Calgarian Cinthia Salicioni had a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting but needed more courses to set her on the path to the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.

Lily Wu from China, set her sights on a better life in Canada and along the way discovered her love of accounting.

It’s diverse students like Salicioni and Wu who found themselves at the University of Lethbridge as CPA Bridging students in the Dhillon School of Business. And diversity is what the CPA Education Foundation (the charitable arm of the CPA profession in Alberta) knew it needed when designing the program with the Dhillon School 10 years ago.

“The profession has long recognized the value of obtaining members who come from non-traditional backgrounds given the diversity of industries that CPAs work within. The problem in the past has been that the pathway for such individuals was long and not always easily accessible,” reads the program’s founding document.

Building the bridge

The concept of the CPA Bridging program is to provide an alternative path or “bridge” to the CPA designation for students with a four-year undergraduate degree but who don’t have the specific prerequisite courses required for the CPA Professional Education Program (PEP).

A decade after its inception, the CPA Bridging program remains the only one of its kind in Alberta. Its difference lies in the ease at which students can achieve a university credential in accounting, the generous financial support available to students, including special financial support for those with an international education background, the small, focused classes, and its personalized support and guidance offered by the university’s award-winning PhD- and CPA-qualified faculty.

And while the CPA Bridging program has remained unchanged in the best of ways, it has also evolved to make it easier for students to accomplish their goals faster and more effectively. Three new certificate options now allow students to build on their existing degree and in-demand accounting skills in preparation for entry into the PEP.

Three certificate options

If you have a degree unrelated to accounting but you’re keen to advance your career by adding accounting and business skills to your resume, the Post-Bachelor Certificate in Accounting Fundamentals is for you. This program provides students with both the breadth and depth of knowledge in accounting students will need, including courses in Business Law, Introduction to Microeconomics and Introduction to Tax.

However, if you already have a degree in accounting (or substantial university-level coursework in accounting), or if you have completed the Post-Bachelor Certificate in Accounting Fundamentals and want to sharpen those skills and fill some gaps, the Post-Bachelor Certificate in Advanced Accounting is the right choice for you, offering intermediate and advanced-level courses such as Advanced Financial Accounting, Advanced Tax, and Management Policy and Strategy.

With the final option, Post-bachelor Combined Certificates in Accounting you're able to take both the Accounting Fundamentals and Advanced Accounting certificates in as little as two years on a full-time basis. You’ll also be eligible for paid work experience in your field, through our co-operative education program.

All three certificate options are available on a part-time basis allowing you to study while you continue to work and all courses in both programs are recognized as pre-requisites for entry into PEP.

Experts in the field

The CPA Bridging is also a program that’s recognized by leaders in the field. That’s because its establishment was a strategic priority for the CPA Education Foundation.

“Our foundation was honoured to provide some of the seed funding for this program, which, since its inception, has earned distinction as a unique and highly respected education path for Albertans seeking to join the CPA profession,” says Foundation Executive Director Rachel Miller.

It’s not all about tax and number crunching, though. Accounting and finance professionals are recognized worldwide for their strategic thinking, financial expertise, business insights and leadership.

It’s these skills that set Salicioni on the path to owning and managing a successful business, responsible for helping companies with tax and accounting issues. It also changes the lives of people like Wu, who found her direction and passion – along with financial support – thanks to the CPA Bridging program.

“Our students are vibrant and diverse, and it has been an honour and a joy to see them graduate from the Dhillon School and go on to earn their CPA designations,” says Sonya von Heyking, Director, Accounting Program Development at the Dhillon School of Business.

To learn how you can advance your accounting skills, and your career, enroll in the University of Lethbridge’s CPA Bridging program.

The Dhillon School of Business at the University of Lethbridge is known for its immersive experiential learning opportunities, connecting learners with industry, its supportive, personalized approach and for exposing students to emerging technology. Learn more at