Yup. accountant here. Need to pass accounting classes to sit for the CPA test as well, so it's very needed in my industry. Plus my state at least requires 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA test.
With that said, even though it's not required, I'm glad I got a degree. I sincerely appreciated the academic side of college. It was always cool to sit in a class with a professor who has the terminal degree in his field, who not only knows the book, but probably wrote the book. I went to a community college for a couple of years before going to a University and it was such a big difference in that regard. On one hand you have an instructor who is smart and proficient in a particular field, but then you have a professor who can answer your question, but also really expand and explain "why" it is that way. My mind was blown on a few occasions by really intelligent professors.
A person that has a 4yr degree from a bricks and mortar school is easily more marketable than a person with no experience, but good work experience.
So yes, I use my degree and it's required for my job.
It's weird to me at 38 when I hear anybody still talk about college because I am so far removed and into my career. Maybe it's different for those of you in some accounting or "real" engineering fields.
I think a better question is could someone do your job without a degree.
Unless you are building bridges and doing root canals I'd say for many jobs no.
A degree in most cases is there just to provide some comfort that you aren't totally retarded and can learn stuff, grasp concepts and persevered long enough to at least graduate.
That said, I've meant plenty of smart people without degrees and idiots with enough letters behind their names to make your head spin.
I work in Higher Ed/Student Affairs..specifically, I am the Career Expos Coordinator for a University.. I plan all of the major career fairs/events!
Technically for my specific position, could someone without a master's do it? Yes...but within the large scope of Higher Ed/SA, you do need a Master's. Mine is just a unique position where I am essentially a large event planner..but I do still work with students somewhat..just not as much as others.
Also, most of you have no clue what higher ed/student affairs is or that you need a Master's to do it (there is no undergrad degree).. see here: http://www.naspa.org/career/csam/10/whatis/default.cfm
and for some laughs: http://whatshouldwecallstudentaffairs.tumblr.com/
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Why yes, I am a girl.
As Vision33r mentioned, expertise and experience matter more, and who you know
In public accounting, if you want to sign a tax return or talk to the IRS, you need a CPA. It also makes people feel all warm and fuzzy when they see CPA. Beyond that, in the bigger public accounting firms, you won't advance to senior staff or manager without a CPA.
In industry, bigger and more selective companies won't look at you without a CPA for anything above entry level. How do I know? Because I'm looking for a job right now.
In my field (Litigation Support/eDiscovery) an undergraduate degree is typically required, even though there is no degree for what I do.
JDs are becoming more and more popular as eDiscovery gets more and more complicated.
Can you do basic accounting work without your CPA? Yes. Will having your CPA help you advance to anything other than basic accounting work? Yes. Are there alternative certifications to CPA? Yes. If you don't plan to do public accounting, you can obtain your CMA (Certified Management Accountant) designation, which is useful for corporate accounting.
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