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Future CPAs


Thinking about diving into the accounting world? It's not just about number crunching! Earning your CPA license or joining the accounting industry sets you up for some amazing career opportunities. 

  • Imagine being the financial wizard behind businesses' success stories.
  • Envision becoming a financial detective; investigating fraud, embezzlement, and financial disputes.
  • Picture guiding individuals and businesses through the complex tax landscape, finding ways to minimize liabilities and maximize returns.
  • Plus so much more!

The money game is always changing, so your skills will stay in demand. Attention to detail, sharp thinking, and the money mastery skills you'll pick up are superpowers that you'll carry throughout your career journey. Read on to discover your path to success!

Why Become a CPA?

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a public accountant who has been certified by a state examining board as having met the state's legal requirements. The CPA license is the gold standard for the accounting profession. It allows CPAs to have the authority to audit the work of other financial professionals and recommend changes and/or corrections to their work. Having a CPA license sets you apart from other candidates that have MBAs or business degrees.

That CPA title? It's like your golden ticket to a stable job with sweet pay and room to climb. CPAs have successful careers in public accounting, financial management, corporate accounting, government, non-profit, education and consulting sectors.

  • CPAs serve as trusted financial advisors to business executives because they understand the intricacies of the financial marketplace. Through analysis of financial information, CPAs are the first to know a company’s past, present, and future. They guide everything from small business owners up to Fortune 500 corporations with this knowledge.
  • All types of businesses need strategic financial thinkers and accountants to implement sound business practices. CPAs are among the most sought-after of all licensed financial professionals. In public accounting firms, most high ranking titles and levels require a CPA license.
  • For CPAs in private industry, the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is only available to CPAs. It expands your career and marketability by certifying that you understand the global financial marketplace.

Earning Power! CPAs earn higher salaries on average than many other financial professionals. Annual salaries for entry-level positions at many public accounting firms start at $45,000. Salaries increase rapidly as you gain experience. See for yourself at:

Robert Half Salary Guide CPA Salary Calculator

Additional Accounting Resources

Accounting is an incredible career path. But don't just take our word for it! Check out these additional resources for education tips, career advice, scholarship opportunities, and more!


The Washington CPA Foundation has awarded over three million dollars to accounting students in Washington state. For the 2023-2024 academic year, we awarded more than 80 scholarships worth $2,000 to $10,000 each to accounting students attending Washington colleges and universities. Meet our latest scholarship winners and bookmark our scholarship page. Scholarship applications are now open! Deadline to apply is spring 2024.


Education: Begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Many states require 150 semester hours of education, which often exceeds a typical bachelor’s degree (and is often referred to by CPA Candidates as the 5th year requirement). Students achieve this in various ways: some take extra courses at community colleges, others double major and finish within four years, while some opt for a master's degree in accounting or a related field to fulfill the requirement.

Exam: After fulfilling the educational prerequisites, you can sit for the Uniform CPA Examination, a comprehensive, four-part test. In Washington state, candidates can take the exam with just a Bachelor’s Degree and 120 semester hours. This flexibility allows students to sit for the exam first and then complete the remaining educational credits afterwards. However, to attain your CPA license, you still need to complete the total 150-hour requirement. Passing all sections of the CPA exam is a pivotal step towards earning your CPA designation.

Experience: Aspiring CPAs must gain relevant work experience, often under the supervision of a licensed CPA. In Washington state, the requirement is one year of experience, which can be obtained at virtually any stage of your journey — it doesn't need to precede completing your education or taking the exam. Requirements, however, may vary by state.

Once you have successfully navigated the three E's - Education, Exam, and Experience - and met all of the state-specific requirements, you will receive your CPA license. Congratulations, you're now a Certified Public Accountant!

As a CPA, a vast array of career opportunities lies ahead of you. The CPA designation not only confirms your expertise in accounting but also signals your commitment to upholding the highest professional standards. The world of finance and accounting is vast, and as a CPA, you’re well-equipped to explore and excel in it!

Washington State Board of Accountancy Licensure Requirements

See how the WSCPA and WA CPA Foundation are here to support students through every step of licensure.

Join the WSCPA as a Student Member Today!

Embarking on an accounting career is an exciting journey, and at the WSCPA, we want to be a part of your success story. Whether you're a student aspiring to become a CPA or are already on the path, we have a special place for you in our community. At the WSCPA, we're more than an association; we're a community driven by innovation, inclusivity, and a commitment to nurturing the next generation of accounting professionals.

Why Become a Student Member?

As a WSCPA student member, you can unlock an array of benefits designed to support you at every stage of your professional development:

  • Discounts on CPA Review Courses: Get ahead in your studies with our exclusive discounts on comprehensive review materials.
  • CPA Exam Support: From understanding the exam format to providing essential resources, we're here to guide you through the CPA exam process.
  • Networking Opportunities: Connect with fellow students and established CPAs at fun networking events like pub trivia, murder mysteries, meet the firms, or other meet and greets around the state. Participate in online discussions via the WSCPA Connect platform.
  • Build Your Professional Community: Being a part of the WSCPA means you're not alone on this journey. Engage with like-minded individuals who share your passion and ambition. Join a resource group or committee.
  • Keep Informed: Stay on top of trends and changes in the profession through WSCPA members-only publications.

What are the Student Membership Options?

There are two student member types: Student and CPA Candidate. 

  • Student Member: You are an accounting student and plan to sit for the Uniform CPA exam when eligible.
  • Student—CPA Candidate Membership: You are either graduated from college or have applied to sit in the 6-month exam window while still in college, and are actively working towards CPA licensure. Download a copy of the Experience Affidavit here.

What are Student Membership Dues?

  • Membership is $40 from April 1 through November 30, or $20 from December 1 through March 30. The fee is not prorated by month.
  • WSCPA membership is renewed annually, due June 1.

Email if you have questions about your CPA journey or want to learn more about membership.