The requirements for the CPA exam are defined by individual state boards, and as a result, they differ from one state to the next. Although each state board of accountancy has slightly distinct requirements for candidates to sit for the CPA exam, the majority of states have the same basic set of qualifications that applicants must satisfy in order to be able to sit for the examination.
Let’s take a look at the requirements you must meet in order to be able to sit for the Uniform CPA exam in the majority of states and then see what additional hurdles you’ll face in order to become a CPA after passing the exam.
Every state, with the exception of Alabama, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Louisiana, requires you to be or apply to become a citizen of the United States before you may sit for the exam. The CPA exam designation is based in the United States, and the vast majority of those wishing to sit for the exam are already citizens of the United States.
If you are an international candidate, you are still entitled to take the exam in the four states mentioned above. Because these states do not require you to be a citizen of the United States in order to take the exam, you are eligible to apply for and take the exam in any of them.
Social Security Identification
For identification purposes, the vast majority of states mandate the use of a legitimate social security number. This appears to be a bit of an irony, given that the original Social Security cards expressly state that they are “not for identification.”
Again, most individuals aren’t aware of this because the usual applicant is a citizen of the United States with a Social Security number. Overseas applicants are rarely involved in the Social Security system in the United States, and as a result, they do not often have social security numbers.
Don’t worry if this is the case for you. New York, Illinois, South Dakota, Montana, and Wisconsin are the only states that do not require candidates to have a Social Security number. In such states, you’re good to go with your application.
CPA Exam candidates must be at least 18 years old in order to sit for the exam, and this is required by all 50 states and 5 jurisdictions. If you had intended to begin your CPA career sooner, you’ll have to wait until you’ve reached the legal age.
The good news is that there is no restriction preventing you from starting your studies and learning right away in order to be best prepared when you reach the age of 18.
How To Qualify For The CPA Exam
To be eligible to sit for the CPA Exam, you must first confirm that you have met all of the requirements for taking the CPA Exam. Each state and jurisdiction has its own educational requirements for taking the CPA Exam, therefore be careful to check the exact criteria for your jurisdiction before registering to take the Exam.
The majority of states demand a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and if your degree is not in accounting, most states require an extra 15 credit hours or less to sit for the Exam. It’s also vital to remember that most State Boards of Accountancy need a minimum of 150 hours of post-secondary study to be eligible for obtaining the CPA license.
Typically, a bachelor’s degree provides 120 credit hours; thus, some CPA candidates choose to pursue a Master’s in Accounting (MAcc) program or attend additional classes from an approved university in order to gain an additional 30 credit hours.
CPA License Requirements
Becoming a CPA requires a mix of education, professional experience, and passing scores on the four parts of the examinations. However, the requirement for a CPA license is not universal. Each state’s requirements for CPAs are somewhat unique, but there are some basic areas of overlap among them.
Because each state has its own set of CPA standards, you may have an easier time obtaining your CPA license in some states than others. And the best thing is, you have the option to choose. You can pursue a CPA license in any state, even if you don’t live there.
Picking A Suitable State Board Based On CPA Licensure Requirements
If, according to your existing career track, none of the CPA requirements pose a difficulty for you in terms of fulfilling them, you should apply to take the CPA Exam and obtain your CPA license in the state in which you live. If you feel that the current state’s criteria are too difficult for you, a different state may be a better choice for you.
Additionally, you will have fewer state board alternatives, if you don’t have 150 credit hours, aren’t studying in accounting, don’t have the minimum work experience, or are not a U.S. citizen or resident.
So, in either case, you may choose which state is the most straightforward to become a CPA by comparing your present qualifications with state standards and determining how you can achieve those requirements in your scenario.
CPA Ethics Exam Requirements
CPA candidates in some states are required to take an ethics exam, which can be either state-specific or comprehensive. A comprehensive ethics exam is recommended by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), even if it is not mandated by the state.
Ethics examinations are typically brief, take-home tests that are used in conjunction with the comprehensive CPA exam to ensure that you comprehend the rules and regulations that govern accountancy in general. New York, Florida, Indiana, and Hawaii are among the states that do not require CPAs to pass an ethical exam to become licensed.