In the US, there is no single procedure for earning a CPA license. Instead, individual jurisdictions set their own standards through state boards of accountancy. While Arizona CPA requirements are similar to those in some other states, it’s important to know what exactly you’ll need to become a CPA in the Grand Canyon State.
This article will answer the following questions, among others:
To earn a CPA license in Arizona, you must meet the following requirements:
When you apply for CPA certification in Arizona, you are required to provide a social security number (SSN). However, if you’re an international candidate without an SSN, take a look at some states that provide more flexible CPA requirements.
Requirements for a CPA in Arizona don’t include US citizenship or even residency or an office in the state of Arizona. Therefore, as long as you can prove that you are lawfully present in the US, you meet the residency requirement. However, you must be at least 18 years old to sit for the CPA Exam.
The CPA Exam requirements in Arizona are the same as in any state when it comes to the Uniform CPA Exam. You must have a four-year bachelor’s degree or higher in order to take the exam. Typically, this means you can sit for the CPA in Arizona with 120 credits. However, you will require more credit hours for the actual CPA licensure.
The Uniform CPA Exam, which is developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), consists of four sections:
Each section involves four hours of testing covering both multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations. Additionally, the BEC section also contains written communication tasks.
Unsurprisingly, CPA candidates in Arizona also want to know what constitutes a CPA passing score on each section (the answer is 75, but read the article for a more in-depth discussion about the CPA Exam grading process). Furthermore, you must pass all four sections within a rolling window of 18 months in order to pass the whole exam. Fortunately, the AICPA now offers year-round CPA exam dates in Arizona, giving you greater flexibility in scheduling.
The CPA Exam is a difficult test that covers a broad range of accounting knowledge. Thus, practically all candidates require a review course or materials of some kind to help prepare for the exam. Check out our article on the best CPA Exam review courses to figure out which one is right for you.
The Arizona CPA education CPA requirements for licensure are stricter than those for the Uniform CPA Exam itself. You must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, of course, which comprises at least 150 credit hours. Those 150 hours must include:
If you have completed a bachelor’s degree that didn’t quite meet the number of credit hours required, you can gain more by pursuing a master’s degree. You can also enroll as a non-degree-seeking student at an accredited institution, college, or university. For example, this can include online programs like those offered by the University of Phoenix, whose accounting program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs.
If you received your higher education outside of the United States, your transcript must be reviewed course-by-course by NASBA’s International Evaluation Services (NIES). In fact, this is the only credit evaluation service that the Arizona State Board of Accountancy will accept.
Education and a passing exam score aren’t the only requirements to be a CPA in Arizona. You will also need at least 2,000 hours of paid or unpaid work experience in accounting. This work can be completed either before or after taking the exam, and it can be any combination of full-time, part-time, volunteer, or internship work. Additionally, the work experience can come from any US jurisdiction or foreign country.
The Arizona State Board of Accountancy wants to make sure that you have experience with the following accounting skills:
In order to prove you have these skills, you will submit a Certificate of Experience filled out by each of your work supervisors who is a CPA or has similar qualifications. Alternatively, self-employed accountants may submit three letters from clients attesting to their work experience.
The AICPA also creates a self-study course on professional ethics in accounting, and you are required to take and pass this course before you can become a CPA in Arizona. You can order the course online and have it shipped to you. For this Arizona CPA ethics CPE, you must receive a score of at least 90% on the final examination to meet this requirement.
The application for CPA licensure asks candidates a number of questions about their history with the law and the practice of accounting. Specifically, there are 15 yes-or-no questions asking whether you’ve been convicted of certain financial crimes or fraud involving a CPA license. If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you must provide documentation explaining your answer.
To apply for CPA licensure in Arizona, there is a $100 application fee. However, you may be able to receive a waiver if your family income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level. You must submit an application for this waiver before submitting your CPA application. If your application is accepted, you’ll need to pay a $300 registration fee, which you will need to continue to pay every two years to retain your certification. This fee has been temporarily reduced to $275 until June 30, 2024.
If you wish to retain your certification as an inactive or retired member, you will pay a fee of $150 or $50, respectively, every two years. These fees may only be waived or reduced if you become disabled to the point of being unable to practice for at least six months.
Of course, if you are applying for your CPA license for the first time, you will need to include fees for taking the CPA Exam in Arizona as well as the required ethics course. Here’s a table with a quick estimation of the total cost of receiving a CPA license in Arizona.
|Exam application fee||$50-$100|
|AUD exam fee||$238.15|
|BEC exam fee||$238.15|
|FAR exam fee||$238.15|
|REG exam fee||$238.15|
|CPA license application fee||$100|
|Biennial registration fee||$300|
|Ethics course fee||$120-$145|
Note that this doesn’t consider costs for CPA Exam review courses or retaking any sections of the exam.
After you have obtained your license, you can keep it by meeting your state’s continuing professional education (CPE) requirements every renewal period. In Arizona, this means that every two years, ending on the last day of your birth month. Each time, you’ll need to complete 80 hours of Arizona State CPE, which must include:
Unfortunately, there is no carry-over between renewal periods if you exceed the 80 required hours. However, in some circumstances (e.g., retirement, disability, active military duty), you may be able to receive a waiver for CPE requirements for a CPA in Arizona. More information on Arizona’s CPA continuing education requirements can be found on the website of the state’s board of accountancy.
You can also save on your CPE courses with this Becker CPE discount.
If you have a CPA license in another US jurisdiction, the Arizona State Board of Accountancy will issue you a certificate of reciprocity to practice in Arizona. However, you must fill out the same application and pay the same fee as new CPAs. All candidates for reciprocity must hold a current license in another jurisdiction and pass the CPA Exam, but there is some leeway when it comes to the educational and experience requirements.
The following table shows how work experience can substitute for some of the educational requirements. Specifically, Path 1 shows the CPA requirements for Arizona, and the other paths show what the state considers equivalent experience
|Valid CPA license in another jurisdiction||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Passed CPA Exam||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Degree||Bachelor’s (or higher)||Bachelor’s (or higher)||Bachelor’s (or higher)||None|
|Total Credit Hours||150||150||Less than 150||N/A|
|Accounting Credit Hours||36||24||24||N/A|
|Upper-Level Accounting Credit Hours||30||12||12||N/A|
|Related Courses Credit Hours||30||18||18||N/A|
|Work Experience||2,000 hours||3+ years employed in accounting||5 of the last 10 years employed in accounting||10 of the last 15 years employed in accounting|
Therefore, even if your education does not meet the same standards as the Arizona CPA requirements, you may still qualify for reciprocity based on your work experience.
If you have further questions about Arizona state CPA license requirements, get in touch with the state’s board of accountancy. Since requirements can change over time, you’ll want to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.
Arizona State Board of Accountancy
100 N. 15th Avenue, Suite 165
Phoenix, AZ 85007
If you need help understanding the CPA requirements in Arizona, first take a look at our breakdowns of the CPA education requirements and CPA experience requirements.
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!