Path to the CPA 

Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting Studies

The purpose of this certificate is to facilitate students wishing to continue their accounting studies at the undergraduate level to qualify for their CPA license under the 150-hour rule. Students may elect to complete a minimum of 9-credit hours in accounting courses and up to a total of 30 credit hours including the minimum accounting credit hours.

Courses are to be selected in consultation with a student’s faculty advisor. An example program of study might look like the following:

ACCT 3500, Forensic Accounting                                                                3

ACCT 4200, Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting                  3

ACCT 4060, Business Law II for Accountants                                         3

Students may complete this example program of study in one summer semester.

Students wishing to take additional credit hours to reach the 150-hours will require additional time. A student may elect to take up to three credits of accounting internship as part of their certificate program of study. Additional courses to reach the 150-hour requirement may be from among those offered in business or from other areas depending on the student’s professional goals and interests.

A student that previously graduated with an undergraduate degree in business and wishing to qualify the for CPA exam may elect to apply for admission into the certificate program and complete the following program of study:

ACCT 3100, Intermediate Accounting I                    3

ACCT 3200, Intermediate Accounting II                   3

ACCT 4100, Intermediate Accounting III                 3

ACCT 3300, Tax Accounting I                                       3

ACCT 4300, Tax Accounting II                                      3

ACCT 3600, Accounting Information Systems       3

ACCT 4400, Cost Accounting                                        3

ACCT 4500, Auditing                                                       3

Accounting Elective                                                         3

Accounting Elective                                                         3

Up to three credit hours of elective may be used toward an internship.

It generally will take a student about 2-years to complete this certificate option.





Your Path to CPA Licensure

Refocus or jump start your career through our accounting program at Dalton State College's C. Lamar & Ann Wright School of Business.

All States Currently Require completion of at least 150 credit hours, including a number of upper level accounting courses, plus successful completion of the CPA exam, before applicants can earn a CPA license.

Dalton State's Wright School of Business offers classes that cover all four sections of the CPA exam:

  1. Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

  2. Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

  3. Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

  4. Regulation (REG)

For more information about our accounting program, please contact Ms. Jamie Connors, Assistant Dean, at 706.272.2455 or

The “Wright Way” to Become an Accountant – The Path to the CPA

At Dalton State’s Wright School of Business, we can help you refocus, or jump start your career through our accounting program. While we offer a traditional Bachelor of Business Administration degree (BBA) in Accounting, we also help students with any degree transition to the field of accounting. If any of these scenarios sound like you, we can help:

  1. Do you have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and need a few extra courses to meet the 150-hour qualification for the CPA exam?
  2. Do you have a bachelor’s degree in another business discipline and would like to qualify and sit for the CPA exam?
  3. Do you have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than business and would like to qualify and sit for the CPA exam?

It is never too late to consider a career in the fast-growing accounting field.

All states currently require completion of at least 150 credit hours, including a number of upper level accounting courses, plus successful completion of the CPA exam, before applicants can earn a CPA license. Each state sets the specific requirements for eligibility (e.g., specific courses, ethics requirements, experience requirements, etc.). Dalton State Wright School of Business offers classes that cover all four sections of the CPA exam. Auditing and Attestation (AUD)• Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)• Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)• Regulation (REG). So, it is easy to complete the remainder of the 150 credit hours beyond the BBA in Accounting’s 121 credit hours at DSC's Wright School of Business.

Students and graduates of the Dalton State College Accounting program know how committed we are to our students and their success. We have a supportive and committed learning environment with faculty dedicated to your success at all levels. Moreover, aspiring CPA’s are sure to be pleased to learn that Dalton State College has been recently ranked nationally as one of the best schools for return on investment ("ROI").

Summer CPA Prep Course – Business Law & Regulations for Accountants & Business Professionals (REG)

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are in-demand in public, private, and non-profit environments. CPAs record and report financial data, interpret and understand state and federal tax laws and their effects on business decisions, audit financial statements, and gather and use data for planning and control.

CPA's become experts in how a business actually works.  While the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degrees are very valuable and sought after, the CPA is an actual license, affording commensurate rights and responsibilities.

Dalton State College offers students the opportunity to obtain the 150 credits required for licensure in an efficient and cost-effective way. Each upper division accounting class offered in the C. Lamar and Ann Wright School of Business (WSOB) prepares students for four different sections of the CPA Exam: Business Environment & Concepts, Regulation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Auditing. WSOB courses offer support that includes:

Business Environment & Concepts


  • Cost Accounting
  • Tax 1
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Tax 2
  • Micro & Macro Economics (non-accounting classes)
  • Regulation (combination of business law & tax)

Financial Accounting and Reporting


  • Intermediate Accounting I
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Intermediate Accounting II
  • Auditing
  • Intermediate Accounting III
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Government Accounting












The Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) course reviews a CPAs role within the business environment, and covers topics related to a variety of business areas from operations to corporate governance. It is important for CPAs to understand the external business environment, whether they work internally within a company or externally for a public accounting firm.

After completing ten accounting and eight business core courses (which are all offered as part of the DSC WSOB core curriculum), any DSC college course will count towards the 150 credit-hour minimum students need, depending on the state’s CPA requirements (see Courses are offered throughout the year at DSC, including during three summer sessions.  We offer classes at a best-value price with a high return on investment.

For more information about our accounting program, please contact Ms. Jamie Connors, Assistant Dean,

Meet Beth Terry:

Alumni of the Wright School of Business and now a part-time accounting faculty member

When I moved to Calhoun, GA, from my hometown of Soddy-Daisy, TN, I enrolled in Dalton State College to complete my degree because it was the closest college to my new home. However, what I found here was different than my previous college experience. My professors and fellow students cared about each other and our successes in the program and in our careers. When I graduated with my Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Accounting in 2009, I knew I wanted to be a CPA. I also wanted to go to graduate school, but I knew that once I got a full-time job in accounting, it would be hard to coordinate work, school, and the CPA exam. With the requirement to obtain 150 semester hours in accounting for licensure, I decided to continue at Dalton State after graduation, in the environment I was comfortable in, until I had completed the 150 hour requirement. Having my 150 hours completed made me more attractive to the CPA firms I interviewed with, because they knew I was committed to obtaining my credentials, and just needed their help to obtain my required work experience while I completed and passed the CPA exam. The investment I made in my education at Dalton State continues to pay off as I progress in my career, and the value for the price is really second to none. Maybe just as important, the education and relationships I have gained from Dalton State have been invaluable to my life and career. I currently work for Jason Underwood, CPA PLLC, dba ERISA CPA in Chattanooga, TN as the Audit and Assurance Senior Manager. I am also a Freelance Accountant / Bookkeeper. I have been with Dalton State College as a part-time instructor since January 2020.

Graduate School Transition 

As you consider further study for graduate degrees in business, you have two main choices (1) the MBA (Master of Business Administration) where you “master” all the functional areas of business you have studies in the undergraduate degree but go deeper into cases, projects, and team-based learning or the (2) MAcc (Masters of Accountancy) which provides the additional 30 hours, and at the graduate level, needed to sit for your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and licensure.  Some MBA programs allow a functional area specialization (supply chain management, data analytics, fintech) while others do not have a choice of electives.  The idea behind the MBA is to understand all the areas of business at a higher and deeper level so a specialization is not always necessary.

Because you have an undergraduate degree from an AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accredited institution, your path to graduate school should be faster and easier and you won’t have to take any additional courses before you start the degree.  And, most of our partners listed here waive the application fee and waive the GMAT/GRE graduate entrance exams (as long as you have a specific GPA in your undergraduate studies at Dalton State College.

Be sure to only choose an AACSB accreditate master’s program (or doctorate).

Some MBA programs are fully on-line but if your schedule allows a hybrid or fully-face-to-face option, this is a great way to meet new friends, share business viewpoints, and potentially find business partners and investors for your start-up or other ventures.

If you aren’t already working in your career job, consider working as a graduate assistant (GA) during your MBA program.  You’ll typically have your tuition waived and receive a stipend (salary) for your work which is likely to be with business professors helping with teaching and grading or even research tasks.  It’s a great way to learn about the life of a business professor (which you too may want to consider).

Once you have your graduate degree, let us know at DSC so we can update our WSOB alumni database.  Also consider joining us as a part-time faculty member in the WSOB. Most of our business professionals who teach part-time were once DSC WSOB undergrads.  You’ll also have access to our best WSOB students to help fill career opening and internships at your company too!

Students graduating from Dalton State’s Wright School of Business with a Bachelor of Business Administration can easily transition into one of two online master’s programs offered through University of North Alabama (UNA) due to an articulation agreement between the schools. The agreement allows Wright School of Business graduates who meet certain criteria to be accepted into a UNA’s master’s program in business administration or accounting. Thank you for your interest in the partnership with UNA’s graduate programs! You can go to their website to read about these programs. You can find the information at Or contact either Lindsey Goode at or Gregory Carnes at

Masters of Business Administration (MBA)

Masters of Accountancy (MAcc)

More Info on University of North Alabama