut, New York, and Texas have had similar results. These have high passing rates of up to 75%.

Based on the statistics given above, it is evident that Community colleges are the most cost-effective way to obtain your CPA license in the shortest amount of time while maintaining your work and personal life responsibilities.

Explore courses from community colleges for CPA here to learn more on the matter right now.

Tips for Choosing a Community College to Help You Pass Your CPA at a Community College

Here are some things you should be mindful of if you want to fulfill the credit hour requirement at a community college:

Identify the requirements of your state board

Each state has its standards for licensure, and students must determine whether the courses they choose will qualify for sitting for the CPA exam. On the AICPA's website, students can check their state's licensure criteria and find information for their state board.

Check to see if your institution is accredited

Check with your state board to learn which Colleges they approve for accreditation. Credit earned at an institution that is not certified by the board will not contribute toward sitting for the exam.

Take courses that are of interest to you and improve your knowledge

Every student enters community college with various educational gaps to fill, although there is some liberty for you to choose your courses. Choose the college that will provide you with the most knowledge essential to pass your CPA and get certified.


As you enroll in a community college to meet your CPA credit requirements, you should be aware that it all depends on how much effort you put into it. No rule of thumb admitting you to a community college will guarantee you a CPA license, but your hard work in the process will.

Community college is a workable option to your goal of obtaining a CPA license and enhancing your accounting career. 

We hope that this post has helped you discover a few things regarding community colleges and CPA, and has enabled you to conclude until now, and finally brought you one step closer to becoming a CPA.

At Unmudl, you can enroll in courses that will help you not only take courses towards your CPA eligibility but also fulfill college credit requirements. 

In addition, you can also take courses that come into the broader field of budgeting and financial management, here.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many accounting credits are required to become a CPA?

How can I earn 150 CPA credit hours?

How long does it take to become a certified public accountant (CPA)?

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