What are CPA Career Paths

It’s a career that has been around forever and remains one of the most stable as well as good-paying jobs you can enter: becoming a certified public accountant.

Having a career in the accounting industry as a CPA is highly valuable, as the designation offers numerous career opportunities and advancements for private as well as public accountants.


Additionally, the certification demonstrates to prospective employers that you possess the necessary qualifications for the position and possess the determination to accomplish challenging objectives.

CPAs are the financial wizards who help companies, individuals, and organizations decode the mysteries of financial data. Job responsibilities could include:

However, CPAs possess a broader range of skills compared to standard accountants, as they are authorized to provide specialized taxation and auditing services.

Selecting the Most Suitable CPA Career Path

If you’re considering this career, know that the CPA license is widely recognized as the benchmark in accounting. Obtaining this credential will not only enhance your professional opportunities across various sectors, but it will also provide significant advantages such as increased salary, job stability, and opportunities for career advancement.

Accountants with a Bachelor’s degree can earn an average annual salary of more than $70,000, and CPAs generally earn around $119,000 per year. Unlock a world of possibilities by pursuing a career as a CPA, the ultimate goal for aspiring accountants. Discover the perfect CPA career path tailored just for you by weighing these game-changing factors below.

Public CPA vs. Private Sector CPA

Private sector accountants, also known as private accountants, can enhance their professional value and open up opportunities by obtaining a CPA license, which may potentially result in higher salaries. Private companies in accounting or private accounting practices often provide consistent working hours and a traditional office setting.

Obtaining a CPA license may result in increased salaries in the public sector. Public accountants work at public accounting firms with various clients in a dynamic environment, acquiring skills that extend beyond the private sector. Public accounting has benefits like feedback, autonomy, and career opportunities, but public accountants have more travel and longer hours than private accountants.

Start by enrolling in a review course to increase your chances of passing the CPA exam. Taking a CPA review course is considered important for preparing for the CPA Exam, as it helps students study effectively, stay updated with the latest exam information, and feel confident during the exam.

There are also early-career resources available to those pursuing a CPA career path, such as the Young CPA Network, which provides professional development opportunities, awards, and mentorship for those interested in working in public accounting. Individuals of various qualifications, including students, CPA candidates, and newly licensed CPAs, have the opportunity to join these organizations.

CPA Career Opportunities

accountant career

Working as a CPA for a large accounting firm offers the opportunity for accelerated career growth for top performers. However, it is important to note that these roles typically involve longer hours, higher pressure, and intense competition. If you excel in those situations, having one of the Big Four accounting firms listed on your resume could potentially lead to a senior position or a specialized role at a smaller company.

Many CPAs aim to work for the Big 4, the largest global professional services firms: Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG are top auditing firms that serve many Fortune 100 companies and hold a dominant position in the industry.

Smaller regional accounting firms provide a unique and valuable experience for aspiring CPAs, offering a more relaxed atmosphere and the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge in the field without intense competition. CPAs at this level may have a more favorable work-life balance and fewer demanding hours compared to those at Big 4 firms, although they may not have as high of a salary.

Working at a small local firm may offer a balanced lifestyle, but advancing in your career may be slower. Employers might not immediately see your worth when comparing you to candidates with Big Four experience, even if you possess the exact skills they seek.


International Accounting

Accounting knowledge is the key that unlocks success for businesses and organizations, opening doors to financial prosperity and growth

Why not Unlock your potential as a CPA and dive into a world of endless opportunities?

Explore the exciting realm of international accounting, where your specialized knowledge and personal interests can take you to new heights. Become a master of accounting standards in specific regions and open doors to a world of possibilities.

Environmental Accounting

A career as an environmental accountant allows individuals to investigate environmentally friendly business practices and offers varying pay and lifestyle options depending on the industry. The opportunities are vast for those who are passionate about preserving our living world.


CPAs can unlock their potential as inspiring educators, shaping the minds of future accounting professionals and revolutionizing the field of finance in prestigious educational institutions. Calling all CPAs with a passion for teaching and inspiring future generations! Join the world of academia and embark on a fulfilling career as a professor at a two-year college. Not only will you have the opportunity to witness your students’ triumphs, but you’ll also have the chance to teach an exciting array of accounting courses, from financial accounting to auditing and ethics. It’s a modest income, yes, but the impact you’ll make is immeasurable. Become a catalyst for success and make a difference in the lives of aspiring accountants.

Embark on the challenging and prestigious journey of academia, where only the brightest minds gain admission to the realm of Ph.D. pursuits. The journey to professorship begins with a program where assistant professors can unleash their potential through groundbreaking research and inspiring teaching. Once they have conquered this academic feat, they unlock the coveted tenure status, propelling them to the prestigious rank of associate professors.

Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations need accountants for regulations and taxes. Government grants are the lifeline for non-profit organizations, and accountants are the superheroes who ensure financial order and accuracy following the specific financial requirements of these grants. Let’s not forget, national non-profit organizations may have smaller administrative budgets, but they still handle millions of dollars each year!

Government Agencies

Accounting and CPA professionals are the unsung heroes who work their magic behind the scenes, helping the government navigate the treacherous waters of financial management. Unlock your potential with a rewarding career in government! Whether you’re a recent CPA graduate or a seasoned professional, we have exciting opportunities waiting for you. Join prestigious institutions like the Department of Defense, the Internal Revenue Service, and the General Accounting Office and enjoy competitive salaries and endless room for growth. Don’t miss out on this chance to make a difference and excel in your career!

CPAs working in federal agencies are responsible for conducting financial statement audits, conducting research on financial management issues, investigating white-collar crimes, and providing testimony to legislative committees when necessary.

CPAs are commonly employed in state and local government positions to carry out comparable responsibilities, although the scope of their jurisdiction may differ. Their primary duties involve supervising community-based institutions such as schools, prisons, and other local organizations. A government CPA is responsible for analyzing school spending and ensuring program compliance.

Internal Auditing

Internal auditing entails examining and documenting a company’s operations and financial records. Furthermore, the role of an internal auditor entails duties such as overseeing risk management, implementing control processes, and handling financial data management. Financial analysis is a field that involves analyzing financial data to support business growth.

The responsibilities of this role include data analysis, report generation, and providing support to company executives in making financial decisions based on reliable information.

Additional CPA Job Options

A CPA career path offers a wide range of opportunities and experiences such as these more unique jobs:

A career in forensic accounting as a forensic accountant with the FBI involves solving mysteries, investigating fraud, and preparing reports for court.

A corporate entertainment accountant manages production expenses for movies and TV shows in a production company or studio.

Accountants in the sports industry have the incredible opportunity to work with sports teams, broadcasting companies, and even famous athletes! They get to flex their financial muscles by managing budgets, handling expenses for sports celebrities, and making sure that everyone gets paid. And for those who want to be part of the action while staying behind the scenes, they can also consider joining a sports equipment manufacturing company. So, if you love sports and numbers, this is the perfect career for you!

CPAs often prefer working as consultants from home, setting their hours, and performing tasks tailored to the needs of clients but if you have a passion for travel, pursuing a career as an international accountant may be a suitable CPA career choice for you. You need to know the accounting standards for different countries, including IFRS.

CPA Career Outlook

CPAs have a positive career outlook due to increasing demand and their respected authority. Having a CPA increases job prospects and opens up more opportunities. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, certified public accountants typically earn 25% more than accountants who are not certified.

The expectations of work-life balance in the CPA profession have changed, with younger generations valuing a flexible work schedule and greater autonomy, rather than accountants working round the clock for a promotion. Studies have shown that these attributes can enhance their performance. While exploring your CPA career options, it may be beneficial to consider companies that provide these benefits to attract top talent.

More junior employees are having more frequent meetings with their superiors, as they value one-on-one feedback and seek mentorship from their employers for career guidance.

Professional Growth Opportunities

The younger generation today is motivated by their strong desire for personal and professional growth, prioritizing it over monetary gain. Companies are unleashing a tidal wave of innovation and progress, supercharging their employees’ careers like never before! They go above and beyond by offering mentoring programs and dedicating budgets for fresh talent to absorb knowledge at conferences and industry events. As the job market is inundated with ambitious graduates, the spotlight illuminates their potential for skyrocketing career growth and infinite opportunities for unparalleled success.

CPAs are in high demand by finance enthusiasts and number crunchers. Accounting and finance careers are in high demand, with a projected 6% employment growth by 2028. Unemployment rates in this field are below the national average. Why? There aren’t enough qualified candidates to meet the demand. If you’re skilled, get ready for success!

Now is the time to either get a degree in accounting, or CPA certification, or if you already have these start looking for an accounting career as a senior manager, senior analyst, or part of a private or public accounting team.

You don’t have to wait for tax season to start your career in accounting be it as a corporate accountant or government accountant and start your career in financial advising.

Do you have questions about anything workplace-related? Looking to recruit an accountant, CPA, or the like? Thinking of changing careers? Explore the capabilities of Search Masters to find your ideal candidate or utilize our online resources and tools to assist in discovering your dream career.

If you’re experiencing difficulty with recruiting, consider reaching out to Search Masters for aid. Our team of experts is equipped to assist you in finding the best candidates for your company or securing the top employment opportunities available.

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