Considering Becoming an Enrolled Agent: EA Certification, Enrolled Agent Requirements, Enrolled Agent Exam (EA Exam Study), and Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Successful EA

Considering Becoming an Enrolled Agent EA Certification Enrolled Agent Requirements Enrolled Agen (1) (1)

Introduction to Enrolled Agents

Enrolled Agents (EAs) are distinguished tax professionals officially recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They hold a unique position within the realm of tax professionals, as they are authorized to represent individuals and businesses in an array of tax matters. EAs are not only proficient in providing expert tax preparation services but also possess the specialized knowledge required to handle intricate tax issues effectively. Whether you’re an individual seeking assistance with your personal tax return or a business in need of a skilled tax preparer to navigate the complex tax landscape, Enrolled Agents are trusted experts who can guide you through the complexities of taxation with unparalleled expertise and dedication.

This article serves as your comprehensive guide on the journey to becoming a respected Enrolled Agent.

Role and Responsibilities

As an Enrolled Agent, it is your primary responsibility to serve as a representative for clients who are being audited, have appeals, or are going through collections procedures with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

  • This means you will act as a liaison between your clients and the IRS, ensuring that their rights are protected and that they receive fair treatment from the tax authorities.
  • You will also be responsible for preparing and filing tax returns on their behalf. This includes gathering financial information, organizing documents, and accurately completing all the necessary forms.
  • Attention to detail is crucial in this role, as mistakes or oversights could result in penalties or other negative consequences for your clients.
  • Being familiar with tax laws and regulations is also essential, as you will be expected to provide accurate advice and guidance to your clients when it comes to their tax obligations and potential deductions and credits.

Overall, as an Enrolled Agent, you are a trusted professional who helps clients ensure compliance with IRS requirements. 

Your business is an asset. You should know its value and understand how to maximize it.

Benefits of Becoming an EA

Becoming an Enrolled Agent comes with numerous benefits, including a broader range of career opportunities and a high level of expertise in tax matters. One of the foremost advantages is the wider array of career options it opens up.

  • Enrolled Agents, with their specialized knowledge and skills in tax matters, can work in various industries and sectors. They can seek employment in accounting firms, or tax consulting firms, or even start their own tax preparation and advisory businesses.
  • This increased job flexibility allows Enrolled Agents to explore different avenues and find the perfect fit for their interests and goals.
  • Enrolled Agents undergo rigorous training and pass a comprehensive examination administered by the IRS to become licensed professionals. This level of specialized knowledge enables them to provide superior tax services and advice to their clients. 

Educational Requirements for Becoming an Enrolled Agent

To become an EA, you must meet specific educational requirements, including obtaining a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). A PTIN is a unique identification number that is used by individuals who prepare and file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

It is mandatory for all paid tax return preparers to have a PTIN in order to legally prepare and file tax returns for their clients. Obtaining a PTIN involves applying to the IRS and completing the necessary forms and paperwork. In addition to the PTIN, aspiring EAs must also pass the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE). Meeting these educational requirements is crucial for individuals who wish to become EAs and provide tax services to the public. It ensures that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise to handle complex tax matters and represent taxpayers before the IRS. 

Special Enrollment Exam

The Special Enrollment Exam (SEE), which is the gateway to obtaining the prestigious EA credential, is a comprehensive three-part exam administered by Prometric. Each part is meticulously designed to evaluate candidates’ knowledge and expertise in specific areas of taxation and tax representation. T

o earn the highly regarded EA credential, candidates must not only pass the exam but also achieve the required passing score in each of the three parts. In the upcoming sections, we will delve into the details of what each part of the SEE entails and provide valuable insights to help you navigate this pivotal step on your path to becoming an Enrolled Agent.

Study Resources

Discover the best resources to help you prepare for the EA exams, including study materials and preparatory courses.

Exam Registration

When you’re ready to take the first step in your journey to become an Enrolled Agent (EA), you’ll need to apply for enrollment in the EA program. To do this, you can connect with the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) or the IRS, which oversees the EA credential. Once you’ve completed the enrollment process, you’ll be ready to register for the EA exams.

Registration will involve choosing your exam dates and finding a convenient testing location. This crucial step is made possible through the coordination and services provided by organizations like Prometric. They operate testing centers across the country, ensuring that you can select an exam date and location that best suits your schedule and preferences.

By efficiently navigating the registration process and securing your preferred testing arrangements, you’ll be well on your way to preparing for the EA exams and working towards achieving this respected credential in the field of taxation. The support of organizations like NAEA and the services of testing providers like Prometric play an integral role in helping individuals fulfill their aspirations of becoming Enrolled Agents.

EA Exam Study and Enrolled Agent Courses

To increase your chances of successfully passing the EA exams, thorough preparation is paramount. One effective approach is to enroll in the IRS Enrolled Agents Course, which is specifically designed to equip candidates with the essential knowledge and skills required to tackle the EA exams with confidence.

The EA exam preparation process typically involves an in-depth review of the exam content for each part of the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE). It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific subject matter, question types, and format of the SEE exam, which includes Part 1 (Individuals), Part 2 (Businesses), and Part 3 (Representation, Practice, and Procedures).

Many candidates also opt for an EA Review course, which provides comprehensive study materials and expert guidance to help them grasp the intricacies of tax law and regulations. This structured approach ensures that you cover all the necessary topics and acquire a solid understanding of the material.

The Professional Tax Preparer certification course offered by the Universal Accounting Center is a self-paced program that typically takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to complete. As part of the Professional Tax Preparer program, you will gain access to cutting-edge tax preparation software called UAC TAX. With the guidance of our team of experienced coaches, you will receive comprehensive training on how to effectively utilize this software, setting the stage for a successful and rewarding career in the field of tax preparation.

By investing in thorough exam review and preparation, you can significantly enhance your readiness to tackle the EA exams successfully and work towards becoming a certified Enrolled Agent, a respected designation in the field of taxation.

Taking the Enrolled Agent Exams: Check-in Process and Exam Structure 

Taking the Enrolled Agent Exams involves a check-in process and an exam structure that candidates need to be aware of.

Check-in Process

  • The check-in process typically begins 30 minutes prior to the scheduled exam time.
  • Candidates must bring two forms of identification, one of which must be a government-issued photo ID.
  • After completing the check-in process, candidates are escorted to their assigned computer workstations.

Exam Structure

  • The exam structure consists of three parts, with a total of 100 multiple-choice questions. 
  • The first part focuses on individual taxation, the second part covers business taxation, and the third part encompasses representation, practice, and procedures.
  • Each part is timed and candidates must complete all three parts in a four-hour time frame.
  • The exams are computer-based and candidates can navigate freely between questions. However, they cannot go back to a section once they have completed it.

It is important for candidates to be familiar with the check-in process and exam structure to ensure a smooth test-taking experience. 

Scoring and Results

The Enrolled Agent (EA) exams are graded by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

  • Each part is scored separately, and you must achieve a minimum passing score of 105 on each part.
  • The exams are graded on a scale from 40 to 130, with 105 being the passing score.
  • Once you complete the exams, it can take up to 10 business days for your scores to be processed.
  • You can check the status of your scores by accessing the Candidate Information System on the IRS website.
  • You will receive a notification email once your scores are available.
  • If you pass all the parts, you will then become an Enrolled Agent and receive your credentials from the IRS. However, if you do not pass a part, you will have the opportunity to retake that specific part of the exam in the next testing window. 

Obtaining Enrolled Agent Certification and EA Credentials From the Internal Revenue Service

After passing the EA exams, there are several important steps to follow in order to obtain your Enrolled Agent credentials and officially become certified as an Enrolled Agent. Here’s a breakdown of the key actions:

  1. Review the Candidate Information Bulletin: Once you’ve successfully passed all three parts of the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE), it’s essential to carefully review the Candidate Information Bulletin provided by the IRS. This document contains vital information and guidelines for the next steps in the process. 
  2. Pass a Suitability Check: The IRS will conduct a suitability check to ensure that you meet the ethical and professional standards required of Enrolled Agents. This check assesses your background and character to determine if you are fit to represent taxpayers before the IRS. It’s important to maintain high ethical standards and ensure that your background aligns with these requirements. 
  3. Apply for Enrolled Agent Credentials: To apply for your Enrolled Agent credentials, you’ll need to complete the appropriate application forms and provide the necessary documentation as outlined by the IRS. This includes proof of passing the SEE and meeting the suitability requirements. 
  4. Receive Your Enrolled Agent Credentials: Once your application is processed and approved by the IRS, you’ll be issued your Enrolled Agent credentials. These credentials officially designate you as an Enrolled Agent, authorized to represent taxpayers before the IRS. 
  5. Stay Informed and Compliant: It’s crucial to stay current with updates to the tax code and regulations, as well as maintain compliance with the ethical and professional standards expected of Enrolled Agents. Continuing education and adherence to these standards are vital for maintaining your Enrolled Agent status. 

With these steps completed, you can proudly say that you are an Enrolled Agent, a recognized and respected professional in the field of taxation, authorized to represent clients before the IRS and assist them with their tax-related matters.

Career Opportunities for EAs

Enrolled Agents have a wide range of career paths available to them.

Private Practice

One option is to establish their own private practice, where they can work directly with clients and provide personalized tax services. This allows them to have flexibility in terms of their work schedule and client base.

Tax Firms

Enrolled Agents can work for tax firms, where they can join a team of professionals and collaborate on complex tax cases. This provides an opportunity to learn from experienced colleagues and gain exposure to a variety of tax situations.

Government Positions

Enrolled Agents can also pursue government positions, working for agencies such as the IRS or state tax departments. This allows them to utilize their expertise in tax law to enforce compliance and assist taxpayers in understanding their obligations. 


Becoming Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) opens up additional career opportunities in accounting and financial consulting. With the diverse range of career paths available, Enrolled Agents have the flexibility to choose the option that best aligns with their interests and goals. 



Congratulations on embarking on your journey to become an Enrolled Agent. This comprehensive guide has provided you with the knowledge and resources to get started. Remember that becoming an EA is not just a career choice; it’s a commitment to excellence in the world of taxation.

Dial 877-801-8080 to discover further details on launching your own tax preparation business, just in time to capitalize on the 2024 tax season. Alternatively, you can schedule a convenient time for a discussion. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between an Enrolled Agent and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)?
    • EAs specialize in taxation and are authorized to represent clients before the IRS. CPAs have a broader focus on accounting and may or may not specialize in taxation.
  2. How long does it take to become an Enrolled Agent?
    • The time it takes varies but generally ranges from several months to a year or more, depending on your study pace and exam scheduling.
  3. Are there any prerequisites for taking the EA exams?
    • You need a valid PTIN and must meet specific IRS requirements, which we have outlined in this guide.
  4. Can I become an Enrolled Agent if I have a criminal record?
    • It depends on the nature of your criminal record. The IRS conducts background checks as part of the enrollment process.
  5. Is continuing education required to maintain EA status?
    • Yes, EAs must complete a specified number of continuing education hours every year to stay current with tax laws and regulations.

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