CPA Ethics Exam California

California Ethics Exam Requirements

Many candidates who pass the CPA Exam face one more important test before they earn a license to practice as Certified Public Accountants—an Ethics Exam. California like many other states varies their ethics requirements for a CPA license just as they vary their requirements for the CPA Exam.

Below we will be discussing the requirements for the state of California.

California Board of Accountancy regulations require all applicants to complete and pass a CBA-accepted ethics examination within two years of applying for the CPA license. It is not necessary to take the California ethics examination until you are prepared to apply for the CPA license.

The only ethics examination CBA accepts is the Professional Ethics for CPAs (PETH) examination administered by the California CPA (CalCPA) Education Foundation. The PETH examination can be ordered at CalCPA's website at or sending an email to CalCPA at Applicants also may telephone CalCPA at (800) 922-5272.

Preparing for the Exam

Candidates receive the PETH self-study course in either an online or text format. Candidates should allow 5-7 business days for delivery for text purchases. Rush shipping is available for an additional fee. The online course may be accessed through the candidate’s account on Allow about 16 hours to read the 300-page study book and complete the test.

The exam materials cover the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and California Accountancy Act and Accounting Rules and Regulations.

The Exam Format

There are 50 multiple-choice questions. No time limit is set on completing the exam. Candidates must pass the exam with a grade of 90 percent or no more than five missed questions.

Completing The Test

The exam must be completed within one year from the date of purchase. Test results are valid for two years while the candidate completes all licensing requirements for the California Board of Accountancy.

Receiving Scores

Results are available instantly to candidates by email. CalCPA Education Foundation notifies the California Board of Accountancy on a weekly basis of all successfully completed exam scores.

Exam Fees

Candidates must pay the following fees to CalCPA:

  • Online Format
  • $150 for Nonmembers
  • $125 for CalCPA Members
  • Text Format
  • $165 for Nonmembers
  • $130 for CalCPA Members

CPA Candidates are eligible for one year of free membership in CalCPA. Visit or call (800) 922-5272 to join.
Retaking the exam

Candidates have six attempts to pass the PETH Exam. After the third attempt, candidates will need to request reactivation of the course by CalCPA Education Foundation Customer Service at (800) 922-5272. Candidates must repurchase the self-study course after the sixth effort. Candidates may retake the PETH Exam at any time within one year of their purchase date.

Ready For The Ethics Exam?

Now that general overview of the Ethics Exam. Feel free to click the button below and grab yourself a copy of our free Ethics Exam Guide.

‘The 28 Things You Need To Know About The Ethics Exam'

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