For professionals searching for a career path that has the proven stability to outlast recessions, market fluctuations, and the challenges of military travel, a career as a CPA can provide a surprisingly wide variety of opportunities. We're not talking about the proverbial number crunching, mind-numbing and dreary accounting job either – we’re talking about some really interesting careers such as forensic accounting, internal auditing, investment planning, and financial analysis.
As a supportive partner to a military professional, you undoubtedly already know about paying attention to details, documentation, thinking analytically to solve a problem, and applying an effective logical method in order to get things done. These are all skills that come into play in the accounting field.
No matter where military travel might take you, CPA skills, education, and experience will travel with you. This can greatly reduce the chances of lost income or lack of employment when relocation is required. While relocation may be challenging and tough on everyone involved, participating in a career that travels well and translates into a job across a variety of industries can surely be a benefit.
Education, Networking, and Long-term Potential
To enter the field of accounting, you won’t need to have completed all the courses needed to become a CPA. Professionals can start off by working in various accounting roles while continuing their education online to fulfill the educational requirements to sit for the CPA exam. According to the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA) the requirements to become a CPA in most states include 150 credit hours in related courses at an accredited college or university. Many of the courses you will need in order to be eligible to sit for the exam will count towards a master’s degree.
The AICPA website offers special information for students, as well as those already in the field. It is a great resource to find out more about the CPA profession and to build a networking strategy. For those professionals interested in the international applications of becoming a CPA, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s (NASBA) website, http://www.nasba.org/international/international-exam, provides information on a variety of international topics which are continually being updated.
In August 2011, for instance, it became possible to take the CPA exam in a variety of international locations, which is great news for military spouses living overseas and wishing to advance their accounting career while traveling outside the United States. NASBA has prepared a helpful video for anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a CPA. You can view the video by clicking on the link here: http://www.nasba.org/licensure/gettingacpalicense/howtogetlicensed.
A Field with Prestige, Power, and Flexibility
The academic requirements, as well as the additional rigorous training needed to pass the CPA exam and gain full licensure in a state intrinsically gives the field a high level of prestige. As a military spouse, you also bring important skills to the job that may lead to a competitive advantage. Many employers know how military spouses must be detail-oriented, dependable, articulate, and organized in order to effectively manage the challenges inherent to life with a military spouse. These same skills can be used as an asset in a job search during or prior to relocation.
In addition, strong communication skills and networking know-how go hand in hand with a military lifestyle. Using the benefits of a professional association to leverage increased contacts and professional opportunities may come more naturally to you than you think. Many reputable online programs exist to provide the education needed to build your CPA career. While moving around may continue to be a challenge to your career, choosing the respected, ubiquitous career path of a CPA can help build a more steady professional future no matter what city appears on your spouse’s next set of deployment papers.