Are Post-Grad Certificate Programs Sufficient If All You Want To Do Is Pass the CPA Exam and Move On?

When your cat no longer listens to your troubles and your friends aren't answering your calls because they know you're just going to dump all your nonsense on them at the bar, go ahead and email your friends at Going Concern for a little advice. It's cool, we weren't doing anything anyway. Depending on the day of the week you catch us and how much coffee we've had, we might just give you some good advice and treat you with the love and respect you barely deserve.
Adrienne,
 
The Master's in Accountancy Programs are widely panned here on Going Concern, so I wanted to see what your take on the Certificate in Accountancy programs that are out there being offered by legitimate colleges. It is basically a program designed to get you to your state's requirement to sit for the CPA exam.  For me, in Texas, it was just 30 hours of upper-level accounting classes. They can be pricey, but I was able to sucker my employer into paying for mine. It set me up perfectly to pass the CPA exam. 
 
Since you are the authority on this stuff, just wanted to see what you thought about it.
You answered your own question for me (thanks, it's Friday and I didn't feel like working very hard anyway): your employer paid for it and it set you up perfectly to pass the CPA exam so what the hell do you care what I or anyone else thinks? If the goal was to prepare you to pass the CPA exam, and you felt it helped you there and you didn't have to pay for it, it looks like all win to me. I mean you already have a job so it's not like you need the recruiting.
 
As you pointed out, I am not a fan of MAcc for the sake of MAcc for those who are already buried in student loans but I wouldn't say Master's programs are universally panned around here, in fact I'm willing to bet a large percentage of the readership has one. The issue I take with it is that many of our Master's level friends around here didn't go into the program because they loved accounting so much they wanted an advanced level of education but because the 150 requirement in their state cattle-prodded them into it. Talk about a barrier to entry in a profession that tends to be heavily comprised of average middle class kids who didn't want to go to Wyotech to learn motorcycle maintenance or end up in construction.
 
Any time you have the luxury to pursue additional education, I feel you should. Note "taking out another student loan when you already have one fat one" doesn't translate into "luxury" for the purposes of this discussion. But if mommy, daddy, your generous married lover or employer are willing to foot the bill and don't expect much in return, there's really no downside. Unless of course you're talking about throwing their money away at some degree mill but that is a whole other subject.
 
Back when I was still in California and advising would-be CPAs through my work in CPA review, I'd often come across students who came from Santa Clara University's CAAP program, which sounds similar to the program you did. I'd also recommend the program to those in the Bay Area who maybe had a non-accounting degree but had taken a few accounting courses in their undergrad and needed the full 24 accounting units required in California for licensure. Again, if the goal is meeting the state requirement and these certificate programs offer that with the benefit of structure and guidance, why not?
 
Now, are all certificate programs legit? Probably not, in the same way all "colleges" are not necessarily legit. If a program admits anyone, doesn't actually give grades and/or is taught by a bunch of dirty hipsters with multiple degrees from Hamilton University, you should probably find another program. But you're asking about programs offered by legitimate colleges so let's not drag the University of Phoenix into this.
 
You did alright, kiddo. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, they are probably just mad their Master's program sucked and they are on their fifth BEC try, don't let them piss in your Cheerios. You clearly just want a decent paycheck and do not have aspirations to be the next Bob Herz, more power to you for not overdoing it and still getting it done.
 

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