Getting your CPA qualification could be a big investment. Save up and get ready!
A Breakdown of CPA Exam Cost
All figures in US dollars:
Here is the text version for your reference.
1. Examination Fee
It varies slightly from state to state. Most follow the fee schedule by NASBA (National Association of State Board of Accountancy):
- AUD: $193.45
- BEC: $193.45
- FAR: $193.45
- REG: $193.45
- Total: $773.8
2. Application Fee
- First-time candidates pay an initial application fee, which is around $30-$200 (varies from state to state).
- For return candidates, a repeat application fee is required for certain but not all states and this fee is generally lower than the initial application fee.
Note: In general you can expect the total CPA exam application fees (i.e. item 1 + 2) to cost you around $1,000.
Extra Cost of CPA Exam Some May Forget to Budget
3. CPA Exam Review Course Expenses
Very big range, from Wiley CPA books costing $50 at Amazon to a full Becker course at $3,000+.
It depends whether you need only a book or the full package with live classes. There are a number of good review materials priced in the mid range. You can learn more about the CPA exam review courses here.
4. CPA Ethics Exam Fees
Most states required an ethics exam after the passing of the Uniform CPA exam. If you are to take the one administered by AICPA (chosen by most states), then you can expect to pay around $150 to $190.
5. CPA Licensing Fees and CPE Course Expenses
This is not part of the “CPA Exam Fees” per se, but you should expect to pay for this in order to become a licensed CPA.
For the license, it depends on the states you register for, but the range is roughly $50 to $300.
The price of CPE courses also varies. It isn’t too expensive and you may be able to get reimbursement from your employer, but this is a recurring cost once you become licensed.
Total CPA Exam Fees You Should Expect
Let’s sum up the fees:
- CPA examination and application fees: $1,000
- CPA Exam review course fee (mid range): $1,700
- CPA Ethics Exam: $130 (rounded up figure)
- Licensing fees (mid range): $150
Grand Total: $2,980
Additional CPA Exam Cost
These may or may not apply to you, but if you need to fulfill additional education requirements or if you are an international candidates, please take a look.
1. Additional Courses
It is possible that you’ll need to fulfill a few courses to get qualified and sit for the CPA exam. How much does it cost?
Let’s take a common case: US Federal Taxation to fulfill the requirement in Delaware. A selection of these course ranges from $600-$1,000 including text book costs (more expensive if it is offered online).
2. Foreign Credential Evaluation Costs
If you study outside of the US, you will have to pay one of the foreign credential evaluation agencies to evaluate the transcripts for you. The basic service ranges from $150-250, and please expect additional cost for urgent requests.
- Check out our blogger Sumit’s post on his additional expenses as an international candidate
3. Traveling and Accommodation Cost
Obviously it varies a great deal depending on where you live but don’t forget to include it in your budget.
Let’s say if you live outside the US, the airplane ticket can easily cost you $1,000. If you need accommodations (e.g. $100 each night for 3 days), it will cost you hundreds of dollars… and don’t forget to multiply this by four if you choose to take the 4 sections of the exam separately.
4. Miscellaneous Costs
There are lots of little costs here and there, e.g. examination fees for retake, and visa application fees for international students. So please do expect a little bit beyond your budget.
Wow. Is CPA the Most Expensive Designation?
Not really, if you count the broader accounting and finance industry.
The CFA exam registration alone costs $3,000. If include online test prep, it would easily go up to $4,500 and more towards $9,000 if one gets a full review course or a couple of retakes.
Does the CPA Title Worth That Much?
I would say yes in the long run.
Everyone’s case is different, but just to give you an idea, on a rough average, there is at least a 10% premium of being a CPA vs a regular accountant.
For an entry-level position in Big 4, you get around $60K annually. 10% of $60K will translate to $6,000. So it is more than enough to cover the basic cost.
(In fact, if you do work in national accounting firms, they offer a $5,000 bonus once you pass the CPA exam)
I hope I haven’t scared you away but as an aspiring CPA budgeting should be an important part of your CPA exam project.
- 5 ways to minimize the CPA exam cost
- Is cost of CPA exam tax deductible?
- Review course discounts (save up to $400)
If You Find This Article Helpful…
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|For Intl Candidates|
(Those who study abroad, or
graduate/live/work outside of the US)