What are the requirements to sit for the CPA Exam?
What does it take to sit for the CPA Exam? While the CPA Exam remains the same worldwide, the requirements vary across each state. Watch the video for more details and visit our CPA State Requirements page for detail.
“Now what does it take,” you ask, “to sit for the exam? What do I need to sit?”
Every state board is a little bit different. The exam itself is the exact same exam nationally and worldwide. It is on federal information only.
For example with taxes, it’s federal tax not state tax. So federal rules. Business law, we’re looking at a majority of jurisdictions. It’s federal, federal, federal.
However, each state regulates what it takes to become a CPA in their particular state. Most states, first of all you need a bachelor’s degree. In a lot of states, you need a 150 semester or 225 quarter units just to sit. Other states all you need is 120 units to sit, but you need a 150 units in order to get certified.
In order in sit, in most states, you need 24 semester units in accounting, 24 semester units in business.
But as I said, you can check our website for the details for each of your individual states. Because each state, as I said, has different requirements. What it takes to sit, and what it takes to get certified.
“Now how do you apply for the exam?” First of all, you go online. And basically you’re gonna fill out the application. It usually costs about one to two hundred dollars to apply the first time. And in most states, it’s about a $50 repeat process.
In some cases, and there’s like 32 plus jurisdictions, where NASBA National Association of State Board of Accountancy, you can apply through them, and it takes about one or two weeks in order to finish everything up. In order to get your notice to schedule.
A lot of the other states, they don’t want NASBA to do it for them, because they want the revenue for their states, so then you have to go to those individual state boards in order to sign up.
All the states or the NASBA would require your transcripts. With your transcripts, generally you have to have a degree complete. And they’ll be looking for the 24 semester units in accounting, 24 in business. If it’s a state where it’s 150 units to sit, they’ll be looking for that as well.
Then, you get this thing called an ATT, an Authorization To Test. It is good for 90 days. At that point, I’ve got 90 days to choose which parts I want to sit for in the next six, to nine, to twelve months, depending on my notice to schedule, how long it is.
Each states a little different. Most states, their notice to schedule is good for six months. Some states are nine months, some states, there’s a couple that are 12 months. That means whatever part you paid for, you have that long to sit.
Now as far as paying for the parts, they’re roughly, let’s say the longer, it’s all based on time. Let’s say for example, since FAR and audit are longer, they’re a little more expensive, let’s say close to $200 each. The other shorter ones are about $175 each. So all four parts are like seven to eight hundred dollars for all four.
But here’s the key, you don’t have to pay for all four if you don’t plan to sit for them within the time limit of your notice to schedule. So if my notice to schedule is six months, if I don’t think I’m gonna sit for all four in six months, go ahead and just pay for two or three, you can always add the extra.
And here’s the key, when you first apply, it could take anywhere from two weeks with NASBA, to maybe six weeks in your individual state to get your notice to schedule.
When you reapply, they already have your transcripts, they’ve done the background and so forth, so there it takes maybe a week, and it’s $50. So it’s kinda like having that option contract for $50.
So I suggest you sign up for maybe two or three the first time. You can always add the extra.
Then you receive your notice to schedule. If you don’t sit within that time period the fees are forfeited. That’s why I always tell people, don’t necessarily pay for all four, you can pay for two, and add more later.
But if you sign up for all four, and you don’t sit within let’s say your six months, then hey, I’ve just given some money to the state. Which the state appreciates, because they all need money.
You have to make sure your name exactly matches your notice to schedule and your ID. “Hey, I just got married, I changed my name.” Guess what, make sure everything matches.
Then you schedule your exam with prometrics, and as I said, about 6 days a week you go in and take the exam, and then you receive your scores.
When you receive your scores, generally, it releases the scores when you take the exam in the window.
Let’s say January. Basically they’ll go about 40 days out and they’ll say, “OK, the first 40 days, now we grade them.” And about 11 days later they release the scores. And then the same kind of thing, 20 days, and then six days later. 20 days, and then six days later.
What happens is, you’ll get your results depending on when you took it. If you took it on January 1st, you may not get your results for 50 days. But if you took the exam towards the end of that, let’s say towards the end of January, you could have your results in a week or two.
That’s when they release, they release the scores in three basic waves each window.
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