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The Enrolled Agent credential is often overshadowed by its well-known counterpart: The CPA. In fact, type “EA” in your search engine and you’ll find nothing but articles about video game developers, which isn’t exactly what we’re going for.

However, despite it being more cryptic, the Enrolled Agent credential is a great option for anyone who enjoys working with taxes, creating relationships, and helping others. If you’re a tax preparer looking to take the next step in your career, or an accountant who isn’t sure which career path to take, learn about the benefits of earning your EA credential below.

An EA Has More Career Options

Earning your EA Credential is going to make you more than just a tax preparer. You’ll manage more responsibility in your position and, as such, have more career options and a higher salary potential.

EAs do prepare returns, but they have the authority to prepare more complex returns than a simple tax preparer might. EAs are also representatives for clients before the IRS and have Unlimited Representation Rights, so they can help clients with audits, appeal for clients in front of the IRS, and give advice based on the tax implications of business transactions. This puts them on the same level as CPAs and attorneys before the IRS.

You’ll see EAs working in a variety of fields, from small firms to large corporations. An EA has the power and authority to start her own business in the field, or manage a tax department at a Big Four public accounting firm. EAs are also federally licensed agents, which means they can work across state lines with a variety of clients. The sky is the limit for EA career options.

The Credential Has Credibility with the IRS and Clients

EAs understand the tax code and are federally licensed agents, a combination the IRS likes to see in a client representative. EAs are likely to be more respected by the IRS in client representations; since the IRS administers the EA exam and monitors the individual integrity of the credential, the IRS agents know EAs are industry professionals.

EAs work with the tax law every day and are always on top of new developments. This makes them invaluable in the eyes of clients who need IRS representation. EAs are appreciated in their role because they help others understand and evaluate the intricate U.S. tax code. The career is challenging, but you’ll know every day you’re truly helping others live a better life.

The EA Role Isn’t Going Anywhere

IRS audits have been down in recent years, but that doesn’t mean the EA role isn’t as important as it was ten years ago. The EA designation was created after the Civil War; it’s clearly not a designation that will be exiting the market anytime soon. In fact, as the tax system become less transparent and more complex, it’s essential EAs are there to bridge the gap between taxpayers and the IRS.

The EA Credential Is a Practical Designation

If you’re already a tax preparer, the EA is the next logical step in your career. But even if you aren’t, the EA barriers to entry are easily vaulted, allowing you to launch your career faster and cheaper than many other designations.

The Special Enrollment Exam (SEE) consists of three parts, with pass rates ranging from 61% for Part 1 to 82% for Part 3. The exam only covers the tax code, which means it’s not too difficult for those interested in tax or who have had tax experience. You can also take the exam while still in school, and you don’t need a college degree to become an EA. With some dedicated studying, you can gain a credential to a job earning $45,000 per year on average, with huge room for growth as you build your career.

An EA’s career path is both challenging and rewarding, a combination that leads to career satisfaction and happiness. As a tax preparer, earning the credential will launch you up the career ladder, giving your more responsibility, options and fulfillment.


Interested to see how Surgent can prepare you for the EA Exam? Sign up for a EA Review Demo Webinar today!


Sean Mullen manages the Enrolled Agent Review program for Surgent. As an “Evangelist” for the Enrolled Agent credential, Sean has spoken numerous times to professional and academic groups about the numerous career advantages available by earning the EA credential. Mullen is head of business development for Surgent Exam Prep.