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Why Take the EA Exam as a Student

Why Accounting Students Should Take the EA Exam

If you’re an accounting student and want to jumpstart your career, becoming an Enrolled Agent (EA) is a great option. Unlike many other accounting certifications, there are no education or experience requirements to take the Enrolled Agent exam. This means that you can take the EA exam as a student, earn your designation sooner rather than later, and start building up your resume right away.

The EA exam is also a great way to bolster your skillset and knowledge base. By taking the exam while still in school, you can ensure that you’re ahead of the curve and well-prepared for your future career.

What is the Enrolled Agent exam?

The Enrolled Agent exam is a three-part exam administered by the IRS. The exam tests your knowledge of tax law and regulations, and covers a wide range of topics including individual taxes, business taxes, ethics, and representation.

What are the requirements?

To sit for the EA exam, you must have a Social Security number (to obtain a PTIN), be a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and be 18 years of age or older. You must also complete an IRS Form 23 application and pay the associated fees.

Because there are so few requirements to meet, you can take the exam as soon as you’re ready. This is a great advantage for accounting students.

Why take the EA exam as a student?

Passing the Enrolled Agent exam is a great way to build your career. There are a few reasons why:


More time to study

As an accounting student, you’ll already have a strong foundation in many of the topics covered on the exam. And, because you’re taking the exam while still in school, intense studying is already part of your routine.


Build your resume

Earning your EA certification is a great way to build up your accounting student resume and set yourself apart from other job candidates. In today’s competitive job market, any edge you can give yourself is valuable. Having your EA certification will show potential employers that you’re serious about your career and committed to staying current on tax law and regulations.


Advance quickly

Taking the EA exam is also a good way to advance quickly in your career. Many accounting positions require at least one year of experience. But, with your EA certification, you may be able to bypass entry-level jobs and start working toward your long-term goals sooner.


Get a head start on CPE

Another benefit of taking the Enrolled Agent exam as a student is that you can get a head start on your continuing education requirements.

Enrolled Agents are required to take 72 hours of continuing education credits every three years to maintain their certification. But, if you take the EA exam while still in school, you can count many of your accounting classes toward your CPE requirements. This way, when you do become an EA, you’ll already have a few credits under your belt and won’t have to scramble to complete them later on.

How to prepare for the EA exam as a student

Preparing for the EA exam takes hard work, but you’ll have an edge because of your accounting classes. You’ll have a good foundation and, depending on your course load, may have already covered a lot of the exam content.

To make things easy, we break down everything you need to know about the exam in our free EA Exam Guide. But if you’re looking for even more detail, the IRS provides a Candidate Information Bulletin Opens in new window with information on what to expect on the exam, as well as a list of study materials (Gleim is on the list!).

We offer the best review courses to help you prepare for the EA exam, with different packages including books, online courses, audio lectures, practice questions, and flashcards, as well as personalized support from our team of accounting experts.

If you want to pass on the first try, expect to spend about 250 or more hours studying. This may seem like a lot, but remember that this is an important exam that will help shape your future career.

Jobs for accounting students

You don’t have to wait for graduation to start working on your career.

Accounting students can find jobs in a variety of industries and organizations, including public accounting firms, corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits. You may find yourself applying for roles with titles like:

  • Audit associate
  • Tax associate
  • Staff accountant
  • Accounting clerk

Having your EA certification will get employers’ attention, no matter what position you’re looking for.

Can you work as an Enrolled Agent while you’re a student?

Yes, you can work as an EA while still in school. In fact, many accounting students take jobs with public accounting firms or other organizations after passing the EA exam. This allows them to gain accounting experience and begin earning a salary while they finish their degree.

In addition, many companies will reimburse you for the cost of taking the EA exam as well as provide other benefits, like paid time off to study.

So, if you’re looking for jobs for accounting students, becoming an EA is a great option. It will give you a leg up on the competition and help you launch your career in accounting.

What's next?

If you’re ready to get started on your path to becoming an EA, Gleim can help. We offer everything you need to pass the exam. Get started with your EA exam prep!