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CPA License requirements

Passing the uniform CPA examination is arguably the most difficult step to being a CPA but by no means is the only hurdle standing between you and CPA License. Education, Examination and Experience, the three E’s (sometimes Ethics being fourth) are the major constituents of being a CPA. Uniform CPA exam is the common exam that all boards of accountancies require a candidate to pass but there are state wise CPA License requirements in order for a candidate to be issued a license.

CPA License requirements - Education:

One of the most primary CPA License requirements is Education. Almost all the states (only 6 exceptions to this) require at least 150 semester hours. That is the education has to be a formal one. Within this 150 semester hours the number of hours dedicated to accounting vary state by state. The 6 states that don’t have this 150 semester hour requirements are California, Colorado, Delaware, New Hampshire, Vermont and the Virgin Islands.

In Indian context, this converts in to a masters degree,, M.A etc.

CPA License requirements – CPA Exam:

Everyone is familiar with this. According to the CPA Examination Mission Statement, the purpose of the Exam is "To admit individuals into the accounting profession only after they have demonstrated the entry-level knowledge and skills necessary to protect the public interest in a rapidly changing business and financial environment.”

CPA License requirements - Experience:

Experience has a unique role in developing the knowledge and making a candidate more competent at work. To be a CPA, state boards generally require a CPA candidate who passed the CPA exam to have 1-2 years of experience under a licensed CPA. Additional CPA License requirements vary by the CPA candidates’ Education (Graduate degree vs 150 semester hours), Employer (public accounting firm vs Industry) and the type of work (tax professional vs auditor).

CPA License requirements - Ethics:

The CPA License requirements of some of the state boards also require the candidate to take an additional ethics exam. While only some require the ethics exam for CPA License, but it is on the list of required CPA CPE credits in ethics.


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