License vs Certification

Question: I heard that there are two levels of the CPA designation. What does that mean? I don’t want to practice accounting, I just want the designation to get my foot in the door of a good accounting firm.

Answer: You are likely referring to the difference between the CPA license and the CPA certification. Some states provide a CPA certificate separate from a license to practice. This certificate demonstrates to potential employers that you are a qualified entry-level account, but the certificate does not allow you practice public accounting and you are not required to do Continuing Professional Education (CPE) each year to maintain it.

Some states that offer this certificate separate from the license to practice include Delaware, California and Colorado. Note that with the new, computerized CPA exam you are not required to travel to these states to take the exam. You may sit at any Prometric testing center in the United States.