CPA Exam Requirements
Interested in sitting for the uniform CPA Exam in 2015? You’re in the right place. Here you will find up-to-date information and answers pertaining to the general requirements for qualifying to sit for the uniform CPA Exam in 2015, as well as information and links to state specific requirement pages.
While preparing for this exam requires steadfast diligence and in-depth study, the payoff for obtaining your CPA license can be incredibly rewarding, both financially and psychologically. With this in mind, know that you’ll be setting yourself up on a path toward a successful and lucrative career in a field that continues to grow in necessity.
While we strive to provide you accurate up to date information, it is important to recognize that each U.S. state and territory has their own CPA Exam requirements which can and do change from time to time. Many of the jurisdictions are similar in their requirements, but because the Certified Public Accountant licensure is regulated by individual state boards of accountancy, the requirements can and do differ between jurisdictions therefore it is a good practice to double check with your individual state board (ask us your questions about each state). The good news is that because of the CPA license's mobility, almost all jurisdictions allow you to practice in another state without being licensed directly in that state.
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Most state boards of accountancy require a minimum of 150 hours of post-secondary education from a regionally accredited institution. This typically equates to a Master’s degree. Most state boards also require a minimum number of college credits in various accounting topics and business law. So if you want to become a CPA by first passing the CPA Exam, plan on obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in accounting (typically at least 120 semester hours) as well as a Master’s degree in accounting or taxation (typically at least 30 semester hours). In some states, having a Master’s degree in accounting or taxation and a Bachelor’s degree in another subject will suffice, however this depends on each state board’s core course requirements. Visit your state’s board of accountancy website for specific information.
Non-accounting Majors and Core Course Requirements
If you do not meet the core course requirements for your state, but do meet the general education requirements, you may want to consider getting another Master’s degree, this time in accounting or taxation. Alternatively, you can take the necessary accounting courses in a non-degree granting program. Note that the state board will ask for your transcripts and will evaluate the courses, so obtaining another Master’s degree in accounting or taxation from a regionally accredited institution is the safest route.
States Without 150 Hour Education Requirement
As of May 2012, there are just a few jurisdictions that do not currently require 150 hours of education and have not announced a change to their requirements to sit for the CPA Exam and be licensed. Below are those three jurisdictions and what they do require in addition to three jurisdictions that have recently announced changes to their requirements. However, the trend is toward 150 hours of education to sit for the CPA Exam and for licensure, so if you’re just starting your education, you should be prepared to obtain at least 150 hours as the requirements in these states are likely to change.
California. If you have a Bachelor’s degree that meets California’s core course requirements and have started working full-time under direct supervision of a CPA before January 1, 2012, you may be eligible to sit for the CPA Exam. Effective January 1, 2014, all candidates will need 150 hours of education including core course requirements to take the CPA Exam and gain licensure.
Colorado. You can sit for the CPA Exam with a Bachelor’s degree, as long as 27 of those semester hours are in accounting courses (three of those in audit) and 21 semester hours are in business courses. Effective July 1, 2015, Colorado will also require 150 hours of education to sit for the CPA Exam.
Delaware. Effective August 1, 2012, all candidates need to have 150 hours of education to sit for the CPA Exam.
New Hampshire. You can sit for the CPA Exam with a Bachelor’s degree, as long as it includes at least 24 semester hours in business, including at least 12 semester hours in accounting. However, effective July 1, 2014, candidates will need 150 hours of education to be licensed. Meaning you can still sit for the exam with just 120 hours, but you will need 150 hours before you will be licensed to practice.
Pennsylvania. Minimally you need 120 hours and 24 semester hours in accounting which must include three semester hours in general accounting and three semester hours in auditing, business law, finance or taxation. However, the licensure experience requirement scales with your education, so if you only have 120 hours of education, you will need two years of experience to be licensed to practice.
Vermont. You can sit for the CPA Exam with only 120 hours of education, as long as it includes 30 semester hours in accounting and business including six semester hours of financial and/or managerial accounting (excluding Introductory Accounting), three semester hours of auditing, three semester hours of U.S. taxation and three semester hours of U.S. business law.
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For more information on state-specific CPA Exam requirements for 2015, simply access our resources for each state.