Requirements for accounting internships for academic credit and the CPA exam
A full-time member of the Accounting faculty supervises each student who takes an internship for academic credit.
Students have two options for completing an accounting internship for course credit:
- Option 1: Complete a 3-credit-hour internship course in the Fall, Spring, or Summer semester. Internships must include a minimum of 120 hours of work time at the internship and may be taken concurrently with other courses in the degree plan.
- Option 2: Complete a 6-credit-hour internship course in the Spring semester. Students must work a minimum of 240 hours at a full-time, “busy season” internship, and pair the internship with two 3-credit-hour mini-mester courses that are completed in a compressed schedule.
Students should discuss these options with their academic advisors as soon as they declare Accounting as a major to ensure appropriate degree planning. The steps required for earning credit for an accounting internship are as follows.
- Student confers with louises [at] stedwards.edu (Louise Single), chair of the Accounting Department, about internship(s) in which they are interested. Internships may be identified through Accounting Department contacts, the Career and Professional Development Office, or from the student’s own contacts.
- Student obtains an official job description from the internship employer and submits it to the Accounting Department chair for approval to register for the internship course.
- Accounting Department chair notifies the student that the internship is acceptable.
- Student enrolls in appropriate academic course.
- Student must meet all requirements specified in the course syllabus to earn academic credit for the course.
Note (a): The components of both the undergraduate and graduate accounting internship courses are designed to meet The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA) requirements These include keeping a journal to document the intern's work activities and preparation of a comprehensive written portfolio.
Note (b): The TSBPA has the right to review the student’s work done in the internship course with an emphasis on the portfolio to assure the quality of the work meets the Board’s expectations.
Note (c): If a student wants to have an internship at an employer where they have been (or are) employed, new duties and responsibilities must be assigned by the employer. Continuation of existing job duties does not qualify for an accounting internship. Also, the job duties cannot be clerical in nature. The intern must be required to use higher-level skills (such as those for a staff accountant), as well as independent judgment.
Note (d): Students should earn a minimum grade of a B earned in either the undergraduate or graduate internship course to assure it will meet the TSBPA expectations for work quality. A lesser grade may still count toward degree requirements but cannot be assured to meet requirements of the TSBPA.
TSBPA requirements for a university's accounting internship program
- The accounting knowledge gained in the internship is equal to or greater than the knowledge gained in a traditional accounting classroom setting.
- The internship course shall not be taken until a minimum of 12 semester hours of upper division accounting course work has been completed.
- The internship plan is approved in advance by the faculty coordinator (i.e., St. Edward’s University Accounting Department chair).
TSBPA requirements of the employing firm:
- Provides the faculty coordinator and the student with the objectives to be met during the internship.
- Provides a significant accounting work experience with adequate training and supervision of the work performed by the student.
- Provides an evaluation of the student at the conclusion of the internship, a letter describing the duties performed and the supervision to the student, and a copy of the documentation provided to the faculty coordinator and the student.
TSBPA requirements of the student:
- Keeps a diary comprising a chronological list of all work experience gained in the internship.
- Writes a paper demonstrating the knowledge gained in the internship.
- Provides documents with the Application of Intent to sit for the CPA exam evidencing that the requirements have been met.