If you think of the CPA Exam in a visual sense, of getting from point A (Accountant) to point C (CPA), it's a pretty straight path, but there are some bumps and hurdles along the way. By far, the biggest is the CPA exam itself. But before you get there, there is CPA exam prep, followed by meeting the licensing requirements and passing the state Ethics exam.
Please review the list of jurisdictions above. Your first decision is where you plan to become certified. For all CPA exam candidates, the end goal is receiving one's CPA license, thus allowing the candidate to embark on a career as a CPA. However, before that can be achieved, students must research the specific requirements for the jurisdiction where they plan to sit.
The actual CPA exams are uniform, but all that means is that the same questions will pop up on the candidate's computer screen whether they are testing in North Dakota of North Carolina. Everything else about the process varies by state. It is the candidates' responsibility to know the CPA exam requirements of their state. These CPA requirements vary wildly from state to state. They cover educational requirements, such as how many credit hours are needed and in what specific courses, as well as the state experience requirements. Before a license is issued, candidates must pass the state Ethics exam. In addition, there are also the fees for sitting for the CPA exams. These fees, too, vary greatly.
The CPA exam requirements involve taking 150 credits in accounting and related accounting courses. This is basically the 120 hours for a bachelor's degree, plus the extra 30 to meet the 150-hour rule adopted several years back. These credit hours include accounting courses in auditing, cost or managerial accounting, U.S. federal income tax and financial accounting. Plus, business related courses in statistics, economics, corporate or business finance, management, marketing, U.S. business law, business communication, quantitative methods and computer science/Internet Technology.
Once the academic portion of CPA exam requirements is met, then there is the experience requirement for CPAs. In order to get a CPA license to practice, most states require at least 1 year of practical work experience in government, industry, academia, or public accounting.
Once the exam is passed, there is a separate Ethics exam that must be successfully passed.
It is very important that every candidate is familiar with these CPA exam requirements before embarking on the next step in the process, that of choosing which CPA exam review they should take. There are many CPA review courses out there, and like state CPA exam requirements they vary widely.