Rider University launches CPA Apprenticeship Program

Program opens new pathway for accounting graduates to earn Certified Public Accountant licensure in New Jersey

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Photo by Peter G. Borg/Rider University

Rider University has launched an innovative program designed to ease the burdens of becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

The Rider University CPA Apprenticeship Program allows new graduates of accounting programs to earn, at a reduced cost, the required credits to obtain CPA licensure in New Jersey through coursework and real-world professional experience.

“Our new program is a novel and powerful tool to bridge the gap between academic learning and real-world accounting experiences,” says Dr. Evelyn A. McDowell, the chair of Rider’s Department of Accounting. “We’re proud to offer recent graduates a low-cost alternative to advancing their careers.”

To become a CPA, individuals must earn 150 credit hours in addition to working one year under the supervision of a licensed CPA and passing the CPA exam. Through Rider’s new program, recent graduates can fulfill those credit hours through as many as five online courses while also working at least 34 hours per week with participating firms. Each course is worth six academic credits, offered at a lowered cost of $250 per credit, and will be supervised by faculty from Rider’s accounting program, which is one of only 2% of programs worldwide with accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.

The program will begin accepting participants beginning in May, and the University is currently establishing partnerships with firms and companies. McDowell notes that participating in Rider’s CPA Apprenticeship Program can serve as a powerful recruitment tool as firms seek both short-term and permanent talent.

Because it is open to partnering with a variety of firms, Rider’s program is the first of its kind in New Jersey. “By inviting multiple firms to participate, we are creating flexible opportunities inclusive to a wide range of individuals that will ultimately strengthen the pipeline of CPAs,” McDowell says.

Rider’s first partnering firm, WilkinGuttenplan, was ranked by NJBiz as one of the Top 25 Accounting Firms in New Jersey. The medium-sized public accounting firm has served closely-held/middle-market businesses and their owners, high‐net-worth individuals, emerging entrepreneurs and many other clients for more than 40 years.

“The cooperation and commitment of employers are integral to the program’s success, and we are extremely proud to collaborate with WilkinGuttenplan to support aspiring professionals,” McDowell says.

The Rider University CPA Apprenticeship Program was established with the support of Rider’s Accounting Advisory Council, which consists of industry leaders and experts. “The members of the Council have consistently advocated for creating such a program, which highlights the growing need within the profession,” says McDowell.

Participants must possess a bachelor’s degree and core accounting classes at fewer than 150 credit hours. They must also obtain employment with a company or firm doing meaningful and substantial work as an accounting professional, working more than 34 hours per week.

For a full list of requirements and more information about Rider University’s CPA Apprenticeship Program, including participating firms and companies, visit rider.edu/cpa-apprenticeship.