CPA Exam Fees: How Much Should You Expect?

cpa exam feesGetting your CPA qualification could be a big investment. Save up and get ready!

A Breakdown Of CPA Exam Fees

Everything in US Dollars:

1. Examination Fee

You may be surprised that the fee for the Uniform Exam could be different in different state. Many states use the fee schedule set by the NASBA (National Association of State Board of Accountancy):

  • AUD: $192.03
  • BEC: $172.51
  • FAR: $192.03
  • REG: $172.51
  • Total: $729.08

2. Application Fee

  • First-time candidates are required to pay the 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.

3. CPA Exam Review Course Expenses

Very big range, from Wiley CPA books costing $30 at Amazon to a full Becker course at $3,000+.

It largely depends on whether you’ll only need a book or a full package with live classes. If we take the mid-point (which is the price of my recommended CPA exam review course), it would be $1,500.

  • They are all very expensive but in my opinion taking one of these CPA review courses is crucial to your passing success
  • 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 $131.25.

5. CPA Licensing Fees

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.

Again, it depends on the states you register for, but the range is roughly $50 to $300.

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: $1,700
  • CPA Ethics Exam: $130 (rounded up figure)
  • Licensing fees: $150 (mid range)

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 $100-200, and please expect additional cost for urgent requests.

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. 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 $50K annually. 10% of $50K will translate to $5,000. So it is more than enough to cover the basic cost.

(In fact, if you do work in big accounting firms, they give you a bonus once you pass the CPA exam, which is around this $5,000 figure).

I hope I haven’t scared you away but as an aspiring CPA budgeting should be an important part of your CPA exam project, right?

Summary

Here is a summary of what we went through in video format.
 

 

Further Reading

If You Find This Article Helpful…

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For other candidates who wants to learn about how to pick the right state and how to apply, please click on the United Nations flag.

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Comments

  1. Stephanie says

    If you fail the test the 1st time do you have to pay the $50 re-application fee AND the entire test fee again? Do you get more than one attempt for your $823?

    Thanks!

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Stephanie,
      Yeah unfortunately that’s exactly what you need to pay… Stephanie

  2. SARAH says

    I AM A LITTLE CONFUSED ABOUT PAYING FOR ALL 4 EXAMS IN ONE GO. HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO STUDY TO BE ABLE TO SIT ALL 4 TESTS WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY AGAIN? IT SEEMS LIKE YOU NEED TO PAY FOR ALL 4 TESTS WHEN YOU REGISTER, AND NOT WHEN YOU FEEL READY TO SIT THE EXAM.

  3. SARAH says

    I AM A ACCA MEMEBER FROM THE UK. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT COLORADO NO LONGER RECOGNISES THIS. WILL I STILL MEET ALL THE NECESSARY REQUIREMENTS?

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Sarah,
      This is actually a good question… I think if you pay for all 4 parts in one go you are qualified for a discount or something… but you can definitely pay one at a time.

      But many candidates pay in one go anyway because it’s kind of useless unless you complete all parts of the exam, so you have to pay anyway. The fee is valid for 18 months I think…? OK let me double check first and get back to you here.

      On your qualification, yes unfortunately they no longer recognize ACCA as an automatic ticket to sit for the exam. Whether you can still qualify or not depends on what you fulfill the CPA exam requirements in each state… generally 4-5 years of university with some classes in accounting and business will do. Please click the link for further details.

      Stephanie

  4. sherif abdel hamid says

    hi stephanie
    how much time do i need to complete the whole course if there is an accelereted course or something and i am international student living in the us right now, does the bachelor degree from my country is accredited in the education requirements?

  5. Stephanie says

    hi Sherif,
    By “courses”, do you mean the CPA exam prep course or the extra credit you need to fulfill the requirements?

    And on whether a bachelor degree from your country is accredited… it depends on your school and not really your country (if it is a good school it is generally ok I believe), but I honestly won’t be able to provide such answer and you’ll have to go through the professional, foreign credential evaluation agencies for an answer.

    Cheers,
    Stephanie
    Stephanie

  6. Kavita Pal says

    Hi,

    What are the qualifications needed to be done CPA? Can we do the exam in India?

    Kavita Pal

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Kavita,
      No at this stage you have to travel to the US to take the test. Japan will be the first exam site outside of US but it is only available to Japanese nationals and US citizens living there.

      As for how to become a CPA in the US, please check out this page.

      Regards, stephanie

  7. Ayub Vohra says

    I am CA from Pakistan and registered CA student in Ontario, Canada. I passed Core knowledge exam and school of accountancy exam in Ontario but have still to pass UFE . Will I get some benefit on my credential evaluation to sit for CPA?

  8. Shamnad says

    Hello Stephanie,

    I ‘m an Indian national residing in Bahrain. Recently i saw a press release which says that I could do CPA from Bahrain. What is the eligibility for enrolling for CPA ? I hold a bachelor degree in accounting from India and is got 7+ years of work exp in accounting. Could you guide me through the whole process? I tried searchng the net of info but not very clear abt the process though I got the fee structure. Should i enroll online for classes and exam or is there an authorized agency in Bahrain? Appreciate you help!

    Thanks much! Shamnad

  9. Prissi says

    What are the best ways to go about finding Licensed CPA’s who can help a candidate complete their work requirements? Are there any special organizatons for women becoming CPA’s?

  10. Stephanie says

    Hi Prissi,
    Usually the work experience needs to be verified by your supervisor who should also be a licensed CPA. But if you are looking for a job change anyway, or that your state can have any CPA you know to verify your experience (e.g. Indiana), then you can check out the society of CPA from your state (just google the term to find out their website).

    Haven’t heard about a CPA association for women but I am sure there is and I will be happy to find it out. Will post again if I can get anything useful.

    Cheers,
    Stephanie

  11. Nisha Khanna says

    Hi Stephanie, I have enrolled myself for CPA from becker and their the registration fee is INR 70000 excluding examination fee which again will be 50000 INR, On net i read from another institute(name not mentioned) registration includes examination fee also. Is that correct.
    Secondly, the most important que i have is what strategy will you suggest for studying because i am also working full time. Thanks

    • Stephanie says

      H Nisha, on the cost, Becker is the most expensive so it will push up the overall expense a bit further. I was told that Becker charges even more for overseas courses too. Not sure if this is the cases…

  12. JoAnn says

    Hi Stepahnie,

    Thank you for the insightful site! If I have an MBA with emphasis in Finance, could that knock off some of the educational requirements? Also, what is the timeline for the whole application/testing process? around 1 year from start to finish? or more?

    • Stephanie says

      Yes, an MBA is great though you may need to take a close look whether you have enough accounting courses. # of credit hours will depend on the state you choose to apply to. Normally 1 year is good enough from planning, studying to passing if you plan to pass in your 1st try (you should!)

  13. Malak says

    Hey Stephanie,

    I want to ask about If i am in Lebanon and I’m finishing now the Bachelor in Accounting, soo do I need more courses or credits to regiester for CPA, and If you please can I know the univirsites that gives CPA in USA to check them .. I’m so lost I know nothing but I am thinking to do the CPA !

  14. Mahmoud emam salem. says

    What is the cost of the cpa exam in kuwait ?
    OR there is any addational cost for take the cpa exam in kuwait or dubai ?

  15. rohit alavadi says

    what is Eligibility for this course , fees or i live in jaipur contact no jaipur office what is cpa job profile