CPA License Requirements
Each of the 55 US jurisdictions has its own Board of Accountancy that is responsible for licensing the CPAs who practice in that state/jurisdiction. Just like the requirements for the CPA Exam, the licensure requirements for each state differ slightly, so be sure to check with your specific Board of Accountancy.
How to Get a CPA License
Generally, each state board requires a total of 150 semester/225 quarter units from a state accredited college or university. Many colleges and universities try to meet this units requirement by offering bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Accounting with a mix of accounting, business, and general education classes that count towards CPA licensure. In order to meet the unit requirement for licensure, candidates may choose to enroll in an MA, MBA, or 5 year integrated BA/MA program; however, these options are not necessarily requirements in your state as you may be able to attain the extra units through a minor, BA elective courses, or community college classes. Check your state’s CPA Exam education requirements.
Passing the CPA Exam
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Most states require at least one to two years of public accounting experience. While non-public accounting experience is also widely accepted, the number of required years is generally higher. Work experience from before, during, or after passing the CPA Exam will count if it was done under the management of a licensed CPA. Most states will count part-time work and internships by hours as well. Make sure to have the appropriate experience forms filled out by your employer based on the sector of accounting you have chosen, such as attestation or tax. To maintain your CPA license, most State Boards require CPAs to take a specified number of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours within a certain period. Check your State Board for more information.
Most states require a CPA applicant to complete an Ethics course or Ethics exam before licensure. The exam is often administered online at home and a passing score is considered a 90% or better. This exam generally must be completed within two years of passing the CPA Exam. Check your State Board for details.