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Many people know that the CPA designation is a phenomenal gateway to career success—especially when it comes to salary. While regular accountants’ salaries range anywhere between $40-60,000, many accountants’ salaries can cap off between $71-99,000.

Compare this to a Certified Public Accountant who earns an average of 10-15% more than an uncertified accountant and you’re looking at an average salary range that begins at $50,000 and can quickly escalate to over $100,000 per year.

So now that we have those numbers under our belt, it’s easy to see how earning your CPA license can give you a tremendous boost in your yearly take-home, even in an entry level or starting position. But let’s take that a step further. While the most common way to evaluate income is to break it down into 12 month increments, what if we looked at these numbers through a different lens? Try over the course of your entire life.

According to Monster Jobs, a CPA’s earnings over the course of 45 years is $3,200,000 if the starting pay is at $46,200 and the pay at 20+ years is $76,000. Such salary data was compiled by looking at the expected lifetime median earnings which were calculated for a 45-year period based on median annual pay levels for 1, 5, 10, and 20 years of experience in each position.

For jobs that have a senior version of their job title, data was combined so that the transition to the more senior of the two job titles occurred at approximately 10 years of experience. By putting together median salaries and annual salaries for full-time workers that include bonuses, commissions, and/or profit sharing, Monster Jobs was able to calculate such lifetime earnings that really bring into perspective not just how much you make in a given day, week, month, or year—but how much you can potentially make over the course of your career as a CPA!

Keep in mind also that these figures are just the average pay levels…meaning that there’s plenty of room for extra income growth. Imagine what the possibilities could be if you maximized your lifetime earnings, have your MBA, filter in any of your specialty experiences, skills/abilities, throw in your side business, receive higher promotions, or even become partner.

So if you haven’t already considered obtaining your CPA license, now’s the time! After all — $3 million dollars isn’t too shabby a number to live your life on.

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