Preparing for the Enrolled Agent Exam

What is the best preparation to become an EA?  They say there is no substitute for experience and I don’t know anyone who has passed the EA Exam without at least 2 tax seasons of tax preparation experience.  I’m sure there are people smarter than me who can pass by just studying, but will they be good tax preparers?  My belief is that both education and experience are needed to pass the EA exam.  One source of the education is the Chartered Tax Professional-CTP certificate program (link below) which consists of six 10-lesson (30-hour) courses in basic, advanced and small business tax preparation (180 hours).   If you employ tax preparers, do you provide access to professional education as a career track leading to the EA credential?