This update of Alaska CPA requirements is for anyone sitting for the CPA Exam in Alaska. Plus, you’ll find information about CPA Alaska requirements for CPE and Alaska CPA reciprocity.
To meet the CPA license requirements in Alaska, you must meet the following requirements:
You will also need to pay CPA Exam fees and CPA licensure fees.
To meet the CPA requirements in Alaska, you must have U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) on file with the board of accountancy. However, if you do not have an SSN, you can request a waiver. Start by submitting a “Request for Exemption from Social Security Number Requirement” form. You can find it online here.
The Alaska board does not have residency requirements for CPA candidates. Therefore, you don’t have to live in Alaska or even be a US citizen. (But, keep in mind the above information about the SSN requirement.)
The minimum age to sit for the CPA Exam in Alaska is 19.
Before applying to become a CPA in Alaska, you must pass the Uniform CPA Examination, which has been developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Furthermore, candidates have to receive a passing score on each of the 4 sections within an 18 month period.
In short, the CPA Exam sections are:
Moreover, candidates can now sit for the exam at any time during the year, thanks to the new continuous testing model. In the past, you had to wait for certain testing windows each year.
The pass rate for the CPA Exam usually hovers around 50%. However, studying with a proven study course can increase your chances of passing on your first try. If you’re looking for CPA Exam review courses, check out this article.
In Alaska, CPA candidates must meet certain educational requirements to sit for the CPA Exam. Plus, additional benchmarks must be met before licensure, as explained below.
Basically, before they can sit for the CPA Exam, candidates need one of the following:
Additionally, you must have accumulated at least 15 semester hours in accounting courses.
The Alaska board has specific definitions of what counts as a degree with an accounting concentration. In short, your education must include:
So, if you’re still in school, you should note that Alaska is one of the jurisdictions that allow candidates to take the CPA Exam as upperclassmen. Plus, you don’t necessarily need a specific degree in accounting, as some states require. As long as you study a related field—like business—and get plenty of accounting courses under your belt, you should be good to go.
Although you only need a bachelor’s degree to sit for the CPA Exam, candidates need more education hours before applying for an Alaska CPA license. In fact, you’ll need at least 150 semester hours from an approved college or university. Therefore, Alaska now follows the “150-hour rule” just like all of the other CPA jurisdictions.
You have two options for gaining those 150 hours:
Plus, Alaska requires at least an accounting concentration, which must include 24 or more semester hours in accounting-related subjects. For example, you could take classes in accounting principles or theory, advanced accounting classes, auditing, cost accounting, detection of fraud, income tax, or government accounting.
In addition, you’ll also need at least 9 semester hours in other business subjects, including business law, economics, and math courses like statistics, computer science, algebra, calculus, or general mathematics.
Candidates may be grandfathered if their CPA exams were completed before January 1, 2008. Please contact the Alaska state board for details.
What’s more, the Alaska board expects CPA candidates to have their education from “acceptable” colleges or universities. So, what does that mean?
Alaska expects 2 years of accounting experience that is “satisfactory to the Board.” In short, relevant experience includes:
You can accumulate these 2 years of experience in government settings, industry, academia, or public practice. Plus, your experience must be supervised by an active CPA.
*Launched in April 2016* The NASBA Experience Verification service is now available to those who do not have access to an active U.S. CPA for verification.
Yes—CPA candidates must pass an ethics exam, too. In fact, they must pass the exam called Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course for Licensure. But don’t let the exam scare you because it’s open book. Moreover, the CPA Ethics Exam is administered by the AICPA.
The Alaska board has several fees that candidates must pay at various points. As a first-time applicant who is getting ready to take the CPA Exam, you’re required to pay an exam application fee as well as exam fees for each section. However, if you don’t pass in time and need a CPA 18 month extension in Alaska, then you’ll have to pay the exam fees and registration fees again.
The Alaska fees include:
And after you passed the CPA in Alaska, before you call yourself a licensed Certified Public Accountant, you’ll also have to pay these fees:
As in most jurisdictions, continuing education is required for license holders to maintain an active CPA license. Continuing professional education (or CPE or CE) helps CPAs stay up-to-date about the latest developments in the field. For example, CPE courses might cover new best practices in accounting or business. Or, they could go over new tax policies or other laws that can impact CPAs’ practice.
Specifically, active CPAs need:
In addition, at least 4 of those 80 hours must in an approved ethics course, which is an increasingly common requirement.
However, if you’re an inactive CPA and don’t intend to renew your license, you don’t need to gain any CPE.
Please note that a renewal form will be mailed to your address at least 30 days before the expiration. You’ve got to remember the renewal because there is no grace period to practice on an expired license.
CPE credits have to be accumulated by December 31st. Plus, the counting is done every 2 years on odd-numbered years.
So, just how can you accumulate your CPE credits? Well, you have a few options:
* You can take a self-study course or participate in other “nonacademic continuing education hours,” to use the Alaska board’s phrase. In these instances, 50 minutes of instruction time (not including your own prep time) equals a credit of 1 CPE hour.
* You could also enroll in a course at a college or university. For college classes, 1 semester hour equals 15 CPE hours. So for example, if a typical college class is 3 semester hours, you’ll earn 45 CPE hours for taking it, putting you more than halfway to your goal.
Before you start enrolling for CPE classes, however, make sure they will be approved by the Alaska board of accountancy. According to the board’s statutes and regulations, here are the guidelines:
If you need help finding a good CPE course, check out this article.
I try to keep all of the Alaska requirements up-to-date on this page. However, state boards occasionally change their requirements without much notice. Therefore, before you start on your CPA journey in Alaska, I strongly recommend contacting the state board.
Alaska State Board of Public Accountancy
Juneau, AK 99811-0806
333 Willoughby Avenue
Juneau, AK 99801-1770
Alaska will allow you to practice public accounting if you have a CPA license from another state. However, you must have 150 semester hours of higher education and a bachelor’s degree. Plus, you can only practice in Alaska if you’ve already passed the CPA Exam. And you’ll need at least 1 year of experience, too. If you meet these requirements, then you apply for licensure by reciprocity.
Go to the state board’s website for more information.
If you want to sit the CPA Exam in Alaska, you’ll apply through CPAES instead of the Alaska state board. NASBA’s CPA Examination Services (CPAES) is part of CPA Central, an online portal where you can apply to take the exam and learn more about the process. Click here to get started.
Check out these pages to learn about the educational and experience requirements to become a CPA, with my recommendation at the end of the posts:
If you have questions about how to obtain a CPA license in Alaska, feel free to leave a comment below, 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!