The Best States to Sit for the CPA Exam and Why


The process to qualify and apply to sit for the CPA Exam can be a stressful one.

Not only do you have to follow a set protocol for submitting all your information and fee payments to ensure that you’re eligible, but you also have to wait in most cases to finish meeting these requirements before you can actually schedule the first section(s) of your exam. Particularly the education part.

Many states require candidates to have at least 150 credit hours before they can even consider taking the CPA Exam.

This means that candidates have to wait until they have completed all of the necessary educational requirements, which can take several months. While candidates can begin studying for the first part of their exam while meeting the 150 credit hours simultaneously, they still won’t be able to sit for the exam until they finish their very last class and have received passing credit for it. 

Enter provisionary states.

These are states that give CPA Exam candidates a provisionary period to sit for the exam before they have officially completed meeting the educational requirements. For example, North Dakota has a provisionary period of 180 days or 6 months. This means if you’re due to meet the 150 credit hours and graduate in June 2021, you can actually sit for the exam as early as January 2020. You simply go to the provisionary state’s Board of Accountancy website and fill out the proper paperwork. 

Here is a list of the provisionary states and the days allotted for each. 

Michigan30 days
Colorado60 days
Indiana60 days
Missouri60 days
Wisconsin60 days
South Dakota100 days
Iowa120 days
Maine120 days
Minnesota120 days
North Dakota180 days
Washington180 days
Tennessee200 days
New YorkAnytime — 120 credit hours must be complete

There is, however, one small catch.

You won’t be able to receive your scores for the section(s) you tested for until you have fulfilled the educational requirements. But don’t let this deter you from considering taking the exam early. Here are a few great reasons why provisionary states can really help you in the long run:

  • Get ahead in your careerYour future employers will see that you’re dedicated and serious about getting ahead of the game. This can give you a competitive edge amongst your peers applying for the same positions. 
  • Earn benefits sooner: We understand that the last thing you probably want to do is study for the CPA Exam while you’re in school, but if you can pass sooner rather than later, you can definitely take advantage of bonuses firms offer or simply have less to worry about once you’re done with school and have started work. Additionally, your brain is already in study mode, so you’ll already be in the right mindset to tackle the exam. 

Need help fitting the CPA Exam into your schedule? 

Our SmartPath Predictive Technology is helping candidates pass the CPA Exam faster than ever before. It’s a data-driven platform that provides targeted recommendations on how to focus your efforts by comparing your progress and performance to those that have passed the CPA Exam. Students who meet all SmartPath targets have a 94% pass rate! 

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