CPA Exam Requirements
In order to take the CPA Exam, you must first meet a specific set of requirements. We’ll walk you through the necessary qualifications you must have to sit for the Exam. Then, once you’re well-versed in what’s required of you, continue on to learn your state’s CPA Exam application process.
How to Qualify for the CPA Exam
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Knowing what you need to do to schedule your first CPA Exam section can be overwhelming. But we're here to help! Get step-by-step guidance on how to qualify and apply to the CPA Exam here.
How to Apply for the CPA Exam
- Apply to sit for the CPA Exam. Navigate to the NASBA website and choose your jurisdiction to begin the Exam process. Depending on your location, this is done through either your State Board of Accountancy or NASBA CPA Examination Services (CPAES): http://nasba.org/stateboards.
- Submit transcripts and application fee. Based upon the requirements of your state board of accountancy, you will submit your University transcripts and pay the associated application fees.
- Receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) or approval to take the CPA Exam. Your ATT is only valid for 90 days, so make sure to register for your exams promptly.
- Choose the CPA Exam section(s) you’d like to start with and pay required CPA Exam fees to NASBA. It’s important to note that once you sign up to sit for a section with NASBA, you’ll have 6 to 12 months access before access and fees are forfeited.
CPA Exam Application Steps
- Apply Online
- Send transcripts to State Board
- Receive Authorization to Test (ATT)
- Select Exams and pay NASBA Fees
Qualifying and Applying for the CPA Exam Q&A
You can obtain 150 units in order to meet the CPA Exam education requirements and/or CPA licensure requirements in two ways:
- Complete a master’s degree program.
- Earn the necessary units by taking additional classes from an accredited college or university.
Each state/jurisdiction requires that a certain number of the credits be from accounting courses.
Depending on your jurisdiction, you will either need 120 or 150 semester units to be eligible to sit for the CPA. Most states/jurisdictions now require or will require 150 semester hours of education for CPA licensure. Contact your state board to know the requirements to apply for licensure.
Qualifying and Applying - International Students Q&A
The International Qualification Examination (IQEX) is for accounting professionals who are members of non-U.S. professional associations and have entered into mutual recognition agreements with the U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB).
Through a mutual recognition agreement (MRA), qualified professional accountants from another country can practice in the United States without having to completely re-credential. Similar recognition is given to U.S. CPAs who wish to practice in that same country. The exam covers ethics, professional and legal responsibilities, business law and taxation related specifically to U.S. accounting practice.
- Select which state in which you would like to become a CPA.
- Research and complete the state’s qualifications for citizenship, residency, and education requirements to sit for the U.S. CPA Exam. Each state is different and may have specific requirements. However, the most important thing you will need to have is following: A bachelor’s degree and completion of a minimum of 150 credit hours in business or accounting.
- After you have met the educational requirements, contact the Board of Accountancy or CPA Examination Services (CPAES) through NASBA, depending on your jurisdiction. Get application materials, submit completed applications and pay required fees.
For more information about taking the US CPA Exam as an International student, check out our intertanational students page.
For CPA Exam applicants who have completed education outside the United States,The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) offers academic evaluation services. These services are available for CPA examination and licensing only.