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CPA exam application procedure

Sometimes the most tedious part of writing an exam is not the study but the application process! It’s not just that it’s unproductive (Imagine having all those hours spent in the process from researching to finishing the application, being used for study!) but it’s highly frustrating. The CPA application process is even more frustrating. This loooong post is written to give you an overview of the entire CPA application process.

This article deals with the application process for the CPA exam and not for licensure. Application for the CPA exam is a different process from application for CPA license. Once you have cleared the uniform CPA exam with a minimum passing score of 75. You are eligible for a license as CPA and can start application process for CPA license.

Choosing the State Board:

CPA is the title awarded to qualified accountants in USA. Professional licensing and regulation of public accounting is a jurisdiction based regulation in United States of America, and each jurisdiction has its own requirements to be a practising CPA of that state.

A state board of accountancy in each state assists the government in the licensing and regulation of the CPAs. The state board of accountancy determines the eligibility of an applicant to sit for the exam, after the exam is over, verifies the successful completion of the CPA exam and also assesses his/her experience for licensure.

Your first job is thus to figure out which state to choose for CPA exam. As said earlier, each state has its own requirements and some might be inclined towards you while some may be against you. Choosing the best suited one can be very exhausting, so we have put together a list of state boards that are most suitable for Indian students.

You would have to apply each time you want to take an exam (there are 4 parts, remember?). You can apply for more than one exam but you would have to write all the exams within the Notice To Schedule (NTS) period. It is advisable to choose a maximum of 2 parts for one application depending on the NTS. In our future posts, we are going to provide you with detailed analysis of which state board would benefit you the most. Subscribe to our blog to get the updates delivered to your inbox.

Application Process:

Documents Required:
  • No matter to which state board you are applying, you must first order all official transcripts that you have obtained from high school through University. If you have done any additional courses as part of distance learning or any certification, keep it ready too.
  • Usually, the documents required also vary state by state. So you would have to check with the state board of accountancy if any additional documents are required.


The fees primarily includes application fee and examination fee. Each of these vary based on the state board you are applying to and the exam you’re planning to take. Usually, you would be paying the state board the application fee and examination fee is paid to NASBA, in this case:

  • You are required to pay your Board of Accountancy or its designated agent only the application fee at the time that you apply. Each time you apply to take one or more sections of the examination, you will pay the application fee to the Board of Accountancy.
  • After your Board of Accountancy has accepted your application and fee, it will notify NASBA as to which sections of the examination you are eligible to take. NASBA will then send you the appropriate payment coupon.
  • The payment coupon will provide you with instructions on how to pay the examination fees. You may pay by mailing a check to NASBA, by using a credit card via NASBA’s website; or, by calling NASBA at 866-696-2722 and using a credit card.
  • You should receive your NTS within three business days of paying your examination fee, if you have selected e-mail or fax as the method of contact. If you selected regular mail as the method of contact, you should receive the NTS within 7-10 business days. If you do not receive your NTS, call a NASBA candidate service associate at 866-696-2722. If you require a reprint of your NTS, you may do so through NASBA’s website
Sometimes you would have to pay both the application fee and examination fee to the state board. In this case:
  • The fees you pay include an application fee charged by the Board of Accountancy and the examination fees. Once your application has been received, you may not be able to change the requested sections of the examination and you may be charged an additional fee for any changes.
  • You may be required to pay your Board of Accountancy or its designated agent an additional fee for a background check.
  • After your Board of Accountancy or its designated agent has accepted your application and fees, it will notify NASBA which sections of the examination you are eligible to take.
  • Your Board of Accountancy or its designated agent will inform you of the application processing time and when to expect your Notice to Schedule (NTS). You will be asked to identify your preferred method for receipt of the NTS – via the U.S. Postal Service, fax or e- mail. If you do not specify a preferred method, your NTS will be mailed to you.

Once you receive your NTS, you need to deal with ProMetric to schedule CPA exam.

In our next post, we are going to provide you the details of each state board requirements and a list of state boards that you can benefit the most from. Subscribe to our blog using the bar at the top of the page.

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