California CPA Requirements: How to Become a CPA in California

california cpa requirements

Historically, California has the most CPA Exam candidates of any jurisdiction, at times representing approximately 15% of the annual CPA candidate cohort. Therefore, because the California Board of Accountancy (CBA) is so popular, you should learn what the California CPA requirements are so you can determine if California is the state board for you. This information about the CPA California requirements will answer all of your questions about how to become a CPA in CA.

California CPA Requirements

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

  • Identification
  • Residency and Age
  • Exam
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Ethics
  • Fingerprinting
  • Continuing Education

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

Identification CA CPA Requirements

California strictly requires CPA candidates to have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in order to earn the CPA license. For those who are not familiar with an SSN, it is ID the U.S. government only issues to U.S. citizens, residents, and individuals allowed to study or work in the U.S. Therefore, California’s identification requirement is very important for international candidates to note.

California expects CPA candidates to have an SSN for licensure, but the state board also allows candidates without an SSN to sit for the CPA Exam. So, technically, candidates without an SSN can apply to the CBA to take the exam and then consider transferring exam credits to another state. However, I strongly recommend you just try another state for the entire CPA process because transferring exam credits is risky. You may find a better option on my list of best state boards for international candidates.

Residency and Age California CPA Requirements

The CBA welcomes both non-US citizens and residents to apply. Furthermore, California does not impose a minimum age requirement.

California CPA Exam Requirements

In order to receive the CPA license from the state of California, you must pass the Uniform CPA Examination in its entirety. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) creates the CPA Exam, which covers a wide range of accounting topics over 4 exam sections:

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

You can only sit for the CPA Exam during these 4 annual testing windows:

  • January 1-March 10
  • April 1-June 10
  • July 1-September 10
  • October 1-December 10

The passing score for the CPA Exam is 75 or higher.

Furthermore, once you pass your first CPA Exam section, you must pass the remaining 3 sections within 18 months. If you do not pass the other 3 sections during this time, you will lose credit for the first section you passed, and the start of your 18-month window will shift back to the date you passed your second CPA Exam section. This process will continue until you pass all 4 exam sections within 18 months.

California CPA Education Requirements

The process of sitting for the CPA Exam in California involves slightly different requirements than the process of earning the CPA license does. So, you need to know both the CPA Exam eligibility education requirements and the CPA license education requirements when you’re considering California as your CPA state board.

California CPA Exam Eligibility Education Requirements

Candidates must hold a 4-year bachelor’s degree or above in order to sit for the CPA Exam in California.

California CPA License Eligibility Education Requirements

As of January 1, 2017, candidates applying for the CPA license in California must have earned at least 150 credit hours of higher education. These credit hours must include:

24 credit hours of accounting courses

  • Qualifying courses include Accounting, Auditing, External or Internal Reporting, Financial Reporting, Financial Statement Analysis, and Taxation.
  • Other accounting courses that can be counted include Assurance, Attestation, Bookkeeping, Cost (Cost Analysis, Costing), Peachtree, QuickBooks, and CPA review courses taken from regionally/nationally accredited institutions.
  • Refer to CBA Regulations section 9.2(b) for details.

24 credit hours of business-related courses

  • Qualifying courses include Business Administration, Business Communications, Business Law, Business Management, Computer Science/Information Systems, Economics, Finance, Marketing, Mathematics, Statistics, and Business-related law courses offered at an accredited law school.
  • If you have obtained more than 24 credit hours of accounting courses, they can be applied to fulfill the business-related course requirement.
  • Refer to CBA Regulations section 9.2(c) for details.

20 credit hours of accounting study courses

  • Note that this requirement is in addition to the 24 accounting credits mentioned above.
  • Why do you need to take more accounting courses? The state board is essentially looking for an accounting concentration. You can check out the detailed requirements under CBA Regulation Sections 11.1.
  • You will automatically fulfill this accounting study requirement if you have a master’s in accounting, taxation, or laws in taxation.

10 credit hours of ethics study courses

  • Qualifying courses include Auditing, Legal Environment of Business, Business Leadership, Morals, Corporate Governance, Business Law, Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Resources Management Fraud, Management of Organizations, Business, Government & Society, Organizational Behavior, Professional Responsibilities, and some Theology, Religion, or Philosophy courses.
  • Refer to BPC section 5094.3 for details.

If you are enrolled in a master’s degree or a program that enables you to fulfill the 150-hour rule upon graduation, you may take the CPA Exam before graduation by seeking prior approval from the CA state board.

To receive the CBA’s approval for taking the CPA Exam before graduations, you must ask your school to send (1) your current transcript and (2) a letter from the registrar stating that you are enrolled in a master’s/150-credit-hour program, that you have already fulfilled the bachelor portion of this program, and the date by which you expect to complete all the courses.

For CPA candidates with a bachelor’s degree of 120 credit hours, you can make up for the remaining 30 credit hours by doing the following:

  • Obtaining a master’s degree
  • Taking non-degree courses at a community college (if they offer courses at a high enough level) or at another accredited educational institution

You can complete these non-degree courses either online or in a classroom setting and follow these suggestions to do so.

The California state board does not have a pre-evaluation service, but they do provide a self-assessment worksheet to help you determine your eligibility for the California CPA license.

California CPA Education Requirements for International Candidates

ACCA Holders

The California state board does NOT consider ACCA membership (and professional qualifications other than these) equivalent to a bachelor’s degree. However, the CBA may count some ACCA coursework towards the 150 credit hour requirement. Many factors influence the CBA’s decision to approve ACCA coursework, including when you took the ACCA courses.

When I emailed the CBA back in August 2012, they were kind enough to clarify the situation:

“We will consider coursework from the ACCA to the extent that the ACCA program is equivalent to coursework for academic credit at a U.S. nationally or regionally accredited degree-granting institution. However, the ACCA syllabus itself is subject to change over time.”

So, the only way to know if the CBA will approve your ACCA coursework is to obtain a foreign credential evaluation report from a CBA-approved agency.

BCOM + CA Holders

Regarding my question about the CA certificate, the CBA replied:

“In response to your question, the evaluation of foreign education is conducted on a case-by-case basis, and the CBA relies heavily on the U.S. equivalency determinations made by the CBA-approved foreign credential evaluation services. If a candidate has a question regarding the U.S. equivalency of specific education, they should be advised to contact one of the CBA-approved services. The CBA does not provide a blanket acceptance of any education.”

In other words, you have to go through the evaluation agencies to find out whether the CBA will accept your specific situation. So, for the next step, you have 2 choices:

  • Work with a foreign credential evaluation agency if you know that you may not get a favorable result
  • Contact me for information about a state matching service

If you are an Indian candidate, you can get even more advice about how to meet the CPA education requirements.

California CPA License Experience Requirements

As of January 1, 2014, you must have 1 year of experience to get the CPA license in California. This 1 year of experience must include accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills.

Your academic experience may qualify if it meets the standards outlined in CBA Regulations section 12.1. The courses could include accounting, auditing, financial reporting, external or internal reporting, financial statement analysis, or taxation. Refer to CBA Regulations section 9.2(b) for more details.

If you want to sign attest reports, you need to accumulate 500+ attest hours.

Furthermore, the CBA will accept part-time work as long as you have acquired the equivalent of at least 1 year of experience. In order to calculate your part-time work, know that the CBA considers 170 hours equivalent to 1 month of full-time employment.

California CPA Work Experience Requirements for Public Accounting

According to the CBA, “an individual who holds a valid active license, or comparable authority to practice public accountancy in any state or country” must supervise and verify your work experience.

So, my interpretation is that your supervisor can be a CPA and CA from another country. Given that this language is quite vague, you should email the state board for confirmation if your boss is not a U.S. CPA.

Candidates who acquired experience outside of the U.S. can benefit from this useful information provided by our reader Natasha:

“The only other thing that I noticed is that when the licensing procedure is proceeding, at a certain point of time, the Board will require the candidate to present in front of the board (I think they use the words “appearance before the CPA Qualification Committee (QC)”) if the working experience is acquired outside of the US.”

California CPA Experience Requirements for Non-Public Accounting / Private Industries

Again, a U.S. CPA must supervise and verify your work. If this person is not the owner of the company, then you need to acquire a second signature from their boss, who does not necessarily need to be a CPA.

Out-of-State Supervisor License Verifications

If you obtain your experience outside of California, the state board requires written verification from the out-of-state licensing body. And, the supervisor needs to hold a valid, active license to practice public accountancy.

California CPA Ethics Course Requirement

To earn the CPA license, you must satisfy the California CPA ethics course requirement. And the only course the CBA accepts is the Professional Ethics for CPAs (PETH) from the California CPA Education Foundation.

The ethics exam within this course contains 50 multiple-choice questions, and there is no time limit on the exam. The course includes 3 attempts to pass the exam with a grade of 90% or better (5 missed questions). However, if you don’t pass within those 3 attempts, you can contact CalCPA Customer Service to receive 3 more attempts for free.

You must complete the California ethics exam within 1 year of the date you purchased the course. And, your exam scores are valid for 2 years while you meet the other CPA license requirements.

Fingerprinting CPA Requirements in California

Applicants must submit their fingerprints to the CBA in order to undergo a criminal history check by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The CBA considers applications incomplete until this investigation occurs.

California residents must submit their fingerprints via a Live Scan service. Locations of Live Scan locations can be found at You will pay the fees for this service at the Live Scan location.

Non-California residents must submit their hardcopy fingerprints on cards provided exclusively by the CBA. You can request fingerprint cards by contacting or by calling (916) 561-1701. The CBA advises applicants to submit their hardcopy fingerprints 4 months in advance of their CPA license applications.

California CPA Exam and Licensure Application Fees

To apply to take the CPA Exam and receive the CPA license in California, you must pay the following fees:

  • First-timers: $100 initial application fee + $250 license fee
  • Repeaters: $50 repeat application fee + $120 license fee
  • Hardcopy fingerprint processing fee: $49

Once the CBA approves your application, you must select which CPA Exam sections you want to take. Be sure to choose your exam sections within 1 year of applying to the CBA. If you don’t, the CBA will consider your application invalid and your fees forfeited.

After the CBA receives your exam section selections, they will submit an Authorization to Test (ATT) to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Once NASBA processes your ATT, they will send you a Payment Coupon that is valid for 90 days. You must pay the fees due to NASBA within 90 days. Otherwise, your ATT and Payment Coupon will expire, and you will have to start the process with the CBA over again.

After you pay NASBA, you will receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS). Unlike most states in which an NTS is only valid for 6 months, a CBA-approved NTS is valid for 9 months starting from the date of NTS issuance. So, once again, make sure you sit for your chosen exam sections within 9 months, or you’ll forfeit all the fees you paid to the CBA and NASBA.

Current NASBA Fee Schedule for the Uniform CPA Exam

At this time, California adheres to NASBA’s fee schedule for the CPA Exam sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD): $208.40
  • Business Environmental and Concepts (BEC): $208.40
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR): $208.40
  • Regulation (REG): $208.40
  • Total fees paid to NASBA for all 4 sections: $833.60

To account for these costs and develop your CPA budget, you must learn more about the CPA Exam fees.

California CPA CPE Requirements

The state of California requires CPAs to fulfill continuing professional education (CPE) requirements on a biannual basis in order to maintain the CPA license.

Once you earn the CPA license, you must accumulate the CPE credits by the last date of your birth month. The CBA counts how many credits you have every 2 years, and they will send you a reminder 90 days before your license expiration date. Within these 2 years, CPAs registered in California should fulfill at least 80 hours of accounting continuing education. If you want, you can earn all of these hours through self-study courses. Under the rule in California, the CBA grants self-study courses CE credit equal to the average completion time. Additionally, you must earn a minimum of 20 CPE each year, and 12 of those hours must focus on technical subject matter.

California CPA CPE Technical Education Requirements

At least 40 hours of your CPE must address technical areas. The CBA specifies that technical areas address accounting, auditing, fraud, taxation, consulting, financial planning, ethics, computer and information technology, and specialized industry or government practices. You can refer to CBA Regulations section 87(a.2) for more details.

Furthermore, you must have at least 4 hours of ethics CPE. Accepted ethics courses include:

  • a review of nationally recognized codes of conduct which emphasizes how the codes relate to professional responsibilities
  • case-based instruction focusing on real-life situational learning
  • ethical dilemmas within the accounting profession
  • business ethics, ethical sensitivity, and consumer expectations

Courses that do not count for ethics CPE include:

  • sexual harassment
  • workplace harassment
  • workplace violence

Additionally, you have to complete at least 2 hours of regulatory review CPE. You must choose your regulatory review CPE from the CBA-approved list. Unlike other CPE requirements, you only have to take regulatory review courses once every 6 years. Refer to CBA Regulations section 87.8 for more details.

Depending on your role at work, you may also need to fulfill a minimum of 24 hours in these technical credits:

  • Accounting and auditing
  • Government auditing

If subject to Section 87(d) of the CBA Regulations, you may need to take 4 hours of fraud CPE on detection and/or reporting of fraud in financial statements in addition to the 24-hour requirement stated above.

California CPE Non-Technical Educational Requirements

No more than 40 hours of your CPE can come from non-technical areas. Non-technical areas include communication skills, word processing, sales, marketing, motivational techniques, negotiation skills, office management, practice management, and personnel management.

The following areas will not count towards fulfilling your CPE requirements:

  • personal growth
  • self-realization
  • spirituality
  • personal health/fitness
  • sports and recreation
  • foreign languages and cultures
  • other subjects that don’t directly contribute to your professional competence

For more info on which courses you can take and how to ensure your California CPA CPE compliance, check out this video:

California CPA CPE Courses

To earn the CPE credits you need to maintain your California CPA license, you can use Becker CPE courses.

California Board of Accountancy (CBA) Contact Information

The state board requirements change from time to time and without much notice. Therefore, to ensure that you can satisfy the most up-to-date CA CPA requirements, you should contact the CBA before you apply. You can use this information to do so:

California Board of Accountancy

2000 Evergreen Street, Suite 250
Sacramento, CA 95815-3832

  • Email:
  • Phone: 916-561-1703
  • Fax: 916-263-367

Help Earning the California CPA License

Meeting all of the California CPA requirements can be overwhelming, especially if you are not a typical CPA candidate. However, learning more about the CPA educational requirements and the CPA experience requirements individually can help.

Taking my free CPA e-course can also help you prepare for the entire CPA process. My course walks you through each step to CPA certification and tells you how to pass the CPA Exam on your first attempt. I have designed 2 versions of my course to assist candidates with different backgrounds: one for domestic CPA candidates and one for international CPA candidates. Learn more about my courses today or sign up now!

About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites

follow me on:
  • Marwan says:

    please mention in the requirement of license :

    Prior to issuance of a California CPA license, all applicants must provide a United States Social Security Number (SSN)

    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks Marwan… will do. If this is the case I need to check the possible impact on overseas candidates. Stephanie

  • Shobha says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have masters degree in accounting from India, I recently got my foreign credentials evaluated from Joseph Sliny and associates, for state Board of South Carolina, since I live in South Carolina. I stumbled on your very informative web site, and happen to be reading about different states, and want to ask you a question, so with my qualifications I can be a CPA when I give exam and pass it from CA or Delaware, a little confused please help. Thanks

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Shobha, I am sorry, but what is your question please?
    If you are qualified for the CA CPA exam requirement, then go ahead and register in CA then, because if you decide to work in California as a public account it will be much easier.

    If you find out that you can’t qualify after the evaluation, then it is another story… just let me know more and I’ll try my best to help you out. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Varni says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I got to know about your websitew from Shoba. Quite informative. Great service for all aspiring CPAs. Need your advice on my case.

    I live in NJ. My educational qualifications were completed outside the U.S. So got them evaluated by ECE.

    Obtained a B.Sc. (Hons) from University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and an Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting from CIMA, UK. Both combined I have 178 semester hours of credit which includes 42 hrs in Accounting, 36 hrs in Business Studies and 6 hrs in Business Law. But my degree is a three year degree. So ECE will not consider it equivalent to a U.S degree. Therefore NJ board says that I am not eligible to sit for the exams.
    Also I need to mention that I’m aiming for my CPA to enhance my credentials. I am currently sitting for my CMA exams… since IMA has recognised my degree & work experience.
    Can you please give me any suggestions on alternative routes I can try to become a CPA?

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Varni,
    I’m glad to know you find my site through Shoba! IMA is much better at recognizing international credentials isn’t it? Sometimes it’s frustrating for me to see a totally qualified candidates who just can’t meet the strict requirements for CPA in the US…

    Anyway, if yours is a 3-year degree, then you’ll have to go through Delaware, which I believe is the only state left that allows 3 year degrees. The catch is that you’ll need to fulfill 4 years of working experience in getting the license.

    Since 2006 Delaware has stopped giving out the CPA certificate for those looking for enhancing their credentials only. That’s why you are kind of “forced” to get the full license these days.

    Please go to Delaware CPA exam requirements for details, and any follow up questions are most welcome!

    Best of luck to you Varni, Stephanie

  • Varni says:

    Thanks Stephanie for your quick response. It’s quite frustrating since my degree is treated equivalent to a U.S. degree when it comes to applying for Masters in most of the U.S. universities. But not in the case of CPA. Can’t complain too much… because I want CPA not vice versa!

    Regarding Delware they need one course in U.S. federal Taxation. Any idea where I can obtain it? Online preferred.

    Thanks again Stephanie for you all your help.

  • Lenny says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I came across your very useful website and had a couple questions regarding the CPA exams. I reside in Toronto and wanted to do the CPA exams basicaly to enhance my credentials since I have no intent to practise in the US. I am an ACCA member and recently completed an MBA from the University of East London (UK). Can you please suggest the best suitable US State in which I may qualify for the CPA exams and the eventual license to use the CPA designation?



    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Lenny,
      Thanks for your kind note regarding my site. Unfortunately AICPA no longer recognizes ACCA as equivalent in terms of the educational requirements… so could you tell me a bit more of your education background, e.g. your degree (whether it’s 3-year, 4-year or 5-year/master program?) because this is a critical information to determine the suitable state you can go for. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Varni says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Saw the suggestions. Thanks so much for the time & effort. I’ll also update the page if I get hold of any new info regarding this.

  • Stephanie says:

    Varni, you are most welcome. Please do let us know for any findings or your thoughts on any of these courses. Cheers, Stephanie

  • gunjan says:

    Any idea what would be new licensing requirement from IL??


  • karen says:

    Hi Stephanie, I have bachelor degree from the University of London, UK. it is a 3 year undergraduate study. I got my evaluation today saying that it’s the equivalent of the completion of 90 semester credit hours of undergraduate study and the US degree of Bachelor of science in Accounting and finance. so am I qualified for the CPA exam in CA? thank you for your help!

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Karen,
    Yes, this would mean that you are qualified for the CA exam in terms of the degree, but you’ll have to take extra courses to make up the remaining 30-60 credit hours.

    If you go for Pathway 1, then 30 credits (+ 1 year of working experience later on); for Pathway 2, then 60 credits.

    If you are thinking of the possibility of working outside of CA as sa public accountant, then Pathway 1 is preferred because this pathway is considered “substantially equivalent” to the other states. Please check this CPA reciprocity link for more details if this applies to you.


  • karen says:

    thanks so much Stephanie!

  • PURVI says:

    Hi Stephanie..I have done my Bachelors of Commerce (15 years) from India and Chartered Accountancy from Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. I am keen on enrolling for CPA from California Board of Accountancy and currently given my documents for degree evaluation, however, while am awaiting the evaluation would like to know if my studies make me eligible for enrolling for CPA exam or do I need 16 years of education for the same.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Putvi,
      May I ask is your degree a 3-year degree? It also sort of depends on your university and the grade you get from what I know from WES. So hard to tell… but you can check out the Indian policy link from WES to give a general idea on how evaluation agencies do their job. Obviously FACS may give a slightly different result.

      You can get the link from this page:

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Gurjot singh benipal says:

    Hello Stephanie…I have done my degree from India which is of three years.I got my transcripts evaluated . I am having 90 total US semester credits ,30 accounting credits and 45 business credits.So I want to know I am eligible for CPA exam in California with my 3 years of degree. Even i am thinking of doing my master in accounting and finance from national university so that i can complete my 120 or 150 semester credits.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Gurjot,
      At this stage you probably can’t sit for California yet because they require at least 120 semester hours. But your plan of doing a master in accounting will work — in fact, if you can reach 150 credit hours you’ll only need to work for 1 year to gain the license.

      By the way, since you are in India, do you have a social security number? You need that for California.


  • Purvi says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for your response. I have got my degrees evaluated from International Education Research Foundation, Inc and as per the evaluation, it is stated that

    I have completed studies from University of Mumbai earning the Bachelors of Commerce and these studies are considered equivalent to ninety two and one half semester units of undergraduate coursework at regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States. (92 semester units)

    I completed additional studies at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India earning Certificate of membership.

    In conjunction with previous coursework i.e. Bachelor of Commerce, these studies are considered equivalent in level and purpose to the Bachelor of Science in Accounting, awarded by regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States. (150.5 semester units).

    Considering the above, I would like to know whether I will be eligible to sit for the CPA exam from California or would I need to do some additional studies for being eligible. If so, what additional courses or studies should I take up and which universities offer these courses..also are there any online courses which could be done or will I have to go to some university only..

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Purvi,
      Looks like you are all set! But you’ll likely need to go through the evaluation process through the agency again because California state board will ask for a report directly from them (please double check which agencies are qualified — it’s in the application form). While you should have fulfilled the 150 hours they need to check whether there are specific courses that you have fulfilled in order to sit for the exam.

      In general, with 150 hours you can work for only 1 year in public/non-public accounting to get the full license. By the way, you also need the social security number in CA for licensure… Stephanie

  • Swathi says:

    Hello Stephanie,
    I have done Bachelors of commerce (B COM) in India which is a 3yr degree. I have got my transcripts evaluated. It says my completed course work is equivalent to 90.00 total semester hours of college level credit including 24.00 semester hours of accounting and 24 semester hours of business courses and it is also saying that the accounting courses which i have taken include at least one course in:
    Audit: No
    Tax: Yes
    Financial Accounting: Yes
    Managerial Accounting: Yes
    Here my question is am i eligible to take CPA exam in California if no do i need to take some course in audit subject?And i don’t have SSN number. Thanks in advance.

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Swathi,
    Does it say that your degree is equivalent to an associate degree or bachelor degree? You can always get extra credits in any accredited colleges but the degree you are deemed to have obtained will determine your eligibility.

    If you don’t have SSN, better check out other state boards. CA will let you sit for the exam but won’t give you the license.

    Just come back and let me know the degree information and we’ll see what we can do. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Swathi says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thank you very much for your kind response.
    Firstly, The letter from IL board of Examiners has NOT mentioned about my degree i.e either equivalent to associate or bachelor degree.
    All it says is that “I am not academically eligible in IL to sit for CPA because of the following 2 deficienies.
    1. No course in Audit
    2. Total hours less than 150.”

    Here are some more queries i have. Please share your perspective on them.

    1. As stated above, It clearly appears that I need to take Audit course to meet sufficient credit hours in Audit subjet. Could you suggest where i can take courses(preferably online) in Audit? And How many credit hours are going to be covered for Audit courses? I mean will I be able to get 30credit hours by doing Audit course alone?

    2. I am moving to CA from IL in 2 months. I definitely want to take further required credits such as Audit etc and then write CPA exam in CA. So am I required to get my credintials evaluated again from CA board of Examiners?

    Best Regards,

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Swathi,

      I guess the evaluation from IL board isn’t that helpful is it…

      30 credit hour is equivalent to something like 1 year of coursework. That sounds kind of too much for audit… (unless you love the subject!) Sorry I haven’t got the time to research on the courses yet, but you can take it anywhere as long as it is accredited… I promise I will write something in the near future because it has been a frequent request.

      Looks like for Illinois if you can fulfill the 150 hours you are fine. But that’s quite a lot of work from 90 to 150… something you may need to consider. For CA, it won’t work for CPA licensing purposes if you don’t have SSN. Don’t worry you can still register in IL and then physically take the exam in CA.

      By the way, Colorado might work too but the CO rep is still not responding to my question on the SSN issue (whether license will be granted to non-SSN)… if I manage to bug her for the answer I will let everyone know. Thanks. Stephanie

  • Derek says:

    Hey! I’m kinda hazy on the work experience aspect of the pathway 2 requirement for CA. It says 1 year, but is that full time? I wish it would be more specific on number of hours and/or what type of environment they would accept. For example, I’m the treasurer for my church part-time where the guy I took over for/consult with is a licensed CPA…would that suffice? If not, some clarification on the minimum I need to do in this area would be great, so I wouldn’t need to leave my current day-job position as a cost accountant at a company where nobody’s a CPA. Thanks!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Derek
      Based on this official document, part-time work is only counted as 1 month of full time work… so it works but probably not enough. Is your current job have CPA equivalent, e.g. Chartered accountants from Canada, Australia etc.? California is nice enough to count those.

      Here is the primary source for your reference:

      Have you done your CPA exam yet? There are states such as Indiana that recognizes work being verified and not supervised by CPA licensee. So your “supervisor” at church can probably verify your day job experience for you. Some other states are also much more lenient on part-time experience.

      If you have passed your CPA exam via CA, you can still consider transferring your credit to a state that works, if everything in CA fails.

      Hope things will work out!

  • Farzad says:

    I got my bachelor honors degree in accounting and finance(120 credit) from Ireland, I would like to get the CPA title in the united state , does CPA entitles me to get a USA study visa ? can i do the CPA exams with the degree i have in California state ?


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Farzad,
      No I don’t think you can get a US student visa by taking the CPA exam, but if you successfully enroll in one of the accredited educational institutions you should be able to get it. If you have 120 credit hours, you should be able to sit for the exam in California, but please note that they need a social security number (sort of the identity card number in the US) to ultimately get the license.

      If you don’t have the SSN, check out Illinois. IL asks for 150 credit hours but you don’t need experience in order to get the CPA certificate.

      Hope it helps. Just let me know if you have further questions. Stephanie

  • Sewalini says:

    I completed MBA (Marketing & Finance) from IIPM, India after Bachelor of Commerce (3 yrs/Accountancy Honors) from Jadavpur University. I have sent my transcripts to IERF for evaluation as a part California Board of Accountancy requirement. I live in CA but currently on H4 and do not have an SSN. My husband’s green card is in process which will take 4-5 years or more. There are remote chances that we will be re-locating anywhere from CA in future. Do you advise me to sit for exams under CA jurisdiction or look for other states as I do not have SSN. Thanks for the help!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sewalini,
      Yes I would recommend that you try other states because you won’t be able to get the license from California without SSN. If you have a MBA, why not take a look at Illinois? It doesn’t require a SSN and doesn’t require working experience as long as you have 150 credit hours and doesn’t mind just the CPA certificate. You can always “upgrade” to full license after gaining 1 year of experience.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • karen says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    If I take the CPA exams in CA, can I obtain my working experiences outside CA?


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Karen,
      Yes you can, as long as your experience can be supervised and verified by an active CPA licensee.

  • Punam says:

    hi Stephanie,

    I have a 3 Year Bachelor of Commerce Degree from an Indian University, which I believe would not be considered a 4 Year Bachelor degree equivalent in US. Checked the WES Website, and my college is B+ so I dont think they would consider it as a 4 Year Degree.

    I am currently pursuing UCLA Extension Certificate in Accounting course

    Will this help me in qualifying to sit for the CPA Exam in California ?

    I do not have a SSN ( I am on an H4 Visa).

    Appreciate your help in this regards.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Punam,

      On the courses, as long as the course shows up on an official transcript it will be counted. Also, the extra courses won’t make your 3-year degree into a 4-year degree… so Delaware should still be your only choice for now.

      But then, if you don’t have SSN, you should try other states to save you the hassle of credit transfer. You can register in places as far as Delaware and physically take the exam in CA.


  • komal patel says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I completed a 3 year Batchelor of Arts degree in Accounting & Finance in the UK. I also passed the first half of the ACCA exam and then moved to the States. I am currently living in South/North Carolina border and am considering taking the CPA exam. Do I currently qualify to take the exam or what additional steps do I need to complete in order to qualify?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Komal,
      While in general 3 year degree is considered an associate degree in the US, please give a call to any of these foreign credential evaluation agencies and see if they can give you an indication whether yours can been seen as a 4-year degree equivalent. If it’s not possible, then Delaware would be your only choice (please check the working experience and see if it is doable). You can register in Delaware and physically take the exam in S/N Carolina.

      Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • John Failla says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I passed the CPA exam in New York in 1991 and never went to public accounting. Worked in private for 20+ years. Which state would I qualify to receive CPA license (I have a BBA in accounting).


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi John,
      It depends if you can fulfill the “new” CPA exam requirements for most state i.e. 150 credit hours of education. Would you mind telling me this before I give any recommendations? Stephanie

  • Jason says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am starting the process of getting my CPA license. Have a 4 year degree already but not in accounting. Going to fulfill the 24 extra units of accounting and Business but want to know where I can go to see what online school classes qualify for the credits for California license. Also, I am assuming once I complete those units along with my degree I already have that should probably equal more than the 150 credits needed for pathway 2.

    Link or recommendation for qualifying online school would be great if you know. Thanks.

  • Rathi says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I just went through your forum today and found very interesting.You are really doing a great job.
    I am on H4 visa and I live in California.I have done B.Com and M.B.A(finance) in India.I am very new to this country ,just came 10 months back.I had sent the application to the Board and just today I received the approval notification from them.I am not sure whether I can post these questions here.My questions are:-
    1) Many of my friends suggested me that Becker is the best CPA review classes.Here in the USA everything has a deal! I was just wondering that how much would be the reasonable price to pay to the Becker classes.Is there any deal on Becker classes?Could you please suggest me?

    2)I just went through some of the websites and many recommend to take the BEC exams in 2010.What would you suggest me?Would it be possible to prepare for the exam within a short span of time?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rathi,
      On the courses, yes Becker is the oldest and most well-known CPA review courses. I went through their live classes but didn’t like it, but I am sure others find it ok. More importantly, you’ll have to see if Becker is good for you. Please check out this page where I list out the pros and cons of the top 10 CPA review courses. Just drop me a note there if you have other questions.

      On whether to take BEC first… BEC will go through major changes in terms of the format (i.e. not content). If you don’t like the simulations / written communciations you should try to take it this year. But looks like you have a strong command of English anyway so I don’t think it’s a big deal. Also BEC takes a shorter time to prepare so it might be good for you as a start.

      In general I recommend taking FAR first but given you only have one window before 2010, BEC might as well be a good choice.

      Cheers, Stephanie

      P.S. You can meet other H4 visa holders here in this page. Best of luck to your exam!

  • Rathi says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for the information and advice. I really appreciate it!
    I have one more query.Can you please share your perspective on this.
    Would it be possible to study FAR within 2 months?What is the average time needed ?

    Thanks again for all your help.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rathi,
      You are most welcome! On FAR… yes I guess it is possible but you’ll need to study pretty much on a full-time basis. And hopefully you’ll have a good grasp of the accounting concepts. OK for you? Stephanie

  • Rathi says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thank you the information.I can grasp the accounting concepts pretty well.I will study on a full time basis and will take FAR exams at the end of November.

    Thanks for all your help.

  • Purvi says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks a lot for helping me out during the registration phase. I just got a mail today from the California board that I am approved to sit for the CPA Exam as a California candidate. Now I need to start the process of getting the ATT and NTS. How much time generally all this will take and will I be able to schedule atleast one section this year coz its already mid September. If I will apply for all the 4 sections then I will have to appear for all 4 within 9 months or wat and also since the syllabus is changing in 2011, which section should I take first if at all there is time left for me in this year.

    Thanks for all your help till now and will keep bothering you henceforth as well but trust me its a great guidance for all CPA candidates.


  • Nicole says:


    Can anyone tell me where I can go to see the exact status of my qualification to sit for the CPA exam? I am in the very beginning stages of becoming a CPA. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics in 2008 and am trying to figure out which classes I have already taken can be applied to the requirements to sit for the CPA exam.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Nicole,
      Is you bachelor degree from the US or elsewhere? More importantly, is it a 4-year degree? If so you should have quite a number of choices. Stephanie

  • Purvi says:

    Hi Rathi..m also appearing for CPA from California board and got my approval to sit for the exam recently..let me know ur email id so tat we can get in touch with each other as I do not know anyone doin CPA here..u can write to me at [].

    Thanks Stephanie for this immensely helpful column..

  • Nicole says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I received my Bachelor’s from UC Santa Barbara in California. It is a 4-year degree and I attended UCSB for all 4 of those years.


  • Rathi says:

    Hi Purvi,

    I have sent you an email.Can you check it?Where do you stay in California?

    Thanks Stephanie for all your help.

  • Gina G. says:

    I have a B.A. in communications from 1988. Can I go back and take required accounting and business coursework at a junior college to be eligible for CPA exam?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Gina,
      Shouldn’t be a problem, but given your mind is probably no longer tuned to the “academics” you’ll need all the dedication to get pass the exam!
      If there is anything I can help please drop me a note again.
      All the best,

  • Diego says:


    Very helpful website, I have a Bachelors degree in accounting, I graduated on December 2009 from Florida International University and I live in Florida. I would like to get my CPA licenses without getting a master’s degree if possible. Even though I have been working in Banking for the last 5 years, I have not worked directly in any accounting position. Please let me know if it’s possible to get get my CPA license or if I have to get the master’s degree in order to do so.

    Thank you,


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Diego,
      Thanks for your kind words! Assuming that yours is a typical bachelor degree with 120 credit hours, you can take a look at this page where I list out the states that allow you to sit for the exam with only 120 credit hours… but there are various restrictions so please take the time and click through the link to find out more.

      If you have any questions on each of the state, just drop a note there and I will be happy to help you out.

      Cheers, stephanie

  • Marie says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thank you for taking the time to put this great website which is almost a one-stop-shop for all questions related to CPA exam.

    I have > 150 semester units with a BS in accounting. What is considered as a general accounting experience? What is the requirement for general accounting experience such as (active CPA supervisor, etc.)? Can my supervisor sign my experience form even prior to passing the CPA exam? I am working for a non-public company, do I need to have two people sign the e-form? I am using EXCEL as my review course, do you have any suggestions if this is a good tool to use in studying for the CPA exam? or do I need to get an additional tools?

    Thank you!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Marie,
      Thanks a lot for your kind note!
      If you plan to register in CA, then working experience can be public or non-public accounting. In other words, anywhere that allows you to have accounting experience, be it CPA firms, corporates, private businesses, government agencies… as long as your experience is supervised by an active CPA licensee.

      Yes I believe most State Board recognizes experiences prior to the passing of the exam. California should be one of them but it’s better to double check with an email or quick phone call.

      While I generally recommend Yaeger I also think CPAexcel is pretty good. The people there e.g. Phil Anthony is GREAT who genuinely cares about candidates.

      If you need extra (free) tools, you can also check out This is a site run by a former CPA review course owner who sold his company to Kaplan, and the questions are really free with no strings attached.

      Good luck to your exam! Stephanie

  • Marie says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Just to add to my posting above: I went to a California State University college in California. I want to take a CPA license in CA.


  • zarak says:

    i got 103 credit hours from FACS for Colorado board. now what i have to do i wanna sit in California state.plz teme what to do…

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Zarak,
      Sorry I couldn’t find our earlier correspondence so I couldn’t recall your specific case, but for California you’ll really need to get 120 credit hours to get qualified. Here is something I wrote about how to get extra credits for 120/150 hours… Nothing magical, but could probably point you to the right direction.

      Just let me know how I can be of further help… Stephanie

  • Purvi says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have my 3 yr. Bachelor of Commerce from India. I am currently pursuing MBA from University of Phoenix. Will the Accounting, Finance, and Economics courses in my MBA be enough for me to sit for the CPA exam in CA? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Purvi,
      Technically yes, but the credential evaluation also takes into account the individual courses in your bachelor education. So for a firm answer you will still need to go through the credential evaluation agencies.
      By the way, you do have SSN right? Just want to make sure.
      Regards, Stephanie

  • uytre says:

    After careful consideration I decided to become a CPA in California. I now reside in Pennsylvania. Will I have to travel to CA to write the exam. This will certainly add to the cost.
    Please respond

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Uytre,
      Good news! There is absolutely no need to travel to CA to take the exam. Once you get the NTS (notice to schedule), go to and pick a exam site to take the exam. As you will see you are free to pick any site including those from Pennsylvania.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Jay Cee says:

    I recently passed all 4 parts of my CPA exam in California. Will I lose my credits and have to retake all 4 parts again if I don’t apply for my license within a certain amount of years?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hello Jay,
      I can’t recall if there is a “Deadline” for California, but generally state board gives you 10 years. Would that be enough?
      A few states gives you only 5 years so if this is what you are planning, better check with CA state board. Stephanie

  • Len Silva says:


    Some states require that credit hours are from an actual face to face, campus class. I am attending University of Phoneix which in Texas is considered a hybrid class of both campus and online. Is California specific as to what type of credit hours they require? Do they accept Online and Hybrid credits?

  • Ashley says:

    I was wondering if being certified by the ACCA in conjunction with a US undergraduate degree (that is not in accounting but similar to general business) is sufficient “education” to sit for the CPA exam in California. Thanks!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Ashley,
      As far as I know, I am afraid that ACCA is no longer recognized as equivalent in most states. I am quite sure the answer is no for California.

      But don’t worry as your GSB qualification in France can probably enough to make you qualified. Yes being a US citizen is great because California requires a SSN to get the license in the state.

      Please go to this foreign credential evaluationpage for details on how to do the evaluation. Stephanie

  • Ashley says:

    I would like to add I have an Masters in International Business from Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France (recognized world-wide) and I am an American citizen currently living in the UK. I don’t know if that information matters but I thought I would add it. Also, details of my undergraduate degree are: a degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University. 30 hours of “business and finance courses” to make up a minor in Corporate Strategy and a minor in Financial Economics. Thank you for the help, this is a great website!

  • Yuki says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Quick question about the general experience requirement for California licensure.
    I have worked as an accountant at my current company for over 2 years. My current supervisor is a CPA but he has only worked here for about a year. Can he still sign off on my 2-year general experience even though he has not been supervising me for the entire 2 years? Or do I have to obtain my old supervisor’s signature as well?

    Thanks so much,

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Yuki,
      My understanding is that you will need to obtain your old supervisor’s signature as well. Hope it’s not too much trouble for you… Cheers, Stephanie

  • gurjot says:

    Hello Stephanie,
    I am gurjot from california.I did my graduation from India and when i got my evaluated transcripts I got total 90 semester units.Even I applied for CPA exam now i got email from california board of accountancy and according to them i can sit for CPA exam.Now i am confused like it is mentioned if u have 120 semester unit u need to get 2 years of work experience and if u have 150 semester units then u need to get 1 year work experience for CPA license.Now If I go for CPA exam and then I can complete my remaining units while taking work experience.Please tell me what is best option for me.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Gurjot,
      You know what I am confused as well… did you submit anything other than your evaluated transcript report? Stephanie

  • Natalie says:

    Hello Stephanie,

    I’m a Bcom student from Canada. I am planning to work in CA for two years and get the CPA license there.
    I’m a little bit confused about the SSN. From my understanding, in order to work in the States, we have to get a SSN. Therefore, every CPA candidate is suppose to get a SSN because we have to work in the States to fulfil the work experience requirement (well, I know there are exceptions to a few States that do not have this requirement) . If this is the case, then what is the point for the CA State Board to issue license with SSN? I feel like I have misunderstood something here. Can you please clarify this for me?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Shirlyn,
      No you don’t need to do that at all — just keep your registration in NY but reserve a space at the exam site nearest to your home in CA. Yes you can register in one state but take the exam in another because it is all the same as far as the test is concerned. Cheers, Stephanie

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Natalie,
      You are right that SSN is required to work in the state. But there are two ways to overcome that:
      (1) you can work in Canada but work under a CPA (US) or CPA equivalent (i.e. Canadian CAs) which can verify the work experience for you and is recognized in most (but not all) states. Gotta to double check if your state allows that.
      (2) pick a state that issues CPA cert/license without working experience requirement. This would include mainly Illinois and Colorado. If no SSN, then Illinois is basically the choice because for Colorado, SSN is required ultimately when you get the license.

      Many Canadians choose Illinois because of reason #2.

      Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Dennis Lau says:

    Hi. I just apply for the BEC exam and pay the exam fee. Since I don’t anticipate myself to take anymore within the next nine months because of work, BEC is the only exam that I apply for. I plan to take the BEC part in February 2011. I know that in order for me to re-apply, I need to pay the $50 for each application. I just wonder when can I start re-apply and and how do I reapply since the client account does not allow me to re-apply now. Do I have to create a new client account for each application?


  • Natalie says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for your quick reply. I’m afraid I can’t choose Illinois because I can’t fulfill the 150 credit rule (I hold a Bcom degree). I checked the CA requirements and I meet most of them except that I don’t have a SSN.

    Actually, I do want to work in the States for a few years. According to my research, SSN can be obtain once we get the TN visa. NAFTA permits Canadians to obtain TN status at the border, with a job offer in one of the NAFTA categories (CPA is one of them). However, I’m not sure whether I qualify for this category even if I pass the CPA exam. Because I will not be able to get the CPA license right after the exam. I will double check that.

    Because it is crucial for me to get a job offer, I’m wondering if it is easier to get a job in the States if I pass the exam. By the way, do you think CA is a good choice for me?


  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Yes it should work if you plan to stay in the US — my sister has Canadian passport and she works in California using a TN visa,which from what she told me is relatively easy to obtain.

    I would think that under this environment, getting anything extra such as a CPA title (or at least something to show you are working on it) is very helpful. So if time and money allows, I’d encourage you to give it a try!

    Also, all the states are working towards complying to the 150 credit hour rule, which means that in the near future, it would be even more difficult for bachelor holders to get the CPA title. Let’s get it while we can.

    Hope this is helpful for you to make a decision. Best of luck to you!


  • Nicole says:


    Do you know when California will no longer accept the 120 credit hour / 2 years of experience option as far as meeting the requirements to become a CPA? I still need to take a couple of more classes to fulfill the 120 credit hours requirement. Would I have to pass all of the tests before the cutoff date? Or would I just have to have the requirements met and in the process of taking the tests by the cutoff date?


  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Nicole,
    The latest update I got (around May 2010) is that it will be phased out on Jan 1, 2014. In any case it won’t be 2011 and 2012. Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Dennis,
    I am afraid I am not familiar with the online application system used by California State Board (for other states, you can just apply for the rest of the sections now). Sorry I can’t help on this but you can put in a quick call to the state board. If you are not in a hurry, email could be a better option so you can have something black-and-white to hold on to.

    Cheers, Stephanie

  • ameet says:

    hi stephanie…..
    hope you donig question is …i am from pakistan i got 120 credits hours from ECE .. i applied for California board…m i eligible? i have send them original documents and they have returned them. now whether i have to resend the documents back to california for application ??? thankyou so much in

  • Dan says:

    Hi Stephanie!

    I graduated w/ a 4 year business degree (concentration in accounting) from SJSU in 1989. Assuming I satisfied the requisite number of units, is there a time limit that would preclude me from using that education to meet the education requirement? (I sat for exam in approx. 1991 but didn’t pass any parts then).

    Thanks, Dan

  • ameet says:

    hi stephanie

    and pplz tel me as i live outside usa and dont have SSN then whether california board give me certificate after passing the exam? and how much time they allow me to apply for license. cuz once i got the job so then i ll be able to get the SSN. kindly advice


  • Sushma says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have a 3 yrs accounting degree from India. Based on what i read in other websites, 3 yrs degree is not sufficient to appear for a CPA exam in california. Is that right? Pls clarify.

    My other question is, unless we are planning to start our own business, we don’t need to possess the resident’s state CPA license. Is that right? For e.g. based on my 3 yrs degree, i can appear for CPA exam in delaware and work on CPA related jobs right.

    Can you pls clarify? Thank you very much

  • Dan says:

    Is there a time limit with respect to BS degree?

  • Joanna says:

    I am about to finished my four parts of exam, but i haven’t got my working experiences. After passing all four parts, within how long should I get the experiences?

  • Uday Reddy says:

    Hi Stephanie

    My wife is having 3 years Bachelor degree from India and passed one group of Chartered accountancy Intermediate couse. Recently she got evaluated her credentials by ECE and they gave 98 total credit including of 28 semister credits for Accounting subjects and 25 for Business subjects.
    California requires 24 Accounting and 24 Business subjects credits for writing CPA examination.
    Exact words of evaluation by ECE is given below.
    It is the judgement of Educational Credential Evaluatorsl Inc, that the applicant has the United States equivalent of High School diploma and completion of undergraduate work.
    This academic work represents a total of 98 semister hours of credit which can be grouped into the following categories:
    Accounting AC 28
    Business Subjects BU 25
    Other Subjects OS 45
    Since CA requirement is 24 for Accounting and 24 for Business subjects to eligible for CPA examination, then in my view she is qualified to take examination.
    But as per the information given in your website, only Delaware is accepting 3 years bachelors degree. Ofcourse she has passed one group in Indian CA course, which feches her 8 Accounting Credits.
    So please advise me whether she qualifies for the California requirement or not.

    Uday Reddy

  • Sofie says:

    Hi~Stephanie~If I get the CALIFORNIA CPA CERTIFICATE ,can I transfer the result to DELAWARE LICENCE? I live in Taxas but I do not have a SSN. 🙂 thanks !

  • Dan says:

    Hi Stephanie – Do you know if there is a time limit as far as how long ago I earned the B.S. Degree in California?

  • Annie says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks for the wonderful info you have on your website. I was hoping you can help me with the situation I’m in. Any advise is appreciated.

    I graduated from M.S in Computer Engg. from CA in 2003 but I’m ready for a career change now and want to go back to my first love of accounting. I’m taking accounting and business classes from a community college. CPA exam requirement of bachelors degree is that in just accounting field or any field as long as the semester units condition is met?

    Pls. advice.

  • Quyen says:

    hi Stephanie,
    I’m very happy when I can see this website. I have 4 years Bachelor degree in accounting and auditing in Vietnam. Now I’m an auditor in Big 4 in Vietnam. And I’m also studying in ACCA. But next year I will move to CA to live with my family. And I don’t know what can I do there? You said that ACCA was no longer recognized as equivalent in most states. So if I want to enhance the CPA exam, What will I do next?
    And if I have CPA, I can work here like an accountant or not? And with my experience in auditing in Big 4, ỉt can help me in studying, working in CA or not?
    I hope I will receive your comment as soon as possible.
    Thanks and regarding.

  • Maria says:

    Hi Stepahanie,

    I’m taking some online accounting courses to fulfill the 24-semester units requirement. I took Principles of Financial accounting about 6 years ago. If I take another Principles of Fin. Acct. at a different institution, will this count? i.e. Do introductory accoutning courses count, or do they have to be more advanced to meet the 24-units requirement?

    Thank you!

  • Maria says:

    If anybody else knows the answer to my question above, any responses would be appreciated. Thank you!

  • Kent says:

    Hi Stephanie, I have two bachelor degree from the University of India, it is a 3 year B.Com ( Bachelor of Commerce)and 2 year Bachelor of law, Am I qualified for the CPA exam in CA? thank you for your help!

  • Faye says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have 4year finance degree from the university in China. I will get my master in accounting in the US this May. Right now I live and study at Alabama. I have read through your website. I feel CA might be the best state for to take CPA. Do you have any suggestion? My another question is if I need to fly to CA physically to take the tests?

  • Faye says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have 4year finance degree from the university in China. I will get my master in accounting in the US this May. Right now I live and study at Alabama. I have read through your website. I feel CA might be the best state for to take CPA. Do you have any suggestion? My another question is if I need to fly to CA physically to take the tests? Thanks a lot!

  • Addy says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Could you please define ” 1 year General Experience” part, I am working for non public accounting firm. Is 1 year working in non public accounting firm qualified for it?

  • garvit tandon says:

    hi stephanie
    i m in my 3rd year of graduation and i want to get a cpa it possible for me to get a licence without SSN..Currently i am doin my graduation from india n will i be eleigible after doin my graduation to sit for cpa exam.

  • tarik says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have my Masters degree in Finance from Morocco. I asked some counselors at Sacramento State University and they told me that it will only be recognized in US as a Bachelors degree. Am I qualified to takethe CPA exam?? Thank you

  • rani says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I found your website very informative for the CPA candidates. I had my Bachelors in Accounting from India and just finished my MA in Accountacy from University of Phoenix. I wanted to take the CPA exam in CA. I am eglible to sit in the exam. I have SSN.

  • rani says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Just wanted to correct my earlier post. Am I eligible to take the CPA exam?

  • Tarik says:

    Hi Rani,
    I was wondering if you can tell me how much does the Masters program at Phoenix cost? Thanks

  • majd says:

    my name is majd and iwould like to ask you should this 1year work experience be supervised by a licensed cpa please reply to my e-mail

  • Aniket says:


    This is Aniket. I have done my Bachelors in Commerce (3 yrs degree) and also an MBA in Finance (2 yrs degree), both in India. I am intending to do the CPA certification from California. — If not, then what should be done?
    > Will both of my above mentioned degrees satisfy the requirements?
    > I am just about to get my regular transcripts (from my colleges) (NOT foreign credential evaluated) in a short period. Still, do I need to get a “Foreign Credential Evaluation” done?
    — If yes, then which one is accepted for California, FACS, WES or ECE?

    Also, please let me know of any additional things that I need to take care of, much appreciated.

    Thank you so much.

  • Aniket says:



    This is Aniket. I have done my Bachelors in Commerce (3 yrs degree) and also an MBA in Finance (2 yrs degree), both in India. I am intending to do the CPA certification from California.
    > Will both of my above mentioned degrees satisfy the requirements? — If not, then what should be done?
    > I am just about to get my regular transcripts (from my colleges) (NOT foreign credential evaluated) in a short period. Still, do I need to get a “Foreign Credential Evaluation” done?
    — If yes, then which one is accepted for California, FACS, WES or ECE?

    Also, please let me know of any additional things that I need to take care of, much appreciated.

    Thank you so much.

  • Gurjot says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    This is Gurjot. I have done my Bachelors in Commerce (3 yrs degree) . I want to know I am having 90 semesters units and in
    Accounting courses: 45 semester units
    Business courses: 45 semester units
    So I want to know I can give CPA exam or not in California state. Waiting for your reply.
    Thank you

  • gurjot says:

    Hi Stephanie
    No I did not submitted any other document .
    Reply for the post on { 11.21.10 }

  • Sadaf says:

    Hey Stephanie

    I have done a 4 year Bcom(major in accounting ) from University of Karachi. Will i be able to sit the California State CPA exams?
    I haven’t submitted my degree for evaluation. Do I need too?

    Waiting for a quick reply 🙂

    P.S: I do have a SSN

  • rohail says:

    hi sadaf ..

    m also from karachi and applied at california board of accountancy..u have to evaluate your credentials first from their approved list of evaluators…4 years degree is sufficient for getting 120 credit hours,,,,any help u can contact me..

  • Jamie says:

    Hey Stephanie,

    I am currently doing my undergrad accounting major (four year degree) in Canada. I am looking to get a CPA in California. Just a couple questions:
    -do you need 2 years work experience before taking the CPA? Or do you take the CPA then work for two years?
    -I do not have an SSN, so is the best way to become CPA in California to find a job before going there?
    -also, if you don’t mind, any advice as to how most Canadians get the CPA and move to the US??

    Thank you

  • SUNIL S says:

    Hi Stephanie,

  • Win Maung Maung says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have done my Bachelor in Economics from Myanmar in 3 years program. I have some other credits from ACCA(UK). I have done my credential evaluation from WES and it said that I have three and one-half years of undergraduate study at an accredited institution and have total of 110.0 undergraduate semester credits. I am currently taking 24 semester credits in Accounting Certificate courses at UC San Diego. I would like to know, Am I eligible to sit California CPA exam after I have done my current 24 credit at UC San Diego? BTW, I am US citizen now.


  • Femi says:

    Thank you for this website – I’m glad I came across it. I registered & passed the CPA exams in California (I reside in another state & have a ss#). My intention was to be able to call myself a CPA. I dont have any attest experience. Would you still recommend CA, or would applying in any other state easier?
    Thanks again,

  • Natasha says:

    Hi Stephanie

    I am a MS resident and I would like to sit for the CPA Exam. If I was to pass it in MS and later decide to move to California. Would it still be relevant or would I have to retake it in California?

  • HW says:

    Dear Stephine,
    I just earned my credits from CPA exam, and got my SSN too. I have 20 years of working for investment banking, but never with any accounting job experience. Should I apply license now, or wait until I get an accounting job under a CPA supervisor? Thank for sharing your wonderful experience.

  • Hassan says:

    Hi Stephanie,,
    I’d like to thank you for the valuable website and the effort you put to
    Make things much easier for us..
    Im international candidate in my first steps to start CPA journy,, I had read “California requirment” and i felt its the best option for me exept that i have no idea about the social security number or how can i get it ??
    Ps: thank you for CPA reviwe comaprsion,, i didn’t choose my course review yet but it was so helpfull

  • Aqeel says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I currently live in MD but plan to do CPA from California or Colorado. I got my foreign credentials evaluated from WES (world education services) and i am currently completing my remaining credit hours from University of MD. I need a bacehlors degrees (120 hours) as i have the required hours in accounting and other subjects based on WES report. I have a couple of questions and would appreciate your response and time.

    – I have now 15 remaining credit hours towards 120 which i plan to get next semester, so i will have my bachelors degree in August this year. Does California or any other state allow to sit for CPA exam if you are close to completing your 120 hours requirements? I work with CPA firm and they require me to get the CPA degree by October this year.

    – If i pass CPA from California and then transfer it to MD or VA, should i expect a lot of difficulties? I have currently 4 years of experience in public accounting with one of BIG 4 here in MD.

    Thanks very much. Let me know if there is any other information i can provide.

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi, Stephanie:

    Thank you very much for your information. I am Jennifer, I would like to take the CPA exam in US. I live in Los Angeles right now and have my own SSN. But I think my education can not match the 150 credits requirement.

    I have a AA degree only in China, but I am a member of CPA of China and I passed ACCA exam last year.

    Could you please advice me how to meet the 150 credits in LA? or any other states I am qualified to take the CPA exam?

    Thanks & Best regards
    Jennifer Bi

  • rimmi says:

    hi stephanie
    im doing bcom and side by side i am also doing CA course in india.i want to know whether indian ca degree is valid in usa and what will be minimum salary for that in usa.i heard we need to give cpa exam.what is the duration of cpa course and fees?please please let me know…

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Aqeel,
    I checked with the first-time application of the CA CPA exam (link above in the article) and looks like you’ll need to complete all the coursework in order to get qualified for the exam. But please take a look yourself and see if you have a different interpretation.

    As for the transfer, since CA is not strictly a substantially equivalent state and CO is simply not one, so there might be challenges, and can still work depending on each state. Please check with MD and VA state board for their current rule on CA and CO reciprocity.

    Hope things will work out for you!

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    For an associate degree the only option would be delaware, but please note the strict working experience requirement — please click on the link for details.

    If you can get a 4-year bachelor degree or equivalent, then California will work for you as well. Online courses are acceptable too as long as the provider is an accredited educational institution.

    Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Rimmi,
    You are always work as an accountant without the CPA title so there isn’t anything that is required, or “valid” per se. But I have to say an Indian CA is not that useful in the US i.e. this is not considered equivalent to the CPA (US) qualification.

    If you are an international candidate and would like to pursue the CPA qualification, please see if this introductory page will help.


  • Stephanie says:

    Dear all,
    Since this comment section is getting too long to benefit other readers, please send any questions to my facebook page:

    I am happy to help you out over there. Stephanie

  • Winnie says:

    Hi Stephanie

    Please I need more clarification on CPA, have a Finance degree from Nigeria and I have 4 years work experience, can I enroll for CPA, I’m moving to CA soon

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      It’s hard for me to generalize Winnie as I don’t know about the number of yours you went through for your finance degree, what type of courses you took etc. You may download a checklist from California state board and check whether you are able to fulfill the requirements. If you are lacking only a couple of courses, it is easy to take them in nearby community colleges when you settle in CA. Good luck!

  • Roberta says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am Italian and earned a bachelor and a master in Economics. Then I worked 9 years in PwC Forensics. I am now in the process of applying for the CPA exams in California. I submitted my credentials for evaluation and ACEI recognized 180 credits. However after the California Board of Accountancy screening, I resulted short of 21 semester units in accounting.

    Do you have any recommendation on how to fulfill this criteria? I am not working at the moment, so I have full time to spend on it on intensive courses. Any idea on how long it would take to get 21 semester units and how many courses it would equal to? Any recommendations in terms of schools / universities?

    Thank you so much for your time,


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Roberta,
      21 semester units is almost a year of accounting course, so you can consider a one-year masters; otherwise, the UNA courses are well-liked by my readers. You can find out the details and the links here:

      By the way, California let non-SSN holders to take the exam but doesn’t grant them the license. You have a SSN right? Just want to make sure. Regards, Stephanie

      • Roberta says:

        Yes Stephanie, likely I do! Thank you for clarifying.

        Regarding UNA courses, do you think they would allow me to save some time? If it’s one year studying, I’ll reconsider the idea of taking the CPA to be honest. If I could squeeze it in six months, it’d be still feasible.

        Thank you again,


        • Stephanie Ng says:

          Quite possibly Roberta, if you are to take more courses at the same time. You may want to check with the Dean on this.
          It is a big investment, so take your time to figure things out. Good luck!

  • Mahesh says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’m a CIMA (England) member with more than 20 years experience. Does AICPA give exemptions or recognised CIMA to register for CPA in any state. As a CIMA member I’m aware that there is a proposal to merge these two world recognise institutes and the last day for the members to vote is 06/15/2016.

    Please let me know the current status considering the latest developments. Please see below for the merger.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Mahesh, my understanding is that it is not a merger at this point, but an attempt to create (yet) another new association that AICPA and CIMA members can join. But many believe this is the the first step towards an eventual merger.

      At the current stage, there is no exemption for CIMA for the US CPA exam, but CIMA full members are automatically qualified for the “CGMA qualification”. What I am confused is whether this “new association” is the same thing for CGMA… Anyway, in my own opinion, CGMA is not well respected at least for now, because it is pretty much a qualification you can just buy until recently.

  • Otto says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’m Chartered Accountant in Luxembourg, Manager at Ernst & Young (Lux), registered and member in the “Order of Chartered Accountants” ( with 7 years experience. I got a Master (CCA) degree specialized in Accounting, Control, Audit, Tax from a French Administration&Business School. In my department, I’m not only dealing with LuxGaap, as our clients are mostly international, we did a lot of Gaap conversion, especially from USGaap, then I acquired knowledge in USGaap.
    Does my CA’s title and my Master degree give exemptions or recognised to be registered for CPA in California. Why especially California, because I requested an assignment and then try to move to either LA or SF.
    Many thanks in advance for your help,

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Otto, thanks for your note. Your master’s degree is most likely good for the degree and 150 hour requirement, and you seem to have taken lots of accounting related courses, but it is hard for me to confirm without knowing exactly which courses you have taken. Anyway, having all these make you qualify to take the exam, but not getting exemptions on the exam. There are very few candidates who can get exemptions and these are professionals in countries with MRAs with the US accounting bodies (yours is not on the list).

      So if you are willing to take the actual exam without exemptions, you can start by checking out this page:

      One extra note: California does not issue license to non-SSN holders. If you don’t have SSN, need to consider other states. Generally the license is good to use across the US. Regards, Stephanie

  • Parth says:

    Hello Stephanie,

    I am from India and i am planning to select the California state.
    I don’t have any plan to take license.
    So after passing CPA exam is it compulsory to take license ?
    and After selecting California state can i give exam from international location like Dubai ?

    Thank You.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Parth,
      First of all, California doesn’t issue license to those with social security number. I understand you don’t “need” the license, but these days, without the license you can’t call yourself a CPA. There is only an email congratulating on you passing the exam and there is no other official document to prove your progress.

      So, I do suggest that you go for the full license.

      Why don’t you think about it and if you decide to proceed, ask me any other questions you may have.

  • Sunshine says:

    Hello Stephanie,

    I have recently cleared my CPA exam. After giving exams in California, I had to shift back to India due to completion of our visa tenure. I was staying in US as a dependent.

    I am a Chartered Accountant from India and I have 4.5 years of Finance & Accounting experience of industry (Year 2010-2015) & 7 months of Auditing experience from a Big 4 (year 2010) from India prior to coming to US. Can that experience be valid for CPA license? If yes who has to certify that experience?
    If not what kind of work experience now in India will give me the required experience?

    Request you to guide me as to the licencing requirements in my situation.
    Also is there any time frame within which i need to obtain the experience in case I have appeared for exam from the US?

    Thank You.

  • Srimathi says:


    I am currently on H4 living in California. I have a BCOM+CA from India, having worked there for 5 years.
    I am planning to give the CPA exam.
    I wanted to know if I need to choose only California board for CPA \,\\ if I need to work in California. Can i choose any other state board and work in California?
    Your response is appreciated.

  • Wikesh Kumar says:

    Hello Stephanie,
    Hope you are doing well.
    Can you please guide me in respect of my case.
    I am an international student currently studying MBA (Accounting) from a US accredited University. I have done 2 years bachelors and I am an ACCA Affiliate.
    I want to know which state provides credits for ACCA so I can meet 120 credit for sit-in option and which state doesn’t have citizenship/residency requirement.

  • osman says:

    I am presently living in Columbus, Ohio and a student of one of the universities pursuing degree in forensic accounting. I want to enroll in for the CPA. can you please, do I need to enroll through my school?

  • Ahmad says:

    I m a member of CPA PAKISTAN.
    Can I get enrolled myself in CPA USA at california state?

  • Maria A says:


    I just wanted to make sure I’m understanding this correct..
    Right now I am a college graduate with 130 units.
    My question is if I can fulfill the other 20 units after passing the exam?
    Will I get my CPA license after passing requirements or do I have to take the exam again?

    Thank you,

  • Thalia says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    First of all, thank you for creating such a wonderful website and help thousands of aspiring CPAs out there!
    I’m one of those aspiring CPAs with a master’s degree in a non-business field.
    I’ve read your comment that NY state doesn’t validate core accounting classes from community college and I wonder if California has the same restriction. I emailed the board but not sure when I’d hear back from them.
    Since I have a 9-5 job that pays the bills, it’s impossible for me to take classes at a 4year college.
    My only option is either community college or online courses.
    Do you know if I can take ALL 24 accounting/24business/20 accounting requirement courses at CC?
    Thank you for your help in advance

  • >