CPA License Requirements

A Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, is an accountant that is recognized by the state. In order to become a CPA, you must pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (Uniform CPA Exam), which is set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The requirements to become a CPA differ from state to state.

The general requirement for becoming a Certified Public Accountant typically requires a specific level of education, namely a four-year Bachelor’s degree that involves a certain number of business administration and accounting courses, combined with an additional year of study. This rule, known as the “150 Hour Rule,” is currently used by 45 states.

Depending on the state in which you intend to practice, you may need a certain amount of work experience to be eligible for certification. In some states, the work experience can be waived due to high academic standing or by taking the Uniform CPA Exam itself. States that require work experience to become licensed are called two-tier states.

In addition to all the aforementioned tests you have to take to become a Certified Public Accountant, you also typically have to take an ethics exam. Many states will accept a personal exam administered by AICPA that is part of a continuing professional education requirement, which states that every three years you must take approximately 120 hours of courses. This varies by state, by 120 hours is the most common number in the country. Some states also require you to take an ethics course for each state in which you are licensed.

If you’re seeking to become a licensed Certified Public Accountant, make sure you do your research to ensure that you fulfill all the requirements.
Posted on May 24, 2012 at 9:00 AM