I understand why you would get a license without wanting to practice.
I, too, don't want to practice long-term, but want to attain the
license for career advancement purposes.
The bottom line is, that you will have to practice for a period of time
in order to achieve the license. That is where I am in my career right
now. Currently I work in a small firm, and I am studying for the exam.
I've almost completed my second Master's degree (this one in
Accounting) which will give me the education requirements. I can tell
you that the requirements (both educational and practice) are not just
there as a barrier to entry, they are absolutely necessary.
Everyday I encounter issues that I've learned about in school, but when
it comes to putting it into context with what I am dealing with, it's
not that simple. I NEED the help of my colleagues.
Even if you could self-study to take the exam, you would not be able to
apply what you've learned from the books correctly without guidance. I
am working on my first audit, and I am auditing the Accounts Payable
account. This morning I was so focused on making sure that amounts
were accrued in the correct period, that I didn't realize the nature of
the payable I was working on was actually a prepaid expense (as opposed
to a regular expense). This is a minor example where I was corrected
by one of my colleagues, and that was just this morning!
Working with other CPAs is the only way to insure that when you become
licensed you are MINIMALLY competent to be called a CPA. Also, the
requirements help keep the standards for the profession high, which is
very important, considering we deal with other people's money.
I wish there was a short-cut, as I am 40 years old and changing careers
(from corporate sales) but there isn't. Every day I go to work at my
small firm, I learn exactly WHY there is no simple path.
Sorry for being so long-winded, but I started this path similar with a
similar idea as you, so I thought I'd chime in. Best to you.