Certified public accountants enjoy the prestige afforded to members of an elite professional group. Obtaining your Delaware CPA licensure also might help you to stand out to potential business employers that respect people who are able to obtain the CPA license as compared to other accountants. There is also a demand for CPAs, allowing you to enjoy good job security.
The process to become a certified public accountant, with a legal permit to practice in Delaware will require you to complete five main steps. You will first need to complete the required education and pass the required Uniform CPA exam. Before you will be able to obtain your license, you will also need to satisfy the state's policy of work experience requirements as an accountant. Then, you will need to complete the Delaware CPA requirements for licensure in order to secure it. After you have obtained your license from the Delaware State Board of Accountancy to practice as a certified public accountant, you will need to complete your ongoing continuing professional education units to maintain your licensure. Delaware's requirements for CPAs may seem stringent, but they are on par with other states, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA.)
Delaware's education requirements to become a CPA
The state's first requirement for a permit to practice forces people to complete a minimum of 150 semester hours that includes a Bachelor of Science in Accounting or higher before they can gain licensure as a Delaware CPA. Your studies should include a concentration or major in accounting or an equivalent field of study as determined by the Delaware State Board of Accountancy. Along the way, you'll want to take general business courses as well as a business ethics course. If you haven't yet enrolled, ask for info from colleges and universities in Delaware that offer degree programs in accounting.
If you are already attending college, you should verify that the program in which you are enrolled is one that is accredited by one of the accrediting bodies that are approved by the Delaware state Board. To become a Delaware CPA, you may want to start on the education requirements by getting a two year diploma with an associate in accounting emphasis. Students find that this can give you access to a job in accounting with a firm or office. You won't move into management, but it will give you work experience in accounting service and be a learning experience while giving you additional funds to continue to a bachelor's degree. Delaware requires accounting programs to be accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. However, if you are taking online classes from an out-of-state school, it should be accredited by one of the following:
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
If the program that you are currently attending is not accredited by one of these bodies, you should contact the Board to have your program evaluated so that you can determine your eligibility to sit for Delaware's Uniform CPA Examination. The state board may have a list of acceptable programs on their website.
You will next need to make certain that you sign up for the right courses. Your studies must include a minimum of 24 credit hours in accounting classes that includes content in auditing, financial accounting, reporting, and federal tax courses. Online classes that are taken through a college or university in the U.S. that is regionally accredited are accepted, but CLEP examinations, correspondence classes, and commercial CPA review courses are not. Note that your hours in accounting should be above the introductory level. Generally, boards of accountancy look for hours in accounting at the 200 level or above, though it will be helpful to consult your academic adviser if you wish to become a CPA in Delaware.
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Campus and Online Degree Options in Delaware
Accounting associate degrees provide individuals with opportunities in various entry-level positions, such as accounting assistants, payroll clerks, and bookkeepers. Many individuals will continue their education with a bachelor’s while they work, after earning an associate degree. In fact, to become a fully licensed Delaware CPA with a permit to practice, accountants must complete 150 semester hours of university (college) credit, which is beyond even a standards bachelor's degree. Students should keep in mind that the Uniform CPA exam is one of the most difficult professional exams in the nation. To help get a head start, students can join the American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA.) Students can network with peers and accounting mentors to discuss their education requirements.
The minimum education required to sit for the CPA exam is a bachelor’s degree and 150 semester hours of college or university. Many accounting programs today allow students to complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five or fewer years. Be sure to satisfy the Board's education requirements for college credit hours in accounting. When you finally become a CPA in Delaware all of this hard work pays off.
Master’s degrees in accounting are essential for managerial and executive positions, such as controllers and CFOs. You could also choose to complete a dual degree during undergrad to finish both degrees at the same time more quickly. As far as the Board is concerned, a Master's degree with an accounting focus should more than satisfy their education requirements.
Doctorate or PhD
Those with a PhD or doctorate degree in accounting will often be the most ideal candidate for any executive accounting position, as well as it being required to become a professor or researcher in accounting. Keep in mind that even academic accountants need to pass the Uniform CPA exam, but they needn't maintain a CPA license unless they wish to practice accounting for special clients. A CPA certificate is adequate to prove passage of the Uniform CPA Examination.
Online Degree Programs
Delaware colleges and universities are beginning to offer online accounting degrees at a higher rate so that students can more easily access these prestigious programs for a better future. These accounting degree programs often have national accreditation and will qualify graduates to earn a legal permit to practice. With hard work, an online accounting degree can prepare anyone for the CPA exam.
Before you will be allowed to sit for the Delaware Uniform CPA Examination, you will first need to have completed your bachelor's degree with a minimum of 120 semester hours, including the 24 hours of required accounting coursework.
Once you have completed the required minimum education, you can apply to take the Uniform CPA exam through the CPA examination services division of the National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy. This is also a terrific time to enroll in CPA review courses and find a CPA exam study group.
After you have downloaded the application and registered with CPAES, you will need to make certain that you gather the required documents that must be submitted along with every candidate's application. Your undergraduate or graduate school must mail your transcripts to CPAES directly rather than giving them to you to submit. You will also need to submit an attestation form that is notarized and that you have signed. If you require accommodations because of a disability, you will need to submit an Americans with Disabilities Act accommodation form with your other documents. If you submit your application online, you will need to pay for each required fee with your credit card. If you instead choose to submit a paper application, you can pay for the fees with your credit card by filling out a form, or you can send a money order or check for the full amount with your application and other documents. If you still have questions, you can contact the state board by email.
Once your payment and application have been received, you will be sent a notice to schedule by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA.) Your notice to schedule your exam will provide you with a password that you will use to access the four exam sections and will tell you the dates on which you are able to take each part. You will then need to schedule to take the Uniform CPA Exam at a building registered as one of the participating testing centers in Delaware.
Make sure to be on site at the testing center when your scheduled testing date arrives. When you have completed your exam, it will be scored and CPAES will submit your scores to the Delaware Board of Accountancy. You will then receive your scores via mail from the Board to find out if you pass and what your score was.
Experience needed to gain licensure in Delaware
Delaware has some practical experience requirements before you will be able to apply for a Delaware state cpa license. Before you begin the process of working on your experience component, you will first need to take and finish the mandated American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) ethics course. The AICPA ethics course is a self-study class. However, the course isn't free, it costs around $190 in total. When you finish it, you will be given a printable certificate. You will then mail the report out and with your application for your permit and to practice to the Delaware Board of Accountancy.
You must complete at least a one year period of full-time work as an accountant. The board of accountancy requires you to work under the supervision of a CPA before you will be eligible for your license. You must earn your practical experience by working in private industry, for the government, in academia, or in public practice. The CPA who verifies your work on a form they must complete and sign. For your experience to count, you must complete it in a window 10 years prior to your application, and your supervising CPA must have a valid CPA license. Required experience includes duties in auditing, taxation, dealing with accounting law, understanding terms, working in an advisory capacity, accounting technology, and more.
After you have completed your educational requirements, passed your Uniform CPA Exam, the AICPA ethics exam, and concluded your required supervised experience, you will be ready to obtain your licensure. In Delaware, all CPAs must first obtain a certificate and then a permit to practice.
If you have a license from another state or an international certificate, you will need to prove that you have met the requirements of Delaware before you can get your license in the state. You will also need to submit the following to the Delaware Board of Accountancy:
- A statement from your current state's accountancy board that you are not currently the subject of a disciplinary proceeding;
- A sworn declaration that you have not engaged in any activities that would subject you to disciplinary action; and
- Your active CPA license that is in good standing.
In addition, you will need to have at least five years of work experience as a certified public accountant. You may also be able to gain licensure with fewer than five years of experience if you can prove that you met all of Delaware's requirements at the time your license was issued or that you meet Delaware's current requirements for licensure in the state.
Continuing education requirements for CPAs in Delaware and in general
All states and U.S. territories require that CPAs complete a certain number of continuing professional education units in order to maintain their licenses. In Delaware, you must complete a specified number of continuing education units biannually. The courses that you complete must be programs that have been approved by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and must directly contribute to your competence as a CPA in Delaware.
In Delaware, you are required to complete at least 80 continuing professional education units every two years. The hours that you complete must include the following types of continuing education classes:
- At least eight hours in auditing or accounting
- At least eight hours in taxation
- At least four hours in professional ethics that are specific to Delaware
- At least 20 more hours in audit, accounting or taxation
Every continuing professional education (CPE) class that you complete must be taught by a qualified instructor and must be a minimum of 50 minutes long. Internet seminars or webinars will only count if you are able to engage in live interaction and if they provide you with a certificate upon their completion. If you opt to take individual study or correspondence courses, the Board of Accountancy will determine how much credit will be allocated for your completion of them. If you publish articles or books, you can count them for up to 50 minutes each for a maximum of 20 CPE hours of your biannual requirements. You might even receive CPE credit for teaching CPA review courses and even a professional ethics course.
You are required to keep proof of your required continuing professional education (CPE) hours for five years. Your documentation must include information about the location, time, date, name of the course, name of the instructor, number of hours and the manner of instruction. Adherence to these rules will ensure that you never need to re-take the Uniform CPA Examination.
Being a CPA can be a rewarding career choice. Once you are licensed as a Delaware CPA, you might want to join professional accounting associations. You are also able to specialize in a variety of areas of accounting. Specializing in a subdiscipline may help you to focus your practice on a specific clientele and practice type. In fact, certified public accountants are virtually pre-qualified to specialize in any area of accountancy they choose. Members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) can find opportunities on the institute's website, as well as through networking with fellow members. Continuing professional education (CPE) hours can help CPAs discover new professional specialties.
Keep in mind that a Delaware CPA license isn't the only route to success. Many students pass the CPA examination so that they can hold a CPA certificate. A CPA certificate is a valid professional credential that many businesspeople use in conjunction with another degree, such as a JD or MBA, to gain status and top-level positions. It might be helpful to pass the AICPA ethics exam as a gesture of goodwill that many employers will appreciate.
Accountant Career Concentrations & Salaries in Delaware
Fund accounting is primarily based out of investment companies of various sorts, including hedge funds and investment funds. Certified Public Accountants will work tracking interest and yields, financial reports, and financial transactions. These professionals will work with all individuals involved in the fund and focus on accountability rather than profitability.
A cost accountant centers their work around the specific costs related to providing a product or service. Professional cost accountants will meticulously review the supply chain expenses. Budget preparation, profitability analysis, month-end reporting, inventory management, and more will be a part of the cost accountancy role.
Fiduciary Tax Accountant
A fiduciary tax accountant often prepares income tax returns for dedicated trusts in the case where a bank or alternative legal entity is the trustee. These professionals require specialized accounting training to be able to practice as such an accountant. A bachelor’s degree and one year of work experience is often the minimum requirement to secure such a position. Any Delaware CPA should be qualified for this position.
Hospital accountants are responsible for the numerous financial transactions within a hospital setting in addition to financial reports, financial papers, and budget preparation. These individuals will also be responsible for the accuracy and timely completion of financial statements each month. Though extra coursework in Healthcare finance may be helpful, a Delaware's Certified Public Accountants' (CPA) license should open up many opportunities in this industry. Those who take continuing professional education (CPE) hours in this field might consider a transition.
Delaware has fewer accountants than almost any other state, but their services are as crucial there as they are anywhere else. In fact, the annual mean wage for all accountants, including Delaware CPAs, is higher than the national mean wage. However, location has a large impact on compensation. The best-paid accountants are concentrated in Wilmington, while those in other locations like Salisbury or Dover are paid significantly less. The good news is that any accountant earning above the 50th percentile can expect to earn more than most other accountants, and potentially more than most other professionals. Whether you hold a CPA certificate or a full Delaware CPA license, passing the Uniform CPA Examination is a ticket to very great things, indeed.
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Delaware Accounting Frequently Asked Questions
What types of accounting positions are available in Delaware?
Delaware hosts some highly prominent accounting, financial management, banking, and other corporations including JP Morgan Chase, BlackRock, Inc., and INGDirect Bank. Accounting professionals may also work for non-profit organizations, global insurance agencies, and government agencies including the Nemours Children’s Hospital, AIG, Delaware Army National Guard, and New Castle County Finance. Since Delaware is considered a tax haven, licensed CPAs find work easy to come by.
What is the earning potential for a mid-career accounting position in Delaware?
The average mid-career salary as an accounting manager in Dover, Delaware is $56,500, according to PayScale. Though salaries will vary greatly depending on various aspects including the employer size, location of the business, degrees and certifications, and much more.
Are any specific licenses or certifications required by the state of Delaware?
You can secure accounting positions in Delaware with as little as an associate degree. However, it is recommended that individuals continue their education to complete at least a bachelor’s degree to secure better pay. And a CPA license is encouraged at some point if you want to move into the highest positions and pay brackets.
Do any Delaware colleges or universities offer online accounting degrees?
Very few higher learning institutions offer online accounting degrees in full. Those that do include Delaware State University and Wilmington University. However, several Delaware colleges and universities offer online accounting courses under various degrees, such as public administration and MBA programs.