Document Type



For accountants, becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) seems to be the most recognized and widely coveted of all the different accounting career paths, yet very few prospective accountants understand why it garners so much respect. The purpose of this project aims to educate future accounting professionals about the requirements for earning one’s Certified Public Accountant license, the career options available to them, the value of the certification, and the cost benefit analysis of choosing that career path. The primary method of collecting data includes a literature review of testimonials from accounting professionals along with relevant career statistics to provide a background for the various career options available to accountants. This thesis expands existing accounting literature by providing prospective accountants with a guide to their career choices. This thesis exclusively compares Certified Public Accountants to non-licensed accountants, and primarily focuses on the public accounting field when referencing CPA careers as it attracts the many accounting graduates. It appears many students are conditioned to follow the CPA route with very little understanding of what it offers and what it can cost. Though having a CPA certification provides numerous benefits, there are many costs to this choice that few students understand or consider when starting their careers. This study will give students a further information on what it means to be a CPA in public accounting while highlighting other licensed accounting career options, with the ultimate goal to be to help students find the path that provides them the most lucrative and rewarding future.


Accounting and Finance

Thesis Comittee

Caitlin Finning-Golden (Thesis Mentor)

Mark Crowley

Patricia Bancroft

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

Included in

Accounting Commons