If you’re hoping to enhance your accounting career and advertise your tax expertise, you’re an ideal candidate for the enrolled agent (EA) designation. As an enrolled agent, you can enjoy these benefits as well as improved standing before the IRS. You also won’t have to spend as much time, money, or effort on the EA as you would other designations.
However, earning the EA designation requires you to pass the Enrolled Agent exam, officially titled the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE). Therefore, you will have to pay some exam fees. You’ll also need to purchase the best enrolled agent review course for you. But not to worry! I will walk you through all of the enrolled agent designation costs. Then, I’ll help you save money on essentials for EA success.
In order to take the EA exam and become an enrolled agent, you must address the following fees:
As you can see, your biggest EA expenses will be the testing fees and the EA review course materials. So, let’s see how we can lower the cost of your enrolled agent exam prep. That way, you can establish a practical EA designation budget.
If you review my analysis of the best enrolled agent courses, you can see that the most affordable option on the market is the Passkey EA Book. This book costs less than $200. It’s also the most popular Enrolled Agent exam book because it is well-written, clearly organized, and packed with about 1,000 practice questions.
So, should you buy the cheapest enrolled agent prep course on the market just to save money?
You may have noticed that the Passkey EA Book is just a book. No other study materials are included. For some candidates, this is exactly what they need. For others, a book alone would not give them enough exposure to the EA exam content.
How much study materials and guidance you need to pass depends on how much you already know. A comprehensive book may be perfect for you if you’re already very knowledgeable about federal taxation. It will supply you with a content overview and a quick refresh of the most important topics.
If you are not as experienced with federal tax, you should invest in an integrated learning system offering a variety of resources. With such a course, you can brush up on the basics and strengthen your weak areas. The goal is to achieve mastery in every subject, even the most troublesome or unfamiliar ones.
If you do need a complete EA review course, you can’t buy the truly cheapest EA course. But you can still get a great deal on your EA exam prep.
Passkey may be the most popular enrolled agent prep book, but it is not the most popular course on the market. If you need more than just a book to pass the Enrolled Agent exam, you should consider other popular, more complete courses like Gleim EA. In doing so, you can determine which enrolled agent review course will give you the most value for the price.
In my opinion, the Gleim EA Review Course presents the best combination of value and money. The Traditional Gleim EA Review Course, which costs $529.95, has the largest test bank available, with more than 3,500 practice questions. It also achieves impressive coverage of the exam content with expertly-authored books. Finally, the Traditional Gleim EA course supports your entire enrolled agent journey with access to exam mentors. When you purchase the Premium Gleim EA Review Course, which costs $629.95 for all 3 parts, you also receive audio lectures, access to accounting experts, and an access-until-you-pass guarantee.
Plus, the Gleim Premium course also includes video lectures, as does Fast Forward Academy EA Review, another option to consider. But still, from a cost-saving perspective, my general recommendation is Gleim EA Review.
Another affordable option to consider is Lambers EA Review. Lambers has a single goal: teach their students what they need to know to pass the EA Exam. The Lambers instructors have been teaching EA and CPA reviews for 20+ years. The Lambers study materials break down recent exam trends to show you what topics are most frequently tested. Plus, in their videos, the instructors work through 100s of former exam questions with you. They also outline what you should memorize to pass the exam.
The Lambers materials, like video lessons and test banks, are normally sold separately. And the price can really add up, making Lambers review unaffordable for many EA test-takers on a budget. However, they offer a special Complete EA Bundle for I Pass readers. With the bundle, you get 55+ hours of video lessons that guide you through the Lambers EA textbooks, which are available as digital files. The Lambers Test Prep database has 2,100+ questions, which is much smaller than Gleim’s. The Complete EA Bundle also comes with 450+ electronic flashcards, mock exams, and personalized support from professional experts when you have a question.
With a 70% discount for I Pass readers, the Complete EA Bundle costs $499. So, it’s an affordable EA review program to consider. However, although they are packed with good information, the videos are rather dry. So take that into account if you learn best from watching video lessons.
If you’d like to save even more money, try these 3 tips for cutting enrolled agent exam prep costs.
The IRS administers the Enrolled Agent exam, and as a government-run agency, they don’t give out discounts on testing fees. Therefore, we can really only hope for discounts on enrolled agent exam prep. Thankfully, there are plenty of those to choose from. You can get exclusive EA exam prep discounts from me on all of the EA review courses I’ve mentioned here and more.
While taking some time to search for good deals and discounts is fine, you need to put the majority of your time into studying for the exam so you can pass each part on your first attempt. Failing an exam part and having to pay for a retake is costlier than missing out on a slightly better EA review course discount.
The testing fee for 1 exam part is $203. This money goes down the drain as soon as you fail an exam part. And, of course, you’ll have to pay it again to pass the entire exam. Don’t forget: you’ll lose not only money but also the time as well for each part you fail.
Therefore, you must do your absolute best to be completely prepared, which will require laser-like focus and expert exam tactics. Use my ultimate EA exam study tips to develop the most effective habits and avoid an EA exam part re-take.
For more information about your EA review course options, check out my detailed analysis of the best EA review courses available. If you’d like more specific advice on the best EA exam prep for you, feel free to leave a comment or email me. I wish you the best with the Enrolled Agent exam!
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.