You are done! But what’s next after the CPA Exam?
First of all, congratulations! You have completed the most difficult part of the CPA qualification journey: The Uniform CPA Exam.
Depending on which state you apply for the license, you’ll have to fulfill most if not all the following to become a truly minted CPA.
Yes, there is a long wait of receiving the actual congratulatory letter from your State Board. It could be a few days, or weeks, or even months in a few cases. Don’t freak out if you haven’t got it after a week.
Before you get the official congratulatory letter, do something value-add, such as:
The congratulatory letter may indicate taking the CPA Ethics Exam as the next step. Don’t worry if it is not mentioned in the letter, as a number of states don’t have this requirement. A few states, such as California, run their own exam. Other states may ask candidates to complete a test relevant to the state, e.g. the state law test in Utah.
Most states require CPA candidates to accumulate 1 to 2 years of relevant accounting experience. A handful of states recognize only experience in public accounting, but most states nowadays are fine with general accounting and taxation work.
The majority of state boards require your experience to be supervised, and verified by an active CPA licensee as part of the license requirement. For details, check the CPA Exam Requirements by State and click on the corresponding link of your state.
When you are ready, download the license application form from the state board. Send it in together with the initial license fee. Turnaround time is usually fast for most states.
Once you are done with your state CPA licensing, you may choose to apply for the AICPA — the largest professional accounting body in the world. You will also need to fulfill the CPE requirements but in most cases it would be the same as the ones required by your state board.
In order to keep your license active, you are required to take continuing professional education on a regular basis, typically 80-120 hours every 2-3 years. Here are the requirements for your state board and for AICPA.
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I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!