Accounting can be an interesting and financially rewarding profession. The rules governing how to become an accountant vary from state to state. Many people study accounting and then go on to work as a bookkeeper, or work in business administration or a related profession. Those who want to work as a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) must complete the required education and pass the CPA exam for their state.
Nevada requires accountants to complete a bachelor’s degree program and also have some state-specific training before they can take the license exam and call themselves a CPA. This is because there are many state-specific financial regulations to take into account.
The requirements for CPA licensure in Nevada include:
- 150-semester units of post-secondary education at an accredited institution
- Two years of relevant work experience
- Passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination
- Passing the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam
Once someone has earned their license in one state, they’re subject to the interstate licensing requirements. Would-be accountants should review these requirements regularly and make sure they understand how laws can differ across the country when it comes to practicing as an accountant.
Students who are planning to earn their license in Nevada should be aware that the requirements to become a CPA in the state are higher than average. The Nevada State Board of Public Accountancy sets the requirements for becoming an accountant, and these requirements are rigorous. Unlike most other states, students must have a Bachelor’s degree that includes at least 30 semester hours (or an equivalent number of quarter hours) above introductory level in accounting.
A student who is studying a business course and wishes to transition into accounting would need to take 24 semester hours of accounting. Principles and introductory courses do not count towards the required 48 total hours across the course. The experience requirements for CPAs in Nevada are also above average. The national minimum licensure standard is one year of related work experience, but in Nevada, students are expected to have two years of full-time work experience in public accounting or four years of experience in internal audits or governmental accounting.
As with other regulated professions, an accountant’s education does not end with the degree program. All CPAs are required to engage in Continuing Professional Education (CPE) on a yearly basis, reporting 80 hours of CPE every two years, of which a minimum of 20 hours completed per year. CPAs must also complete four hours of CPE in accounting professional conduct and ethics per year.
Choosing to study an accounting program at university can be the start of a lucrative and incredibly interesting career. Those who studied some other business-related subject at university may have the option of transitioning into accounting through an online program or even enrolling in a master’s degree in accounting. There are many universities and colleges in Nevada that offer the subject, and graduates have several employment options.
Deloitte has an office in Las Vegas, and there are Ernst & Young offices in both Reno and Las Vegas. CPAs also have the opportunity of working for other employers as in-house accountants or even working on a freelance basis.
Requirements for accountants in Nevada
To become an accountant in Nevada you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. The most common option for would-be accountants is to major in accounting. To be eligible for the CPA exam, you’ll need to complete a degree program with 150 credit hours. Not all bachelor’s degrees include 150 hours, so it’s important to confirm that the degree you’re considering leads to CPA eligibility.
What prerequisites do you need in order to apply for an accounting program in Nevada?
Admission requirements for accounting programs can vary depending on the university offering the degree. As an example, the admission requirements for the undergraduate programs offered at the Department of Accounting in the University of Las Vegas, Nevada are:
- GPA of 2.75 or better
- Earned, or be enrolled in, 55 credits
- A 2.0 GPA (C grade) or better in the nine pre-major requirements
The pre-major requirements are:
- Accounting 101
- Accounting 102
- Economics 101
- Economics 102
- Economics 103
- Communications 101
- English 102
- Computer proficiency
- Mathematics (a selection of qualifying foundational math courses)
Students who lack the pre-requisite courses may be able to go back to college to complete them separately before applying for the course. Some institutions are willing to consider students who are slightly below the GPA requirement on a progression-based admission option, which means as long as they’re able to keep their grades high, they’ll be allowed to enroll in the course.
This means it’s worth checking with the institution even if you don’t think you’ll quite meet the requirements. A good transcript and some extra-curricular activities may be enough to help a student secure a place in an accounting program.
Studying to become an accountant can be expensive, but financial aid is available for many students, and you may be able to reduce the cost of your studies if you enroll in an online college. There are online programs available at the undergraduate degree level, and distance learning is particularly popular for post-graduates as online MBA programs become more popular with employers.
What do accounting programs look like in Nevada, and how do they compare to the rest of the United States?
Accounting programs in Nevada are more intensive and rigorous than those in other parts of the United States, due to the higher licensing requirements. There are three main state schools that are popular with accounting students: The College of Southern Nevada, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and the University of Nevada Reno.
Students have the option of studying majors, or minors, in accounting. There are some institutions offering two-year degrees, but these will not lead to licensure. Four-year majors are intended to prepare students for the CPA exam and cover the foundations of accounting, state-specific issues, and interstate rules and regulations.
One thing that makes studying accounting in Nevada an appealing option is that education in the state typically costs less than in other states. The combination of high educational requirements and a relatively low cost to complete an accountancy program means students who graduate successfully will leave education with a head start compared to those who studied in other states. This is made even better by the financial support and bursaries that are available to in-state students.
What expectations will you have if you go into an accounting program in Nevada?
The course content of an accounting degree will vary depending on the level of the course and whether it’s a pure accounting program or a course that covers business administration and accounting. Courses that lead to taking the CPA exam are required to cover a certain amount of accounting-related topics.
Overall, the goal of the degree is to:
- Give students knowledge of the most important accounting principles
- Teach students how to apply critical and analytical skills when solving accounting issues
- Communicate with clients and financial experts
- Understand the legal and ethical issues associated with accounting
- Fulfill their legal responsibilities for their clients
- Understand the business environment both in Nevada, and outside
- Work in a team environment
- Use technology to improve how efficiently they do their jobs
- Research accounting-related issues
Some students who take a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting may opt to pursue a master’s in accounting to augment their skills. It’s common for undergraduate courses to include sciences, humanities, or fine arts as a part of the overall program, with students having the option to pick and choose which courses they enroll in those areas to help them get a broad and well-rounded education.
Once a student has taken the Nevada CPA examination and the ethics exam, they are licensed to practice in the state and may be able to operate in other states as well, as long as they comply with any other requirements in those states. This will most likely mean the accountant has to take the CPA again for the other state they’d like to practice in, however, any CPE requirements for other states may be waived under the CPE reciprocity program.
How to apply to an accounting program in Nevada
Applying to join an accounting program in Nevada is similar to applying for other degree programs. The first thing you’ll need to do is make a list of the universities that you’d like to study at. The most common choices for people who wish to study a bachelor’s degree in accounting in Nevada are:
There are several other institutions in the state, though, and depending on whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student, prices and study options may vary.
Most universities charge an application fee, so it’s best to make a shortlist of the institutions that interest you the most and make sure you meet their entrance requirements before applying. There are several things to take into account, including GPA requirements, tuition fees, and whether the degree is a major or a minor in accounting.
Another thing to consider is the mode of study. Accounting degrees are mostly theoretical, which means they can be studied remotely. Online accounting degrees are offered by some universities and may cost less than their on-campus counterparts. Some universities offer hybrid or blended learning, where students can complete most of their liberal arts and pre-major courses online, but come to campus to have some extra tuition time with the faculty, complete group projects, and have a more intensive education.
It’s worth considering this option because the level of study required for accounting programs in Nevada is high, and the additional support could be the thing that makes the difference between passing and failing the CPA exam.
If you’re planning on studying for a fully on-campus degree, take a look at the campus and the surrounding town or city. You’ll be living in this part of Nevada for the next four years, so it makes sense to make sure that you like it. Is the campus easy to get around? Will you have to live in accommodation provided by the university, or are there lots of living options in the surrounding area as well? How much does the accommodation cost?
Don’t underestimate the importance of the campus culture and the social options available to you as well. Some universities are very much “party campuses” while others are not. For some students, the party side of going to university is an important part of the experience, but not everyone enjoys that or is able to keep up with that sort of lifestyle while also maintaining a high standard of academic work.
You can get an idea of whether or not you’d like to attend a specific university by reading about that university on student-focused forums, looking at the social media profiles of the institution, and talking to current and former students. If you’re able to do so, travel over to the universities to attend their open days and meet some students who are enrolled in the course you’re interested in doing.
When you’re talking to current and former students, don’t just ask them if they’re happy on the course right now, ask them if there were any ways that the course was different from what they expected. Ask what the best thing about studying at that University is, and if there are any ways that they found the course more challenging than they thought it would be. Those more specific questions will give you a clearer idea of whether the university is for you.
Finally, if you want to take the CPA, make sure the program you want to enroll in is one that prepares you for that examination, and that the average pass rate for graduates of that program is good.
Where do you begin the application process for an accounting program in Nevada?
Once you have built a shortlist of universities that you’d like to apply to, and you’ve confirmed that your current (or projected) GPA is high enough to give you a chance of admission at that institution, you can start the application process.
There’s no single body that handles university and college admissions in Nevada. Would-be students should apply to the university they’d like to study with directly via their own admissions department. In some ways, this is a good thing because it means students have a chance to get in touch with the universities and perhaps “make a good impression”, increasing the chances that they’ll be expected.
However, it can present some challenges because it means each university has its own application procedures and deadlines. So, double-check the deadlines for each program you’re interested in.
You’ll usually have the option of completing your application online or by post. Completing the forms online is easier since you can spell check and edit the application before you submit it. In many cases, applying online is cheaper than applying by post, too, and it could mean you’ll get feedback on the progress of your application more quickly as well.
What do you need to apply to an accounting program in Nevada?
The exact application requirements vary between institutions, and will also vary depending on whether you’re applying as an in-state student or someone who lives elsewhere in the United States, or even internationally.
The level of study also makes a difference. A student who is enrolling on a Master’s degree may be asked to produce more evidence of their qualifications than someone who is applying for a B.A. in Business Administration and Accounting, for example.
Universities will usually want to see:
- A personal statement
- References from at least two current or former teachers
- Academic transcripts
Foreign students may be asked to provide results of an SAT/ACT test, and evidence that they are fluent in the English language.
Your personal statement should be written entirely by you, and tailored to the institution you’re applying to. Don’t re-use a general personal statement, because it will come across as vague. Most universities will provide some writing prompts for the statement, so take some time to write a fresh, individual statement in response to those prompts.
Your statement should include a mention of any extracurricular activities you do that are related to the course you’re applying to, as well as any voluntary work or extra classes you’ve been taking part in. If you’re struggling to think of any extracurricular work that’s applicable to accounting, think of transferrable skills. If you managed the student union shop or were a board member for a society, that shows that you’re interested in finance, have good organizational skills, and pay attention to detail.
What to expect when applying to an accounting program in Nevada
The application process for accounting degrees in Nevada is usually quite friction-free, especially if you’re a student who already lives in the United States.
You will have to pay a non-refundable application fee when you are ready to submit your application, and the fee is usually around $100. That’s one reason it’s a good idea to narrow down the list of universities you want to apply to. Only apply to a university if you really want to study there and you’re confident you have a good chance of getting accepted into the program.
Some universities have competitive admissions processes and may call you to arrange an interview. Others may simply write back to you with an offer of a place on the course. If you do get an offer, it may be conditional on you achieving certain grades on any courses you are still studying.
If you accept the place on the course, you’ll have to pay an enrollment fee. There may also be other fees for accommodation, cards to use to access campus facilities, student union memberships, or other services. You’ll also have to pay for the modules you study.
Some universities charge per semester or year, others charge per credit hour, so when you’re comparing the costs of different courses, try to take this into account. You won’t have to pay for the entire course up-front, but you should expect there to be some fees to pay before your course has begun.
Earning a degree in any subject is expensive, and while fees in Nevada are usually lower than the average for the United States, starting an accounting program is still a significant commitment. If you live in Nevada you may wish to apply for the Millennium Scholarship Program. This is a merit-based scholarship that offers up to $10,000 to help eligible students fund their studies.
If you aren’t able to receive funding under the Millennium Scholarship program, you may be able to find other support. For example, the AICPA issues hundreds of scholarships to students in the United States every year. Another option is to complete the FAFSA. Students who are eligible for support under this federal program can access student loans that are offered at a much lower interest rate than they would get from other sources.
The prospect of leaving university with a lot of college debts can be intimidating, but the average salary for an accountant or auditor is $73,560 per year. This is compared to a national average salary across all occupations of $41,950. If you are passionate about accounting and plan to stay in the profession for several years, your education will pay for itself many times over. So, consider your student loans as one of the best investments you could make in yourself in the long term.
Skilled accountants are very much in demand, and if you decide you’d like to improve your qualifications you’ll have the chance to do so. Some employers will even support accountants who want to study for a master’s degree or an MBA part-time, in return for them signing a contract to stay with the firm for a set number of years.
What do most colleges and universities look for when accepting students into their accounting programs in Nevada?
When universities in Nevada assess applicants, they’re looking at far more than just the GPA on the academic transcript. Your personal statement is your chance to stand out and show that you’re the kind of student that they want to have at the university.
Universities live and die by their reputations. Think about the metrics you used to assess which universities you wanted to apply to. You probably looked at the graduation rate, what percentage of students passed the CPA exam first try, and potentially how many former students were able to find accounting jobs upon graduation.
The university knows that these metrics matter, and therefore they look for students who are going to contribute positively to those measures in the future. They don’t want to admit students who will fail the CPA. Nor do they want a student who will most likely drop out of the course in the first couple of years.
Many universities take pride in their public image and want to make sure their students are respected members of the local community. This means they’ll look at the social media profiles of applicants. If your profile shows evidence of hate speech or questionable behavior, they may be reluctant to accept you as a student.
By the time the application period comes around, you probably can’t do much about your GPA. You do have control over what you put in your personal statement, though. Use this as a chance to truly sell yourself and who you are.
Resist the urge to copy someone else’s personal statement. Most universities use plagiarism checkers extensively, not just for coursework but for checking applications too. Write your personal statement honestly, taking the time to explain why you meet the entrance requirements, and why you want to be on the course.
The admissions officers will be looking at the statement to evaluate your written communication skills, and also determine whether you really do have a passion for the subject and a desire to study at that particular university. If you’re struggling to explain why you want to study an accounting program, think about why that is. You’ll be expected to write essays and complete coursework on accounting for the next four years, so if a short essay today is a challenge, is accounting really the right subject for you?
If you choose to apply for a highly competitive program, you may have to pass a face-to-face interview. At this stage in the application process, the university will be looking to see how well you present yourself. Are you polite and confident? Do you come across as having a sincere interest in the subject? Are you able to talk fluently about the things you put in your personal statement?
The possibility of a face-to-face interview is one reason why you should make sure your personal statement is truthful, and that it was written by you. If you lie, or if someone else wrote your statement for you, it might be difficult for you to answer questions about it in an interview. It’s hard to fake passion, so make sure the things you talk about in your statement are things you really enjoyed.