SALISBURY, N.C. – In today’s thriving business landscape, the demand for skilled accounting and finance professionals is high, and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s accounting program offers an affordable path to prepare for jobs in this dynamic industry.

“The business world is booming, and skilled accounting and finance professionals are needed for every type of company, from healthcare and education to manufacturing and technology,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.

When he graduated from high school, Hawke Blust had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. He really didn’t plan on going to college and figured he would join the Army or work in construction.

Hawke BlustAs is often the case in life, a split second changed those plans forever. Driving on a rainy evening, he took a curve too hard, over-corrected and flipped his truck. Most of the bones in his left foot were crushed, ending his plan for any kind of physical job. Shortly afterward, his fiancé was diagnosed with a brain tumor and faced an uncertain future and mounting medical bills. Blust wanted to take care of her financially and help ease her burdens, but since he could no longer pursue manual labor for employment, he wasn’t sure where to turn.

He had always been good at math in high school, so he enrolled in the Rowan-Cabarrus accounting program and was soon enthralled with the way accounting “keeps the world in order.” Although he never imagined being so interested in numbers, Blust graduated with an accounting degree in May of 2019. He is now working to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

“I have a passion for numbers, and accounting is a cornerstone of society and will always be in demand,” Blust said.

“I initially chose Rowan-Cabarrus because it was close to my home, but the deal maker was the respected accounting program and the help of financial aid,” Blust said. “The program was tough at times, but my peers and teachers kept me motivated. When it was difficult to meet deadlines and there was just too much going on that was out of my control, I would reach out to my teachers. Their compassion and understanding helped me keep my grades up. The experience was amazing.”

The Rowan-Cabarrus accounting curriculum provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to analyze, process and communicate essential information about financial operations. Upon graduation, they qualify for a variety of positions in organizations including accounting firms, small businesses, manufacturing companies, banks, hospitals and government agencies.

Rowan-Cabarrus also offers related accounting and finance course options, such as the recent addition of a “fast-track” CPA exam diploma designed especially for students who have already earned a four-year degree and want to complete the requirements to take the uniform exam to become a Certified Public Accountant. The new fast-track program features eight-week “minimester” classes offered online and on Saturdays so that the 40-hour diploma can be completed in one year rather than two.

“Students with four-year degrees who want to go on and take the CPA exam need certain courses and credits to be able to do so, and this path offers the perfect way for them to reach their goals in a convenient and timely manner,” said Martha Cranford, who leads the accounting faculty at Rowan-Cabarrus.

For more information about the Rowan-Cabarrus accounting program, please visit