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July 12, 2021

Can you take CPA courses online with a non-accounting degree?

The American CPA qualification is globally recognized and useful for both auditors and financial professionals. As a student with a field without accounting, it is advisable to choose basic accounting courses at a university. You can enroll in online accounting courses too. Even if you don't, it doesn't matter, but it will help you grab objects more. However, you can still become a CPA by taking other courses. However, government councils have fine-tuned their requirements and, as a result, have increased the difficulty in obtaining CPAs for large accountants. That's why we need to start looking for creative ways to meet their expectations and reach our CPA goals.

Let's check what would be the requirements for CPA exam. We shall cover what someone with a non-accounting major would have to do, side by side.

CPA exam requirements

Anyone who aspires to be a CPA must meet the requirements of 3 Es:

Education: Obtain at least a four-year bachelor's degree with a minimum business and accounting credit hours plus 150 credit hours for general higher education. This means you will have to spend additional semesters completing these hours. They do not bar you from enrolling in CPA courses, but you cannot become a CPA certification holder without these.

Exam: Pass all parts (4) of the Uniform CPA exam

Experience: Complete 1-2 years of relevant and certified accounting experience

Some tips also add another requirement: an ethics exam. To meet this fourth E, you must pass an ethics exam used by your state council, whether it's an AICPA professional ethics exam or an exam created by the state council.

For large non-accounting individuals, the problem areas of these requirements are likely to be:

  • Minimum number of accounting credit hours
  • 150 credits required
  • Corresponding experience

It is true that most business graduates have an edge when it comes to enrolling for CPA courses as they already have part of the accounting credits secured. The next in line are the ones with finance or economics major who still have fair chances at acquiring such a certification.

Finance Majors

Meeting a minimum number of business credit hours is usually very easy for financial companies. If you've also taken accounting courses, you're already very close to meeting CPA education requirements. You'll likely need to focus on meeting the 150 credit hour rule, and the easiest way to complete these remaining accounting classes is at community colleges or other accredited educational institutions. Community colleges are acceptable to most state councils, but you should check with the state council to be sure. Some states, such as New York, expect you to take basic accounting courses in four-year colleges.

Economics Majors

Economics usually has a harder time than becoming a CPA because business and accounting degrees don't overlap. But remember, they are a cheap industry that has become a CPA, so it is possible. However, there are no shortcuts - you just need to complete enough accounting courses to reach a minimum level of education. Fortunately, the new knowledge from these courses will really help you prepare for the FAR and AUD exams. In addition, many BEC topics will already be known to you as a chief economist

While there are some things that all students pursuing their accounting degree will need to fulfill, as long as you earn your degree, you are on your way to becoming a CPA candidate.

Education requirements are slightly different for those pursuing the CPA license; CPA applicants must achieve at least 150 credit hours during their academic career in higher education. Typically, non-accounting majors must meet 120 hours - however, this can vary from program to program and is usually dictated by the school - so prospective CPA applicants must make up for the missing credit hours by supplementing their degree with additional semester hours. Students may take additional public accounting courses, courses focusing on economics and/or business administration, or general accounting courses to meet the additional course requirements necessary to become eligible to take the CPA exam.

Apart from completing additional educational requirements, non-accounting majors must also meet the requirement for the professional experience; these requirements typically vary from one state to another, so check with your local state council to make sure you get all the accounting experience you need to be able to pursue your license.

Last but not least, you will need to study with a reputable CPA review course to ensure that you are proficient in all the topics you might see on the CPA exam.


Yes, one can enroll for online CPA courses despite not having an accounting degree. There are a few strings that one needs to pull to be able to become equally competitive. Having completed the required credit hours will just not give you a firm footing to become a CPA, but it will also help you be familiar with the basic accounting concepts that are required to be able to excel in the field.


Salman Rundhawa

Salman has a strong desire to help others succeed and believe in passing on the knowledge. He likes to mentor others and wish to play part in other people success.
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