How to Become an Accountant or CPA in Texas

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What is Accounting?

Accounting refers to the process of combining financial information into a form that is easy to read and understand for all clients and stakeholders. An investor can be an individual, a company, or an organization that owns shares in a particular company. Accounting is responsible for recording and reporting financial transactions, financial performance, and cash flows of a company.

Organizations rely on accounting to keep a systematic record of their financial information. By comparing current financial information with historical information, users can make informed decisions. A company's performance can be evaluated over time by having consistent, accurate, and full records.

Becoming a CPA Certified Public Accountant in Texas is a relatively straightforward process, involving a combination of obtaining a bachelor's degree in accounting, pass the CPA Exam, and gain accounting experience in order to obtain the licensure required to become a Certified Public Accountant.

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Online Accounting Education in Texas

  • Pick an acceptable institution

    The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy only recognizes baccalaureate and higher degrees from select institutions of higher education. If you are planning on becoming a CPA, you need to confirm the college or university you’re attending, or plan to attend, adheres to the Texas educational requirements. You will need an accredited Bachelor's Degree in Accounting to become a CPA, but to get started in your education path, you can start with an associate's.

    If you’ve already received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, you are on track to becoming a CPA. You can qualify to take the CPA Exam by taking accounting courses or completing an accounting program at a pre-approved community college.

    Education completed outside of the United States will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the degree is equivalent to recognized course requirements. International credential evaluation services are not accepted.

  • Pick an educational route

    The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy requires that Certified Public Accountant applicants complete at least 30 credit hours of upper-level accounting courses at a recognized institution.

    This can be done in two ways:

    • Attain a baccalaureate or higher degree that includes a minimum of 30 credit hours in accounting and 24 credit hours of upper-level related business courses.
    • Attain a baccalaureate or higher degree and then complete an additional 30 credit hours of accounting courses and 24 credit hours of upper-level related business courses from a four-year institution or pre-approved community college.
  • Sign up for the right courses

    The State Board of Accountancy recognizes the following accounting courses:

    • Financial Accounting and Reporting for Business
      • Advanced Accounting
      • Accounting Theory
    • Intermediate Accounting (maximum of 9 credit hours)
    • Managerial or Cost Accounting
    • Auditing and Attestation Services
    • Internal Accounting Control and Risk Assessment
    • Accounting Research and Analysis
    • Taxation (maximum of 12 credit hours)
    • Financial Accounting and Reporting for Government and, or Non-Profit Entities
    • Accounting Information Systems (maximum of 12 credit hours)
    • Fraud Examination
    • International Accounting and Financial Reporting
    • Accounting Internship (maximum of three credit hours, taken only after the completion of 12 credit hours of upper-level accounting courses)

    The following related business courses are also accepted, providing no more than six credit hours are taken in a single subject area:

    • Business Law
    • Economics
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Business Communications
    • Statistics and Quantitative Methods
    • Finance
    • Information System or Technology
    • Other Accounting Relevant Courses

    You also need at least two credit hours in upper-level accounting or tax research and analysis, as well as two credit hours in upper-level accounting communications or business communications.

    Additionally, you must complete a Board-approved three semester hour course on ethics.

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Online Associate Degree in Accounting (AA)

An associate degree in accounting can help launch a terrific career. Degree holders can start their careers as junior accountants and then move up as they accrue experience. Some state accountancy boards even forgo the education requirement for professionals who have enough experience.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Accounting (BAcc)

This is the accounting degree that most accountants begin their careers with. The credits it takes to earn a baccalaureate degree are often sufficient to sit for the CPA Exam, and the coursework is deep enough to land a position in a desired specialty area.

Online Master's Degree in Accounting (MAcc)

Though some accountants enter graduate school directly from their undergraduate programs, others work for several years before returning for a MS in Accountancy or an MBA with an accounting concentration. A master's degree is often a ticket to management positions and the C-suites.

Online PhD Degree in Accounting (PhD)

Though the business world doesn't expect this level of scholarship, a doctoral degree in accounting will certainly stand out on a resume and a corporate roster. Professionals with this level of academic achievement can enter academia as professors or researchers.

Online Degree in Accounting

An online accounting degree from a Texas university can open just as many doors as a degree from a traditional program. CPA candidates can even work part time as bookkeepers while they take advantage of the flexibility online education provides.

Texas CPA Exam Requirements

  • Verify you’ve met the requirements

    You can apply to sit for the CPA Exam once you meet the following qualifications:

    • Be of good moral character, as assessed by question responses, the FBI database, and the Texas Department of Public Safety criminal records.
    • Have a baccalaureate or higher degree from a recognized institution.
    • Complete 150 credit hours, including:

      • 30 credit hours of upper-level accounting courses, including two credit hours of accounting or tax research and analysis.
      • 24 credit hours of upper-level related business courses, including two credit hours of accounting or business communications
  • Submit an Application of Intent

    Once you have met all necessary requirements, you can submit an Application of Intent to the following:

    Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
    333 Guadalupe, Tower 3, Suite 900
    Austin, TX 78701-3900

    You will need:

    • $20 check or money order made payable to the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
    • Official transcript(s)
    • Passport-type photograph taken in the last six months
    • Certified or notarized copy of a government-issued identification document
    • Certified or notarized copy of your U.S. Social Security Card
    • Certified or notarized Authorization and Release form
    • Application for Testing Accommodations, if applicable
    • Background Statement form, if necessary

    Fingerprinting is also required. Your application can’t be approved until the fingerprint process has been completed.

  • Submit an eligibility application

    In order to apply for one or more sections of the Uniform CPA Exam, you must first submit an Eligibility Application online. While there is no deadline for this application, your Application of Intent will expire after two years.

    In addition to the application, you will also need:

    • $10 nonrefundable fee for each section you plan to take
    • ID card

    It generally takes between 24 and 48 hours to process your application, at which time the Board will notify the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) of your candidacy. Shortly thereafter, you’ll receive an Approval Notice giving you 90 days to complete your approved exam sections.

  • Pay the NASBA exam fees
    After getting your Approval Notice, you will receive an Exam Fee Payment Coupon from NASBA via mail, fax, or email (based upon your preference). This coupon will state the fees that you’re responsible for, which can be paid by check, money order, or credit card.
  • Schedule your exam
    Once your payment has been processed, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). Your NTS will indicate which sections of the CPA Exam you’re approved to take and will instruct you to schedule your CPA Exam date(s) via Prometric.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Requirements

  • Complete requirements

    In order to maintain your Certified Public Accountant CPA license in Texas, you must meet the state’s CPE requirements.

    Within each three-year period, you must complete the following:

    120 CPE credits
    A minimum of 20 hours per year is required
    4-credit ethics course every other year
    You must document all CPE participation and send it to the Board if requested.

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Become an Accountant in Texas

  • Complete experience requirements

    To qualify for a Certified Public Accountant license in Texas, you must work professionally for a year (at least 2000 hours) in one of the following categories:

    • Attest services (audits, compilations, reviews, and other assurance and engagements)
    • Professional accounting services in:
      • Financial statements reporting
      • Financial management or advice
      • Tax preparation
      • Tax advice
      • Forensic accounting
      • Internal auditing

    Your work experience must be verified by a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Additionally, a statement describing the supervising CPA’s experience and a copy of your job description is required.

Getting Your CPA License in Texas

  • Verify you’ve met the requirements

    In order to apply for a Certified Public Accountant CPA license and become a CPA in Texas, you must meet the following requirements:

    • Be of good moral character
    • Earn a baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited educational institute and complete all course requirements
    • Pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam
    • Complete professional work requirements
    • Pass an exam on the Board’s Rules of Professional Conduct with a score of 85% or higher (this will be sent to you after you’ve submitted your Application for Issuance)
    • Pass a Board-approved four-credit ethics course
  • Submit your application for issuance

    Once you pass the CPA Exam and become a CPA, you can submit an Application for Issuance of the Certified Public Accountant CPA Certificate. You must request a copy of this form directly from the Board. Additionally, you must submit the Oath of Office form and the Work Experience form. A $50 check or money order, made payable to the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, is also required.

    Once your application is reviewed and approved, you’ll receive a congratulatory letter with your assigned CPA number. Make sure you pay your license fee right away to confirm your new designation.

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Careers for Accounting Graduates

  • Forensic Accountant
    This is the perfect profession for the accountant who also wishes to fight against financial crime. Forensic accountants work for a variety of levels of law enforcement including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They are also found working for attorneys on civil cases, including divorces and estate disputes.
  • Tax Accountant
    Accountants are often associated with tax time, and for good reason. This profession involves preparing tax documents for corporate and individual clients, many of whom file taxes on a quarterly basis. Nevertheless, year-end tax accounting season is always the busiest time of the year.
  • Management Consultant
    Many young accountants begin their careers at work for a consulting firm. Management consultancies employ accounting gurus to travel the world to conduct audits, work on mergers, and to help corporations restructure their finances and operations.
  • Environmental Accounting
    This is an increasingly important position in the corporate world. Companies are taking an ever-closer look at how pollution impacts their businesses. Accountants can assess how energy-saving measures benefit the corporate bottom line from the perspectives of taxation and even public relations.

Texas Average Accountant Salary

Texas accountants find work in a variety of sectors. The oil and gas industry is naturally a huge employer, but you might also work for a tech company or consult small businesses. If you attain a CPA license and work hard for a large Dallas company, you might earn up to $500,681, while controllers in larger San Antonio firms earn $204,820. What really makes Texas a great state for accountants is the anticipated growth rate of 32.02 percent between 2012 and 2022. That dwarfs national predictions that show the profession growing by only 13 percent. Texas offers more and more opportunities all the time.

City Annual Median Wage
Dallas $54,000
Fort Worth $58,700
Houston $55,800
Baytown $59,500
Austin $53,300
Entry Level Mid Career Late Career
$45,500 $56,700 $63,500
  • Texas Average Cost Estimator Salary: $62,600
  • Texas Average Auditor Salary: $61,600
  • Texas Average Budget Analyst Salary: $64,600
  • Texas Average Credit Analyst Salary: $55,600
  • Texas Average Financial Analyst Salary: $60,700
  • Texas Average Personal Financial Advisor Salary: $64,600
  • Texas Average Financial Examiner Salary: $55,500
  • Texas Average Tax Examiner, Collector, or Revenue Agent Salary: $81,600
  • Texas Average Tax Preparer Salary: $45,800
  • Texas Average Actuary Salary: $77,800
  • Texas Average Forensic Science Technician Salary: $60,000
  • Texas Average Payroll and Timekeeping Clerk Salary: $38,750

Texas Accounting Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any Texas colleges that offer online accounting degrees?

Yes, there are many opportunities for Texas residents to achieve an accounting degree online. Many Texas colleges offer online degrees in business and accounting, especially at the master's level. In fact, once a student makes the decision to pursue an online degree, they’ll have the option to pursue programs from all over the nation.

Can I become a CPA with an online accounting degree?

Yes, there's no reason why not. However, the same regulations apply to an online degree as a traditional degree. That is, CPA candidates should make sure that they complete the necessary 30 hours in accounting courses, 24 hours in upper-level business classes, and 3 hours in a Board-approved ethics exam and course. CPA candidates should also confirm that their program is fully accredited by a regional or national agency.

What are the educational requirements to become a Texas CPA?

The Texas Board of Accounting requires that prior to becoming a CPA, students complete at least 30 semester hours of accounting coursework, 24 hours of upper-level business courses, and three credit hours of ethics. Altogether, a candidate should have 150 credit hours on a transcript that culminated in a baccalaureate degree. Keep in mind that the board also accepts graduate-level credits and earning a master’s degree would fully prepare you for your CPA Exam.

How much do Texas accountants earn?

Texas employs over 114,000 accountants and auditors which are primarily concentrated in the Dallas, Houston, and Austin metro areas. Their average annual salary is $79,000. Bookkeepers and accounting clerks are likewise employed in great numbers. There are 42,000 in Texas and they earn an average annual salary of $42,000.

What are some career options for a Texas accountant?

After officially becoming a CPA, you have many career options in Texas. They can pursue work with a government agency or a non-profit. Some dive into forensic accounting while others become management consultants. Since accounting is so fundamental to business, the degree is always highly valued by employers.

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