How to Complete CPA Exam Requirements Online

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A career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can be both financially lucrative and professionally fulfilling. In fact, U.S. News and World Report recently ranked CPA sixteenth in a profile of the “100 Best Jobs.” With high marks for personal satisfaction, job security and future growth, as well as average salary of $73,800, it should come as no surprise that a career as a CPA is appealing to many people.

With the growth of online education in recent years, there has been increased interest in meeting CPA exam requirements through the pursuit of an online accounting degree or certificate. Depending on whether you have obtained a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, you have different options for pursuing education online that will prepare you for the CPA exam.

While myths persist in some circles that a master’s degree in accounting or finance is necessary to become a CPA, the truth is that nearly all states require one of two academic paths, and both require only a bachelor’s degree, a goal that, increasingly, can be attained through online accounting degree programs.

Essentially, becoming a CPA, whether by traditional or online academic paths, crystallizes to what some refer to as the “three E’s.” The first “E” is, of course, education. The second is “examination.” And the third is “experience.”

The education aspect of becoming a CPA involves choosing between two approaches. A regionally accredited bachelor’s degree in accounting that includes 150 semester credits is the most direct educational route. In Oregon, for the 150 semester credits, 24 of those must be in business-related subjects such as business administration, law, economics, finance communication, and 24 of the semester credits must be in accounting. These are common requirements, but each student should check with their State Board of Accountancy. Students can choose to complete their bachelor’s degree through an online accounting degree program or through traditional in-class learning.

For those who have not earned a bachelor’s degree, there are numerous colleges and universities that offer accounting degrees online. As is the case in face-to-face learning, educators who teach online courses have great latitude in designing courses that are uniquely their own, customizing the approach to fit the material and employing new technologies—such as blogs, chat rooms, discussion boards, websites, streaming video, or podcasts—to engage and inspire their students.

However, since many bachelor’s degrees in accounting are conferred before the completion of 150 semester credits, supplemental coursework is often necessary. For students short of 150 semester units, or for those students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in an area of study outside of accounting, supplemental coursework requirements can be met through the completion of a regionally accredited post baccalaureate accounting certificate. Though some choose to pursue their certificate in a traditional in-class setting, many students today are opting to earn their accounting certificate online.

When deciding whether to pursue an online accounting degree or certificate to prepare for the Uniform CPA Exam, it’s important to consider whether you have the capacity to be a successful online and self-directed learner. Online learning is a little different than classroom learning. You must organize and structure your time. You are the seeker of information. Participation is not optional. The advantages of taking classes online are the flexibility and ease of access.

Once the education requirements have been met, the pursuit of an online accounting degree or certification continues with the second “E,” the examination phase. The CPA exam, or Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, is required by all state boards of accountancy in the United States. The Uniform CPA Exam consists of four distinct sections:

  1. Auditing and Attestation
  2. Financial Accounting and Reporting
  3. Regulations
  4. Business Environment and Concepts

The sections can be completed separately, but all four must be completed within an 18-month time frame. Despite the prevalence of online accounting degree programs, there is currently no online-based Uniform CPA Exam; the exam must be taken only at approved testing facilities.

Prior to taking the exam, it can be tremendously helpful to review the CPA exam site, which includes CPA exam requirements, tutorials, and sample tests that can be taken online, as well as visiting your state board of accountancy for a full list of state-specific requirements to sit for the CPA exam.

After the completion of the required education and examination, prospective CPAs are left but with one step to certification, the third “E” of experience. In order to become a CPA in most U.S. states and jurisdictions, one must meet strict experience-based requirements that vary by state but can include all of the following:

  1. Working under the supervision of a CPA in good standing who has been licensed to practice, in any state, for a period of five years or more.
  2. Creating a portfolio that demonstrates experience and proficiency in fundamental areas of competency.
  3. Passing an Ethics examination that establishes an understanding of the Code of Professional Conduct expected in the accounting field.

After completing the “three E’s,” prospective CPAs are eligible to apply for an accounting license, a process overseen at the state level by each state’s board of accountancy. For more detailed information from each jurisdiction and/or state, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy can be an invaluable resource.

Whether you choose to pursue an online accounting degree or prefer a traditional in-class format, becoming a CPA can be a great start toward a rewarding career.

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RN to BSN in High Demand – Nurses Transforming the Healthcare System

 For Registered Nurses (RNs) who may be thinking about going back to school for their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), now is the perfect time. The growing need for nurse leaders in the changing world of health care, as well as the increasing availability of flexible BSN programs, have created a perfect storm of opportunity.

With the passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the country took steps to transform our health care system, and nurses serve a fundamental role in this transformation. The groundwork for this change was established in 2008, when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) launched an initiative that would assess and re-envision the nursing profession. A RWJF committee on the Future of Nursing put forth an action-oriented blueprint for the profession and made the following recommendations:

  • Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training;
  • Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression;
  • Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health care professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States;
  • Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure (IOM, 2010).

Nursing education programs, like the Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing, have responded to this initiative by promoting seamless academic progression through the development of high-quality BSN completion programs and articulation agreements with Associate Degree programs at community colleges.

RNs have responded to these initiatives, as well. In the United States, the number of nurses who have enrolled in RN to BSN programs has jumped from 77,259 in 2010 to 130,345 in 2014, which is a 69% increase (AACN, 2015). In Oregon, the numbers of ADN and BSN graduates is growing. According to the Oregon Center for Nursing (2015):

  • 39,454 Registered Nurses working in Oregon
  • 47% have earned an Associate Degree in Nursing
  • 43% have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
  • 4% have earned a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in Nursing

However, even at the rate that nurses are being educated, there is evidence that the supply of RNs will still decrease in coming years due to high numbers of nurses planning to retire.

In 2010, the IOM recommended that 80% of RNs attain a BSN or higher by 2020, believing that a BSN will “introduce students to a wider range of competencies in such arenas as health policy and health care financing, community and public health, leadership, quality improvement, and systems thinking.”

In an effort to advance education for nurses, two faculty members in the RN to BSN program at Linfield College, Paul Smith and Melissa Jones, have joined the Education Work Group of the Oregon Action Coalition. This work group is charged with promoting BSN and higher levels of education for nurses in Oregon – a mission that both Linfield professors support.

“I began my nursing career as an associate degree nurse and went back to school in order to obtain my BSN. As a former associate degree nurse educator, I understand and value the knowledge that the students bring with them to the RN to BSN program,” said Professor Smith.

“As a faculty member in Linfield’s RN to BSN program, I view my role as not only a facilitator of education, but also a supporter of students as they transition not only in their professional role, but also in their transition to online education. I am always amazed at the growth that occurs with students once they enter the program and I am excited and rejuvenated when a student begins to entertain the thought of continuing his or her education in order to achieve an advanced degree.”

As the demand for baccalaureate-prepared Registered Nurses continues to grow in Oregon and across the county, there is no better time to start working toward the next step in your career.

Contact Linfield today to find out how you can start advancing your nursing education immediately. Linfield RN to BSN students benefit from an innovative, community-based curriculum, academic and faculty advising, financial aid assistance, and the flexibility of asynchronous online classroom attendance. Students know they are earning a high quality degree that is valuable and respected industry-wide.

Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing provides an accredited online RN to BSN program. Linfield College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NCCU). The School of Nursing is accredited by the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the nation’s leading accrediting agency for baccalaureate and graduate level nursing programs.

Find more quick facts about Nursing in Oregon:

Nursing Education in Oregon

“I am an Oregon Nurse” – Oregon Center for Nursing

Sources:

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2015). New AACN Data Confirm Enrollment Surge in Schools of Nursing. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/news/articles/2015/enrollment

Institute of Medicine. (2010). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academic Press.

 

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Learning through Collaboration, Sharing, and Faculty Support – Linfield’s RN to BSN Students

By Melissa Jones, PhD, RN, CHPN, COI
Associate Professor of Nursing
Coordinator of Online Programs in Nursing

The Linfield RN to BSN degree is an online program that is designed for nurses who want advance their career through higher education and obtain a baccalaureate degree, but are also juggling work, family and personal responsibilities. To ensure that students can be successful and maximize their learning through collaboration and sharing, faculty have designed a curriculum that is flexible, asynchronous, and requires that students work closely with groups of their nursing colleagues to develop and expand their professional practice.

In the online classroom, students and faculty discuss current healthcare issues and the most recent scientific literature to strategize solutions that will improve the health of individuals, communities, and populations. They discuss components of healthy work environments, develop their skills in professional communication, and make recommendations for ways that nurses can influence quality patient care outcomes, staff satisfaction, and the function of health care systems. Based on a strong commitment to a community-based curriculum and an education that is grounded in the liberal arts, the RN to BSN program is designed to develop the nurse’s skills in advocacy, critical thinking, leadership, and reflective practice. Curricular concepts include community health promotion, culture and diversity, evidence-based practice, and global health disparities.

One of the key features of the Linfield RN to BSN program and an important component of student success includes faculty support. The RN to BSN faculty are passionate about teaching nurses who are already licensed, practicing, and wish to transition to the next level in their career.

Dr. Henny Breen has identified the following key areas of support:

“I teach practicing nurses who have completed their diploma or associate degree in nursing. I have had nurses in their early twenties who have recently completed their associate degree to nurses in their early sixties who completed their initial nursing education up to forty years ago. They each have varied years of experience in nursing and have been in very diverse roles throughout their nursing career. This makes for a rich online learning community.

It is my desire to support nurses in advancing their learning in order to prepare them for the complexity of today’s health care environment. It is important to build on the experience and knowledge they have coming into the program while keeping in mind they have multiple responsibilities as adult learners. This could be the new graduate starting his or her first nursing job, which is a very stressful time, to a student who has full time work commitments and a family. Conflicting demands on time are understood and I make every effort to work with students to help them be successful in meeting their goal of earning a BSN.

Different students have different needs to be successful -for example, some need more help with navigating the online learning environment, others need help with time management, and others need more help in developing writing or critical thinking skills.  Regardless, it is my goal to build on where they are when they enter the program in the subject areas I teach using the different experiences of the students to help build a rich virtual learning community.”

Faculty members work closely with students and their academic advisor to support their success throughout the program. They also look forward to celebrating their successes along the way and encouraging students to even look beyond the BSN. Many of our graduates are attending prestigious graduate programs throughout the country. It is our goal to support the current and future goals of our students through close mentoring and supportive advising relationships.

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Posted in adult degrees, Careers, Degree Program, online degrees, online education, rn bsn degree | Leave a comment