How to Become a CPA: My Complete Guide to the Certified Public Accountant Certification

how to become a cpa

Are you ready to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)? If so, that’s awesome! Accountancy is one of the most secure, stable jobs in any economic cycle, which is important to consider as you plan your future. Furthermore, earning a certification like the CPA is becoming more and more crucial to career advancement in the accounting industry. Therefore, I’m happy to help you along this path. To do so, I’ll tell you the 10 steps you must take. Let me show you how to become a CPA.

How to Become a CPA in the USA: 10 Steps

Each of these steps is vital to earning the CPA certification. And, the CPA journey is a significant undertaking. Therefore, you must be completely committed if you want to succeed. Don’t skip any of these steps. Instead, give each your all. That way, you can reach CPA success as soon as possible.

Step 1. Identify the Benefits of the U.S. CPA Certification

Before we jump into the how, what, and when of the certification procedure, let’s figure out the why. What advantages can you get from becoming a CPA?

The CPA certification provides accountants with these sizable benefits:

  1. Increased earning potential
  2. Better benefits and incentives
  3. Additional job opportunities
  4. Greater job stability
  5. More job flexibility

These are my 5 reasons to become a CPA. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the creator of the CPA Exam, also has much to say about why you might want to become a CPA. The AICPA confirms that the CPA can accelerate the career of an accounting major. It can also open doors in the U.S and around the world for seasoned international accountants. Finally, the CPA can secure the promotion a stuck senior finance professional deserves. In the accounting industry, earning the CPA is one of the best ways to maximize your potential and reach your career goals.

As a CPA candidate, you’re going to need this motivation. Whoever you are and whatever position you’re in, you need a strong reason to start the CPA journey because the road ahead can be quite tough and long. For this purpose, these benefits can help you determine if the CPA is right for you. They can also help you remember why you’re pursuing it in the trying months to come.

Step 2. Compare the CPA to Other Accounting Certifications

Clearly, the CPA certification is very beneficial for an accounting career. But is it beneficial for your accounting career?

Do the advantages of the CPA align with your long-term plans? Or would a different certification supply you with the same gains for less time, money, and effort?

To be sure the CPA is the certification you want, you should look into the accounting certification options that you have. Alternatives to the U.S. CPA include the equivalent in your home country (such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Chartered Accountants (CA)) or other global accounting and finance qualifications such as the CMA, CFA, and CIA.

Similarly, you may want to learn more about advanced degrees before you decide to pursue a certification. Be sure to consider a master’s degree, either in accounting or a related field, like an MBA. That way, you can choose the best means by which to advance your personal career.

Step 3. Analyze Your Ability

I’ve already mentioned that getting CPA certified is a challenge. But if you’d like some proof, consider these CPA facts:

Demanding requirements

The CPA has some of the most demanding requirements of any accounting certification. In the U.S., the states grant the CPA license, so the state boards of accountancy determine the licensure requirements. Most state boards have settled on these 3 CPA requirements:

  1. Pass the Uniform CPA Exam
  2. Earn 150 credit hours of education
  3. Acquire 1-2 years of accounting experience

Some state boards also expect candidates to meet an additional requirement by passing an ethics exam. While the general requirements are the same across the country, the specifics vary per jurisdiction. Therefore, you must contact the state board to which you would like to apply to find out exactly what it’s going to take to earn the CPA and if you’ve got it in you.

Low exam pass rates

The CPA Exam pass rates have a reputation for being fairly low. While the percentages rise and fall from quarter to quarter, the average CPA Exam pass rate is less than 50%. The exam’s purpose includes protecting the public interest, and as long as that’s the case, I expect the exam will always be quite tough. In order to better test the knowledge and abilities required of current CPAs, the AICPA regularly modifies the exam with changes like content updates, new question types, altered question totals, and testing time adjustments. However, you don’t need to be discouraged by the low pass rates because they don’t mean that you can’t pass. Instead, they simply signify that passing the CPA Exam requires a lot of time, effort, and focus. So, if you’re ready to commit to that, you can pass it.

Challenging exam

The CPA Exam contains 4 sections that test your knowledge of various accounting topics through a significant number of questions. On top of that, the CPA Exam also uses over 600 tasks representing the work of a real CPA to assess your accounting skills. The AICPA has assigned one of the following skill levels to each representative task:

CPA Exam Skill Levels

(Lowest to Highest)

Skill LevelDefinition
Remembering and UnderstandingThe perception and comprehension of the significance of an area utilizing knowledge gained.
ApplicationThe use or demonstration of knowledge, concepts, or techniques.
AnalysisThe examination and study of the interrelationships of separate areas in order to identify causes and find evidence to support inferences.
EvaluationThe examination or assessment of problems, and use of judgment to draw conclusions.

While these skill levels may sound intimidating, the AICPA has established the difficulty of these skills within the context of the CPA Exam. So, depending on your personal background and abilities, some of the tasks may not be hard for you regardless of their skill level. Furthermore, the CPA Exam intends to prove that you have the abilities of a CPA. Because you can acquire these skills on the job and from using a CPA review course, you don’t need to fear. Rather, you just need to put the work in.

Strict exam time limit

One final CPA Exam complication you must overcome is the rolling 18-month window in which you must pass the exam. This time period starts as soon as you pass your first section. Therefore, you technically have 18 months to pass the remaining 3 sections. If you don’t pass the rest of the exam during this time period, you will lose credit for the first section you passed. At that point, you must pass that section again as well as the other remaining sections in 18 months.

The beginning of the 18 months will continue to move back. In the process, it will always cut off credit for your oldest passed section and also shift the start of the window to the time you passed your second oldest section. This time limit may sound intimidating, but it is actually more time than you need. That’s because passing the CPA Exam in a year or less is quite possible. You just need to establish a study schedule, stick to it, and keep moving forward with each exam section.

Now that you know more about the reality of the CPA certification process, you can determine if you are ready and able to put in the work no matter what. You must answer that question for yourself after weighing these pros and cons.

Step 4. Perform a Cost-Benefit Analysis

Before you can enjoy the benefits of the CPA, the certification is going to cost you. You’ll not only have to pay for the CPA with your time and energy but with your money as well. Exam fees and review course materials are 2 inevitable and immediate expenses that come with a combined price tag of at least US$3,000. You may also encounter additional expenses such as an evaluation report, travel, the license fee, and CPE courses. Thankfully, you can learn more in my breakdown of the CPA Exam fees.

I mentioned many of the benefits of the CPA in my first point. As you recall, the most practical and tangible certification benefit would be the increase in salary. This advantage is also the one that will cover the funds you put into earning the CPA. To better understand the dollar amounts of the CPA salary, check out my CPA salary guide.

Step 5. Meet the CPA Education Requirement

As I’ve pointed out, the CPA certification process includes meeting the state boards’ CPA requirements, all of which differ slightly. The majority of state boards make candidates have 120 credit hours of education (the equivalent of a 4-year bachelor’s degree) before allowing them to sit for the CPA Exam. Furthermore, the state boards prefer your degree to be in accounting. But at the very least, you usually must have 24 credit hours of accounting courses and 24 credit hours of business courses.

You can sit for the CPA Exam once you’ve earned the 120 credit hours. However, you can’t secure the CPA certification until you’ve extended your education to 150 credit hours (the equivalent of a master’s degree). Thankfully, there are several ways in which you could earn all the credits you need to meet this CPA requirement:

  • Acquire all the necessary hours at the undergraduate level
  • Get your bachelor’s degree and take additional classes at the graduate level
  • Get a master’s degree in accounting from a 5-year accounting program
  • Combine an undergraduate degree in accounting with a master’s degree in a different discipline
  • Combine an undergraduate degree in a different discipline with a master’s degree in accounting
  • Earn an MBA with an accounting concentration

As soon as you’ve earned the 120 hours, you should register to sit for the CPA Exam. If you live and work in the US, you can apply to your resident state board. For international candidates, you may select a state board according to their specific CPA education requirements and on how you plan to fulfill them.

Step 6. Register for the CPA Exam Sections

Once your state board CPA application has been approved, you can register to sit for the CPA Exam. There is only one CPA Exam used across America, and its official name is the Uniform CPA Examination.

The AICPA administers this computer-based examination covering intermediate/advanced accounting. The exam also addresses related fields such as business, law, and taxation. The 4 exam sections take on a wide range of topics within these areas. The exam sections also include 3 different question types: multiple-choice (MCQs), task-based simulations (TBSs), and written communications (WCs). The exam presents dozens of these questions in a total of 5 testlets, all of which you must complete in 4 hours.

CPA Exam Format

TestletsAuditing and Attestation (AUD)Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)Regulation (REG)
1: MCQs36313338
2: MCQs36313338
3: TBSs2222
4: TBSs3233
5: TBSs/WCs3 TBSs3 WCs3 TBSs3 TBSs

I know that the exam format sounds tricky at first.  But, you will get used to it as you go through the CPA Exam application process and use a CPA review course to study. While the CPA Exam is not a simple test, you’re an accountant, so I know you can handle a few more numbers.

You can start with any exam section you like. I suggest you begin with the part you feel most comfortable with and then build your CPA Exam schedule out from there.

The exam is available to take every weekday during the following CPA Exam testing windows:

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

You can sit for any exam section during any testing window. Furthermore, you don’t have to sit for each exam section in consecutive testing windows so long as you pass all 4 sections within 18 months. But, you can also sit for more than 1 section in a testing window. In fact, if you’re feeling confident enough, you can even take all 4 sections within the same testing window.

Step 7. Locate the Closest Testing Center and Schedule the Exam

Upon successful registration, you will receive a document known as your Notice to Schedule (NTS). It includes a launch code that you must use to schedule testing appointments. You will also need this document to test on exam day, so you must not lose it.

Then, you have to schedule your CPA Exam testing appointments at the Prometric website. Prometric is a company that runs testing centers for the CPA Exam and many other computerized professional exams.

You are allowed to register in one state and physically take the exam in another state. Also, international candidates can sit for the exam at the CPA Exam international sites. These sites include Bahrain, Brazil, Kuwait, Japan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. International candidates can take the exam at these sites as long as they are citizens or long-term residents of those (or adjacent) countries.

Step 8. Prepare for the CPA Exam

The AICPA has provided a free introduction to the CPA Exam in the form of the CPA Exam Sample Tests and Tutorial Topics. The tutorial leads you through the features and functionality of the exam. Then, the 4 sample tests let you interact with perfectly accurate recreations of each exam section. These recreations include examples of all the question types on the exam. Also, you can actually answer these example questions. Additionally, you can even see the correct answers to these questions.

To improve your chance of CPA Exam success, I highly recommend that you use a CPA review course to study for the exam. The most popular courses on the market include both online and offline materials. They also supply tons of practice questions, offer extensive customer support, and boast high pass rates. Therefore, you can prepare for the exam much more efficiently and effectively when you rely on a CPA review course.

Step 9. Take the Ethics Exam

After you pass the CPA Exam, you may also have to pass a CPA ethics exam depending on your state board’s requirements. Most state boards require candidates to pass some form of an ethics exam, whether it be the AICPA’s version or a version created by the state. Either way, the ethics exam is a self-study open book test that is much easier than the CPA Exam.

Step 10. Gain Relevant Work Experience

Most states require you to have 1 – 2 years of professional accounting experience in order to obtain the CPA license. If you are already a working accountant or a student with an accounting job waiting for you after graduation, then fulfilling this requirement will simply involve keeping your job and being patient.

However, if you do not plan to work in a public accounting firm or don’t plan to work in the U.S., you need to be aware of 2 things. First, a few state boards have strict CPA experience requirements and only recognize public accounting experience. Second, for most states, a practicing CPA (i.e., an active CPA license holder instead of a certificate holder) must supervise and/or verify your experience. So, you must make sure that your boss meets this qualification.

The Technical Guide on How to Become a CPA

To learn more about the actual CPA Exam application process, check out this video:

More Help for Becoming a CPA

I know the process sounds complicated. But, once you take the first step in your CPA journey, you’ll find that it’s completely doable. And, I am more than happy to help you along the way!

I have created a FREE mini-course to provide further assistance to CPA candidates who are just starting out. I have 2 versions, each designed for candidates with different backgrounds:

* Those with U.S. degrees or who
graduated/live/work in the U.S.

^ Those who study abroad or who
graduated/live/work outside of the U.S.

Action is the key to success. Join us now so you can achieve your CPA dreams!

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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  • Jeyendran says:

    am willing to do CPA from India . . .

    what are the procedures ?

    when is the exam schedule ?

    how much ll it cost?

    when should i apply?

    Please reply to mail and that would be a great help for me



  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Jeyendran,
    1. On procedure: this is pretty much explained in this article — if there is a specific area that you don’t understand, please let me know.

    2. Exam schedule: not too sure what you mean, but this is essentially a 4-part exam that you can choose to take in the first 2 months of every quarter. For details, please go to my AICPA Exam page.

    3. Cost: please check this page on CPA Exam fee for details.

    4. When should you apply: you can apply any time you like. Again, you can schedule to take the exam in the first 2 months of every quarter.

    Please note that the CPA exam is offered only in US jurisdiction at this time.

    For further questions, you may want to check out the FAQ page as well. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Sandhya says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I came to the US 3 months back on H4, i have a BCOM and CA from India, now i’m working on procedure to take up CPA.
    i fortunately came across your site, which is immensely useful thank u.. I plan to go for Colorado license, though i reside in Georgia..It’s going to take sometime before i finish the procedure, so i just want to know considering there is change in the exams in 2011, will it be better to register in 2010 and give atleast one exam this year or wait till 2011 and start afresh. Also, if i register now, will 2011 changes be applicable to me..

    thx again..

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sandhya,
      My opinion would be to take a many sections as you can in 2010. Not that it is going to be a huge change, but that there will be uncertainties with the new format and even the review courses can’t know for sure what will be in there.

      FAR and BEC are supposed to get the biggest changes — can choose to take these two first…


  • Daniel says:

    Does it do you any good to just get a CPA certificate and not gain the relevent work experience therefore not be able to get the license? In other words is there any benefits to just getting a CPA certificate?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Daniel,
      In my opinion, yes there are definitely benefits especially if you restrict yourself in working only in public accounting (in which case you need a full CPA license in the future, when you sign audit report as partner/owner).

      Please check out this page on CPA certificate vs license which I try to list out the pros and cons of each.

      Please drop a note over there if you have further questions on this subject.
      Cheers, Stephanie

  • John Stark says:


    I was wondering if there are any states that do not require the one year work experience requirement. I plan on working in a non related CPA profession but would like the CPA certificate in order to build my credentials. Please let me know

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi John,
      Illinois and Colorado are the two states that require no working experience. For Illinois, what you get is essentially a “stripped down” version of the license (basically the CPA certificate) but sounds like this will work for you.

      For Colorado, if you go through their education in lieu of experience requirement you can actually get a full license from the state. Please note however that a license from Colorado may have some restrictions give the state is not substantially equivalent.

      Anyway, for both of these states, you’ll have to fulfill the 150 semester hours requirement. You can check out the details of the Illinois and Colorado cpa exam requirements in the respective links.


  • Michelle says:

    I live in KS but once I find a job I am moving closer to my fiance we have decided on VA or NC…can I take a section here and then finish in another state? I used to work for a CPA does this satisfy my work requirement if I’m not longer working there? I have my Master’s in October and all the education reqs. Also if I take for example one section and pass before Jan 1 2011 will have to retake it in Jan?

    Thanks so much and your site has been helpful!


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Michelle,
      I am glad you find the site helpful. Comments such as yours really motivate me to keep the site informational and updated, so thanks!

      Good news: Actually, you can register the exam in one state and physically take it in another. Let’s say if you plan to work in NC, then you can register in NC and then take the first couple of sections in KS, then after your move simply take the rest in VA and NC.

      Since you have a master’s degree you shouldn’t have problem in the education qualification. For maximum flexibility pick a state that is considered substantially equivalent so your license can be automatically recognized anywhere in the US.

      Lastly, if you take and pass one section of the exam before 2011, you are done with that forever. You just need to finish the rest of the sections in the new format in 2011.

      Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Eric says:

    Great site. I wish I would have found this site a few months ago. Thank you very much. Questions. I applied to CPA in Maryland, my state of residency. I have 150 hours U.S. college undergrad and grad courses and an MBA in finance and 12+ years corporate non-public business accounting experience. I thought I had 28 hours of accounting course work but MD said only 19 as they considered finance course work not accounting course work. I am exploring CPA to credential for corporate or non-profit work. I reviewed the 2 tier states of ILL and Montana as well as Delaware. Before applying to states, is there a service that evaluates educational experience that states recognize? Also are there any states that accept work experience in lieu of education?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Eric,
      Thanks for your note, and looks like you can be qualified in many states!
      Since you are thinking of getting the CPA title for credentials only, Illinois should be a good choice for you because with 150 credit hours you don’t need to get any working experience to get the CPA certificate. The disadvantage of IL is that it typically takes quite long (8 weeks) to get your NTS…

      And since you do have the experience, why not get the full CPA license if you can get your experience verified by a supervisor? Is your boss an active CPA licensee? If so, you should have quite a lot of choices; if not, you can check out Indiana because you can simply find a CPA (not necessarily your boss) to verify your experience for you.

      And on your last question: I know for some states they have something called a pre-evaluation service (e.g. this one for Colorado). See if this is what you are looking for.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Mangesh says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for creating great resource.

    Please can you guide us more into details of how do you approach exam, number of hours of study required and amount of exam practice and other elements which will help you enhance your exam performance.

    I am working full-time so have less time for study hence keen to know how many months / hours of study is required.

    Many thanks in advance for your help

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Mangesh,
      If you sign up for the mini-course you will find out. This is exactly why I set up the course so I don’t need to type the same questions all the time 🙂
      It’s all free with no strings attached.
      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Monique says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    First and foremost, thank you for building such a helpful website for CPA information and thank you in advance for your response.

    I am currently exploring other job opportunities and, although I have worked in a financial project manager role for the past four years, I find in my search that many employers require candidates to have a CPA license. I am an Economics major and have fulfilled some of the educational requirements but believe, according to one institution that I have requested information from, that I have another set of courses to complete (which at $550 per class not including textbooks can get quite pricey fast). I do not know if you’re at all familiar with the California area, but can you recommend any part-time (preferably evening) courses that I can attend to fulfill my educational prerequisite to sit for the exam? I have only checked on UCLA’s Extension program website, thus far, but am open to any other institution. Furthermore, does the prestige of the university have any bearing on getting jobs once you have attained the CPA license?

    Thank you, again, for your time.

    Warm regards,


  • Vipula says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Though i sent my marksheets to Illunois but i m getting confused do i need to take any federal taxation course in order to qualify. I went through the Illunois site but i dont get any such requirement.
    It would be a great help if u can clarify.
    Thanks in advance

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Vipula,
      I don’t think Illinois specifically asks for federal taxation courses (as in States such as Delaware), but you can call them up to make sure.

  • Brian says:

    Hi Stephanie, below is my profile with my question:

    -Canadian Citizen living in Canada
    -Holds Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting (133 Credit hours)
    -Currently registered with the State of Delaware BOA
    -Passed all 4 sections of the CPA exam
    -Currently working in Financial Reporting under a CA (Chartered Accountant) in Canada

    I’m looking to find out which state to transfer over my exam credits to OBTAIN the CPA LICENSE and not the CPA certificate. I cannot do this in Delaware because Delaware changed the rules in May 2010 and CA’s from Canada can no longer sign off on practical experience for a CPA candidate.

    Please let me know your thoughts,

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have a Canadian SIN (equivalent to a US SSN), but I don’t have a US SSN.

    Please let me know your thoughts,

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Brian,
      Hmm… that may be tricky, because CA and CO won’t work. Let me think about it and get back to you? Stephanie

  • Brian says:

    If I do a masters (i.e. an MBA) I will have the 150 semester credits, and I may be able to apply to CO and opt to choose the education in lieu of experience option.

    Is this option doable in my case ?


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Brian,
      Yes sounds ok, but Colorado and most other states will close this “loophole” (of not needing workin experience to get a license) in a few years. I believe CO is schedule to do that in 2015. So please plan your MBA and exam accordingly.

  • Brian Ng says:

    Thanks Stephanie, I’ll need 30 semester hour credits (basically 2 semesters in a masters program).

    I hope that Colorado doesn’t have the same rule as Illinois where you need to complete the 150 semester hour requirement before you write the CPA exam. Does it ?


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Brian,
      No… CO allows you to sit for the exam with 120 credit hours. During the exam period if you can accumulate the 30 credit hours you are fine. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Devin Uqdah says:

    I am in college in pennsylvania. I will graduate in four yrs with my bachelors and masters i can take the cpa exam in my junior year because i will have enough credits and courses when I get my mba do I still need to ge the work experience to be licensed as a cpa if I pass the exam and already have my mba?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Devin,
      On whether you need working experience or not with an MBA or 150 credit hours… it depends on which state you register to. If you register in, say, Massachusetts, there is no need; but for most states you will need at least 1 year of working experience. For experience it also varies from state to state whether it has to be public accounting, or also non-public accounting.

      Where are you now? Do you have a state in mind?

  • IAJ says:

    Hi Stephanie
    Thank you for taking the time to answring all the quetions.
    I want to get my CPA exam in Delaware is the only state excepting the Associate Degree, I Have a associate degree in Business Accounting from CANADA. I did my evaluation to WES but Delaware is required to have FACS so I am about to send them but the avaluation that I got from WES and ths what shows the report – Undergraduate Semester Credits 79, but I also have these classes, Financial Accounting I,Business Law which I got “D”, Taxation, Business Communication, Business Reports, Personal Financial Planning II, Intermediate Accounting 1, ManagmentAccounting, Computer Accounting, But no Auditing, Am I qualified to seat the test?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi IAJ,
      I would totally want to give you an answer but I am no expert on credential evaluation — so I am afraid you’ll need to get the report from FACS…
      Regards, Stephanie

  • Natalie says:

    Hi, I just have a comment for Brian from Canada. I am in a similar situation, Canadian citizen, passed CPA in MI. If your ultimate goal is to get a fully lisenced CPA and have it transfered to CA, you have to be careful that CA accepts only states with which it has reciprocity. I don’t know which Province are you in, but Ontario does not list Colorado as a reciprocity State.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Natalie,
      Thanks a lot for your input. Maybe I will do more research on this reciprocity state by each province and see what I can come up with.

  • Madan says:

    I passed all 4 parts of the CPA from Michigan. I do not have a bachelor degree because I studied in a foreign country.
    I also am a member of the following:-
    1) ACCA – Chartered Certified Accountant – London
    2) CMA – Certified Management Accountant
    3) CFM – Certified in Financial Management.

    I need advise on which state would accept me for my license. I do not have any auditing experience and only worked in NFP.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Madan,
      Actually, you can get your foreign education evaluated so you can get qualified for other states. Please check out this foreign credential evaluation page for more info.

      By the way I see that you are a “globally” qualified accountant/financier. Very impressive! Stephanie

  • Jason da Cunha says:

    When it says you need 1 -2 years experience in the field to get your license, is that full-time 40 hour/week work? I am planning on working part-time for a couple years for a CPA while I go through the process of the exam and license.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Jason,
      Yes, it means full time experience. Having said that, most states allow part-time. Some just calculate them using no. of attestation hours, but some put a haircut on it just because it is not full time. So you’ll have to check with your state for details.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Vic says:

    Hi Stephanie

    Need your valuable advice considering the following-

    1) I am a full time working executive
    2) Have family with one kid
    3) Need to balance my family life with professional life while pursuing my CPA
    4) I have done my graduation in accounts + CMA (from IMA)

    I need to know-

    1) How much time (hours per week) are required to complete CPA considering that I was an average student
    2) How many months are required to prepare for one exam as I am planning to appear in one exam at a time.
    3) Is there any website where I can see the past exam results (pass % of students)

    Thanks a lot in advance


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Vic,
      It would depend whether you are tackling FAR, AUD, REG or BEC. Generally, I think FAR and REG takes more time while the other two less time. It also depends on how much knowledge you have on the subject. Given you have an accounting major it should be good.
      But at the same time you have kids which to me (as a mom of 2 young kids) I find it a huge commitment that would hinder your study progress quite a bit…

      … so my conclusion is that you can consider tackling one secton at a time, allowing 3 months in between. The goal is to complete the exam within one year. Try FAR first because it is the most time-consuming and once you have it done with, it feels much better.

      For CPA exam pass rate you can refer to this page. Hope it helps, and just come back if I can be helpfu. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Brian Ng says:

    Natalie, this post is for you.

    Natalie, are you in the same situation as me ? I am in the province of Ontario now, passed all sections of the CPA exam and looking to get the CPA letters beside my name but I have no PA experience and I don’t have 150 semester hours.
    Have you found a state to get around this ?

    Let me know,

  • Alison says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’d like to get CPA license in California.
    Here’s my situation:

    1) I have an AS degree from a community college with 96 semester units
    2) I have an BS degree from 4-year university with a total of 187 quarter units (105 transfer plus 82 institution quarter units)
    3) I meet the requirements of 24 semester units of accounting and 24 semester units of business-related subjects.

    Thus, I am qualified to sit on CPA exam.

    My questions are:
    1) Do I meet the Education Requirement under Pathway 2 (150 semester hours)
    96 semester units from community college
    82 quarter units = 54.66 semester units from 4-year university
    –> Total of 150.66 semester units

    2) I currently don’t have any experience working under supervison of a CPA. How long after passing 4 CPA exams do I need to get the required experience to get CPA license, i.e., when the results of CPA exams will expire if I don’t have enough experience for the CPA license?

    Thank you in advance for your help.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Alison,
      Hmmm 150.66 credit hours… not too sure because you just make it over 150 credit hours and I know sometimes they excludes a few courses. So I am afraid I won’t be able to give you an answer. You can either check with the state board, or maybe the CA Society of CPA as there are some helpful folks out there.

      After passing the exam you have quite a lot of years for you to get the working experience and get the license. Typically state boards give you 10 years but please again check with CA state board for the exact no. of years.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Vic says:

    Hi Stephanie

    First of all thanks for your reply.

    Considering my qualification & experience, which state board will take me in-

    CMA (IMA)
    Accounts graduate
    10 years of experience in accounts (5 years in a senior position)

    Secondly- will they ask me to take additional qualifications(e.g. some tax courses) to qualify for registration?

    Thanks a lot in advance


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  • Jason da Cunha says:


    Just wondering about your thoughts of obtaining the Enrolled Agent license vs. CPA if you want primary focus as taxes only. My research tells me that enrolled agent exam and in general know more about taxes because of the specialization aspect of it. Thoughts?

  • Become A CPA Now: 3 Compelling Reasons For You | BNR says:

    […] I get you motivated, I would like to invite you to read this article on how to become a CPA in the US. As you will see in this site I answer questions on anything related to the CPA exam. If […]

  • Ashish says:

    I had registered in Colorado state and had cleared all four papers of CPA in 2008. Now I am planning to take licence in Colorado state. I am a Foreign National, not physically present or employed in the United States. I am holding a membership of Institute of Chartered Accountant of India and have experience of working in audit field for 4 years (3 yrs in Deloitte Haskins & sells (India) -a member firm of Deloitte and 1yr in KPMG, dubai). I do not intend to practice in US or any place outside US. I seek your help in clarifying the following:

    1.Will my experience in audit be counted for getting the licence? If yes, do I require to get any certificate from my employer?
    2.Can I clear the ethics paper within 6 months after getting the licence?
    3.What is the procedure for getting the licence and how much time will be taken to complete the procedure?

  • Wendy W says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Engineering from a top school in Canada.

    Would an Engineering education count towards the 120 semester units & bachelors degree requirements, or does the degree have to be in an accounting-related topic?

  • Saranya says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    First of all i wish to say that this website is GREAT!!! I’ve been doing some research on CPA for the few days and i must say there is nothing quite like this website. You are doing a great work..

    As mentioned, i’ve just decided to go ahead and apply for CPA and i have a few basic questions,

    1) I have a 3 year Bachelor of Commerce degree from India, I am an Associate Company Secretary (Member of ICSI) and an Associate Cost and Works accountant (Member of ICWAI), i also have a Masters in Financial Management (through postal coaching, NOT a full time course), can you tell me roughly if i will be eligible for any credits for my qualifications other than ? (i understand that my fellow Indians get 120 credit hours for full time B.Com which i will also get)
    2) I am presently put up in Abu Dhabi (UAE) and i spoke to an agency here assisting in application process, the lady there said that only my B.Com will be recognised and i will have to give one Federal Taxation paper and then become eligible and apply for Delaware. Is it right? Can i apply only in Delaware?
    3) I am thinking of applying in Illinois (so that i can get the Certificate), but for that i must be satisfying the 150 credit hours criteria. And considering the fact that Illinois accepts the credit hours evaluation done by themselves only, should i apply only to the Illinois Board? Or should i apply both to the general agency that evaluates credit hours and also to Illinois, so that if i don’t qualify in Illinois i can take the other evaluation done and apply in other states?
    4) And lastly could you please tell me when exactly i can sit for my Uniform CPA exams, if i start my application process now (i am planning to give my exams in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, as giving exams outside USA is now open)

    Thanks a lot for your help.

  • Sushmita says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am taking the new CPA exam in 2011. As suggested, I will be taking FAR first using the Becker online courses. I have scheduled to take the exam on Feb 26, 2011 and the online courses start Jan 3,2011. Keeping that in mind, I have started reading the FAR book and going over the material with the Becker flashcards. On the job front, I know that Jan- April will be busy due to the tax season. Do you think i would need more time to study for FAR? After work, I sit down and read. On my train ride, I go through my flash cards. Any suggestions or advice? Please HELP! I really want to pass this on my first try.

  • Randy says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    thanks for creating this free & useful website!

    i just got my accounting degree with over 150 hrs. i currently work for a local company as an A/P in Indianapolis. i am planning to take the CPA exam next year, 2011. now, i bought a second hand Becker from my cousin, who just passed all exams this year.

    i have few question want to ask:

    1. i know there will be some changes next year. is the 2010 Becker still useful in 2011? what addition should i study alongside with the Becker 2010? any suggestion?

    2. what are the requirements to officially get the CPA certificate after passing all four parts? some state require one year experience, is A/P consider experience?

    3. i currently live in Indianapolis. but i am thinking to move to Chicago because my families live there. is getting the CPA certificate different between Indiana and Illinois? can i take the Illinois CPA exam in Indiana? what if i will stay in Indiana, will the Illinois license be useful in Indiana. which state exam would you suggest me to take in my circumstance?

    thanks in advance for your help.

  • pan says:

    Dear Stephanie,
    Great information you have in the website! One question that I’d like to ask you, & I’m sure many of the readers would like to know this as well, can someone take CPA exam under the jurisdiction of one state (i.e. California) then transfer the credits to another state (i.e. Massachusetts)? I may be eligibile to take the exam under California because California doesn’t require taxation, althouth it requires other accounting courses. I plan to transfer the credits, once I pass all the four exams, to Massachusetts and complete the accounting course requirement set by Massachusetts after transferring the CPA exams credits successfully. I’m not sure whether this is possible.

  • Ryan says:

    I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a total of 180 units. How do I know if this meets California’s 150 semester hour requirement?

  • natasha says:

    I just wanted to know something for sure. I am attending college right now, and I am going for my associates in accounting. Later on I wish to get my cpa. What do I need to do to be able to obtain my cpa later on after I finish my schooling? I reside in Louisiana and not really sure how it works here. Thank you

  • A says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I recently moved to California from the UK. I am ACCA qualified (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). I have been advised by many that a CPA is a a must and by others that there is no need to re-qualify, as the UK accountancy qualification is as good as being CPA qualified. Any advice on this?

    I would also like to know what it is I need in terms of pre-requisites if I was to go through the CPA process and how do I know if I am eligible or not.

    Thank you.

  • darshi says:

    i also want to know the same as comment no.53. I am almost qualifying for ACCA and am interest to move to US but i need some guidance as to how many credit is that equivalent to and i am eligible for CPA as i have searched aorund but they all say acca is not even considered as equivalent to a bachelor’s degree..pls help me 🙁

  • Senthil says:

    My situation is unique. I am indian living in USA for the last 6 years. I have an MBA degree ( Major in marketing ) from fordham university, NY,USA. Most of my work experience is with digital marketing companies. Could you please advise me, which state is the best option that would allow my masters degree to meet the 150 requirement and lack of any accounting work-experience. you are doing a great job through this site and i hope you would reply to my queries

  • Darshi says:

    This goes to Madan Comment no.32..i’ve seen that you were holding no degree and you stil got through CPA?could u pls advise me..i am just about to finish my ACCA qualification.which state and how should i go about??
    Tq in advance

  • IAJ says:

    I have received my reports from Foreign Academic Credential Services
    It tells what I have and is equal to American AA, but does this means I am qualified to seat CPA exam in DE?
    My quetions is the report would be able to tell me if I am qualifed to seat the test or I need to call some other orginazitions?

  • Xun says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I just graduated from the Ohio State University with an accounting bachelor degree. But I did my first two years in China and transferred to OSU for the last two years of my college. Do I still have to have my previous university send my transcript to the evaluation center even though OSU has already evaluated my previous transcript? I am on my OPT now so I can only stay in the States till February 2012. I am afraid I don’t have enough time to finish the whole process. Also, when do you think is the best time to buy the materials? Cuz I don’t know yet if I will pass the evaluation for my credits. I don’t want to waste thousands of dollars on the materials if I can’t do the exam.

    Thank you so much!


  • April says:

    Thank you very much for your info in this website. It is very great and helpful for me who really don’t know where to start and make a decision whether I should take an exam or not.

    Thank you very much.

  • Mahesh says:

    Dear Stephanie,

    Hope you are doing fine. I am a foreign student from India. Based on my tutor’s advice, I’ve registered myself to New Hampshire State Board and I have been issued an NTS now to take up the exams. I have read somewhere that New Hampshire will not issue a Certificate upon completion of 4 parts of exams, but it is required to complete work experience to get Ceritificate and License.

    My questions are:

    1. If I do not want a License and just a Certificate, can I transfer my credits from NH(one tier) to other States such as, Delaware (two tier) and pay required fee and get a Certificate?

    2. If I need License at all, what experience is counted? I have 3 years of experience in corporate in Accounting in an MNC (Payroll and Accounts Receivable ). Will this be counted for a License from New Hampshire? Or do I have to come to United States and work under a CPA to get one? (latter may be difficult for me)

    3. Once I pass the four parts, within what period I should acquire a License to keep my scores active? ( I heard 5 years, otherwise I loose the scores!!!!) Please clarify me…

    Thanks a ton for your usual support!


  • ellen says:

    hi stephanie,
    i heard a bachelors degree would do to sit for CPA…is it enough or do i need a masters degree?
    also,which one would you suggest if i am interested in finance

  • Rajeswari says:

    I applied to Virginia board for my CPA exam and paid the initial application fee of $120 and during that process decided to write first BEC but later changed my mind and now want to write AUD. How do you go around getting another payment coupon for the AUD exam? Do I have to pay again the application fee? How do you register for the exam again?

  • Vic says:

    Big question-

    I have seen that people are posting thier queries on this “forum” but are they getting any reply from Stephanie? Reason- I have posted a query few months back and yet to receive some reply from Stephanie!.


  • lisbeth Dare says:

    I am a Nigerian, I hold a Higher National Diploma in Business Administration and Postgraduate Diploma in Management, what are my chances of sitting for CPA Exam , am I qualified and I am how do I register.

  • jes says:

    My question:

    I would like to sit for the CPA exam. However, I am not sure which state I will live in next year. Is it possible to take the exam and then decide which state you would like to get licensed in? Also, is it possible to take the exam in a state that that you know you do not want to get licensed in for licensure in another state?



  • Carol says:

    I’m going to sit for the auditing & attestation next weekend (first time), any recommendation related to the time, place, anything… Please!!!

  • ebenezer says:

    pls how do i start?

  • Ali Khan says:

    Hi Stephanie

    I just looked your website and found good helpful. Currently I am collecting information about AICPA. I am CPA from Republic of Ireland. I just want to know is there any exemption available for CPA Ireland? Although I had done B-Com and M-Com from Pakistan. Also can student sit AICPA exams outside USA?

  • Ali Khan says:

    Many thanks.

  • Aditi Gupta says:

    I am planning to give my Cpa exam in August. And i am planning to give all sections at a time. What is order of sections in which i should give my exam? And are four months enought to study for all sections?

  • Tanya says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am an Accounting major studying in Canada and am interested in pursuing a CPA designation. What’s the procedure? Upon graduating, can I attempt the CPA exam (in the states you mentioned only require a bachelor’s), or is there something else I need to do first?

  • hi says:

    I came to the US 3 months back on H4, i have a BCOM and doing my MBA from California, now i’m working on procedure to take up CPA.
    i fortunately came across your site, which is immensely useful thank u..

  • Nathan says:

    I am in Canada, have US undergraduate degree in Econ. 24 hours of Accounting, MBA canada 9 hours of accounting, have US SSN, need only certificate. Which state should I apply to. Thanks.

  • Larry says:

    Thank you sooo much for this website and all it’s resources!! It is exactly what I was looking for as I consider whether to take the exam. You are awesome!

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Tanya,
    Please go to this page for international candidates for details, but in short I know many Canadians go through Illinois because the state does not require the social security number and experience if you don’t mind getting only the CPA certificate (which for many is goo enough for credential purposes).

    Hope it helps! If not just drop another note in the respective pages.

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Nathan,

    Looks like you have quite a lot of states to choose from! If you are evaluated to have 150 credit hour (which you should have, with the MBA) and have SSN, then all you need is 1-2 years of experience.

    But then if you want to skip the experience requirement altogether, then can check out Illinois. This is the most popular state for Canadians anyway as far as I know.


  • Stephanie says:

    Hi “Hi” and Larry,
    Many thanks for your encouraging words. I am glad you find the site useful!

  • Stephanie says:

    Dear all,
    Many thanks for taking the time to leave your comments here.
    In order to streamline and improve the response time, I would like to redirect your questions to these pages:

    1. For state specific questions (including specific state’ qualification and licensing rules):
    Please go to CPA exam requirements by state, click on the state you are interested in, and add a comment there.

    2. For general questions from international candidates:
    Please check out this page written for you first, and click away / leave comments from there!

    Finally, if you would like to clarify the details on this page, then please scroll back up and find the heading “Your comments are most welcome” and drop a note for me there. Thanks!


  • Trey says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’m currently in my 5th year of undergrad so after graduating i’ll have the neccessary 150 credit hrs to sit for the exam. My question is should I go into a masters program for accounting to gain more knowledge and become better prepared for the CPA exam or get an accounting job and use study guides to prepare?


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hello Trey, in my opinion, the CPA review course is a much better way to pass the CPA exam. These professional exams are completely different animals than those exams in colleges. You need some knowledge (which you can get from the master’s program) but more importantly the exam tactics (which is normally not covered at school). More info here: Stephanie

  • Bhavin R Patel says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I graduated in M.COM (Professional Acocunting), I got Professional Year class Certificate in Australia. I will come to us soon. I want to go for CPA but not only go for CPA , Actually I want to become CPA ( in Chicago) anyhow. Please guide me and reply me on my gmail. id. I will wait for your reply.


  • Sharad Kafle says:

    I have completed two years master degree from Nepal and currently resides at Dover, NH under immigration visa. In addition to this, i have working experience of 5 years in Nepalese Commercial Banks (A class bank licensed from Central Bank of Nepal) in different positions. Further, I have 3 years teaching experience in financial management of bachelor level in Nepal.
    Now i want to start CPA study nearby areas of Dover. Plz suggest me what to do? what is the process for doing such course? is scholarship available or not for the students like us?


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Sharad,
      May I ask that apart from your 2-year master, did you have bachelor degree, and how long? If you have altogether 5 years of education, then it’s good; otherwise you might need some make-up of courses to do. Please check out this page for candidates with international background. Stephanie

  • Lacey Kenworthy says:

    I currently trying to decide if I should persue a career in accounting. I live in IN right now, however my boyfriend lives in Alberta, Canada. My plan is to be moving there eventually in the next year or two. My question is if I do persue a bachelor’s degree in accounting here will that degree transfer there for me to get a job or would I be better off waiting to go to school for accounting until after I’ve moved there? Thank you for your time.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Lacey, I think if you are going to get a CA in Canada, it is better to wait because CA has quite a restrictive educational requirement. However, if it’s more like your boyfriend coming over, then you can start your Bachelor in the US.

      Just my thoughts… hope it helps! Stephanie

  • tarek elzefary says:


    iam accountant CMA certified and i want to be CPA iam egyptian and i have bachelor of degree in accounting and have 5 years experience and i work and resident in KUWAIT . what is the first step i will take to be cpa and what is the best state to get from it and how i can equivalent my degree and i will equivalent before or after exam please help me

  • Alisa Chen says:

    Hi, Stephanie,
    I am a permanent resident in Canada, have my Social Security Number for Canada, should be getting my citizenship right upon graduation. Now I am the process of completing a four-year bachelor degree in Accounting (in my third year of study). I was wondering which state would be my best option for getting the U.S CPA title if I do not care much about practicing public accounting (tax/audit) in the states? I more or less want to start a career in the industry (managing cost control etc.) as opposed to an accounting firm in Asia, just want to get the credentials as a CPA.

  • Joseph O. A. Toby says:

    I really need help/guide as my dream of becoming CPA seems to come to reality. I would be migrating to the US soonest and one of my focus is to sit the CPA exam. The information here is meaningful and wish to be guided the more.

  • Kenneth says:


    Thank you for the website. I am 50 years old and I recently opted for a career change. I gave roughly 16 years retail management experience with some internal audit experience. I will be starting the exams in about 3 months.

    I recently went onto a couple of message boards dedicated to accounting and the collective mindset was brutally negative in regards to getting a job after passing the exams. There was also a lot of banter about age-discrimination in the field and commentary indicating that a person my age would be at a severe disadvantage.

    Will I have so much trouble getting employment after passing the exams?


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Kenneth,
      I guess there is a fair amount of truth in that, just to be completely honest, but if you are capable and are lucky (e.g. not being interviewed by a snobish 30 year old) then I am quite sure there is a good chance of success.

      Don’t worry too much about the forums — there are people who generally want to offer help, but many posters are angry people who got frustrated (and too much time) because they thought getting the CPA will guarantee jobs. That’s certainly not the case.

      I am in the process of writing a series of articles on job hunting, both before and after getting the CPA. Stay tuned for announcement of my facebook page (! Stephanie

  • arkka chatterjee says:

    hi stephanie ,am arkka from India. I have completed my from India. I want to pursue US CPA, so i was hoping if you could guide me on how to achieve this since am a student from non-commerce educational background.

  • Jaspreet kaur says:

    sir i am a class 12th student and i want to persue CA as my career option and i want to do CA from canada please provide me relevant info. Regrading CA In canada ,year do it , fees, colleges,eligiblity.

  • Ramandeep singh says:

    Hello i study in india and i have (batchelor of commerce) degree 3 year and i am trying to do something in accounting my friend tell me to do CPA course i donot know i can do and i do no what other option in accounting available in US. Please advise me what should i do. send me message in email. Thanks

  • Sunil Kumar says:

    Hi, Stephanie,

    Hope you doing good. I am glad that I have someone like you who can clarify any CPA related questions. You are just doing a wonderful job.

    I am from India and currently residing in the state of Delaware on H4.

    I have got 190 semister credits for my international degrees( B.Com+ CA) for the undecided jurisdiction. And as advised by my evaluator (NEIS) either Oregon or Alaska are the best suited states to take up the examination. I have 3 years of work experience back in India in Non public accounting sectors.

    Now as I have decided to take CPA uniform exams in the state of Oregon, however i have few ambiguities over CPA licencing part which falls due after successful completion of the uniform CPA exam. They are as below :-

    1) whether i have to have the experience working under a CPA supervisor before completing CPA exam.? or it would be fine if i decide to work a CPA after the completion of CPA exam.? if yes how could you answer Q3 below.?

    2) is there any possibility that Oregon board will take my experience a relevant deemed one.?

    3) How can a someone like me under H4 work under a CPA supervisor without work Visa. is there any way out.?

    Hoping to get the best answer..


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Sunil,
      Thanks for your note. On your questions:
      1. Working after passing the CPA exam is fine. But you need to consider how to get this done as a H4 visa holder.
      2. It depends how strict they require a CPA supervisor to be your verifier. From what I know, it’s quite strict… for this type of question, you can email Oregon directly and they should be able to give you an answer.
      3. If your spouse is applying for the LPR status, you can get a SSN and work. Otherwise, I wouldn’t take the risk of working and lose your visa. Here is more info:

  • Abhinav says:

    Helo stephanie
    Hey just want to know which field in MBA best suits CPA..
    I mean MBA in finance or something else

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hello, strictly for the purpose of the CPA exam, MBA with concentration in accounting will likely give you sufficient accounting and business credit hours.

  • Hannah says:

    This is an awesome guide for CPA aspirants. I am sharing this to keep everyone informed.

  • Gokcen says:

    Hi Leslie
    I have 4 year business administration undergrad degree from well recognized Turkish university(METU) and i also have a master of science degree with 21 semester units from technology management(under industrial engineering).Before going to an agency for checking my education eligibility, i would like to clarify the experience requirement issue for CPA with you.

    I have 11 years of experience in multinational IT companies on business analysis/forecast,but not under finance department.Most of the states require 1 year 2000 billable hours of experience under US CPA. Is it possible to be eligible

    -if i start working under a US CPA’s company in Turkey first and then take the additional accounting courses and the CPA exam.Or should the experience be after the exam and only in US?

    -Is experience under audit/tax department of Big 4 accounting firms’ Turkey offices(Deloitte,Pwc etc) ok ?

    -i plan to attend a certificate program in New york to complete my accounting credits and to get F1 visa but the program i chose doesnt have internship option.Is voluntary work(unpaid) in an non profit org(at their accounting department) satisfy the experience requirement for CPA?

    -Which states are ok for non-CPA company experience but still has active licence option?If i get my CPA licence in those states, is it easy to work in New york afterwards?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hello Gokcen, Leslie-Anne doesn’t check the comment section of my site. Please leave her a note on her site (in CPAexcel, as shown above). Regards, Stephanie

  • Ayushi says:

    is it necceray to take a degree like BCom to get the degree of CPA ???
    are there any colleges to make you study for CPA or u have to attend acdamic classes for that??
    what qulifications are required to take the exams ??
    plzz reply…thank u

  • Yuval says:

    I hold a B.A in Accounting acquired in Israel and I currently live in New York,
    Do I have to send my documentation to evaluation to NASBA?
    Is there another way to get my documentation evaluated?
    BTW I have more than 150 hours if it makes any difference.

  • Shaik says:

    I hold BCom, MCom & MBA(Finance) all achieved from Chennai, India. I have 210 semester hours completed which is certified in the year 2012 by FACS New Hampshire Coordinator. Currently I am working as a Financial Analyst in Shipping Co. Now I want to pursue CPA at USA which please advice.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Shaik, thanks for your note. It’s good to know you have lots of credit hours, but since the evaluation was done a few years back, and NH has changed its rules, you need to get a new evaluation report. The rest of the process should be the same. Good luck! Stephanie

  • Pratik says:

    Hey hi

    I am CA Pratik Jain from India

    I am planning to do CPA

    How much it will hepl me in getting job in USA.

    Can you please give me the detailed information about the same.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Pratik, thanks for your note. I have to say that one shouldn’t rely on the CPA title to get a job in the US. I am not saying it isn’t useful, but there are 400,000+ AICPA members around the world and people don’t tend to hand out a job based on the CPA qualification alone.

      But then, there are other valid reasons to go for the CPA. I listed some of mine here:

  • Natalie says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have 153 undergraduate credits, my major was accounting and in that area, I have satisfied 36 accounting credits (4 credits per course). I would like to apply to sit for the exam in NJ, but would like to make sure that my undergraduate credits qualify.. I have 40 business related course credits and the rest are in general. I do not need to further my studies and obtain a MBA in the future right?

    Thank you!

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Natalie, it sounds like you are ok, but I can’t tell based on this info alone. But I think you should have good enough odds of success. If I were you I would send in the application to NJ and see. Good luck! Stephanie

      • Natalie says:

        Thank you Stephanie!

        I have another question, for NJ experience:

        For NJ experience, if I work as an accountant for a public company and my supervisor is a CPA that can count as the experience requirement or does the company have to be a public accounting firm in order for the experience to qualify? I suppose if my supervisor was not a licensed CPA than I wouldn’t be able to use that as my experience?


  • Suheel says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Myself is Suheel, I have completed 3 years Bcom from Bangalore University and Mcom 1st year (Distance Education) from IGNOU University, I wish to take CPA Exam in UAE, I m I eligible to take CPA Exam and If i am Eligible to take CPA Exam with due course I will complete my 2nd Year Mcom too.

    Pls guide me.

    Best Regards

  • Memoona adil says:

    Hi Stephanie
    I did ( bachelors in commerce) two year program in pakistan, currently I living in California los Angeles, I just want to know if u can guide me how can I start my journey to cpa , reply me as soon as possible plz

  • Vrunda says:

    Hi Stephanie
    I hold CPA,CGA from Canada and want to pursue US CPA in either New York or Illinois.
    My current employment (private accounting firm) mainly deals with US clients and my boss is a CPA, CA.
    1. Can you let me know whether I would need to write the 4 exams or would I qualify for IQEX?
    2. For Licensing, do I need US work experience or Canadian Work experience count?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Vrunda, because you are not a legacy Canadian CA, you can’t go for IQEX. The above standard procedure applies to you. Some states allow “CPA equivalent” to be your experience verifier and for those states your Canadian work counts. Regards, Stephanie

  • Hitesh says:

    I am a qualified CA in India and working in American MNC since last 9 years. Now i wants to do CPA. Pls. let me provide the scope of how i can do without any coaching classes. Also, best study material and notes how i can obtain. Further let me know the estimates for these kind of study.

  • Parth says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    i have question regarding NTS
    If i got NTS for all sections to give exam from US then afterwards if i didn’t get visa then how much amount will be refunded to me?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Parth, I don’t think failure to get the visa is a good enough reason to get refund. I heard a reader who managed to get that, but it is an exception. Refunds are only given to exceptional circumstances, e.g. serious illenss, a close relative passing away etc. In other words, don’t count on it.

  • chandra says:

    I am a qualified CA and Bcom (in India) and having 4 years experience. Now i wants to do CPA. Please let me know am i eligible to do CPA.

  • Hernan says:

    Hi Stephanie!
    First of all, thanks for putting together this web site! It’s awesome!

    I am a US resident but got my Accounting Degree in Argentina and I also have an unfinished MBA (I haven’t presented my thesis yet). I live and work in Florida as an FP&A Manager and I just want to kind of “validate” my Argentinian degree by becoming a CPA. My boss is a CPA in Florida.

    Is there a place in which I can find out if I meet the 150 hour credit rule?

    Should I get certified in Florida or do you recommend me getting certified in another State?

    Thanks for your help!

  • Dorothy says:

    HI, i am a new chattered accountant in Nigeria. i just got to America and am interested in doing CPA i want to know what is required for me .

  • Tran says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I worked in NY office in a manufacturing firm. I had 1 tax manager in Ohio office able to supervise my work. Her CPA license is active in Ohio and Pennsylvania. We all worked for the same company, just different office, she is able to supervise my work. Her license is active but not in my state.
    Can she be the one verify my work experience?
    Note: since my direct boss did not have CPA.
    Thank you,

  • Rhyma says:

    I live in India and I plan to become a CPA. I wish to know the procedure involved after I complete my masters(MCom). May I also know the number of years involved in the University if I study in a US franchise in India?
    Thanking You.

  • Juan says:

    Hello Stephanie.

    I´m from abroad. I´m public accountant in my home country. I´m very interesting to pursuit the CPA designation in The US in order to work and live there.
    Unfortunatelly, my experience in my home country doesn´t fit with what mostly all states requires as “relevant”. Basically my experience is as a bookkeeper or staff accountat… Neither a consultant, nor a manager nor an auditor. In that case, I would require to get my experience validaded by a Licensed CPA.
    Let´s say that I pass the CPA exam.
    Would an US employer be willing to hire me? Is it really possible?
    I´m asking this because I assume there are several domestic CPA´s… Why would a firm or company hire me whether I´m from abroad?

  • Beatrice L says:


    I got my degree (Bachelor of Science in Accountancy) in the Philippines. I took the licensure exam for CPAs recently and have already gotten my license. I recently moved to the United States and would like to get a license here too. Preferably in Illinois or California, as those are the 2 states I see myself settling in. I do not have a lot of work experience back in the Philippines as it wasnt required in getting a license and it wasnt usual practice for students to be having any work.

    I found out through your website that I would need to get my transcript evaluated and get a Foreign Credential Evaluation Report. Would this be the first step? What other things would I need to prioritize after that one?

    Thank you so much!

  • Usman Riaz says:

    Hey Stephanie,
    To start off, your page has been extremely helpful as it solved half of my problems regarding CPA.
    I’m currently an undergrad student, pursuing my Bachelors in Accounting and Finance from Pakistan which is a 4 year degree here. As of now, i’m in my 7th semester, and right after graduation i was looking forward to applying in the US for a CPA program. Are there proper institutes in New York where they train you for the CPA exams and i could hopefully get admission in. If so, what are the average expenses i should be prepared for, the duration of the Preparatory program. And after going through my current credentials, would i need to gain experience after i clear my CPA exams, or prior to that.
    One last thing, what other requirements would i need besides a 4 year Bachelors program to gain admission in any institute in the US to pursue a CPA certification.
    Sorry for taking so much of your time, looking forward to your reply.
    Keep up the good work 🙂

  • Merene Abraham says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am from India and have completed my Bachelor’s degree in Science (Chemistry). The Bachelor’s program is a 3 year program here in India. Subsequently I completed my MBA from California State University, East Bay, Hayward with specializations in Accounting, Finance and Computer Information Systems in the year 2004. Kindly let me know if I would be eligible to appear for the CPA exam with my existing qualifications. Please also let me know which state I should apply from for the CPA license if I do qualify.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Merene Abraham

  • Syed says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I just want to tell you that the way you are helping international candidates is simply great. You’ve been doing this ever since i first visited your website in 2009. how could you reply to each and every persons query/comment?? your’e so devoted to help candidates! I remember you did reply to my post back then and that helped me a lot too. I don’t know how to thank you.

    I’m now a licensed CPA from MT. I applied to NH with more than 150 credits(Indian MBA 3+2), passed the exam in Nov 2016 whilst working in Dubai, and got my scores transferred to MT for license. Got the License in August 2017. :))

    Best Regards,
    Syed Abdul Razzak

  • DM Musale says:

    My son completed 12th grade with commerce and passed CPT, the first entry level exam for CA in India. He is doing BCom but interested to study in US together with my elder son who is finalizing MS for next year. However we would like to know whether CPA is possible with any college for completing graduation.

  • Ahsan Samdani Khan says:

    Hi Stephanie

    I have passed my CPA Exam finally. I wrote my exam in Dubai. when I login to my account I saw the expiry dates for each of my exams, can you please clarify what is that.

    FAR : 88
    REG : 89
    AUD : 82
    BEC : 78

    Thanx in Advance

  • Ravi says:

    i have passed my 2 section (AUD & REG) in this Dec 17. I am a international Students and appeared in my exams at UAE.
    Can i appear for test of my Sections (FAR & BEC) from USA ? if i give my exams from USA,do i still need to pay international testing fees or i need to pay just USD 193.5 per papaer in this case.

  • Harsirat says:


    I have Master’s degree in non accounting courses from India and i have done my all accounting courses from Ontario which i have got transfer credit for CPA Prep. How i can be submit my degree and transcripts. Do i have to submit my degree directly from India.

  • Laura says:

    My grandchild has been told that she can become a CPA in just six months. I am not trying to make it hard for her, but I do not believe this statement. Everyone says that I do not understand todays times. Please, I do not want to give her any false hope of anykind, only the truth. So, can anyone inform me if there is any state at all that one can be a CPA within a total of six months?

  • James Bankole says:

    I am an associate Chartered Accountant (Institute of chartered accountants Nigeria) ICAN. is there any exemption for Nigerian Accountant of my qualification for CPA- USA

  • Henry Eze says:

    Hello Stephanie,
    I am an Associate Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and also I hold a MBA in Accountancy having had my PGD (business studies) and HND in Accountancy. i am presently a Tax and Financial Consultant in Nigeria and have worked for over 15 years in Finance, Accounting, Auditing and Tax: I am considering visiting the US soon (and may be in Houston), would i be allowed to sit the CPA exam within my period of stay as i long to be a CPA member.
    Many Thanks four your response,
    Henry Eze

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