Rider launches CPA apprentice program to help grads more easily advance in their careers

Program will allow recent grads to acquire required 150 credit hours through online classes and internships

Rider University, in an effort to ease the transition of becoming a licensed Certified Public Accountant, has launched a CPA Apprenticeship Program, which allows recent graduates of accounting programs to earn the required credits needed to obtain CPA licensure through both coursework and real-world professional experience.

The best part: It can be done at a reduced cost.

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 International.

Rider is currently in the process of establishing partnerships with firms and companies. The hope is that, through these partnerships, firms will have stronger recruiting tools for both short-term and permanent positions.

Rider’s first partnering firm, WilkinGuttenplan, is well-known. The medium-sized public accounting firm has served closely-held and middle-market businesses and their owners, high net worth individuals, emerging entrepreneurs and many other clients for more than 40 years.

Evelyn McDowell, the chair of Rider’s Department of Accounting, said the program can have great impact for students and firms.

“Our new program is a novel and powerful tool to bridge the gap between academic learning and real-world accounting experiences,” she said. “We’re proud to offer recent graduates a low-cost alternative to advancing their careers.”

McDowell stressed the program’s flexibility.

“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,” she said.

The Rider University CPA Apprenticeship Program was established with the support of Rider’s Accounting Advisory Council, showing great interest in the idea of a bridge from coursework to active experience, Rider officials said.