The road to becoming a CPA is long and hard, but it's one of the most rewarding journeys you'll ever embark upon. The CPA license is one of the most highly prized credentials in the business world. In fact, every business owner relies on their CPAs to keep their endeavors afloat. Auditing, preparing tax documents, and managerial advisory and just three of many tasks you will perform for your clients over the course of your career.

To become a CPA Certified Public Accountant, you need to obtain a bachelor's degree and complete the work experience requirements. After you complete your education, you will need to take the CPA Exam and pass the CPA Exam to become a certified public accountant CPA. When you pass the CPA Exam in your state, you will become a certified public accountant. Becoming a CPA is challenging but rewarding. Here’s a guide to what can expect in the process of becoming a licensed CPA in North Dakota.


Educational Requirements for a North Dakota CPA License

Education is a huge part of becoming a CPA. In fact, to become a CPA and pass the CPA exam, your time spent studying will account for the largest bulk of time along the way. This is because, throughout your career you will constantly refer back to lessons you learned in academia. Then, to maintain your license, you will likely return for more classes, if not another degree.

The initial application for North Dakota requires that CPA candidates complete a total of 150 credit hours of college-level coursework to become a CPA. These hours should encompass a major concentration in accounting or an equivalent. The State Board of Accountancy requires at least 24 credit hours in upper-level accounting courses. That is, credit hours such as Intro to Accounting or Principles of Accounting will not suffice for the Board, even though they may be prerequisites in your department. For your other credits, you can elect to take business-related courses that will round off your education. Consider some of the following courses as part of your 150 credit hours requirement:

Business law

Management

Marketing

Business Ethics

Macro Economics

Micro Economics

Financial analysis

Tax accounting

Government accounting

Non-profit accounting

Auditing

Organizational psychology

Human resources

Computer science

  • Programming languages
  • IT auditing
  • Computer forensics

Statistics

Mathematics

Business writing and/or communications

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Accreditation

North Dakota not only wants to see that CPA candidates have satisfied the required number of courses and semester hours, but that you have done so at quality institutions. To determine whether or not your college or university qualifies, check into their accreditation. If they are accredited by a regional agency, then you are probably okay. The following list encompasses the major recognized accrediting agencies:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools--Higher Learning Commission
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges--Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges--Commission for Senior Colleges
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools--Commission on Colleges
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

If CPA candidates have attended a non-accredited institution, your credits may be accepted if they are transferred to an accredited school. If this is the case, there's a good chance that you might have to re-take some courses to become a CPA. Consider this a good chance to review and expand your knowledge. After all, ever CPA must be a lifelong learner.

For those coming to the North Dakota Board with an education from a foreign institution, you must have each course evaluated by an agency such as the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Their International Evaluation Services will verify your credits for the Board. NASBA's IES is the only such evaluation accepted by up to 20 other states. North Dakota also accepts evaluations from the Foreign Academic Credential Service.

Campus and Online Degree Options in North Dakota

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Associate Degree

When you study for an associate degree in accounting, you’ll complete general education courses in addition to your focused accounting classes. You'll learn about accounting systems, the accounting cycle, spreadsheets, financial components and documentation, and other topics related to traditional accounting. This degree may gain you entry-level positions in smaller companies, but if you want to continue to move up, you’ll likely need a higher-level degree. Learn More

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Bachelor’s Degree

You can earn a bachelor's in accounting by building upon an existing associate degree or you can start with the four-year degree. In this program, you’ll further explore accounting practices like auditing, financial reports, and financial information systems. A bachelor’s degree will give you access to higher-level positions and promotions once you have some work experience. You may also be able to earn your CPA licensure with just a few extra courses to complete educational requirements. Learn More

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Master’s Degree

In this advanced degree, you will delve more in-depth into the areas of corporate taxation, data modeling, managerial finance, and other higher-level accounting functions. You’ll also have the option to choose a concentration at this level, or you may choose to complete a business administration degree with a focus on accounting, giving you the business acumen to hold high-level positions in any type of company or industry. Learn More

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Doctorate or PhD

A doctorate is the highest degree you can earn in the accounting field. This degree will also allow you to become a CPA. The curriculum for this degree will teach you things like economic theory, financial theory, and how it relates to business. Individuals with a PhD will also be able to enter academia and teach others wanting to get into the accounting field. Learn More

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Online Degree Programs

If you prefer to take your classes online, North Dakota has many colleges ready to accept you as an online-only student. You can earn your associate degree through advanced degrees from the comfort of your home. Check with your school of choice, or consider earning your degree from a national, online-only college or university. These school’s programs have improved exponentially over the years and most are now considered to be on par with in-person forms of education. Learn More

CPA Examination Requirements

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In order to sit for the CPA exam, North Dakota asks that you be at least within six months of completing your academic requirements and pay a $120 application fee. When you are ready, go to the Board's website and retrieve an application from their forms tab.

The CPA Exam application includes several personal items. For instance, CPA candidates will be asked to account for any name changes, previous licensure history, adult criminal history, and previous experience sitting for the CPA exam. On top of that, CPA candidates will need three references that will attest to your moral character. They will not accept family members or fellow students. Seek references from your favorite professors or any professional contacts you might have.

The application also requires a 2x2 photo such as a passport portrait. CPA candidates can have the photo attached when the form is notarized. Finally, CPA candidates will have to send the State Board of Accountancy the official transcripts.

If CPA candidates are still taking courses, they may take the CPA exam, under certain provisions. First, you must provide a transcript that includes your current enrollment status – the courses you are taking. If you have not yet graduated, you must show a current GPA that is at or above the minimum required GPA for graduation.

Experience

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Before officially taking your CPA Exam and becoming a CPA, you must put your academic experience into action. The North Dakota State Board requires that you complete a full year's worth of employment under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA. You may work in any of the following environments: government, industry, academia, or public accounting. They also accept foreign experience under a CA – if you are in Australia, Canada, Ireland, or New Zealand. The State Board may accept experience from other nations, but please inquire prior to accepting such a position.

During your tenure, you should exercise the following skills:

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Public accountancy

  • Accounting
  • Attestation
  • Management advisory
  • Financial advisory
  • Tax preparation
  • Consulting

As you move through this first year, make sure that you account for all of your time performing any of the above skills. Include any other pertinent information, such as the client involved or any particulars of their case or account. When you have completed your tenure and are ready to submit your experience to the licensure committee, you will need to have your supervisor sign and notarize your experience portfolio.

Licensure Requirements

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To become a North Dakota CPA, you will need to satisfy seven general qualifications:

You must be of good character.

You must pass all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam.

Complete the AICPA's comprehensive course in ethics and ethics exam.

Work for one full year as a full-time employee, under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA.

Provide all the details required for your CPA credentials.

Pay all required fees.

Complete the Board's education requirements.

To prepare for these requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser to ensure that you take the required number of courses. You also need to ensure that your institution is fully accredited and meets the Board's standards for quality education. Work with your accounting or business department to find appropriate internships, which may be handy when seeking to fulfill the Board's work experience requirement. That is, if you start interning at a firm early enough, you might be able to secure a job while working towards full licensure. You can also start cultivating the personal contacts you need to attest to your fine moral character.

Continuing Professional Educational Units

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Congratulations! You are a CPA. To maintain your license with the state of North Dakota, you will need to continue to learn more about your profession. During every licensure period, three years, you will need to complete 120 hours of continuing education. As of this writing, the state board is considering requiring a minimum of 20 CPE hours per year. This conforms with the AICPA's requirements, which is an association you are likely to join.

Your CPE transcripts should reflect six hours of ethics training for every three year period. You can take this, or other CPE units, through any State Board certified CPE provider. You can find CPE opportunities at state or national accounting conferences, online webinars, or your local college or university. Look for courses that cover topics such as:

  • Accountancy
  • Auditing
  • Business advisory services
  • Taxation
  • Bookkeeping

CPEs can also be awarded as a result of personal research and writing. That is, if you have an essay or book published, you can receive credit for that. You can also receive credit when you give a lecture or teach a course. This might be full-credit course at a university or a continuing education class on finance at your local community college. Note that you may only count the first course or lecture towards your CPE requirement. That is, if you lecture on auditing, you cannot use that same lecture multiple times to satisfy the Board.

In case the State Board ever has a question regarding your CPEs, you should keep records of all of your coursework for at least five years. For every course, make sure you have a note of the time, place, instructor, sponsor (association, college, etc), certificate of completion, and the total number of CPE hours you claimed for that course or lecture, etc.

A career in accountancy can take you to many different places, but you'll never forget how you first attained your license. With the above information, you will be on a smooth track to success. Congratulations!

Accountant Career Concentrations & Salaries in North Dakota

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Forensic Accountant

A forensic accountant often appears in court as a witness and will frequently work with attorneys as well as law enforcement. They have an extensive understanding of finance laws and investigate situations of embezzling, bankruptcy, contract conflicts, and other financial related crimes. Learn More

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Auditor

An auditor is integral in reducing excess spending, correcting errors, and preventing or identifying fraud. They ensure the company they are with follows all applicable regulations and laws. They are meticulous in their scrutiny of financial data in search of mismanagement of financial resources within a company or organization. Learn More

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Public Accountant

A public accountant combs through financial records and information to suggest ways to reduce expenditures or increase profits. They have job flexibility as they can work for corporations, government agencies, or individuals to perform duties like taxes, auditing, or consultations. Learn More

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Financial Accountant

Financial accountants work with businesses and organizations to create financial reports relating to the company's transactions. This information is shared with investors, shareholders, and other individuals not within the company. Some of the reports they create are income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

Bismarck accountants and auditors earn a mean annual wage of $65,650, and an employment ratio of 10 per 1,000 jobs, contrasting with the far west North Dakota area’s mean annual wage of $65,240 and an employment ratio of 5 per 1,000 jobs. The west central nonmetropolitan area’s mean annual wage is $54,070. Accountants and auditors in the east North Dakota area only earn an mean annual wage of $45,420. Grand Forks, ND-MN’s annual mean wage is $59,90.

Fargo, ND-MN employs the most auditors and accountants, employing 1,280, while east central North Dakota boasts 250 accountants and auditors.

Annual Mean Wage 10th Percentile 25th percentile 50th percentile 75th percentile 90th percentile
$60,550 $35,540 $46,870 $58,530 $73,130 $90,650

North Dakota Accounting Frequently Asked Questions

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What accounting jobs are available in North Dakota?

You’ll have numerous job opportunities available in the accounting field once you finish a degree.

Here are some of the options in North Dakota:

  • Senior Financial Accountant
  • VP Controller
  • Accounting Clerk
  • Bookkeeper
  • Adjunct Accounting Instructors
  • Project Accountant
  • AP/AR Specialist
  • Tax Manager
  • Underwriting Support Specialist
  • Financial Reporting Analyst
  • Research and Remediation
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Collections Specialist
  • Budget Specialist
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What is the salary expectation with an accounting degree?

Here are some salary range examples in the state:

  • Project Accountant - $42,000-$112,987 | The average annual income is $68,500 for this position.
  • Tax Manager - $94,000-$161,886 | Around $125,200 is the average income for this position.
  • Underwriting Support Specialist - $37,000-$64,418 | The average annual income is $52,000 for this position.
  • Budget Specialist - $37,000-$60,879 | The average annual salary is around $48,800 for this position.
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Do colleges in the state offer online degrees?

Yes, they do! You can earn your online accounting degree from schools like:

  • University of North Dakota
  • Bismarck State College
  • Dickinson State University
  • Jamestown College
  • Minot State University
  • University of Mary
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How long does it take to earn an accounting degree?

The length of time it takes you to earn an accounting degree depends on the degree that you choose as well as which concentration you would like to achieve. An associate degree can be earned in two years, a bachelor’s in around four years, a master’s takes another two years on top of a bachelor’s, and a doctorate could take anywhere from two to five years to complete.


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