Teacher Feature: Kevin Erdkamp, Department Chair of Accounting

From stocking potato chips to Department Chair of Accounting, Professor Erdkamp has learned and grown throughout his life. In turn, there is much to learn from one of Coastline’s most accomplished teachers.

Like all writers before and after me can most likely admit: numbers aren’t my forte. Fortunately for me (and all the other numerally-challenged people out there), our world is gifted with brilliant brains like Professor Kevin Erdkamp. On today’s Teacher Feature, Professor Kevin Erdkamp, Coastline’s very own Head of Accounting, takes the spotlight as we learn who he is and why accounting is an outstanding career pursuit.

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Why Accounting?

My dad is a CPA and always has been, so “Why Accounting?” is a question I ask quite frequently. For Professor Erdkamp and his students at Coastline, the answer is obvious.

For Professor Erdkamp

Professor Erdkamp was quick to acknowledge that the Coastline Accounting Department staff come with “so much depth and breadth from their careers” and that they “are deeply passionate about teaching and giving back”. As a student, that is (or should be) music to our ears. From my perspective, the more passionate an individual is towards something, the more they crave to share it, granting knowledge to all eager to hear.

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For Students

One of the biggest ways our Accounting Department give back to the students is through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site and courses. Professor Erdkamp shared that “This VITA site teaches students practical skills in communicating with and preparing income tax returns for qualified low to moderate income individuals for free.  Many of our student volunteers get internships, jobs or transfer to their dream university from this VITA site”. He just spoke the college students’ magic words: free, internships and jobs. Not only that, Coastline’s Accounting Department also offers “CPA office tours and an event called Meet the Firms” that exposes students to internships with firms from CalCPA “from (the comfort of) their own home!”. It is abundantly clear now “Why Accounting?” when considering Coastline’s Program.

Pursuing a career in accounting is a smart move, considering the field’s excellent job outlook in 2021 and beyond. In fact, the need for accounting professionals is expected to increase by 6% through 2029, according to the BLS. As openings arise from retired workers or those changing occupation, the need for the next future accountants is strong. The demand for an accounting degree is so strong that many students are recruited by accounting and finance firms even before they graduate (which happens often to Coastline Students, according to Professor Erdkamp). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) about 125,700 job openings for accountants and auditors are projected each year, on average, from 2019 to 2029. With a median annual wage at $71,550 from May 2019, with the highest 10% earned more than $124,450, accounting is an exceptionally prosperous and sturdy job.

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Professor Kevin Erdkamp is a man of hard work and loyalty, whose favorite color is blue. He loves to spend time with his family, cycle and “play poker even if it is just with friends”. He has been an educator at Coastline for eight years now, teaching Accounting, Taxation, Financial and Managerial Accounting, QuickBooks, Intermediate Accounting, Accounting for Non-Financial Managers, Personal and Business Taxation, and Orange County United Way’s VITA I and VITA II courses. Kevin Erdkamp’s passion for accounting materialized in his first class at CSUF and he strives to bestow that passion to his students today.

Professor Erdkamp began gaining work experience in college at various locations, “stocking potato chips, unloading UPS semis and Chief Auto Parts in retail” while working on his Undergraduate and Graduate at California State University – Fullerton. In his Junior year, Erdkamp interned at a large CPA firm, only to graduate into a smaller firm after college. From there, he worked as an accountant for a construction company where he was “quickly promote to an Executive Vice President position that lasted over 17 years”. Professor Erdkamp is devoted to student success and urges all to consider accounting classes for a successful future.

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From Past to Present

The educational landscape (especially in 2020 and 2021) has proven vastly different than when Professor Erdkamp was in school. But, with experience comes wisdom.

School: Then vs. Now

As some of us many be able to recall (2020 was a long year), Professor Erdkamp went to school when “there was no online education. … All student coursework including homework and exams were done on pencil and paper”. Today, we are blessed with the opportunity for continued education through online learning. At Coastline, online integration has been an integral part of learning even before the pandemic forced it.

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Coastline Today

I moved to Costa Mesa at the beginning of 2020, visited the New Port Beach Coastline campus and was excited to start my adventure. Unfortunately, the universe had other plans. All I’ve known throughout my college experience (as I’m on my third quarter here at Coastline) is online learning. When asked what he’s learned from the Coronavirus Times, Professor Erdkamp responded that “I have witnessed the unrelenting will of our Coastline students. Our students endure a lot even without the 2020 events.  Their resolve inspires me to help them in any way I can.” Even as I’m sitting by myself in a virtual classroom, I know that I am not alone. At Coastline, with the help of teachers like Professor Erdkamp, the silver lining is a brushstroke.

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Bits of Advice

At this point, I’d like to reiterate, math is hard. If you were to ask Professor Erdkamp for one piece of advice, it would be to take an accounting class. He recalls that “every semester, I consistently hear of at least one current or former student who was able to improve their life with a better job or position where they work from taking Coastline accounting courses”. So, instead of brushing off accounting as something that doesn’t interest you, take one class. Try it out and see if you enjoy it. Professor Erdkamp also mentions to contact your professor as soon as you are struggling in a class. “We want you to succeed”.

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Professor Kevin Erdkamp is an outstanding teacher and mentor, but he is just one of many here at Coastline. Whether your interest lies in English, Biological Sciences, Computer Networking and Cybersecurity or anything in between, Coastline will come to you.

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