The question that you are probably most interested in is can I be a licensed CPA? In other words, am I eligible to be a CPA? Then the logical follow up questions is if I am eligible, what do I need to do to become a licensed CPA? Alternatively, if I am not eligible yet, what can I do to ensure that I am eligible in the future? These are really great questions! By the end of this post, you should have the tools you need to address your questions.
Am I Eligible to be a CPA?
To determine whether you are eligible to become a CPA, you need to evaluate your current situation against the AICPA’s The Es of becoming a CPA. There are four Es in this framework, which include (1) education, (2) examination, (3) ethics (some states), and (4) experience.
To satisfy your education requirement, you need at a minimum a bachelor’s degree (120 credit hours). In addition, most jurisdictions require 150 credit hours to become a licensed CPA. Whether the additional 30 credit hours are obtained through a master’s degree, double majoring, or additional courses depends on your interest, accessibility, and feasibility. For a more detailed discussion on education requirements, please review CPA Education Requirements.
To satisfy your examination requirement, you need to pass all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam, otherwise known as the CPA Exam. The CPA Exam’s four parts include (1) Auditing and Attestation, (2) Business Environment and Concepts, (3) Financial Accounting and Reporting, and (4) Regulations. In order to pass the CPA Exam, you need to score at least a 75 on each section.
To satisfy your ethics requirement, you first need to verify whether your state has an ethics requirement. Some states such as Florida do not have an ethics requirement. Conversely, states such as California and Texas have a unique state specific ethics requirement, whereas states such as Illinois require candidates pass the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam.
To satisfy your experience requirement, you need to verify whether your state has a true work experience requirement. Some states allow for education in lieu of work experience. Before July 1, 2015, Colorado allowed individuals to earn the work experience requirement by obtaining an additional 30 credit hours. However, most states tend to require one year of work experience, which equates to 2,000 hours.
The four Es tend to differ by jurisdiction. To verify you have up-to-date information for your jurisdiction, please visit www.thiswaytocpa.com or your state board of accountancy.
What Do I Need to Do to Become a Licensed CPA?
If you have satisfied the four Es, you are very close to becoming a licensed CPA. Although the four Es is not always exhaustive, the four Es serves as a great framework to make sure you are on track to becoming licensed. For a more detailed discussion of your jurisdiction’s licensing process, please click on your jurisdiction below:
If your jurisdiction is not included the list above, please leave a comment in the comment section below and we will notify you when the information has been updated.
What Can I Do to Ensure that I am Eligible in the Future?
Depending on where you are in the process, the biggest thing you can do to ensure that you are eligible to become a licensed CPA is to plan ahead. For education requirements, talk with your advisor and make a road map to make sure that you will earn not only your 150 credit hours but also your accounting specific hours required by your specific jurisdiction. For the CPA Exam, pick classes and a prep course that will help you succeed on the Exam. Use the CPA Exam Aid to help you map out your study plan. For the ethics requirement, determine if you have an ethics requirement, and if so, give yourself enough time be successful. This part tends not to be nearly as daunting as the other Es; however, it is very important that you make time and take the material to heart. Lastly, for the work experience requirement, go out there and recruit, recruit, recruit. If your schedule allows for it, try to get one if not two internships in public and/or private accounting. These internships often lead to full time offers, which will help you satisfy your work experience requirement. For more information, please read how long does it take to become a CPA. Good luck! As always remember to breathe.