About Becker Professional Education
Becker Professional Education, a part of DeVry Inc. (NYSE: DV), is a global leader in professional education serving the accounting, finance and project management professions. Nearly half a million professionals have advanced their careers through its CPA Exam Review, PMP® Exam Review and Continuing Professional Education courses. Throughout its more than 50 year history, Becker has earned a strong track record of student success through world-class teaching, curriculum and learning tools that enable its students to develop the knowledge and performance skills necessary to stay ahead in an ever-changing business world.
The Becker Story
The early years
Like many successful companies, Becker began small in size and inspired by a great idea. The year was 1957. One man stood in front of eight of his colleagues in the Cleveland offices of their employer, Price Waterhouse. Their common goal was success on the CPA exam. Their path to that goal was a previously untested approach, the brainchild of a man who had studied and sometimes struggled, mostly on his own, to pass the exam just a few years earlier.
That man was Newt Becker. As a graduate student in accounting at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University in 1956 and with three years of working experience under his belt at Price Waterhouse, Newt decided to go for his CPA credential. When he sought resources to help him prepare for the rigors of the exam, he found that they were few in number, and most of those were woefully inadequate.
There had to be a better way, he reasoned, a program that not only provided a tightly focused review of the subject matter to be tested, but also taught candidates to “take” the examination and succeed. So Newt designed the course he had imagined and taught it free to eight of his colleagues.
Once his students’ success proved the value of Newt’s approach, the partners asked him to expand the course. Later, he struck out on his own in 1960 to devote full time to his vision and to bring it to the outside world. The rest of that story, as they say, is history—the dynamic and successful foundation of what has become Becker Professional Education today.
Expansion and growth
With a proven methodology, well constructed content, and remarkably consistent student successes on the CPA exam, Newt faced a different sort of challenge - his ability to grow the company. He found the solution in what was then state-of the art technology—the portable reel-to-reel tape recorder and the overhead projector. Soon he was recording lectures in his distinctive style and distributing the tapes to local instructors—complete with instructions, overhead transparencies, and hand-out materials. Through technology and tenaciousness, the distribution barriers of time and space were overcome.
By the mid-1980s, students in approximately 90 cities in the United States could take advantage of the Becker CPA Review classroom course. International expansion began in 1989 with the opening of classrooms in Canada. Beginning in 1995, a flurry of international expansion resulted in 14 locations in the Middle East, Pacific Rim and Canada—some operated by local educational companies under license from Becker. Today, Becker is truly global with partner locations in more than 55 countries, now including Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Self study courses are available in over 120 countries worldwide.
By the mid-1990s, faced with a changing CPA exam environment and his own personal plans, Newt sold the business to DeVry Inc. in 1996.
Focus on student success
In the tradition that Newt Becker began 50 years ago, Becker Professional Education still measures its success by the success of its students. Students who prepare for the CPA exam with Becker pass at double the rate of non-Becker candidates and Becker is the only CPA review provider that engages an independent third-party research firm to validate its pass rate claim.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has been awarding the Elijah Watt Sells Award to the top CPA candidates nationally, who, on their first attempt, achieve the highest cumulative scores for all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination. Since the AICPA began recognizing the Elijah Watt Sells Award recipients beginning in 2005, a remarkable 89 percent of the winners (66 of 74) have studied with Becker’s CPA Exam Review.
Newt Becker died on January 2, 2012 at the age of 83. All of us at Becker Professional Education owe Newt our gratitude for the painstaking effort that he and his early colleagues expended to produce the best product to prepare for the CPA exam. Newt truly cared about each student and his goal was fulfilling their dreams to earn the CPA credential and to ultimately enrich their lives. His legacy of putting the student first has resulted in the Becker culture that thrives today. We honor his legacy.