CPA Work Experience Requirements

Everybody’s working for the weekend. Work, work, work, work, work, work. You want a hot body? You want Bugatti? You want a Maserati? You better work 🙂  Thank you Loverboy, Rhianna, and Britney Spears for lending us that beautiful Segway segue. You may have guessed. Today we are going talk about CPA work experience requirements. At this point, you are probably well aware that in order for you to become a licensed CPA you will most likely need at least a year of accounting related work experience. You are also most likely aware of what is the average CPA salary and what it is like working as a CPA at a Big 4 Accounting Firm. Our objectives today, however, are to clear up possible misconceptions about the rule of thumb and to determine how you can find out the specific work experience requirement for your jurisdiction.

Office Space

Poor Milton! I hope Lumbergh doesn’t take away your Swingline stapler. So you don’t get walked all over like Milton here, pay particular attention to the next section.

CPA Work Experience Requirements

Although the Uniform CPA Exam is uniform in content, the CPA licensure process is not uniform across jurisdictions, especially in terms of the work experience requirement. Some jurisdictions have education in lieu of work experience, whereas other jurisdictions have a one year work experience requirement, two year work experience requirement, or even more.

No work experience: In Puerto Rico, you can satisfy the work experience requirement by obtaining 150 credit hours with a Bachelors of Accounting.

One year of work experience: Jurisdictions such as Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and California have a one year work experience requirement. However, it is important to be aware that one year of work experience across jurisdictions may not be the same. For example, Pennsylvania requires 1,600 hours of accounting related experience for one year of work experience, whereas Georgia requires 2,000 hours of accounting related experience for one year of work experience. Additionally, depending on whether you desire to sign off on attest reports, jurisdictions may have an additional requirement that a certain number of hours must be attest related. For example, California requires 500 hours specifically related to attestation engagements.

Minimum two years of work experience: Jurisdictions such as Nevada and Alaska require at least two years of accounting related experience to become a licensed CPA. Specifically, Nevada breaks up work experience into two traunches: (1) two years of public accounting experience or (2) four years of internal audit or governmental accounting related experience. Likewise, Alaska breaks up work experience into two traunches: (1) two years of public accounting experience or (2) three years of private or government accounting related experience.

As you can see, in the eyes of different jurisdictions, not all work experience is created equal. To ensure that you know when you will you have your CPA work experience requirement satisfied or for the most up to date information, please visit or your state board of accountancy.

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Oh Milton! I guess you get the last laugh this time. I hope you enjoy your margarita, even if it has a little salt 🙂 As always, remember to breathe.


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