The Alabama CPA requirements are straightforward but specific. For example, Alabama only awards CPA licenses to US citizens and candidates with a legal presence in the United States.
Plus, the Alabama CPA education requirements are also relatively tough. In particular, you need to fulfill 150 education hours for a permit to practice. Furthermore, CPA requirements in Alabama have strict conditions for specific courses in accounting, business, and law.
The CPA license is granted by the 55 boards of accountancy, one for each state and territory in the United States. Moreover, each jurisdiction has slightly different rules and requirements. So if you’re wondering how to become a CPA in Alabama, this article will go over the CPA application process in Alabama. Before you start on your CPA journey, consider the Alabama ID, residency, age, exam, education, and work requirements.
More and more, state boards are requiring certain types of identification. Specifically, Alabama requires:
Alabama requires that CPA candidates are US citizens. Or, they can prove via certain federal documents that they are legally present in the United States.
Either way, you’ll have to prove your status. If you’re a citizen of the United States, you can prove your citizenship through one of the following:
Or, if you’re not a US citizen but have legal authorization to live and work here, you can prove your status via one of these documents:
However, this is just a short list of documents. Click here to find a complete list from the Alabama State Board of Accountancy.
Although you must be a US citizen or legal resident, you don’t need to be a resident of the state of Alabama.
Before you can take the CPA Exam in Alabama, you must be at least 19 years of age. There are no exceptions to this rule.
The requirements to sit for the CPA Exam in Alabama are very specific. You must:
Plus, you must meet one of these education benchmarks. And please note that if you only have a bachelor’s degree, certain classes are required to sit for the CPA Exam in Alabama.
When you’re ready to take the CPA Exam in Alabama, you’ll start by sending your application package to the state board. You can download the application form here. Please note the following important details:
Alabama’s education requirements clearly state that your degree must be from a regionally accredited college or university. In short, accreditation bodies review programs’ curriculum to ensure they meet certain quality standards. For example, they check what is being taught so all students can graduate with confidence knowing they are prepared for their careers.
Therefore, if you graduated from a program accredited by an organization like the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), you’re probably good to go. First, the Alabama state board will review your transcripts. Then, they will check to see if the college you attended is regionally accredited by an approved accrediting body. Otherwise, if you didn’t graduate from a regionally accredited school, the state board can reject your education experience.
This can be an issue for international candidates. Therefore, if you haven’t yet completed your education requirements, I strongly urge you to complete your hours at an accredited school. If needed, you can find additional information about accreditation from This Way to CPA.
If you’re an international candidate, please note that Alabama does not participate in the international administration of the CPA Exam. That is, if you’re living abroad, you cannot take the exam outside of the US and still apply for a CPA license in Alabama. You can read more on NASBA’s website.
Before we go into Alabama’s standards, let me address a point about CPA education requirements in general. In many states, you must first reach one education benchmark to take the CPA Exam. Then, you must meet a slightly higher benchmark to get your CPA license. Alabama is one of those states. So, make sure you carefully read the information below.
Before you can take the CPA Exam in Alabama, you must meet the education requirements as outlined above. And please note: all education must be completed prior to taking the CPA examination in Alabama.
So therefore, you need 120 hours of higher education to take the CPA Exam in Alabama.
But within 36 months of passing all four sections, the Alabama state board expects you to finish additional hours. After all, you will need a total of 150 hours OR a graduate degree before you can receive a permit to practice as a CPA, even after you pass the exam.
In short, that means you’ll need 120 hours to take the exam but 150 hours to finally apply for your permit to practice.
Furthermore, within those 150 hours, you will need:
Please note that Alabama is one of a handful of remaining “two-tier” states. In these jurisdictions, candidates first receive a “CPA certificate” after passing the CPA Exam and the ethics exam. Then, after meeting the work experience requirements, candidates receive a “CPA license” or “CPA permit to practice.”
Therefore, after you pass the CPA Exam, you can apply for an Alabama CPA certification. However, Alabama requires a specific amount of experience to receive a permit to practice as a CPA. You will need one of the following.
In addition to passing the CPA Exam, CPA candidates in Alabama must also pass an ethics exam. The Alabama board uses “Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course,” which many other jurisdictions use, too.
Alabama has fees for your initial CPA Exam application, a fee to have your credits sent to the board, and fees for each section of the exam. Plus, you’ll have to pay an additional fee to re-take the exam if needed, too.
Alabama also requires CPAs to submit an annual registration to report CPE hours (see more info below). The registration form must be accompanied by the following annual fees:
Most jurisdictions have reciprocity rules that allow CPA-holders from one state to temporarily practice in another state, as long as the CPA requirements are similar. CPA reciprocity in Alabama follows this practice, too.
Specifically, Alabama will issue reciprocal certificates to CPA holders from another state who:
Alabama also offers reciprocity with holders of the Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant credential. However, they must meet the following requirements:
Many states require CPAs to complete CPE, or continuing professional education, to maintain an active CPA license. The purpose of CPE is to keep CPAs up-to-date about important changes to regulations and standard practices. Plus, it keeps your skills sharp.
To maintain an active status license, all CPA holders in Alabama have to fulfill the CPA CPE requirement on an annual basis.
Here is a summary for your reference.
CPE credits must be accumulated by the 30th of September each year.
CPAs registered in Alabama should fulfill at least 40 hours of accounting continuing education each year. However, these 40 hours need to include the following subjects:
The board may grant CPE waivers for:
Alabama has both active and inactive CPA licenses. If you don’t keep up on your CPE hours, your license will become inactive. So, if want to upgrade an inactive license to an active one, you’ll need some extra CPE hours. Specifically, you must complete the following:
Additionally, please keep in mind that you must complete these make-up CPE hours in the 3 years prior to changing your CPA license to “active.”
NASBA maintains the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, which you can access here. For instance, the list includes CPE providers who meet NASBA’s quality standards. Therefore, the registry is a good place to start to find providers.
Or, you can check out the Alabama Society of CPAs. They also provide CPE classes for both members and non-members. In addition, the Alabama CPA society has links to CPE courses from other providers like Surgent.
Plus, you can always contact the Alabama state board for assistance.
Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy
PO Box 300375
Montgomery, AL 36130-0375
Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy
770 Washington Ave., RSA Plaza Suite 226
Montgomery, AL 36104-3807
In the past, the Alabama CPA Exam dates fell within certain weeks each fiscal quarter referred to as “testing windows.” However, the CPA Exam now follows a model of continuous testing windows. So, candidates no longer have to wait for certain windows to take the exam. They do, however, have to schedule and pass their exams within the valid dates on their NTS, or Notice to Schedule a CPA Exam in Alabama.
The Alabama state board charges a fee of $224.99 per exam section. In addition, the board has a $120 initial exam fee, a $120 credit transfer fee, and a $75 exam re-take fee.
If you have an active CPA permit to practice in Alabama, then under Florida’s regulations, you can practice in Florida without notification or fee. However, if you only have an Alabama CPA certificate—that is, you have not met the work experience requirement—you cannot practice in Florida.
If you’re considering taking the CPA Exam, I strongly suggest mapping out your journey before you begin. To get started on the right foot, study for the CPA Exam with a review course that meets your learning style. I’ve reviewed several of the top review providers in this article. For example, if you’re looking Alabama CPA courses for auditing, the article will help you find some.
Additionally, I have a free CPA mini-course for my readers. In this course, you’ll receive free CPA Exam information, tips, and study advice. Just click here to learn more and sign up.
You may want to check out these pages to learn more about the CPA educational and experience requirements.
If you have questions, feel free to drop a note in the comment section. Or, visit my Facebook page.
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!