How to Become a CPA: The Definitive Guide

how to become a cpa

I’d like to congratulate you on making a choice to pursue a CPA professional credential. Accountancy is one of the most secure, stable jobs in any economic cycles – an important consideration if you have (or about to start) a family.

(Click here if you are an international CPA candidate, or have recently failed to pass the CPA Exam)

How to Become a CPA in 10 Steps

CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a recognition granted by the State Board of Accountancy in the US to individuals who have attained a certain level of competency in these areas.

1. Identify Benefits of a US CPA License

Before we jump into the technical registration process and the how, what and when of the exam, let’s figure out the “why” — what benefits can you get after becoming a CPA?

You could be an accounting major in the US and getting the CPA license accelerate your future career.

You could also be a seasoned accountant from another country and the qualification can open doors in the US and other parts of the world.

Or you could be a senior finance professional who got stuck just below the controller level, and getting the CPA title helps promote to a position you deserve…

Whoever you may be, you need a strong reason to start your CPA journey, because the road ahead could be tough… and long.

2. Compare CPA with Other Accounting Qualifications

Is the US CPA license most suitable for your long-term career? Would the alternatives give you the same benefits with less time, money and effort?

Alternatives include CPA equivalent in your local country (such as Chartered Accountants), or other global accounting and finance qualifications such as CMA, CFA and CIA.

Similarly, you may consider whether to pursue CPA or Master’s degree, either in accounting, MBA or in related fields.

3. Analyze Your Ability: Can You Make It?

No one can tell you the answer, but you can refer to the statistics, and discussions of past takers in various forums to get a realistic expectation.

4. Perform Benefit Cost Analysis

There are short term and long term benefits (and costs) of getting the CPA license. Exam fees and review course materials are two immediate expenses that typically add up to US$3,000. If you need to travel to the test center, please budget the additional cost.

For longer-term, ongoing cost, you will pay license fee every 2-3 years (depending on your state board), and tuition fee of the required CPE courses.

We mentioned the benefits in point 1. But more specifically, a tangible benefit is the increase in CPA salary. Here are some of the links for your information:

5. Meet Educational Prerequisite

The requirements on how to become a CPA are determined by the Board of Accountancy in each of the 50 states and 5 jurisdictions.

The state boards’ rules are slightly different. But almost all states and jurisdiction require at least a 4-year Bachelor degree with minimum accounting and business courses, as well as 150 credit hours — equivalent to a Master’s Degree – as a prerequisite for the exam.

If you live and work in the US, register in your resident state. For international candidate, you may select a state based on how you can fulfill the educational requirements.

6. Register for Exam Parts

If you fulfill the education requirement of a state board, you are eligible to sit for the CPA exam. The exam itself is the same nationwide (In fact, the exam is officially called the “Uniform CPA Examination”) .

This computer-based examination is administered by the AICPA, the accounting professional organization in the US. The exam covers intermediate/advanced accounting and related fields, including business, law, and taxation. It consists of 4 parts, and you can take them one at a time and in any sequence:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD) – 4 hours
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) – 3 hours
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) – 4 hours
  • Regulation (REG) – 3 hours

It does not matter which part you take first. I suggest that you take the part you feel more comfortable with. If confident enough, you can even take two (or more) parts within the same testing window.

7. Locate the Closest Test Center and Schedule the Exam

Upon successful registration, you will receive a document known as Notice to Schedule (NTS). It includes a launch code for you to schedule the exam parts at the prometric website.

Prometric is a company that runs computerized test centers for CPA and many other professional exams. The CPA exam is available every weekday during the following testing window:

  • January to February
  • April to May
  • July to August
  • October to November

Candidates are allowed to register in one state and physically take the exam in another state. Since 2011, candidates can also take the CPA exam in Japan, Brazil and 4 Middle East countries as long as they are citizens or long term residents in those (or adjacent) countries. Indians are allowed to take the exam at the Middle East centers.

8. Prepare for the Exam

There is a CPA Examination Tutorial and Sample Tests found on the AICPA website. The tutorial and questions will tell you important information about what is covered, how to use the various tools, and resources provided in the examination.

To improve your chance of success, I highly recommend a CPA review course. Major providers boast a passing rate of high 80% among first time candidates — meaning almost 9 out of 10 students pass on their first try!

9. Take the Ethics Exam

After passing the Uniform CPA exam, many (but not all) state boards requires passing of an ethics exam. This is a self-study open book examination and is considered much easier than the Uniform CPA exam.

10. Gain Relevant Work Experience

Most states require you to have 1 – 2 years of working experience to obtain the CPA license. If you have no problem getting an accounting related job after passing the exam, this should be an easy step for you to achieve your full practicing license.

However, if you do not plan to work in a public accounting firm, please beware:

  • A few states only recognize public accounting experience
  • For most states, your working experience has to be supervised and/or verified by a practicing CPA (i.e. an active CPA license holder instead of a certificate holder). Make sure that your boss has the relevant qualification

Further reading on experience requirements:

How to Become a CPA in a Nutshell

I hope this article has at least pointed you in the right direction. You now have an idea of how to become a CPA as the best proof of your knowledge in the accounting field.

Thanks for taking the time to read to the end. I wish you the best of luck on your CPA journey!



May I Help You Plan, Study And Pass The CPA Exam?

I know the process sounds awfully complicated, but once you take the first step in your CPA journey, it’s completely doable. I am more than happy to help you along the way!

If you find this article helpful, please consider signing up to my mini-course which is completely free. I have two versions designed for candidates with different background:

become a cpaFor US candidates (US citizens/residents with US degrees, living or working in the US) who want to learn about how to study for the CPA exam, please click on this US flag.


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

Action is the key to success. Join us now and see you there!



  1. Jeyendran says

    am willing to do CPA from India . . .

    what are the procedures ?

    when is the exam schedule ?

    how much ll it cost?

    when should i apply?

    Please reply to mail and that would be a great help for me



  2. Stephanie says

    Hi Jeyendran,
    1. On procedure: this is pretty much explained in this article — if there is a specific area that you don’t understand, please let me know.

    2. Exam schedule: not too sure what you mean, but this is essentially a 4-part exam that you can choose to take in the first 2 months of every quarter. For details, please go to my AICPA Exam page.

    3. Cost: please check this page on CPA Exam fee for details.

    4. When should you apply: you can apply any time you like. Again, you can schedule to take the exam in the first 2 months of every quarter.

    Please note that the CPA exam is offered only in US jurisdiction at this time.

    For further questions, you may want to check out the FAQ page as well. Cheers, Stephanie

  3. Sandhya says

    Hi Stephanie,
    I came to the US 3 months back on H4, i have a BCOM and CA from India, now i’m working on procedure to take up CPA.
    i fortunately came across your site, which is immensely useful thank u.. I plan to go for Colorado license, though i reside in Georgia..It’s going to take sometime before i finish the procedure, so i just want to know considering there is change in the exams in 2011, will it be better to register in 2010 and give atleast one exam this year or wait till 2011 and start afresh. Also, if i register now, will 2011 changes be applicable to me..

    thx again..

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Sandhya,
      My opinion would be to take a many sections as you can in 2010. Not that it is going to be a huge change, but that there will be uncertainties with the new format and even the review courses can’t know for sure what will be in there.

      FAR and BEC are supposed to get the biggest changes — can choose to take these two first…


  4. Daniel says

    Does it do you any good to just get a CPA certificate and not gain the relevent work experience therefore not be able to get the license? In other words is there any benefits to just getting a CPA certificate?

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Daniel,
      In my opinion, yes there are definitely benefits especially if you restrict yourself in working only in public accounting (in which case you need a full CPA license in the future, when you sign audit report as partner/owner).

      Please check out this page on CPA certificate vs license which I try to list out the pros and cons of each.

      Please drop a note over there if you have further questions on this subject.
      Cheers, Stephanie

  5. John Stark says


    I was wondering if there are any states that do not require the one year work experience requirement. I plan on working in a non related CPA profession but would like the CPA certificate in order to build my credentials. Please let me know

    • Stephanie says

      Hi John,
      Illinois and Colorado are the two states that require no working experience. For Illinois, what you get is essentially a “stripped down” version of the license (basically the CPA certificate) but sounds like this will work for you.

      For Colorado, if you go through their education in lieu of experience requirement you can actually get a full license from the state. Please note however that a license from Colorado may have some restrictions give the state is not substantially equivalent.

      Anyway, for both of these states, you’ll have to fulfill the 150 semester hours requirement. You can check out the details of the Illinois and Colorado cpa exam requirements in the respective links.


  6. Michelle says

    I live in KS but once I find a job I am moving closer to my fiance we have decided on VA or NC…can I take a section here and then finish in another state? I used to work for a CPA does this satisfy my work requirement if I’m not longer working there? I have my Master’s in October and all the education reqs. Also if I take for example one section and pass before Jan 1 2011 will have to retake it in Jan?

    Thanks so much and your site has been helpful!


    • Stephanie says

      Hi Michelle,
      I am glad you find the site helpful. Comments such as yours really motivate me to keep the site informational and updated, so thanks!

      Good news: Actually, you can register the exam in one state and physically take it in another. Let’s say if you plan to work in NC, then you can register in NC and then take the first couple of sections in KS, then after your move simply take the rest in VA and NC.

      Since you have a master’s degree you shouldn’t have problem in the education qualification. For maximum flexibility pick a state that is considered substantially equivalent so your license can be automatically recognized anywhere in the US.

      Lastly, if you take and pass one section of the exam before 2011, you are done with that forever. You just need to finish the rest of the sections in the new format in 2011.

      Hope it helps! Stephanie

  7. Eric says

    Great site. I wish I would have found this site a few months ago. Thank you very much. Questions. I applied to CPA in Maryland, my state of residency. I have 150 hours U.S. college undergrad and grad courses and an MBA in finance and 12+ years corporate non-public business accounting experience. I thought I had 28 hours of accounting course work but MD said only 19 as they considered finance course work not accounting course work. I am exploring CPA to credential for corporate or non-profit work. I reviewed the 2 tier states of ILL and Montana as well as Delaware. Before applying to states, is there a service that evaluates educational experience that states recognize? Also are there any states that accept work experience in lieu of education?

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Eric,
      Thanks for your note, and looks like you can be qualified in many states!
      Since you are thinking of getting the CPA title for credentials only, Illinois should be a good choice for you because with 150 credit hours you don’t need to get any working experience to get the CPA certificate. The disadvantage of IL is that it typically takes quite long (8 weeks) to get your NTS…

      And since you do have the experience, why not get the full CPA license if you can get your experience verified by a supervisor? Is your boss an active CPA licensee? If so, you should have quite a lot of choices; if not, you can check out Indiana because you can simply find a CPA (not necessarily your boss) to verify your experience for you.

      And on your last question: I know for some states they have something called a pre-evaluation service (e.g. this one for Colorado). See if this is what you are looking for.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  8. Mangesh says

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for creating great resource.

    Please can you guide us more into details of how do you approach exam, number of hours of study required and amount of exam practice and other elements which will help you enhance your exam performance.

    I am working full-time so have less time for study hence keen to know how many months / hours of study is required.

    Many thanks in advance for your help

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Mangesh,
      If you sign up for the mini-course you will find out. This is exactly why I set up the course so I don’t need to type the same questions all the time :)
      It’s all free with no strings attached.
      Cheers, Stephanie

  9. Monique says

    Hi Stephanie,

    First and foremost, thank you for building such a helpful website for CPA information and thank you in advance for your response.

    I am currently exploring other job opportunities and, although I have worked in a financial project manager role for the past four years, I find in my search that many employers require candidates to have a CPA license. I am an Economics major and have fulfilled some of the educational requirements but believe, according to one institution that I have requested information from, that I have another set of courses to complete (which at $550 per class not including textbooks can get quite pricey fast). I do not know if you’re at all familiar with the California area, but can you recommend any part-time (preferably evening) courses that I can attend to fulfill my educational prerequisite to sit for the exam? I have only checked on UCLA’s Extension program website, thus far, but am open to any other institution. Furthermore, does the prestige of the university have any bearing on getting jobs once you have attained the CPA license?

    Thank you, again, for your time.

    Warm regards,


  10. Vipula says

    Hi Stephanie,
    Though i sent my marksheets to Illunois but i m getting confused do i need to take any federal taxation course in order to qualify. I went through the Illunois site but i dont get any such requirement.
    It would be a great help if u can clarify.
    Thanks in advance

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Vipula,
      I don’t think Illinois specifically asks for federal taxation courses (as in States such as Delaware), but you can call them up to make sure.

  11. Brian says

    Hi Stephanie, below is my profile with my question:

    -Canadian Citizen living in Canada
    -Holds Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting (133 Credit hours)
    -Currently registered with the State of Delaware BOA
    -Passed all 4 sections of the CPA exam
    -Currently working in Financial Reporting under a CA (Chartered Accountant) in Canada

    I’m looking to find out which state to transfer over my exam credits to OBTAIN the CPA LICENSE and not the CPA certificate. I cannot do this in Delaware because Delaware changed the rules in May 2010 and CA’s from Canada can no longer sign off on practical experience for a CPA candidate.

    Please let me know your thoughts,

  12. Stephanie says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have a Canadian SIN (equivalent to a US SSN), but I don’t have a US SSN.

    Please let me know your thoughts,

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Brian,
      Hmm… that may be tricky, because CA and CO won’t work. Let me think about it and get back to you? Stephanie

  13. Brian says

    If I do a masters (i.e. an MBA) I will have the 150 semester credits, and I may be able to apply to CO and opt to choose the education in lieu of experience option.

    Is this option doable in my case ?


    • Stephanie says

      Hi Brian,
      Yes sounds ok, but Colorado and most other states will close this “loophole” (of not needing workin experience to get a license) in a few years. I believe CO is schedule to do that in 2015. So please plan your MBA and exam accordingly.

  14. Brian Ng says

    Thanks Stephanie, I’ll need 30 semester hour credits (basically 2 semesters in a masters program).

    I hope that Colorado doesn’t have the same rule as Illinois where you need to complete the 150 semester hour requirement before you write the CPA exam. Does it ?


    • Stephanie says

      Hi Brian,
      No… CO allows you to sit for the exam with 120 credit hours. During the exam period if you can accumulate the 30 credit hours you are fine. Cheers, Stephanie

  15. Devin Uqdah says

    I am in college in pennsylvania. I will graduate in four yrs with my bachelors and masters i can take the cpa exam in my junior year because i will have enough credits and courses when I get my mba do I still need to ge the work experience to be licensed as a cpa if I pass the exam and already have my mba?

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Devin,
      On whether you need working experience or not with an MBA or 150 credit hours… it depends on which state you register to. If you register in, say, Massachusetts, there is no need; but for most states you will need at least 1 year of working experience. For experience it also varies from state to state whether it has to be public accounting, or also non-public accounting.

      Where are you now? Do you have a state in mind?

  16. IAJ says

    Hi Stephanie
    Thank you for taking the time to answring all the quetions.
    I want to get my CPA exam in Delaware is the only state excepting the Associate Degree, I Have a associate degree in Business Accounting from CANADA. I did my evaluation to WES but Delaware is required to have FACS so I am about to send them but the avaluation that I got from WES and ths what shows the report – Undergraduate Semester Credits 79, but I also have these classes, Financial Accounting I,Business Law which I got “D”, Taxation, Business Communication, Business Reports, Personal Financial Planning II, Intermediate Accounting 1, ManagmentAccounting, Computer Accounting, But no Auditing, Am I qualified to seat the test?

    • Stephanie says

      Hi IAJ,
      I would totally want to give you an answer but I am no expert on credential evaluation — so I am afraid you’ll need to get the report from FACS…
      Regards, Stephanie

  17. Natalie says

    Hi, I just have a comment for Brian from Canada. I am in a similar situation, Canadian citizen, passed CPA in MI. If your ultimate goal is to get a fully lisenced CPA and have it transfered to CA, you have to be careful that CA accepts only states with which it has reciprocity. I don’t know which Province are you in, but Ontario does not list Colorado as a reciprocity State.

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Natalie,
      Thanks a lot for your input. Maybe I will do more research on this reciprocity state by each province and see what I can come up with.

  18. Madan says

    I passed all 4 parts of the CPA from Michigan. I do not have a bachelor degree because I studied in a foreign country.
    I also am a member of the following:-
    1) ACCA – Chartered Certified Accountant – London
    2) CMA – Certified Management Accountant
    3) CFM – Certified in Financial Management.

    I need advise on which state would accept me for my license. I do not have any auditing experience and only worked in NFP.


    • Stephanie says

      Hi Madan,
      Actually, you can get your foreign education evaluated so you can get qualified for other states. Please check out this foreign credential evaluation page for more info.

      By the way I see that you are a “globally” qualified accountant/financier. Very impressive! Stephanie

  19. Jason da Cunha says

    When it says you need 1 -2 years experience in the field to get your license, is that full-time 40 hour/week work? I am planning on working part-time for a couple years for a CPA while I go through the process of the exam and license.

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Jason,
      Yes, it means full time experience. Having said that, most states allow part-time. Some just calculate them using no. of attestation hours, but some put a haircut on it just because it is not full time. So you’ll have to check with your state for details.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  20. Vic says

    Hi Stephanie

    Need your valuable advice considering the following-

    1) I am a full time working executive
    2) Have family with one kid
    3) Need to balance my family life with professional life while pursuing my CPA
    4) I have done my graduation in accounts + CMA (from IMA)

    I need to know-

    1) How much time (hours per week) are required to complete CPA considering that I was an average student
    2) How many months are required to prepare for one exam as I am planning to appear in one exam at a time.
    3) Is there any website where I can see the past exam results (pass % of students)

    Thanks a lot in advance


    • Stephanie says

      Hi Vic,
      It would depend whether you are tackling FAR, AUD, REG or BEC. Generally, I think FAR and REG takes more time while the other two less time. It also depends on how much knowledge you have on the subject. Given you have an accounting major it should be good.
      But at the same time you have kids which to me (as a mom of 2 young kids) I find it a huge commitment that would hinder your study progress quite a bit…

      … so my conclusion is that you can consider tackling one secton at a time, allowing 3 months in between. The goal is to complete the exam within one year. Try FAR first because it is the most time-consuming and once you have it done with, it feels much better.

      For CPA exam pass rate you can refer to this page. Hope it helps, and just come back if I can be helpfu. Cheers, Stephanie

  21. Brian Ng says

    Natalie, this post is for you.

    Natalie, are you in the same situation as me ? I am in the province of Ontario now, passed all sections of the CPA exam and looking to get the CPA letters beside my name but I have no PA experience and I don’t have 150 semester hours.
    Have you found a state to get around this ?

    Let me know,

  22. Alison says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’d like to get CPA license in California.
    Here’s my situation:

    1) I have an AS degree from a community college with 96 semester units
    2) I have an BS degree from 4-year university with a total of 187 quarter units (105 transfer plus 82 institution quarter units)
    3) I meet the requirements of 24 semester units of accounting and 24 semester units of business-related subjects.

    Thus, I am qualified to sit on CPA exam.

    My questions are:
    1) Do I meet the Education Requirement under Pathway 2 (150 semester hours)
    96 semester units from community college
    82 quarter units = 54.66 semester units from 4-year university
    –> Total of 150.66 semester units

    2) I currently don’t have any experience working under supervison of a CPA. How long after passing 4 CPA exams do I need to get the required experience to get CPA license, i.e., when the results of CPA exams will expire if I don’t have enough experience for the CPA license?

    Thank you in advance for your help.


    • Stephanie says

      Hi Alison,
      Hmmm 150.66 credit hours… not too sure because you just make it over 150 credit hours and I know sometimes they excludes a few courses. So I am afraid I won’t be able to give you an answer. You can either check with the state board, or maybe the CA Society of CPA as there are some helpful folks out there.

      After passing the exam you have quite a lot of years for you to get the working experience and get the license. Typically state boards give you 10 years but please again check with CA state board for the exact no. of years.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  23. Vic says

    Hi Stephanie

    First of all thanks for your reply.

    Considering my qualification & experience, which state board will take me in-

    CMA (IMA)
    Accounts graduate
    10 years of experience in accounts (5 years in a senior position)

    Secondly- will they ask me to take additional qualifications(e.g. some tax courses) to qualify for registration?

    Thanks a lot in advance


  24. Jason da Cunha says


    Just wondering about your thoughts of obtaining the Enrolled Agent license vs. CPA if you want primary focus as taxes only. My research tells me that enrolled agent exam and in general know more about taxes because of the specialization aspect of it. Thoughts?

  25. Ashish says

    I had registered in Colorado state and had cleared all four papers of CPA in 2008. Now I am planning to take licence in Colorado state. I am a Foreign National, not physically present or employed in the United States. I am holding a membership of Institute of Chartered Accountant of India and have experience of working in audit field for 4 years (3 yrs in Deloitte Haskins & sells (India) -a member firm of Deloitte and 1yr in KPMG, dubai). I do not intend to practice in US or any place outside US. I seek your help in clarifying the following:

    1.Will my experience in audit be counted for getting the licence? If yes, do I require to get any certificate from my employer?
    2.Can I clear the ethics paper within 6 months after getting the licence?
    3.What is the procedure for getting the licence and how much time will be taken to complete the procedure?

  26. Wendy W says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Engineering from a top school in Canada.

    Would an Engineering education count towards the 120 semester units & bachelors degree requirements, or does the degree have to be in an accounting-related topic?

  27. Saranya says

    Hi Stephanie,

    First of all i wish to say that this website is GREAT!!! I’ve been doing some research on CPA for the few days and i must say there is nothing quite like this website. You are doing a great work..

    As mentioned, i’ve just decided to go ahead and apply for CPA and i have a few basic questions,

    1) I have a 3 year Bachelor of Commerce degree from India, I am an Associate Company Secretary (Member of ICSI) and an Associate Cost and Works accountant (Member of ICWAI), i also have a Masters in Financial Management (through postal coaching, NOT a full time course), can you tell me roughly if i will be eligible for any credits for my qualifications other than ? (i understand that my fellow Indians get 120 credit hours for full time B.Com which i will also get)
    2) I am presently put up in Abu Dhabi (UAE) and i spoke to an agency here assisting in application process, the lady there said that only my B.Com will be recognised and i will have to give one Federal Taxation paper and then become eligible and apply for Delaware. Is it right? Can i apply only in Delaware?
    3) I am thinking of applying in Illinois (so that i can get the Certificate), but for that i must be satisfying the 150 credit hours criteria. And considering the fact that Illinois accepts the credit hours evaluation done by themselves only, should i apply only to the Illinois Board? Or should i apply both to the general agency that evaluates credit hours and also to Illinois, so that if i don’t qualify in Illinois i can take the other evaluation done and apply in other states?
    4) And lastly could you please tell me when exactly i can sit for my Uniform CPA exams, if i start my application process now (i am planning to give my exams in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, as giving exams outside USA is now open)

    Thanks a lot for your help.

  28. Sushmita says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am taking the new CPA exam in 2011. As suggested, I will be taking FAR first using the Becker online courses. I have scheduled to take the exam on Feb 26, 2011 and the online courses start Jan 3,2011. Keeping that in mind, I have started reading the FAR book and going over the material with the Becker flashcards. On the job front, I know that Jan- April will be busy due to the tax season. Do you think i would need more time to study for FAR? After work, I sit down and read. On my train ride, I go through my flash cards. Any suggestions or advice? Please HELP! I really want to pass this on my first try.

  29. Randy says

    Hi Stephanie,

    thanks for creating this free & useful website!

    i just got my accounting degree with over 150 hrs. i currently work for a local company as an A/P in Indianapolis. i am planning to take the CPA exam next year, 2011. now, i bought a second hand Becker from my cousin, who just passed all exams this year.

    i have few question want to ask:

    1. i know there will be some changes next year. is the 2010 Becker still useful in 2011? what addition should i study alongside with the Becker 2010? any suggestion?

    2. what are the requirements to officially get the CPA certificate after passing all four parts? some state require one year experience, is A/P consider experience?

    3. i currently live in Indianapolis. but i am thinking to move to Chicago because my families live there. is getting the CPA certificate different between Indiana and Illinois? can i take the Illinois CPA exam in Indiana? what if i will stay in Indiana, will the Illinois license be useful in Indiana. which state exam would you suggest me to take in my circumstance?

    thanks in advance for your help.

  30. pan says

    Dear Stephanie,
    Great information you have in the website! One question that I’d like to ask you, & I’m sure many of the readers would like to know this as well, can someone take CPA exam under the jurisdiction of one state (i.e. California) then transfer the credits to another state (i.e. Massachusetts)? I may be eligibile to take the exam under California because California doesn’t require taxation, althouth it requires other accounting courses. I plan to transfer the credits, once I pass all the four exams, to Massachusetts and complete the accounting course requirement set by Massachusetts after transferring the CPA exams credits successfully. I’m not sure whether this is possible.

  31. Ryan says

    I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a total of 180 units. How do I know if this meets California’s 150 semester hour requirement?

  32. natasha says

    I just wanted to know something for sure. I am attending college right now, and I am going for my associates in accounting. Later on I wish to get my cpa. What do I need to do to be able to obtain my cpa later on after I finish my schooling? I reside in Louisiana and not really sure how it works here. Thank you

  33. A says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I recently moved to California from the UK. I am ACCA qualified (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). I have been advised by many that a CPA is a a must and by others that there is no need to re-qualify, as the UK accountancy qualification is as good as being CPA qualified. Any advice on this?

    I would also like to know what it is I need in terms of pre-requisites if I was to go through the CPA process and how do I know if I am eligible or not.

    Thank you.

  34. darshi says

    i also want to know the same as comment no.53. I am almost qualifying for ACCA and am interest to move to US but i need some guidance as to how many credit is that equivalent to and i am eligible for CPA as i have searched aorund but they all say acca is not even considered as equivalent to a bachelor’s degree..pls help me :-(

  35. Senthil says

    My situation is unique. I am indian living in USA for the last 6 years. I have an MBA degree ( Major in marketing ) from fordham university, NY,USA. Most of my work experience is with digital marketing companies. Could you please advise me, which state is the best option that would allow my masters degree to meet the 150 requirement and lack of any accounting work-experience. you are doing a great job through this site and i hope you would reply to my queries

  36. Darshi says

    This goes to Madan Comment no.32..i’ve seen that you were holding no degree and you stil got through CPA?could u pls advise me..i am just about to finish my ACCA qualification.which state and how should i go about??
    Tq in advance

  37. IAJ says

    I have received my reports from Foreign Academic Credential Services
    It tells what I have and is equal to American AA, but does this means I am qualified to seat CPA exam in DE?
    My quetions is the report would be able to tell me if I am qualifed to seat the test or I need to call some other orginazitions?

  38. Xun says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I just graduated from the Ohio State University with an accounting bachelor degree. But I did my first two years in China and transferred to OSU for the last two years of my college. Do I still have to have my previous university send my transcript to the evaluation center even though OSU has already evaluated my previous transcript? I am on my OPT now so I can only stay in the States till February 2012. I am afraid I don’t have enough time to finish the whole process. Also, when do you think is the best time to buy the materials? Cuz I don’t know yet if I will pass the evaluation for my credits. I don’t want to waste thousands of dollars on the materials if I can’t do the exam.

    Thank you so much!


  39. April says

    Thank you very much for your info in this website. It is very great and helpful for me who really don’t know where to start and make a decision whether I should take an exam or not.

    Thank you very much.

  40. Mahesh says

    Dear Stephanie,

    Hope you are doing fine. I am a foreign student from India. Based on my tutor’s advice, I’ve registered myself to New Hampshire State Board and I have been issued an NTS now to take up the exams. I have read somewhere that New Hampshire will not issue a Certificate upon completion of 4 parts of exams, but it is required to complete work experience to get Ceritificate and License.

    My questions are:

    1. If I do not want a License and just a Certificate, can I transfer my credits from NH(one tier) to other States such as, Delaware (two tier) and pay required fee and get a Certificate?

    2. If I need License at all, what experience is counted? I have 3 years of experience in corporate in Accounting in an MNC (Payroll and Accounts Receivable ). Will this be counted for a License from New Hampshire? Or do I have to come to United States and work under a CPA to get one? (latter may be difficult for me)

    3. Once I pass the four parts, within what period I should acquire a License to keep my scores active? ( I heard 5 years, otherwise I loose the scores!!!!) Please clarify me…

    Thanks a ton for your usual support!


  41. ellen says

    hi stephanie,
    i heard a bachelors degree would do to sit for CPA…is it enough or do i need a masters degree?
    also,which one would you suggest if i am interested in finance

  42. Rajeswari says

    I applied to Virginia board for my CPA exam and paid the initial application fee of $120 and during that process decided to write first BEC but later changed my mind and now want to write AUD. How do you go around getting another payment coupon for the AUD exam? Do I have to pay again the application fee? How do you register for the exam again?

  43. Vic says

    Big question-

    I have seen that people are posting thier queries on this “forum” but are they getting any reply from Stephanie? Reason- I have posted a query few months back and yet to receive some reply from Stephanie!.


  44. lisbeth Dare says

    I am a Nigerian, I hold a Higher National Diploma in Business Administration and Postgraduate Diploma in Management, what are my chances of sitting for CPA Exam , am I qualified and I am how do I register.

  45. jes says

    My question:

    I would like to sit for the CPA exam. However, I am not sure which state I will live in next year. Is it possible to take the exam and then decide which state you would like to get licensed in? Also, is it possible to take the exam in a state that that you know you do not want to get licensed in for licensure in another state?



  46. Carol says

    I’m going to sit for the auditing & attestation next weekend (first time), any recommendation related to the time, place, anything… Please!!!

  47. Ali Khan says

    Hi Stephanie

    I just looked your website and found good helpful. Currently I am collecting information about AICPA. I am CPA from Republic of Ireland. I just want to know is there any exemption available for CPA Ireland? Although I had done B-Com and M-Com from Pakistan. Also can student sit AICPA exams outside USA?

  48. Aditi Gupta says

    I am planning to give my Cpa exam in August. And i am planning to give all sections at a time. What is order of sections in which i should give my exam? And are four months enought to study for all sections?

  49. Tanya says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am an Accounting major studying in Canada and am interested in pursuing a CPA designation. What’s the procedure? Upon graduating, can I attempt the CPA exam (in the states you mentioned only require a bachelor’s), or is there something else I need to do first?

  50. hi says

    I came to the US 3 months back on H4, i have a BCOM and doing my MBA from California, now i’m working on procedure to take up CPA.
    i fortunately came across your site, which is immensely useful thank u..

  51. Nathan says

    I am in Canada, have US undergraduate degree in Econ. 24 hours of Accounting, MBA canada 9 hours of accounting, have US SSN, need only certificate. Which state should I apply to. Thanks.

  52. Larry says

    Thank you sooo much for this website and all it’s resources!! It is exactly what I was looking for as I consider whether to take the exam. You are awesome!

  53. Stephanie says

    Hi Tanya,
    Please go to this page for international candidates for details, but in short I know many Canadians go through Illinois because the state does not require the social security number and experience if you don’t mind getting only the CPA certificate (which for many is goo enough for credential purposes).

    Hope it helps! If not just drop another note in the respective pages.

  54. Stephanie says

    Hi Nathan,

    Looks like you have quite a lot of states to choose from! If you are evaluated to have 150 credit hour (which you should have, with the MBA) and have SSN, then all you need is 1-2 years of experience.

    But then if you want to skip the experience requirement altogether, then can check out Illinois. This is the most popular state for Canadians anyway as far as I know.


  55. Stephanie says

    Hi “Hi” and Larry,
    Many thanks for your encouraging words. I am glad you find the site useful!

  56. Stephanie says

    Dear all,
    Many thanks for taking the time to leave your comments here.
    In order to streamline and improve the response time, I would like to redirect your questions to these pages:

    1. For state specific questions (including specific state’ qualification and licensing rules):
    Please go to CPA exam requirements by state, click on the state you are interested in, and add a comment there.

    2. For general questions from international candidates:
    Please check out this page written for you first, and click away / leave comments from there!

    Finally, if you would like to clarify the details on this page, then please scroll back up and find the heading “Your comments are most welcome” and drop a note for me there. Thanks!


  57. Trey says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’m currently in my 5th year of undergrad so after graduating i’ll have the neccessary 150 credit hrs to sit for the exam. My question is should I go into a masters program for accounting to gain more knowledge and become better prepared for the CPA exam or get an accounting job and use study guides to prepare?


    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hello Trey, in my opinion, the CPA review course is a much better way to pass the CPA exam. These professional exams are completely different animals than those exams in colleges. You need some knowledge (which you can get from the master’s program) but more importantly the exam tactics (which is normally not covered at school). More info here: Stephanie

  58. Bhavin R Patel says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I graduated in M.COM (Professional Acocunting), I got Professional Year class Certificate in Australia. I will come to us soon. I want to go for CPA but not only go for CPA , Actually I want to become CPA ( in Chicago) anyhow. Please guide me and reply me on my gmail. id. I will wait for your reply.


  59. Sharad Kafle says

    I have completed two years master degree from Nepal and currently resides at Dover, NH under immigration visa. In addition to this, i have working experience of 5 years in Nepalese Commercial Banks (A class bank licensed from Central Bank of Nepal) in different positions. Further, I have 3 years teaching experience in financial management of bachelor level in Nepal.
    Now i want to start CPA study nearby areas of Dover. Plz suggest me what to do? what is the process for doing such course? is scholarship available or not for the students like us?


    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Sharad,
      May I ask that apart from your 2-year master, did you have bachelor degree, and how long? If you have altogether 5 years of education, then it’s good; otherwise you might need some make-up of courses to do. Please check out this page for candidates with international background. Stephanie

  60. Lacey Kenworthy says

    I currently trying to decide if I should persue a career in accounting. I live in IN right now, however my boyfriend lives in Alberta, Canada. My plan is to be moving there eventually in the next year or two. My question is if I do persue a bachelor’s degree in accounting here will that degree transfer there for me to get a job or would I be better off waiting to go to school for accounting until after I’ve moved there? Thank you for your time.

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Lacey, I think if you are going to get a CA in Canada, it is better to wait because CA has quite a restrictive educational requirement. However, if it’s more like your boyfriend coming over, then you can start your Bachelor in the US.

      Just my thoughts… hope it helps! Stephanie

  61. says


    iam accountant CMA certified and i want to be CPA iam egyptian and i have bachelor of degree in accounting and have 5 years experience and i work and resident in KUWAIT . what is the first step i will take to be cpa and what is the best state to get from it and how i can equivalent my degree and i will equivalent before or after exam please help me

  62. Alisa Chen says

    Hi, Stephanie,
    I am a permanent resident in Canada, have my Social Security Number for Canada, should be getting my citizenship right upon graduation. Now I am the process of completing a four-year bachelor degree in Accounting (in my third year of study). I was wondering which state would be my best option for getting the U.S CPA title if I do not care much about practicing public accounting (tax/audit) in the states? I more or less want to start a career in the industry (managing cost control etc.) as opposed to an accounting firm in Asia, just want to get the credentials as a CPA.

  63. Joseph O. A. Toby says

    I really need help/guide as my dream of becoming CPA seems to come to reality. I would be migrating to the US soonest and one of my focus is to sit the CPA exam. The information here is meaningful and wish to be guided the more.

  64. Kenneth says


    Thank you for the website. I am 50 years old and I recently opted for a career change. I gave roughly 16 years retail management experience with some internal audit experience. I will be starting the exams in about 3 months.

    I recently went onto a couple of message boards dedicated to accounting and the collective mindset was brutally negative in regards to getting a job after passing the exams. There was also a lot of banter about age-discrimination in the field and commentary indicating that a person my age would be at a severe disadvantage.

    Will I have so much trouble getting employment after passing the exams?


    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Kenneth,
      I guess there is a fair amount of truth in that, just to be completely honest, but if you are capable and are lucky (e.g. not being interviewed by a snobish 30 year old) then I am quite sure there is a good chance of success.

      Don’t worry too much about the forums — there are people who generally want to offer help, but many posters are angry people who got frustrated (and too much time) because they thought getting the CPA will guarantee jobs. That’s certainly not the case.

      I am in the process of writing a series of articles on job hunting, both before and after getting the CPA. Stay tuned for announcement of my facebook page (! Stephanie


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