Helping Your Accounting Students Choose Their Career Path


It’s no secret that the CPA Certification opens up a whole world of opportunities to those who achieve it. The possibilities go far beyond the usual tax and audit division most associate with the accounting profession. In fact, the prospects are so varied that many students may not even know what direction they want to take with their career after obtaining their CPA license.

As an educator, students will look to you for guidance in deciding which CPA career path to take. Some may deliberately seek out advice, but for most, it will be the general guidance and practical wisdom that you impart in lectures, coursework, and casual conversation that will lead them forward.

Here are a few ways to be proactive in helping your students choose their direction and begin paving the way for their future.

Be Realistic About the Job Market

The vast majority of the time, you’re far more experienced in the realities of the job market than your students. They may have vague and ambiguous notions of what lies in store for them
after graduation, but most have never really experienced the process of seeking long-term
employment and beginning a career.

Luckily for them, you have!

Be honest. Let them know about the reality of the job market within the profession. It’s good to encourage their aspirations. It’s great to motivate them to excel in a competitive field. But it’s necessary to give them realistic expectations as well.

Before they start walking down their chosen path, help them to know what they’ll encounter
along the way with your own real-world experience.

Be Generous with your Network

Another vital career tool most students haven’t had much time to cultivate yet is their
professional network. You, as an accounting expert and professional, likely know many people
that would have valuable advice and helpful connections for your students.

If a student shows interest in a particular area, but it is outside of your purview, don’t hesitate
to send them along to a colleague that might be better suited to help.

Sometimes you’re not in the best position to help a student, and that’s ok. Everyone has
different areas of expertise. If you know someone else who is, the best thing you can do is
share that connection with them.

Help Them Feel Normal, Empowered, and Supported

Sometimes the hardest part of deciding on a career path and finding a job is the uncertainty
and self-doubt that accompanies it.

Is this the right specialty for me? Can I actually land this job? Am I the only one who doesn’t
have my life planned out already?

These thoughts can be crippling for students already facing difficult decisions. Help your
students to understand that the uncertainty and anxiety of the process are normal. It’s a big
decision, it’s ok to feel some stress over it.

As an educator and mentor, you can help your students overcome these invasive thoughts.
Encourage them, regardless of how difficult – or easy – a goal may seem. Even far-fetched
aspirations are possible, and no one career path is inherently more noble or honorable than
another. Let your encouragement run both ways.

Offer Support Outside the Classroom

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just to let students know that you’re available. Don’t let
there be any uncertainty about it. Let your students know that you want to be a resource to
them, not just for their studies but for career guidance as well.

Encourage them to reach out with questions, ask for advice, or simply talk through their
options. Just having an expert offer their opinion is often enough to reassure and provide
direction to a student in need of guidance.

At the root of it all, is transparency, genuine support, and a desire to see your students succeed
wherever they apply themselves. Of course, it’s up to each individual to determine their own
outcome, but there is an important role for educators to play in helping students toward that

Prepare your Students for Professional Success

UWorld Roger CPA Review collaborates with accounting programs and professors to provide resources for accounting students, bridging the gap between academia and the CPA profession
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