CPA Exam Fees Complete Breakdown (plus 3 Hidden Costs)

CPA exam fees

Getting your CPA qualification could be a big investment. Save up and get ready!

A Breakdown of CPA Exam Costs

All figures in US dollars:

Here is the text version for your reference.

1. Examination Fee

It varies slightly from state to state. Most follow the fee schedule by NASBA (National Association of State Board of Accountancy):

  • AUD: $208.40
  • BEC:$208.40
  • FAR:$208.40
  • REG:$208.40
  • Total: $833.60

2. Application Fee

  • First-time candidates pay an initial application fee, which is around $30-$200 (varies from state to state).
  • For return candidates, a repeat application fee is required for certain but not all states and this fee is generally lower than the initial application fee.

Note: In general you can expect the total CPA exam application fees (i.e. item 1 + 2) to cost you around $1,000.

Extra Cost of CPA Exam Some May Forget to Budget

3. CPA Exam Review Course Expenses

Very big range, from Wiley CPA books costing $50 at Amazon to a full Becker course at $3,000+.

It depends whether you need only a book or the full package with live classes. There are a number of good review materials priced in the mid-range. You can learn more about the CPA exam review courses here.

4. CPA Ethics Exam Fees

Most states required an ethics exam after the passing of the Uniform CPA exam. If you are to take the one administered by AICPA (chosen by most states), then you can expect to pay around $150 to $190.

5. CPA Licensing Fees and CPE Course Expenses

This is not part of the “CPA Exam Fees” per se, but you should expect to pay for this in order to become a licensed CPA.

For the license, it depends on the states you register for, but the range is roughly $50 to $300.

The price of CPE courses also varies. It isn’t too expensive and you may be able to get reimbursement from your employer, but this is a recurring cost once you become licensed.

Total CPA Exam Fees You Should Expect

Let’s sum up the fees:

  • CPA examination and application fees: $1,000
  • CPA Exam review course fee (mid-range): $1,700
  • CPA Ethics Exam: $130 (rounded up figure)
  • Licensing fees (mid-range): $150

Grand Total: $2,980

Additional CPA Exam Costs

These may or may not apply to you, but if you need to fulfill additional education requirements or if you are an international candidate, please take a look.

1. Additional Courses

It is possible that you’ll need to fulfill a few courses to get qualified and sit for the CPA exam. How much does it cost?

Let’s take a common case: US Federal Taxation to fulfill the requirement in Delaware. A selection of these course ranges from $600-$1,000 including textbook costs (more expensive if it is offered online).

2. Foreign Credential Evaluation Costs

sumit-profileIf you study outside of the US, you will have to pay one of the foreign credential evaluation agencies to evaluate the transcripts for you. The basic service ranges from $150-250, and please expect the additional cost for urgent requests.

3. Traveling and Accommodation Cost

Obviously, it varies a great deal depending on where you live but don’t forget to include it in your budget.

Let’s say if you live outside the US, the airplane ticket can easily cost you $1,000. If you need accommodations (e.g. $100 each night for 3 days), it will cost you hundreds of dollars… and don’t forget to multiply this by four if you choose to take the 4 sections of the exam separately.

4. Miscellaneous Costs

There are lots of little costs here and there, e.g. examination fees for a retake, and visa application fees for international students. So please do expect a little bit beyond your budget.

Wow. Is CPA the Most Expensive Designation?

Not really, if you count the broader accounting and finance industry.

The CFA exam registration alone costs $3,000. If include online test prep, it would easily go up to $4,500 and more towards $9,000 if one gets a full review course or a couple of retakes.

Does the CPA Title Worth That Much?

I would say yes in the long run.

Everyone’s case is different, but just to give you an idea, on a rough average, there is at least a 10% premium of being a CPA vs a regular accountant.

For an entry-level position in Big 4, you get around $60K annually. 10% of $60K will translate to $6,000. So it is more than enough to cover the basic cost.

(In fact, if you do work in national accounting firms, they offer a $5,000 bonus once you pass the CPA exam)

I hope I haven’t scared you away but as an aspiring CPA budgeting should be an important part of your CPA exam project.

Further Reading

If You Find This Article Helpful…

Check out my most common questions from readers, or sign up for my free mini-course. I have two versions designed for candidates with different background:

us-courseintl-mini-course
For US Candidates
(Those with US degrees, or
graduate/live/work in the US)
For Intl Candidates
(Those who study abroad, or
graduate/live/work outside of the US)

 

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

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  • Stephanie says:

    If you fail the test the 1st time do you have to pay the $50 re-application fee AND the entire test fee again? Do you get more than one attempt for your $823?

    Thanks!

  • SARAH says:

    I AM A LITTLE CONFUSED ABOUT PAYING FOR ALL 4 EXAMS IN ONE GO. HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO STUDY TO BE ABLE TO SIT ALL 4 TESTS WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY AGAIN? IT SEEMS LIKE YOU NEED TO PAY FOR ALL 4 TESTS WHEN YOU REGISTER, AND NOT WHEN YOU FEEL READY TO SIT THE EXAM.

  • SARAH says:

    I AM A ACCA MEMEBER FROM THE UK. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT COLORADO NO LONGER RECOGNISES THIS. WILL I STILL MEET ALL THE NECESSARY REQUIREMENTS?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sarah,
      This is actually a good question… I think if you pay for all 4 parts in one go you are qualified for a discount or something… but you can definitely pay one at a time.

      But many candidates pay in one go anyway because it’s kind of useless unless you complete all parts of the exam, so you have to pay anyway. The fee is valid for 18 months I think…? OK let me double check first and get back to you here.

      On your qualification, yes unfortunately they no longer recognize ACCA as an automatic ticket to sit for the exam. Whether you can still qualify or not depends on what you fulfill the CPA exam requirements in each state… generally 4-5 years of university with some classes in accounting and business will do. Please click the link for further details.

      Stephanie

  • sherif abdel hamid says:

    hi stephanie
    how much time do i need to complete the whole course if there is an accelereted course or something and i am international student living in the us right now, does the bachelor degree from my country is accredited in the education requirements?

  • Stephanie says:

    hi Sherif,
    By “courses”, do you mean the CPA exam prep course or the extra credit you need to fulfill the requirements?

    And on whether a bachelor degree from your country is accredited… it depends on your school and not really your country (if it is a good school it is generally ok I believe), but I honestly won’t be able to provide such answer and you’ll have to go through the professional, foreign credential evaluation agencies for an answer.

    Cheers,
    Stephanie
    Stephanie

  • Kavita Pal says:

    Hi,

    What are the qualifications needed to be done CPA? Can we do the exam in India?

    Kavita Pal

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Kavita,
      No at this stage you have to travel to the US to take the test. Japan will be the first exam site outside of US but it is only available to Japanese nationals and US citizens living there.

      As for how to become a CPA in the US, please check out this page.

      Regards, stephanie

  • Ayub Vohra says:

    I am CA from Pakistan and registered CA student in Ontario, Canada. I passed Core knowledge exam and school of accountancy exam in Ontario but have still to pass UFE . Will I get some benefit on my credential evaluation to sit for CPA?

  • Shamnad says:

    Hello Stephanie,

    I ‘m an Indian national residing in Bahrain. Recently i saw a press release which says that I could do CPA from Bahrain. What is the eligibility for enrolling for CPA ? I hold a bachelor degree in accounting from India and is got 7+ years of work exp in accounting. Could you guide me through the whole process? I tried searchng the net of info but not very clear abt the process though I got the fee structure. Should i enroll online for classes and exam or is there an authorized agency in Bahrain? Appreciate you help!

    Thanks much! Shamnad

  • Prissi says:

    What are the best ways to go about finding Licensed CPA’s who can help a candidate complete their work requirements? Are there any special organizatons for women becoming CPA’s?

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Prissi,
    Usually the work experience needs to be verified by your supervisor who should also be a licensed CPA. But if you are looking for a job change anyway, or that your state can have any CPA you know to verify your experience (e.g. Indiana), then you can check out the society of CPA from your state (just google the term to find out their website).

    Haven’t heard about a CPA association for women but I am sure there is and I will be happy to find it out. Will post again if I can get anything useful.

    Cheers,
    Stephanie

  • Nisha Khanna says:

    Hi Stephanie, I have enrolled myself for CPA from becker and their the registration fee is INR 70000 excluding examination fee which again will be 50000 INR, On net i read from another institute(name not mentioned) registration includes examination fee also. Is that correct.
    Secondly, the most important que i have is what strategy will you suggest for studying because i am also working full time. Thanks

    • Stephanie says:

      H Nisha, on the cost, Becker is the most expensive so it will push up the overall expense a bit further. I was told that Becker charges even more for overseas courses too. Not sure if this is the cases…

  • JoAnn says:

    Hi Stepahnie,

    Thank you for the insightful site! If I have an MBA with emphasis in Finance, could that knock off some of the educational requirements? Also, what is the timeline for the whole application/testing process? around 1 year from start to finish? or more?

    • Stephanie says:

      Yes, an MBA is great though you may need to take a close look whether you have enough accounting courses. # of credit hours will depend on the state you choose to apply to. Normally 1 year is good enough from planning, studying to passing if you plan to pass in your 1st try (you should!)

  • Malak says:

    Hey Stephanie,

    I want to ask about If i am in Lebanon and I’m finishing now the Bachelor in Accounting, soo do I need more courses or credits to regiester for CPA, and If you please can I know the univirsites that gives CPA in USA to check them .. I’m so lost I know nothing but I am thinking to do the CPA !

  • Mahmoud emam salem. says:

    What is the cost of the cpa exam in kuwait ?
    OR there is any addational cost for take the cpa exam in kuwait or dubai ?

  • rohit alavadi says:

    what is Eligibility for this course , fees or i live in jaipur contact no jaipur office what is cpa job profile

  • Nehal says:

    Hi I am a post graduate from India ,
    I have completed my M Com, please let me know I’m eligible for giving cpa exam.
    I have in all 7+years of working experience in India.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Nehal, please refer to these pages for details:
      http:/ipassthecpaexam.com/cpa-educational-requirements/
      http:/ipassthecpaexam.com/cpa-experience-requirements/

  • Asma says:

    Hi,

    I am from an ACCA finalist plus MBA (finance) grad from Pakistan. Additionally, I am going to get a BSc hons. Degree from Oxford Brookes University soon.
    I want to pursue cpa uk preferably for Texas state. I want to know:
    What additional requirements do I need to fulfill
    Am I eligible to sit in exam conducted in U.A.E since we don’t have cpa pakistan chapter any more if so, what would be the cost that I’ll have to bear
    Can I apply for student visa and move to USA and sit in exam as an international student
    If I move to USA on L1/H1 visa, can I be considered as a local student
    Do I have any way that I study for cpa online from Pakistan and travel to u.a.e to sit in exam
    Do I get any exemptions on the basis of MBA/ACCA or BSc. Hons in applied accountancy.
    Finally, if I get through cpa do I have good chances of getting a job in USA

    Thanks
    Asma Naz

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Asma, you don’t really need to be a “student” for the CPA exam. It is a license exam, not a program. Because of this, people usually get a tourist visa to travel to the US for the exam. You can certainly study online. It is most popular way to study even for US candidates, because the exam is 100% computerized anyway and it’s much better to practice the questions online.

      Again, since it is not a program, you don’t get exemptions by having a degree. In fact, you must have a 4-year degree or above to get qualified (i.e. the other way round). For details, please check out my frequently asked page. You should be able to find all the answers there: https://ipassthecpaexam.com/cpa-faq-frequently-asked-questions/

      Regards, Stephanie

  • rohith Kumar.k says:

    Hi!I completed b.com in India and persuing m.com too.I am interested in writing CPA exam for better career.please suggest me the required hours to study per week of doing job on full-time.Also suggest me taking CPA exam is worth able for me as a indian to live in USA.Thanks in advance and waiting for your early response.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Rohith,
      I have to say there isn’t a direct benefit as a US CPA to work aboard in the US. In my opinion, the easiest way is for you to arrange an internal transfer. The CPA license may help you on the internal transfer, but it really depends on where you work.

      As for the number of hours, very roughly speaking, please expect 300-400 hours for the 4 parts of the exam in total. We can discuss further if you plan to go ahead. Regards, Stephanie

  • Mujeeb says:

    Hi..stephanie..
    I am from india…and I am persuing ca from india but iam really interested in cpa…
    can u please tell me what will b the cost of persuing cpa from usa..
    thnks…

  • Ashraf says:

    Dear !
    I have done CA from Pakistan now interested to achieve a degree from CPA.plz guide me about it and any paper exemption will be given ?
    ICAP pakistan and CPA have any arrangement in relation to paper exemption.plz tell me the total number of paper and its exame procedure and fee structute

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Ashraf, I am afraid CA from Pakistan is not recognized for CPA exam qualification purposes, an there is also no fee exemptions. Regards, Stephanie

  • Nitasha says:

    Hi,
    I live in India, I have done BBA.Currently I am working in one of the big 4 firms. Please let me know how can I start with CPA as I want to move into accounting and tax field. When and how can I start the programme.

  • Ram says:

    Hi Mr Stephen
    This is Ram from India , wanted to do cpa and i did my BCom ,mcom and doing ca final and having 10 years of work experience companies like Mphasis Eds and all.
    Kindly suggest me weather Iam eligible for cpa, which state shalll I choose, what would be the likely expenses for whole cpa.
    Appreciate your help

    Best Regards
    Ram

  • Piyush choudhary says:

    I have cmpletd my 12 boards exam in India
    I am interestd in CPA
    What is procedure for doing this

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Piyush, you’ll need 5 years of higher education (university) to get the license. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Anand Mishra says:

    I am from India,I have completed my bachelor with commerce and I want to pursue CPA.
    Kindly plzz tell me about the approx expenditure and other requirements.

  • Shikha says:

    hii ,its shikha here…tell me i am inter qualified icmai..hav done with my 3 years articleship in india..can u tell me what i do to become cpa in australia..is there any exemption in respect in any of examination paper? Thanks

  • KRATI says:

    Hi,

    If I want to give one paper at a time do I need to pay 100 $ application fees everytime along with the subject fess?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Krati, each state has a different application fee. But let’s say if the fee is $25 per part, then you have to pay $100 either separately or altogether. If there is a bundled discount, it is not much as far as I remember.

      In short, just take the exam one at a time and don’t worry about the financial impact. It isn’t much. Hope it helps!

  • Hina says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I’ve done M.Com and I’m really interested in doing CPA. Is this qualification of mine enough to be eligible.
    I contacted an isstitute that provides training for the same and have been told that there’s an exam centre in dubai for CPA. They’ve also informed me that overall cost which I may incur will be roughly about US $3400. Is this information true?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Hina, that’s about right. It depends where you plan to take the CPA exam. Assuming you are sit for the exam in Dubai, it will cost around $1,300 on exam fees, plus $100-300 for the credential evaluation report… leaving around $2000 for the study materials.

      I have recommendation that cost less than $2000, but they aren’t charging you an outrageous amount. Understand live classes are more expensive — just make sure you double check the reputation the instructor because it is the biggest factor when taking live classes. In case you are open to online courses, here is the link on the pros and cons: https://ipassthecpaexam.com/cpa-exam-review-courses/

  • Shivam Bhardwaj says:

    Hi,

    I am Shivam Bhardwaj from India. I want to give my CPA exam from Dubai. Can you brief me what gonna be my per subject exam cost from Dubai.

    Please reply

    Regards,
    Shivam

  • Prem Jain says:

    Hi I am a Indian CA finalist( yet to write my finals) I am interested in giving CPA exams…..Am I eligible to write the cpa exams at this stage as a Ca finalist…

  • sayanth says:

    Hi prem jain
    To apply for CPA exam license you should be having a 4 years accounting degree(in india you would be needing bcom+Mcom,since bcom is only 3 years degree)

  • Rahul says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Hope you are keeping well.
    I am an international student, have completed MBA (2 year) from a leading University in UK plus CFA, CMA and FRM.

    Would I be eligible for CPA examination entry (through a state like Alaska or Washington) based on the MBA qualification.

    Thank you

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  • Khusi Khusi says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I did my master’s in business studies from Nepal. I am looking forward for pursing CPA. So I am wondering will be able to sit for CPA test.

    looking forward for your reply.

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  • Sankar says:

    Hi I am based in Singapore did my PostGraduate degree in University of Madras (Chennai, India), also obtained CA Singapore, ACCA (UK), and Associate Member of CPA Australia. What kind of exemptions I may get when I register??

  • NIdheesh says:

    Hello Madam,

    I am a Indian citizen having Bachelor Degree In commerce (B.Com 3 Yrs Course) with 6 + yrs Experience as a accountant . I want Know that i am qualified or not for apply CPA. Please Reply to me if you understand my concern

    Anyway thanks for the wonderful and informative article

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