Accountants who are considering working toward their CPA license might want to know what the requirements are for CPA licensure. The main requirements for CPA licensure are fulfilling education requirements, passing the CPA Exam, passing the ethics exam, and obtaining work experience. Some of these CPA Exam requirements are not required in every state. So, before beginning your CPA journey, be sure to check with your State Board of Accountancy to find out what is required in your jurisdiction.
The education requirement is usually having a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or other business-related area of expertise. If you don’t have an accounting degree, you can normally make up this requirement by taking additional accounting courses. Also, many states require an additional 15 credit hours of accounting education before you can complete the next requirement of passing the CPA Exam. This can be met by completing a master’s degree in accounting or by taking additional classes.
CPA Exam Requirement
Once you have met the educational requirements, it’s time to apply to take the CPA Exam. The CPA Exam is a four-section exam that requires a score of 75 or higher to pass. Each section of the exam is taken independently, and the degree of difficulty varies by each section. The CPA Exam is not an easy test to pass, so it is recommended that you partner with a CPA Review course to help you pass quickly and easily.
Once you have completed your educational requirements, the steps to apply for the CPA Exam are:
- Apply on the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s (NASBA) Website to begin the process.
- Submit your college or university academic transcripts and pay the CPA Exam application fee.
- Receive your Authorization to Test or ATT, which is valid for 90 days.
- Choose which CPA Exam section you want to take first.
- Submit payment to NASBA for the CPA Exam section fees.
To fulfill the experience requirement to become a CPA, most states want their CPA candidates to have at least two years of public accounting experience. Candidates can have non-public accounting experience, but more working hours are required for licensure. Work experience can be fulfilled before, during, or after sitting for the CPA Exam, but all experience must be under a licensed CPA. If you want to find out how much work experience you must have to become a CPA, contact your State Board of Accountancy.
The ethics exam requirement isn’t required by every state. If your state does require an ethics exam, you must score a 90% or above on it to pass. Most of the time, the exam is given as a take-home online exam and can be completed in two years. Again, check your State Board of Accountancy for information about the ethics exam requirement in your state.
The CPA license is attainable for those who want to work through the requirements for licensure. While it might seem difficult to get through all of the steps needed to obtain licensure, having the letters “CPA” after your name will be beneficial for your career and future.
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