Alaska CPA Requirements: Rules on Exam and Licensing

Alaska CPA requirementsThis 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.

Alaska CPA License Requirements

To meet the CPA license requirements in Alaska, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Identification
  • Age
  • Exam
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Ethics
  • Continuing Education

You will also need to pay CPA Exam fees and CPA licensure fees.

Identification Requirements for CPA License in Alaska

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.

Residency and Age CPA Alaska Requirements

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.

Alaska State CPA Requirements: The Exam

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:

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

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.

Alaska CPA Exam review

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.

Alaska CPA Exam Requirements to Sit

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.

1.   Alaska CPA education requirements to take the CPA Exam

Basically, before they can sit for the CPA Exam, candidates need one of the following:

  • At least a bachelor’s degree (or it’s equivalent as approved by the board) with an accounting concentration.
  • OR, have at least a bachelor’s degree with 15 semester hours of accounting.
  • OR, hold a bachelor’s degree in combination with 1 year of experience as a public accountant under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA.
  • OR, be within 18 hours of graduating with a bachelor’s degree with an accounting focus.

Additionally, you must have accumulated at least 15 semester hours in accounting courses.

What’s an accounting concentration?

The Alaska board has specific definitions of what counts as a degree with an accounting concentration. In short, your education must include:

  • 24 semester hours in accounting subjects
  • 9 semester hours in business law, economics, and college-level math, statistics, or computer science

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.

2. How to become a CPA in Alaska: Education needed for licensure

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:

  • Gain a master’s degree in accounting or a related field with plenty of accounting courses.
  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree (which is essentially equivalent to 120 hours), plus take additional coursework without pursuing a degree to reach 150 semester 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.

Acceptable institutions

What’s more, the Alaska board expects CPA candidates to have their education from “acceptable” colleges or universities. So, what does that mean?

  • The University of Alaska is an accepted institution.
  • Schools that have been accredited by a regional accrediting association are also acceptable.
  • A foreign university might be accepted, too. But first, candidates should have their credentials evaluated by NIES, the NASBA International Evaluation Service.

Alaska Jurisdiction CPA Experience Requirements

Alaska expects 2 years of accounting experience that is “satisfactory to the Board.” In short, relevant experience includes:

  • Accounting
  • Attest services
  • Compilation services
  • Management advisory services
  • Financial advisory
  • Tax services
  • Consulting skills

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.

Does Alaska Require a CPA Ethics Exam?

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.

Alaska CPA License Fees

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:

  • CPA Exam Application Fee: $185
  • CPA Examination Fees (per section for AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG): $224.99
  • Registration Fee: $90, regardless if you register for 1, 2, 3, or 4 sections at once

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:

  • CPA License Application Fee (non-refundable): $300
  • CPA Certificate Fee: $390

Alaska CPA Annual CE Requirements

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:

  • At least 80 hours of CPE each year in the 2 years preceding a license renewal, so a total of 160 hours every 2 years.
  • Of those hours, you must gain at least 20 hours each year. So basically, this means that you have to spread out your CPE efforts. Therefore, you can’t wait until the last minute to get in your hours.

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.

Important Alaska CPE reminders

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.

Gaining your CPE hours

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.

Finding a CPE Course

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:

  • Professional programs developed by the AICPA are accepted.
  • Or, courses that appear in NASBA’s National Registry of CPE Sponsors, which is a vetted list of approved providers.
  • Plus, Alaska will accept CPE courses from other state accounting societies and national professional accounting organizations.
  • “Short courses,” or college or university classes that do not meet for credit, may be acceptable if they have a relevant subject matter.
  • You can even gain credits by teaching accounting educational programs. However, you can only accumulate up to 30 hours every two years by being an instructor.
  • Hours are granted for publishing articles or books in accounting subjects, too, since you have to demonstrate your knowledge to write such things.
  • And finally, as the Alaska board states, “formal, organized, education programs that focused primarily on the enhancement of necessary skills and knowledge in the subjects of accounting…” Basically, courses like the ones I’ve reviewed here.

If you need help finding a good CPE course, check out this article.

Alaska State Board Contact Info

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
Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806

Physical address

333 Willoughby Avenue
9th Floor
Juneau, AK 99801-1770

FAQs

What is the Alaska CPA reciprocity policy?

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.

How do I schedule an Alaska CPA Exam?

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.

What if the Alaska CPA requirements don’t work for me?

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.

About the Author Stephanie Ng

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!

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