Passing the US CPA exam is one of the great accomplishments for accountants. But then, the CPA journey is not over — you’ll have to fulfill the licensing requirements to claim the CPA title.
Almost all states require 1-2 years of relevant and verifiable experience. For some state boards that require additional educational requirement (e.g. the 150-hour rule), you’ll need to complete the courses as well.
Do CPA Exam Credits Expire?
For most states, the answer is no. This is great because you can take all the time you need to fulfill the licensing requirements.
A few states do set a time limit between the passing of the CPA exam and licensing application. Examples include:
- Arkansas: 3 years
- Colorado: 5 years
- Delaware: 10 years
- Florida: 3 years
- New Hampshire: 5-6 years depending on whether you work in public or non-public accounting
- Massachusetts: 3 years to complete the 150 credit hour requirement. There is no deadline for experience requirement.
Note: The rules may have changed without my knowledge. Also, this is not a complete list. Please double check with your state board for the most up-to-date information.
If you foresee difficulties completing the licensing requirements within 3 years, ask your state board whether such deadline exists in your state.
CPA Exam Credits Expire in 3 Years for These International Candidates?
If you take the CPA exam in any international testing locations, you are supposed to complete the licensing requirements within 3 years. I am not sure how strict each state adheres to this rule, but you should know that it exists.
Since it is often difficult to find supervisors and verifiers who are US CPA in these countries, candidates must plan ahead to make sure their exam credits don’t expire.
If you haven’t applied for the CPA exam, it is best to pick a state with flexible experience requirement.
If you have already passed the CPA exam and thinking of transferring your exam credit to a more “favorable” state, check out the information here.
For international candidates taking the exam within US jurisdictions, this 3-year limit does not apply to you.
Additional CPEs May be Required
Some states do not have expiry date on CPA exam credits, but candidates must take certain CPE (continuing professional education) courses if they do not apply for the license within a reasonable time frame.
This time frame is defined differently in different states. For example:
- Iowa: 3 years
- Minnesota: 4 years
- Oklahoma: 5 years
Please check with your state board for the latest rules.
For Your Further Reading
- Transferring your exam credit after passing the CPA exam
- Transferring your license after becoming a CPA
- CPA licensing requirements at a glance
Your question is always welcome in the comment section below. If you find this post helpful, consider signing up to my mini-course which is completely free. I have two versions designed for candidates with different background:
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graduate/live/work outside of the US)