Balancing Work and School: 4 Tips for Finding the Right Balance

Are you working full or part time while studying to become a CPA? You are not alone: 50% of students in the 15-to-29 age group work and study at the same time. Whether you work to pay for your studies, for financial independence or so that you can travel, is this challenge really worth your while? Make sure that you strike the right balance by following these 4 tips to discover the benefits of balancing work and studies.   

1. Don’t overdo it

For full-time students, working 15 to 20 hours per week is advisable. A work schedule that adheres to this benchmark can prevent poorer academic results, a lack of social life and a diminished performance at work.

2. Be motivated and very disciplined 

Working and going to school may be the fastest way to acquire your CPA designation, but if you want to succeed, you need to be motivated and very disciplined.


“When students have more than 15 hours of courses and coursework per week, and then work 40 hours per week on top of all that, it can have a huge impact on their personal life.”
Marc-André Paquette, CPA
Director, Monitoring and Relations, Public Practice
Quebec CPA Order

3. Make sure that your job qualifies as CPA practical experience 

While most students choose to study full time in their graduate program and acquire their CPA practical experience afterward, nothing is stopping you from finding a part-time job that qualifies as CPA practical experience. If you do, you will not only accrue valuable hours, but also immediately apply what you have learned in your courses! Simply check with the Order to find out if your job actually qualifies as practical experience.

4. Talk to your employer

Do not hesitate to ask your employer to adjust your work schedule if you need more study time during specific periods of the year, such as at the end of a term or in the intensive study period before the Common Final Examination, etc.

Striking a balance between your personal and professional life, while still achieving success, is in everybody's interest!

Are there benefits to balancing work and school?

There are many benefits to working and studying at the same time. Among other things, it helps you improve:

  • your organizational skills;
  • your priority management;
  • your sense of responsibility.

Besides allowing you to acquire skills and apply your knowledge, it also gives you work experience, which can actually help you choose or even change your career.

The paid 24-month period of CPA practical experience is an excellent way to confirm your interests and prepare for the business world!

Learn more about CPA practical experience >