Illinois CPA Exam Requirements (Rules on Exam and Licensing)

Illinois CPA exam requirements

Illinois was a two-tier state until 2012 when it stopped issuing CPA certificates. The state, despite its one-tier status, remains a popular option among Canadians. This is because Illinois does not require Social Security Number and welcomes license applicants for the IQEX.

Illinois CPA Requirements

1. Education Requirements to Sit for the Exam

  • Bachelor degree or above.
  • 150 credit hours from an accredited university or educational institution.
  • Plus, you need to fulfill one of the following:

(a) Graduate Degree in Accounting from school accredited by AACSB or ACBSP:

  • Automatically qualified.

(b) Master’s Degree in Business from school accredited by AACSB or ACBSP:

  • Accounting courses: 30 credit hours at undergrad or graduate level, including at least 1 class each in:
    • financial accounting,
    • auditing,
    • taxation,
    • management accounting.
    • 2 credit hours of accounting research.

(c) Bachelor’s Degree in Business

  • Accounting courses: 30 credit hours at undergrad or graduate level, including at least 1 class each in
    • financial accounting,
    • auditing,
    • taxation,
    • management accounting.
    • 2 credit hours of accounting research.
  • Business courses: 24 credit hours (undergrad or grad level).

(d) Bachelor Degree (general)

  • Same as (c)


  • Business courses accepted by the Board include Economics, Business Law, Marketing, Finance, Business and Technical Communication, Business Ethics, International Business, Legal and Social Environment of Business, Management, Business/Management Information Systems, Quantitative Methods and Statistics

Note to international candidates:

Illinois State Board only accepts NIES (NASBA International Evaluation Services) as the foreign credential evaluation provider. The NIES process is stated clearly on their website.

On whether Illinois State Board accepts other professional qualifications (e.g., Indian CA and CIMA), there is no blanket answer, but the rule of thumb is that the qualification must have an academic component. The state board may accept part of the related courses. Candidates are encouraged to send in all of the transcripts and degrees that are the related to the qualifications.

2. Additional Illinois CPA Requirements to obtain the License


  • Same as the exam requirements.

Work Experience

  • 1 year of experience in government, industry, academia, or public practice
  • Experience not required to be under the supervision of a licensed CPA. You can check out Admin Code 1420.10 for exact wording, and Illinois CPA Society‘s explanation on initial licensing
  • Experience must have been gained after completion of the education required to take the Uniform CPA Examination
  • Check out the Illinois state board licensing section for details.

Ethics Qualification

3. Illinois CPA Requirements on Residency & Age

  • US citizenship not required
  • Illinois residency not required
  • Minimum age: 18

4. Fees

  • First-timers: $774 exam fee + $120 application fee

5. Continuing Education

CPE is required for license holders. Click here for Illinois CPA CPE requirements.

6. Other Useful Information

6. Contact

Illinois Board of Examiners
1120 E. Diehl Rd Suite 107
Naperville, IL 60563

  • Email:
  • Phone: 815-753-8900
  • Fax: 815-753-8953

What if the Illinois CPA Requirements Don’t Work for Me?

Check out these pages to learn about the educational and experience requirements, with my recommendation at the end of the posts:

If you have questions, feel free to drop a note in the comment section, or visit my Facebook page.

* Photograph courtesy of normalityrelief

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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  • Marwan says:

    On your wonderful website i found that “Illinois” is the best but when i check their site i found that they need one year of experience

    is it right ?

  • Marwan says:

    sorry Stephanie, i was misunderstand
    i got it

    but i have 2 years experience in the field of IT in implement application system which is not related to Accounting

    is it allow me to have the license ?

  • Marwan says:

    sorry i got it again

    Work Experience

    * None

    for certificate

    but 1 year experience for license :S

    delete those stupid comments please

    • Stephanie says:

      No problem – it probably means I was not clear enough. I will think of a way to say it more clearly. Cheers – Stephanie

  • Carocont says:

    Do you know what company works with the Board of Illinois for the Credential Services for foreing students?
    I realized that WES doesn’t work with them.

    I found this form:
    So that mean that they do it, rigth?

    After that process can I get my original documents back?

    What do u recomend me?


    • Stephanie says:

      thanks for your quick answer. You are so helpful!

      Marwan is right — Illinois is one of the few states that does NOT outsource the evaluation to third-party agencies. Yes, please fill in the evaluation form and you will receive an evaluation letter from the IL State Board stating you are eligible to test or what deficiencies you have to complete. IL State Board is very transparent in their CPA exam requirements as you can see from the link (#11 and #15 apply to your case). Foreign credentials will be charged $250 which is around the same as that from foreign credential evaluation agencies.

      You’ll have to double check with IL state board, but I don’t think you’ll get your originals back (I didn’t, for Delaware). Typically your school is able to send you/State Board directly a duplicate copy of your original transcript.

      Hope it helps! stephanie

  • Marwan says:

    yeah , wes don’t work with illinois
    only the board evaluate them
    but i don’t think they will get it back to u
    but i am not sure
    you have to contact them

  • Carocont says:

    Thank you very much!
    To both of you.

  • LittleKitten says:

    I’m located outside of US but planning to take CPA exams in US. Would like to know if the practical 1-year experience requirement for the license has to be in Illionios? Thanks a lot.

    • Stephanie says:

      LittleKitten: nope, there is no need as long as you get the an active CPA in the US (or equivalent, e.g. a CA in Canada or Australia) to verify the experience for you. Stephanie

  • Kelvin says:

    Hi Stephanie, just found your website and thanks so much for the useful infomation on CPA, it helps a lot. I’m totally new to this and would like to hear your suggestion. I had a management degree in China and then came to Vancouver, BC 3 years ago. I just finished an accounting diploma at University of BC and currently looking for accounting jobs. I am considering going to US for career opportunities several years later in the future. So now I’m thinking getting a CPA designation. As I just graduate and still don’t have qualified accounting work experience, do you think I should start the CPA now or years later when I have enough related work experience? I am considering the Illinois CPA.The reason I want to start now is due to the changes in 2011 and also I heard Illinois was going to call off the 2-tier system soon( I want to get the cirtificate before they change their policies, in the meanwhile I’m worrying even years later I still don’t have qualified work experience (supervised by a CPA or CA) to apply for the lisence and the cirtificate may expire. I don’t know the situation down there in the US, but here in Vancouver, jobs are really hard to find,even for junior A/P position, do you think a A/P or Junior accountant in a private company will qualify? However, my friend said to me since I just graduated, it will be easier for me to start now than years later, when my knowledge is still fresh. I really have no idea wheter I should start or not, So could you please give me some advice? Thanks very much and look forward to your reply.

  • Kelvin says:

    And also I would like to no for Illinois or other states, if I pass the CPA exams next year and don’t have qualified work experience at that time, would there be any time limits to apply for the lisence after passing the exams? Thank you.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Kevin,
      Thanks for your note. Let me see…
      1. On whether fresh out of college is a good time to take the exam: Yes definitely, since you are still in the “studying” and “exam taking” mode. I took the exam 5 years after college and trust me it took me a while to get myself back in that exam mode.

      2. On whether USA is better than Canada on job: from what I know, both US and Canada are not that great, so I honestly don’t think a CPA title can guarantee you a job now. (Ironically, China is probably the best market 🙂 )
      But it does help to have a CPA qualification in your job search, in my opinion at least, so if it doesn’t take too much time and effort it’s worth it.

      3. On whether to accumulate experience first or not. If you plan to work in the public accounting field anyway, then there is no need to “wait” until you get the experience. Actually in a few states (Georgia I think, as an example) only counts the experience AFTER you take the CPA exam. The best is that you can do the work concurrently.

      Having said that, if you don’t plan to get into public accounting at all — let’s say you prefer to work in the accounting department of a corporation, or even in finance and consulting — then you’ll have to somehow make sure the working experience is going to be relevant and *important* if it can be supervised and/or verified by an active CPA (or an active CA in Canada in your case). If the work is accounting related (in corporations, government or even academia) it should be ok; but say if you work in investment banking it won’t work.

      Anyway, if you plan to go through Illinois, I do suggest you take the action now because as you said they may take away the two-tier system any time. That’s what Delaware did back in 2006 and it affected many potential candidates.
      Getting a CPA certificate will get you a wall certificate and a qualification good enough to become a member of AICPA.

      On your last question: Looking at the other states’ previous practices they do “grandfather” you if you started the process before they make the changes. But I don’t know the answer and Idon’t think anyone can be sure of this…

      Hope it helps! Let me know if you have further questions. Stephanie

  • Kelvin says:

    Thank you so much Stephanie, I really don’t know what to say to appreciate your helps. Having heard your suggestion, I probably will start now, sounds more reasonable to start now than later. Regarding the the Illinois 2-tier system, do you happen to know when will they change the policy? I mean if I start now, and finish before June 2011, will I still make it before the change?

    And what if I just want to work in an accounting department of a company, would the junior level A/P and A/R work experience count if supervised by a CA?

    Also I have a little plan havn’t talk to anyone yet, just want to hear your suggestion. Since I just have a diploma in accounting after my Bachlor degree, I want to do a Master of Accounting program may be 3-5 years later once I got the CPA, do you think taking a master of accounting program still necessary after getting the CPA designation?

    Many thanks for your help.:)

  • Dari says:


    I worked as an accountant overseas for four years. Does work experience have to be obtained in the U.S?


  • Stephanie says:

    Sorry to get back to you late — my site has been down intermittently due to a “DDoS attack” of the shared server (and for those who couldn’t get into the site, my apologies).

    Anyway, I have no idea when they may change the 2-tier system, but this is certainly the trend. I can’t say anything on their behalf of course, but usually once you are in the game, they will let you stick with the old system (this is only fair, right). This means that my guess is that once you start the 18-month window of the CPA exam, you will still be entitled to the old rule.

    I tried to email the Illinois State Board on this, but so far they haven’t given me an answer. Will let you know in case I hear from them…

    Yes Illinois accepts non-public accounting experience so no problem if you work in a corporate. Please double check with this link (, but I think verification is enough i.e. not necessarily supervision (in order words, your boss doesn’t need to be a CPA but someone you know and is willing to verify your experience is good enough).

    In terms of Master of Accounting vs CPA, I suppose they are quite different in a way that MA degree is more for learning than a qualification, but certainly it helps in your resume.

    By the way, as a CPA it is assumed that you achieve master degree of accounting anyway (because of 150 credit hours for most states). So for credential purposes only a CPA is probably good enough.

    cheers, Stephanie

    ***UPDATE ON MAY 3, 2010***
    Kelvin, I found from Illionis Soceity of CPA that the State Board will start the transition from two-tier states to one-tier state effective July 1, 2010. In fact, they will stop issuing CPA certiciate start from that day.

  • Stephanie says:

    Dari, you can gain your experience anywhere, but it has to be either supervised or verified by an active CPA licensee. As for supervision vs verification, it will depend on the state that you end up registering for the CPA exam. Best, Stephanie

  • MSMG says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    While browsing through various CPA stuff, I came across your very informative and helpful site. Its really a good effort put in by you for the candidates seeking CPA. I am M.Com. from India and I have already sent the documents for evaluation to Illinois Board. I have certain queries regarding evaluation.:-

    1.Whether evaluation should preferably be done by foreign credential evaluation agency or it is better to get the evaluation done by the Board itself? Which is the easiest and fastest way to get the evaluation done? In that case, should I change the Board?

    2.Considering the fact that I have sent the documents for evaluation to the Illinois Board in the last week, and they generally take time for about 6-9 weeks for evaluation, would I be able to appear for the exam in 2010? Or else I have to appear in the year 2011?

    3.For the purpose of evaluation, are transcripts sufficient or I would have to submit all the original certificates of the degrees?

    It would be really helpful if you provide the information regarding above. Thanking you in advance.

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi MSMG,
    Thanks for your kind words on my site!

    1. For Illinois, you have no choice but to send the transcripts to the State Board directly because they don’t outsource the work.

    FYI only, some evaluation agencies have express service that can give you a result as quick as same day. But anyway, since you have done the submission, don’t worry about it — just sit back, relax and wait for the result.

    I know for Illinois officially they say they get back to you in a month or so, but from what I heard from my readers, it’s more like 6-9 weeks as you said (or have the state board changed what they promised already? don’t know).

    2. I don’t have enough data for Illinois, but for Colorado for example they’ll need extra 2 months or so to send you an NTS. So you can still take part of the CPA exam in 2010. Or if you dare — you can take all of them in one go?! Actually, that’s what I did but I almost got killed. Maybe 2 at a time can work for you 🙂

    3. I think they requested everything… additional certs and degree proof can only help you for your case, you know. Maybe you can check with IL state board to make sure.

    MSMG, just want to make sure you know: please be aware that Illinois is taking away its 2 tier system effective July 1, 2010. For more details please refer to the article above.

    Wishing you a smooth application and CPA exam success!

  • MSMG says:

    Thanks a lot for the information, Stephanie. I would like to know whether I should start studying for the exam now or I should wait for the results of evaluation? Considering the Illinois Board takes 6-9 weeks for evaluation and the change in the syllabus in 2011, should I buy the 2010 study materials or I should just be waiting for evaluation results and not hurry up buying the study material? Please let me know as per your experiences, so that I can plan accordingly. Thanks in advance.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi MSMG,

      You are welcome! So let’s say it takes them 2 months to evaluate, and another 1-2 months or so to send you an NTS. This means you can schedule your exam around middle of September. If so you’ll have enough time to take 1 section (assuming you are taking one at a time) within 2010.

      If possible, I’ll recommend you take at least 1 section first, because honestly it is a big uncertainty when it comes to the new exam format, and even the CPA review courses will have limited ability to help you given the uncertainty.

      If you sign up for one section, you can consider taking BEC first (vs my usual recommendation, i.e. FAR) it is going to change from a relatively easy 100% Multiple choice format to one with 3 pieces of written communications.

      You can also check out this page on CPA Exam changes in 2011 for an update and CPA exam review courses for my recommendations.

  • Msmg says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Do you mean to say,
    1.considering my qualification, i.e. M.Com. from India, I would be eligible to appear for the exam i.e. I would be able to satisfy the requirement of 150 semester hours? because I don’t have any idea, whether M.Com. from India is sufficient in fulfilling 150 semester hours requirement or not and
    2.I can appear in 2010? and
    3.I can buy 2010 study materials?
    It would be really helpful if you make this clear, because if I am eligible to appear, I can atleast start studying for BEC now, as you suggest and buy 2010 study materials accordingly.
    4.Please also let me know, taking into consideration the 4 months period in the evaluation, application and receiving of NTS process, which 6 months testing window I might be able to get? (If you could just give the rough estimate as per your opinion)
    I need your help in this. Thanks Stephanie.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Msmg,

      Sorry to get back to you a bit late… obviously it is up to the professional foreign credential evaluation people in IL state board to give you the evaluation result, but I know a M.Com from India (who also has a Chartered accountant certificate) who gets 150 semester hour credit. Having said that he applied for Colorado and everyone’s situation is different and it is impossible to give guidance without looking at the actual marksheets, grades, etc…

      Have you tried calling IL State Board at all? Sometime if you are lucky and get hold of a nice rep, he/she can give you a better indication.

      I understand the difficulty and it crashes with the change of the syllabus; but in my opinion you can start the studying now because, well, even if you really have to take the BEC exam in 2011, it’s not like the syllabus is completely different. For BEC, all you need to do extra is to study for the IFRS (which you need to study for FAR and AUD anyway) and that you have to do the 3 written communications tab. For these communications tabs, you can’t really “study” for it but just need to take it. It’s only a problem if the candidate’s English writing ability is poor. You shouldn’t have any problem judging from what you have written in the comments.

      And on your last question — it depends when your NTS is approved. E.g. if it is approved in September, then you can take the exam in Oct/Nov 2010 and Jan/Feb 2011. If it is approved in August, then you can take the exam in Aug 2010, Oct/Nov 2010 and Jan 2011. Please note that the last month of every quarter is not available for test taking.

      Hope it helps? Stephanie

  • Salman says:

    I passed the exams in 2009 from state of NH. but i have yet to complete the 150 credit hours required. You mention that illinois will stop the 2 tier state july 2010, does this apply to people who have passed the exam before 2010? And i have yet to complete my 150 credit hours which i should complete by the end of 2010. will i be eligible to get the certificate as a 2 tier candidate? i dont have any public accounting experience.

    thanks a lot your website is great!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hello Salman,
      Thanks for your encouraging words on the site! On whether you can catch the Illinois deadline, my guess is, I am afraid, no, if you haven’t completed your 150 credit hour requirement.

      If your plan is to get a full CPA license without any experience, from what I know Colorado is the only state that allows that via the “education in lieu of experience”. I have yet to write it more clearly in the Colorado CPA exam requirement page, but you can go look up “Rule 2.5” of the CO State Board rules.

      If you don’t mind getting a CPA certificate only, then the remaining two-tiered states may work. Again, this is the page I am working on but you can check them out NASBA’s page for the relevant states.

      If you aren’t in a hurry, you can come back in a week or so and hopefully I’ll have all the mentioned pages in my sites updated 🙂

  • Msmg says:

    Thanks Stephanie for your valuable guidance. If I have any queries in future, I hope you would guide me in the same manner. Thanks again.

    • Stephanie says:

      Msmg, I certainly will, and do come back if I can be helpful! This is exactly why I set up this site — to share my experience with others in an efficient way! Cheers, Stephanie

  • Msmg says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have certain queries again, it would be really helpful if you give your expert opinion on the same. They are:-
    1. I have sent the documents for evaluation to Illinois Board, but have not applied for the exam to that Board and taking into consideration the scrapping of two tier system by Illinois Board, should I change the Board to Colorado and apply for the exam there, since it seems from your site that the Colorado Board does not require working experience for getting the certificate or license. Would that be allowed, i.e. evaluation with Illinois Board and application for exam with Colorado Board? Would Colorado Board accept the evaluation done by Illinois Board, or I would have to do it again through any evaluation agency? At what stage can I change the Board? What do you suggest? Do they charge something for changing the Board?
    2. Is it allowed to apply to 2 boards at the same time?
    3. Illinois Board will stop issuing CPA certificates effective July 2010. What does that mean? Does that mean, only after getting 1 year experience, one would get CPA certificate or 1 year experience is required only to get CPA license? I am not very clear on this. Could you please explain?
    4. There is one requirement for CPA license for Illinois Board: CPE hours required every reporting years (typically 120 hours every 3 years) What does that mean? Does that mean that every 3 years one has to complete 120 hours?
    5. 150 semester hours is how many years of education in accounting? Is it 3 years or 5 years? I am a bit confused there.
    Waiting for your guidance on above. Thanks in advance.

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi MSMG,
    Let me give you a quick answer to a few questions first:
    1. For CO, you’ll have to resubmit your transcript to one of those evaluation agencies. I don’t think they will accept IL state board’s evaluation because it’s not a member of the NACES (the evaluator’s association).

    3. I think what it means is that you either get a full license (with the one year experience) or you get nothing, because, to put it bluntly, passing the cpa exam is nothing because you can’t get the wall certificate and so on.

    4. Actually the CPE requirements are required in every state as long as you are an active CPA licensee. They just want to make sure the CPAs are keeping up-to-date with continuous studies… it’s not a big deal because there are a whole bunch of online self-study courses that you can take, but it does take some time and money.

    5. Generally, 150 semester hours equal to a 4-year bachelor degree + 1 year of master’s degree. But sometimes, for certain states, they may recognize qualifications such as Chartered Accountants certification, but it is up to the professional evaluation agencies to decide.

    On whether / when you can apply to another state board for the CPA exam, I don’t know the answer but I’ll try to check with the IL and CO state board for you. Will get back to you as soon as I hear from them.

    Cheers, Stephanie

  • Msmg says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks a million for answering all the queries clearly. That really helps a lot.
    About 2nd answer, do you mean to say, that with Illinois Board, after passing exam and getting 1 year experience only, one would get certificate and license, otherwise only on passing the exam, one doesn’t even get a certificate?
    If I pass CPA exam with Illinois Board and then change to Colorado Board, for getting certificate and license, will that be allowed?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi MSMG,
      On the certificate and licensing question on IL: Yes. Technically I don’t know if you will get the certificate at all but in essence you are right — either you get the full license after the 1 year experience, or nothing.

      Yes, you can transfer your credit from IL to CO because IL is considered “more difficult” to get qualified at the moment. The reverse (from CO and IL) is probably not possible.

      And on your other question on whether you can work as a CPA throughout the US if you have a state license: if you get your license from a substantially equivalent state, yes your license will be automatically recognized and you can practice anywhere in US without extra paperwork and fees. Please note that CO is NOT a substantially equivalent state (because it is considered an “easy” state to get qualified). For details, please check out my CPA reciprocity page.

      Haven’t got the info on whether you can apply to two states at the same time yet… but will let you know as soon as I figure it out. Stephanie

  • Msmg says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I would also like to know, if I pass exam in one state and get certificate and license in another state (Illinois/Colorado) would I be able to work as a CPA in all states in USA?, or the license is restricted to that state only?
    I know there are so many questions, but there is no hurry, you can answer them at any time. Its just that once any question comes into my mind, I immediately ask you, to be clear on every aspect. I hope that doesn’t bother you. Thanks again for all the help Stephanie.

  • Msmg says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for all the answers.
    I would also like to know, under 1 year experience requirement with IL Board/any other board, is it mandatory to work under CPA in the same state only, where one has passed the exam, eg. if I pass CPA exam with IL board, to get the certificate of license, do I need to work under CPA in IL only or I can work under CPA in any other state?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi MSMG, you should be along to work under any CPA anywhere (even outside the US) as long as he/she has an active CPA license… but it has to be a full license, not certificate.
      stephanie 🙂

  • Msmg says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I had sent the transcripts to IL Board a month before for evaluation. I followed up with them for the progress of evaluation. They are asking me to provide original mark sheets and certificates for my degrees, B.Com. and M.Com.
    In India, we get ‘original marksheets’ from the colleges and universities for our degrees, and not ‘transcripts’, as provided by Universities in United States(US). But for the purpose of applying to/for several universities/exams in the US/any other foreign country, as per their requirements, the universities and colleges in India has the system of providing transcripts, in the format identical to the transcripts used in US. And for the purpose of authentication, those transcripts are signed,
    enveloped and sealed by the Colleges. In the same way, I had been provided the signed, enveloped and sealed transcripts from my College for the above degrees.
    Logically, they should be acceptable, as they are considered as authentic and original, as enveloped, signed and sealed by the College, from where we get our degrees. Also, in India, we get only one copy of original marksheets. But now the IL Board requires original marksheets and certificates. If I send the
    originals to IL Board, and if they don’t return back to me, it would be impossible for me to get the originals again from India. Please let me know what should be done in this case?
    Is there any other state in US, where originals are not required and transcripts are allowed for evaluation, especially in case of Indian candidates? Do the evaluation agencies accept the transcripts? Or do they also need originals? Please let me know, if you have come across with any Indian candidate, seeking CPA with IL Board, to know what had they done, had they sent the originals or transcripts? I feel quite uncomfortable sending the originals, because, I don’t think they return the same, even if they say so.
    It would be very helpful, if you answer the queries. Thanks in advance.

  • David says:


  • Josy says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Here’s my fact:
    1) Passed CPA exams in CA
    2) Has 4 years of experience in public accounting in Hong Kong

    I am thinking of getting my CPA license (non-attest) and saw that there’s a lot of information required to support the work experience.

    1) Do you recommend that I get my license from another state?
    2) Which states would you recommend?
    3) Can I transfer my exams results over?


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Josy,
      Actually California’s working requirement is already relatively easy… so what’s the issue of not able to verify your 4 years of experience in HK? Is it because you didn’t work under someone who has a CPA US or equivalent experience?

      The problem is all other state has the same requirement when it comes to verification of experience… if verifying your experience is a challenge, then you can check out Illinois where you can get the license without any experience… as long as you fulfill the 150 credit hours. Another good thing is that IL is a substantially equivalent state so your license will get automatically recognized in different states.

      Please note that IL is going to scrap this route in 2 years (actually it was planned to be scrapped on July 1, 2010 but got an extension. Lucky!)


  • Neha says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I must say that your website is extremely useful and easy to follow. I have done plus one year (four year degree level study) from New Zealand and I am a provisional member of New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants-do I need to give GRE (general test) or TOEFL in order to give CPA exam through Illinois Board?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Neha,
      Thanks a lot for your kind words! No, GRE and TOEFL are not required, but there is a section within simulations (30% of the exam) that requires you complete a business writing (like a memo, letter to client etc). So this is their way to check your command in English.

  • David says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    With the help of this site and a little bit of luck, I’m now a certified CPA in IL. Woohoo!!

    THANK YOU, STEPHANIE! Keep up the good work, what you are doing in here is awesome.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi David,
      Thanks for taking the time to let me know of this excellent news. It brightens up my day!
      All the best to you and your career,

  • David says:

    I forgot to mention that my certificate was actually approved after the original proposed deadline of July 1st, 2010. In other words, the 2-year extension (to July 2012) is real and I’m the living proof. 🙂

    Good Luck Everyone!


  • Nisha says:

    Hi stephanie,

    I am in VA on my H4 visa and I am planning to give the cpa exams. I have done my bachelors in commerce from mumbai university ,1 yr M.Com and MBA from India.As the exam content is changing from 2011, I am planning to give BEC in NOV 2010 but yet not done with neither of evaluation or application

    I have my original documents with me here in US.As I am on my H4 I dont have a SSN number

    Please suggest
    1) states that do not require SSN and work experience to sit for exam,also if i can avoid the ethics exam.

    2) How to go about evaluation and application procedure to states? Do I need to send them the evaluation original/copies

    3)If i study from sep 2010 can I give BEC in late nov 2010? As I am home maker I have ample of time with me

    Please stephanie your reply would mean a lot to me….

    Thanx & Regards,


  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Nisha,
    Looks like you have looked around the pages in my site after this comment. Before I type up a long answer… have you settled on one state you like (Maryland?)

    Looks like you are likely able to get 150 credit hours with + MBA…

    1. The major state you should avoid is California if you don’t have SSN. On ethics exam, is there any reason why you want to avoid it? it’s easy (compared to the CPA exam) don’t worry!

    2. I think you’ve found out the answers in my foreign credential evaluation page.

    3. Certainly if you can dedicate most of your time for this purpose. Just get a good CPA exam review course. You can find the comparison of major programs here.

    Just let me know which state you are going to pick and if you have further questions!


  • Nisha says:

    Hey ,
    Yes you are right Stephanie I have read a bit of your forums and was easy to digest for me..somehow got positive vibes..

    I think I got myself confused and thought ethics exam is to be given before the cpa exam for major states…

    I have just done 1 year of MCOM not sure whether its counted or not…but thats not the real issue

    I have some queries if you could help me:
    I have just graduated from MBA in finance and right now in US on H4 ..Very diificult to find a job…So running thru all the cpa details..If I have to do cpa I will put all my efforts to clear it

    So right now should I focus on just getting the certificate by passing the 4 cpa exams and later in future should I worry about the license thing

    Please if u can again tell me the state which will not ask me to submit ssn?

    Thanx in advance 🙂


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Nisha,
      Sure I will do that but I’ll need to do some lookup — this is a new request, but certainly a useful one. I think we’ve got quite a number of H4 visa holders here visiting this site.

      Maybe there is one thing you can help me out — I thought all H4 visas are dependent visas and they have no SSNs, but somehow one H4 visa holder told me she has a SSN in one of the comments. I am confused… do you know why? Thanks, Stephanie

  • Nisha says:

    Hi Stephanie

    Thanx for actively replying to my queries….really appreciate

    Yes H4 visa holders are dependent visa and they do not have SSN .But may be the H4 visa holder you mentioned who had SSN , probably she could be earlier on some other visa in US which gave her SSN and which is still valid..

    This is what i know from some of my knowledge..

    Thanx & Regards,


  • Ramya says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I just read the post by MSMG who’d applied to the IL Board in June 2010. Do you know if he/ she heard back from the IL Board? Since I have a similar background, Bcom + MCom + Indian CA, thought I’d check. I have a unique problem though – while I have a first division in MCom, my Bcom is slightly complicated. I went to two universities in India for my BCom – both are most definitely accredited. However, since I completed the first year from one univ and the remaining two years from another univ, my degree granting univ wouldn’t specify the division on my degree certificate (although, if I calculate the marks, I would get a first division). Hope this is clear. So, Im not sure if IL Board would consider me eligible to take the exam. I was wondering if I should take the risk and submit the application to the IL Board or apply to MI Board instead. It appears that I would simply need to submit a notarized copy of my CA certificate and nothing else part of transcripts. That seems a lot easier and certain. Yup, the biggest problem there is the public accounting experience stipulation. So, if I’m reasonably certain that the IL Board would give me a go-ahead, I’ll proceed with that. Do you think I’ll get any answers if I call them? I don’t want to send the application and wait for 2 months only to hear back that I am ineligible 🙁 So, I’m totally confused and unable to take a decision. And I want to take atleast one part in 2010 – so I don’t seem to have much time left. I would appreciate any suggestions from you on this. Do you think I should go ahead with the review courses/ studying before I submit the application?

    Thanks so much!

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Ramya,
    That’s tricky indeed… I am not too sure but looks like MSMG is looking at other alternatives as well (but his situation is slightly different)

    MSMG, if you see this comment thread, would greatly appreciate if you can give us your update…

    Anyway, theoretically it looks like you are able to get 150 hours, but as you know it depends on a lot of things so no one can say for sure.

    Sure please call up IL state board and see if there is any indication, although I don’t think you should expect any.

    If you really want to take one part in 2010, this is what you can do:
    1. Apply for Michigan
    2. Pass all parts of the CPA exam
    3. Transfer exam credits to Illinois — the process is simple as long as you are deemed to have 150 credit hours before sitting for the exam. Yes, that’s the catch because you aren’t sure. Here is the link for more details on the process:

    If at this stage IL doesn’t work, you can apply to transfer credit to CO and go through education in lieu of experience, which gives you a full license but from a state that is not substantially equivalent…

    Please let me know your thoughts can we can continue the discussion.

    Cheers, Stephanie

  • Ramya says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    You never cease to amaze me – that was really quick and that too on a Sunday! Thanks so much!
    The Michigan route is exactly what I was thinking. Public accounting experience per se isn’t a problem – my only worry is I may not be able to get a job easily since am on a H4 visa now! But if I can transfer credits to IL later – thats a great idea! Cos, I plan to do a one year masters in accounting/ tax in the US. That should help with the 150 hours right?

    Also, do you think I’d have to time to prepare for FAR in 2010? Considering there are gonna be major changes in 2011, I expect a lot of students to try and finish it by 2010 November – would that mean that the chances of passing are lower, since the passing percentage usually hovers around 50% ? So, I am a little confused if I should wait and give it in Feb 2011 – since by Jan we should have some idea on how the new changes have been integrated, correct? Anyway, I’m not familiar with the current content – old/ changed , its all new to me now 🙂 My target is to complete all the parts by April 2011 atleast. What do you sugest?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Ramya,
      It just happens that my kids were taking a nap so I could have a quick check on the Internet!

      On FAR, no, I don’t think the number of students will affect your chance because supposedly, they have this complicated formula (the questions being adaptive and so on) to make sure this is not a factor.

      Yes for you it really doesn’t matter because it all starts new; but the good thing about taking it before 2011 is that at least the CPA exam review courses are very faimiliar with the existing syllabus, so theoretically, they are able to “guess” the questions more accurately for you.

      But at the same time, the examiners said in their website ( that they may “adjust” the passing score in the first few months to compensate this… I don’t know how they will do it but they will probably try to maintain the passing rate at around 50%. They are probably still doing the adjustments in Feb, and the fact that there is probably very few candidates who dare to take the exam in January… in other words, there will still be uncertainties even if we wait until Feb.

      Anyway, it’s definitely not the end of the world if we have to take the exam in 2011… Major changes in CPA exam happened before back in 2004 and people continue to pass and so on. No worries! Stephanie

  • Ramya says:

    Yes, thats what I thought – since review providers aren’t sure themselves – it makes sense to take it before 2011. I did read that portion on their website where they’ve said they’d adjust the passing score – but that seemed very vague to me. Do you think I’d have the time to take FAR in November if I start studying in another week? I plan to study at least 4-5 hours a day and currently I have no clue how much time FAR would take.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Ramya,
      You are most welcome!
      It also depends on your basic knowledge of accounting… but in general if you can devote 4-5 hours a day everyday (5 or 6 days a week let’s say) you should be ok. FAR takes the longest time to prepare but that’s also the one that you can to get rid of first. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Ramya says:

    Thanks so much again, Stephanie!


  • Nisha says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Actually I spoke to IL board representative and now would like to give you some information about IL board

    1) IL gives you CPA Certificate since its two tier state till mid july 2012.
    2) It has its own evaluation for foreign and domestic education.You need to post all originals to them.It takes almost 10 weeks and they do give you back your originals after that.
    3)it allows you to give exam even without SSN number,you just have to pay an excess fee of $ 67.50 to NASBA
    4) I think you can get cpa certificate without ssn here

    Also Montana is another state that allows you to give exam without ssn number but for cpa certificate or license you need ssn number.Since Montana is two tier state it stands good for one who isl lookin for certificate.

    Now going on to my query the representative had no idea if I can work in VA with the CPA certificate from IL? Could you help me with this

    Hope the information is helpful …

    Looking forward for your helpful suggestion



    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks so much for sharing… I am glad you let me know before I do the research on the SSN! For Illinois, I know for sure it works for non-US candidates (for getting the certificate) based on the feedback and comments from my readers as recent as this month. The application does take longer than other states but I wouldn’t mind the wait as long as the state requirements work for me.

      Interesting discovery on Montana… this is encouraging I will take a closer look.

      On whether you can work in VA with a IL CPA certificate, sure you can work but probably not as a CPA yet, because VA requires a full CPA license to fulfill the substantial equivalency. But then, once you work in public/non-public accounting for 1 year, you can get the IL license then you can hold yourself out as a CPA in VA, since IL is considered one of the substantial equivalent states.
      Source: (under CPA licensure services; second last link on substantial equivalency)


  • Kadir says:

    Hi Nisha,

    I think you don’t need SSN to get the certificate from Montana – [go to License Information->Becoming a CPA by Examination].
    Also you can submit transcripts from your university to FACS for educational evaluation (no need to submit originals as required by Illinois)

    My wife is on H4, preparing for CPA exam and we found Montana is the best state for Indian students on H4 who are just interested in the certificate without license. Let us know if you think otherwise.


  • Nisha says:

    Hi Kadir,

    Thanks so much for reading my query and giving me the correct information .I did check the site and yes it states that I dont need SSN for Certificate.

    When did your wife appear for the exam? If in any way I can get the best way to contact you it would be really helpful to me.

    Also can I work in VA with the Montana certificate ,I just need H1 sponsorship to work here .

    Any information from your side would help me great.

    Thank you so much.


  • Nisha says:

    Hi Kadir,

    In nasba site where I downloaded the Montana Initial application form it states:

    NOTICE: All Montana candidates are required to have a social security number in order to receive their certificate, and license
    from the Montana Board of Public Accountants. Candidates are allowed to sit for the CPA Examination as a Montana
    candidate without a social security number, but upon receiving credit for all 4 sections of the CPA Examination they will need
    to obtain a social security number in order to receive their certificate or license from the Montana Board or they will have to
    transfer their credits to another state.

    Any idea about that.Sorry for asking you all at once.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Kadir,
      Thanks very much for you contribution!

      Hi Nisha,
      It does seem to be conflicting information. I have just sent an email to Montana rep at NASBA for clarification (I like to send emails so I have a black-and-white proof). When I hear from them I will let both of you know immediately.

      Hi to other candidates interested in Montana,
      I have updated the Montana CPA exam requirements page for a quick summary with links to the primary source.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Nisha / Kadir,
      I just got an email from Ajani McMillian, Examination Coordinator & State Board Liaison in Montana, who confirmed the information on the NASBA application form is the correct one (i.e. need SSN to get certificate/licensure).

      Regards, Stephanie

  • Nisha says:

    Hi Stephanie

    Sorry for replying late…Is it we need ssn for Montana state certificate.I am getting more n more confused in all this.I hope I dont give away the thought of becoming a cpa.I am in process of getting my documents from India.Will get back to you as soon as I start with some process.In the mean time if you can help me with the certificate or license thing

    Thanks so much for all the help .

  • Rajesh says:

    hi Stephanie,
    I am presently at CA in H4 visa having done my M.Com. from India. i have few querries –

    1) Which state would be best for taking CPA exam?
    2) Is IL Board is the best for people who are not having SSN?
    3) M.Com degree will cover the eligibility requirmnt or else what are the options.
    4) Whether evaluation has tobe completed before submission of application?

    i am in the midst of applying for exam, bit confused about state board and sending transcripts for evaluation etc.
    would glad to have ur advise.

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Nisha,
    I understand the whole process is very confusing and quite frustrating, but let’s tackle it one step at a time? No need to hurry yourself and get extra stressed out.

    Just focus on getting the documentation first and come back when you are done with it. I’ll be here waiting!


  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Ramesh,
    Answering your questions:
    1. It really depends on your situation, but this article highlights the most popular ones for international candidates.

    2. IL should at least work for those without SSN… I know for sure CA doesn’t work in terms of getting the license so please beware.

    3. will quite possibly get you there, but it depends on a lot of factors but I would think at least it’s worth a try. The flip side of applying via Illinois is that they do the evaluation themselves (even for foreign transcripts) and it could take quite long… and that they request original marksheets.

    Technically Colorado should also work for you too (if you can fulfill the 150 hours) but then I still haven’t heard from the NASBA rep on whether a SSN is required for licensing in that state. In fact, if you have time, please help to call her so hopefully I can get a confirmed answer for all the readers. Thanks!

    Regards, Stephanie

  • Nisha says:

    Hi Rajesh,

    I know you must be sorrounded by all queries right now ,even I am in the same league.

    1) Which state would be best for taking CPA exam?

    I think Illionos,Colorado and Montana are states that will allow you to give exam without can visit nasba site then go in jurisdiction to check out the state requirements

    2) Is IL Board is the best for people who are not having SSN?

    IL board is two tier state till mid july 2012,means this state grants CPA certificate,so someone looking for certificates this is one of good option.You just pay an extra fee of $60 to nasba as you dont have SSN.It does it own evaluation and needs all original documents

    3) M.Com degree will cover the eligibility requirmnt or else what are the options.

    You can know that by evaluation,If you want you can evaluate your documents before applying just to know its some $100.I think MCOM is almost 150 credit hours,not sure though.

    4) Whether evaluation has tobe completed before submission of application?

    I think for IL board they will evaluate first then send you notice of eligibilty,then you apply.thats what I have learnt

    This is just what I have learnt from past some months.I hope I have not confused you & I hope Stephanie I have not put some wrong information here.

    Good luck.

  • Rajesh says:

    hi Stephanie,

    thanks a ton for a very prompt reply. but i need to know which state board would best suite, i just dnt want to left with option of IL becoz what i gather with all the post is that CA is ruled out due to SSN factor is it right? then do u mean to say i have left with only IL and CO?
    becoz i have 10+ yrs of banking experience in India so i thought if i complete CPA it will add value and hopefully will get some sponsors for H1B. but i want to know without licence the CPA certificate carry some weight or not.
    and can you please suggest few more options.
    i hope am not pestering you with time n again stereotype questions.
    thanks once again
    i am not Ramesh but

  • Rajesh says:

    hi Nisha
    thanks for ur friendly advices, gr8 to get

    i can understand ur frustration and i value ur advice and very clear answers so now tell me –

    we are, means h4 holders, are only left with IL, CO and Montana?

    whther these states give certificates which are originals or provisional one, can they be used for job purposes if u get some sponsor

    ethics exam is a must in these states also,

    suppose if after evaluation they say 150 hours is not met in that case they suggest some courses to cover that

    it seems u r researaching a lot into it and hope to get ur feedback and wn u r plng for exam n ur prepration.

  • Nisha Panchal says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I had called IL board and spoke to the Foreign evaluator and I told her my education she told that IL does not consider any correspondence course from India…like i have 3 yr Bcom+ 1 yr Mcom correspondence and 2 yr MBA

    So she told in my case it would be Bcom+ Mba approx 120 hrs..she told u can send documents for evaluation but I think im falling short of 30 hrs …

    Just thought to update you



    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Nisha,
      Thanks a lot for your update. Always appreciate you guys letting me know of the little details here and there.
      I see I also heard correspondence courses don’t count but now I know this for sure at least in the case of IL. This is very helpful. Thanks Nisha.

      I guess IL is probably not your first choice now but in case you need it, you can try to fulfill those 30 credit hours using online courses from US accredited colleges.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Ramya says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! Im so glad I didn’t apply to IL Board in that cos – my MCom was thro correspondence and that holds good for most ppl from India! And my CA isn’t given much credit hours I hear.

  • Ramya says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I’ve applied to the MI State Board with my CA membership certificate from India. That should let me sit for the exam. However, thats only a time saver and I do have to satisfy the education requirements if I want my scores released. So I plan to send my transcripts for evaluation to one of the agencies. And I need your help. I have a BCom, MCom & CA from India. Might look like I’ll get 150 hours. But I may have a problem. BCom – I did my first year in Delhi university and the next two years in Madras University. The result being that I wasn’t awarded a division – although I averaged more than 60% which qualifies for a first division. I’m not sure how the evaluating agencies will view this. MCom – I did through correspondence. How much credits do evaluating agencies give for MCom. And what about CA – I hear that CA is barely given 30 credits (which sounds weird to me as its a more advanced course).

    Given the above, could you please let me know which is the best agency to for that will give me the maximum credits for my courses? I’m really sorry about bothering you with so many questions. But I’ve been researching so much on many forums and I haven’t found the answer to questions. Would really appreciate help on this.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Ramya,
      Yes it is indeed difficult to search for evaluation related answers because it really depends on your school, grades, courses, and the states you are applying to. So I honestly don’t know the answers to your questions… and so far I haven’t identified an agency that is particularly “loose” in a general sense (they can’t be too obvious different otherwise the state board will kick them out of their list).

      I guess what you can do is to pick the cheapest / fastest one (whichever is your priority) and call them up and see if there is any indication from them. For example, they may tell you right away that correspondence course will not be counted, and give you an idea how much (little) the CA will count. But as far as I know, your understand is correct, that the CA is counted around 30-40 credit hours depending on the states.

      I am going to set up a survey and ask you guys on the evaluation results. I just need to make sure I ask the correct questions to avoid misleading answers…

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Nisha says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Will continue to update on this forum….Your forum is so helpful..It has helped to unlock many questions about CPA….Its little compared to what information you give back to people on this forum


  • Nisha says:

    Hi Stephanie

    As you know I have all my studies done from India,I know that any of the review courses wont give me the bare basics.

    So would I be able to grasp and understand and be able to prepare for CPA looking at my education ie Bcom+ 1 yr MCom+ MBA in finance….I know many people do it..But will I need any basic course before doing CPA like Federal tax as I have done taxation from Indian perspective or would CPA studies include the Tax course ?

    I hope I am not shooting too many questions to you….You have already replied too lot of my queries..



    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Nisha,

      Don’t worry at all about asking “too many” questions. I am glad to have you here as my loyal reader!
      I was ok as a non-accounting major, having only attended one introductory financial accounting class, plus some indirect audit experience at work, and nothing on tax. By the way, yes there will be a full section of taxation but I think it’s not rocket science and you can figure it out based on the CPA review courses.

      In short, I would think you should be ok too.

      What you might want to do is to pick a course that does a better job in explaining the concepts, in case you bump into a section that is totally foreign to you.

      Once you are done with all the troubles on the CPA exam application, you can check out this CPA review course comparison page where I highlight the pros and cons of the Top 10 review courses.
      Cheers, Stephanie

  • sandy says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have a question regarding which state I should take exam for;
    I have done B.Com (India)+ (part I) + CA (India)+ MBA (Chicago) ; after my research I figured that Michigan is the only state which allows CAs to take exam directly. Here is my question; if I pass all the exams from Michigan can I get my credits transfer to Illinois and get the Illinois license? please let me know; thanks for your help in advance.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sandy,
      Have you completed your MBA in Chicago? If so it looks like you will likely be able to get evaluated with 150 credit hours. I assume that you are not looking to become a public accounting / auditor. If so why don’t you go straight to register for Illinois? Saves you all the hassle of transferring exam credit.

  • Sandy says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I agree if I can be eligible in Illinois nothing like it.

    I have competed my MBA , but I took about 12 credits in accounting and I major in Finance. I didn’t take any Federal tax course which I believe is one of the required criteria. But I can check again; if it works out nothing like it. PLease let me know if Federal taxation is a must requirement; if not I can try to meet Illinois requirement. Thanks again for your time.

  • David says:

    Hi Stephanie, I’ve got a question on my eligibility in receiving a license/certificate.
    I received my bachelor degree overseas (major in accounting) with over 150 semester hours, but my university is not accredited by CHEA, AACSB or ACBSP. I’ve worked as an accountant for 10 years but don’t have any public accounting experience, and I don’t know any US CPA license holder. I know I’m qualified to receive NTS in some states and the exam itself is not the most difficult part, but my goal is a CPA license, or at least the title of CPA on business card.
    So my question: am I qualified to get NTS from IL? If not, in which states am I qualified to get a license after passing the exam? CA? CO? I don’t have a SSN btw.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi David,
      You may still get the qualification from Illinois but since the state board does their own evaluation it’s hard to say the chance of success. Illinois requires 1 year of accounting experience (doesn’t need to be public accounting) but it has to be supervised by CPA or equivalent. Has your experience being supervised by, say, Canadian CAs or Australian CAs/CPAs? That may work (but need to double check with Illinois).

      I have to say that without SSN and without verifiable working experience it’s pretty difficult to get the CPA license… but then for Illinois, I believe you can still put the CPA title on business card but you need to put a note or something like that. Please check out the specific restriction here and see if you are comfortable with it:

      And, CA and CO won’t work (in terms of getting the license) if you don’t have SSN.

      Hope it helps? Stephanie

  • David says:

    Thanks, Stephanie, this is really helpful.
    I may go to US (Chicago) next year and SSN should eventually not be a problem, but would prefer to get the license before working there. So if I have the SSN but can’t meet IL requirement for license, I may try CO as it accepts 150 credits in lieu of experience, correct? Thanks!

  • uytre says:


    I graduated college from Temple Uniersity in Pennsylvania with a major in Acounting in 1990. I sat for the exam in PA once in 1991 -failed – and did not pursue it further. If I sit for the Exam in Illinois for the first time in 2011, will I still have to meet the 150 hr requirement or can I sit for the exam based on the old 120 hr requirement.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi uytre,
      Actually I am not too sure but most likely you will need to fulfill the 150 credit hour requirement — but you don’t need to get an extra degree, just get some extra courses online will do. Please see if this write up will help you explore all the options.
      All the best! Stephanie

  • Kelvin says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    How are you? My name is Kelvin, I have asked you questions before regarding getting a Illinois CPA designation in April this year. You can find out my posts in this Illinois section. So here are some updates about me since my last question and I would like to hear your suggestion if I may.

    So I graduted this year with an graduate accounting diploma from University of BC and finally I got a job in a small Chartered Accountant firm in Vancouver, BC. Our firm is specilizing Canadian and US taxation. The two partners are CAs, but since a great part of our business is filing US corporate and income tax returns, I guess the partners also hold CPA designations as well(not sure on this though). I suppose they are qualified to supervise my work. So in this case, I think I will have more choices rather than just Illinois (I had a bachelor degree in management in China and a graduate diploma in accounting in Canada, total credits will be above 150).So here comes my question: I don’t have a master degree but have over 150 credits with qualified accounting credits and currently working in a Chartered Accountant firm in Canada specilizing US and Canadian corporate and personal taxations. Would the fact that I don’t have a mas ter degree be a problem for me? and what choices do I have against choosing a specific state rather than Illinois that you would suggest? And how many years of work experience in my current position is needed in order to be liscenced after passing the exams? Does the work experience before passing CPA exams count?
    Thank you very much Stephanie. May you have a nice week. Look forward to your reply.



  • Kelvin says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Sorry but I forgot to mention I don’t have SSN right now since I am working in Canada, considering this with my infomation above, could you give me some suggestion on choosing the state? Thank you.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Kelvin,
      Nice to hear from you again, and I am glad you are succesful in getting a job — understand it isn’t easy to get a job in BC these days…
      Anyway, sounds like IL is still good because (i) they don’t require SSN; (ii) you filfill all their requirements (iii) you have the option to get just the CPA certificate (no experience requirement) or a full license (1 year of working experience).

      No I don’t think they require a master’s degree.

      What you can do is to quickly check whether they recognize “CPA equivalent” (i.e. Canadian CA) to verify the experience for you. Many states are ok but just want to make sure. My gut feeling is that IL is quite “canada friendly” so it should work, but always double check with the latest information, you know.

      I can check it for you but it will be backlogged to i-don’t-know-when… so if you can do that and ideally, come back and let me know so I can be helpful to others in the same situation. Thanks a lot! Stephanie

  • Tayyaba says:

    Hi Stephanie!

    I had applied to Maine for CPA exam and sent my transcripts to FACS for evaluation but i am having 3 year BBA. degree which was rejected by FACS. Now i am looking for individual courses that i can complete online from any american university and thus complete my credit hours requirement. Secondly, I want to apply through a two-tier state and the only option is Illinois. These days I am looking for american universities offering online accounting courses. Please tell me if i take extra courses and get qualified for cpa exam and apply before July 2012 but complete the exam after July 2012, will i still be able to get certificate. (I know from your website the two-tier system is ending in July 2012, but what about those students who apply for exam before this time limit. Will they have to pass the exam before July 2012 to get certificate?) I hope you reply me soon and I really appreciate the way you are helping people. The tons of information on CPA exam is really very confusing. Please help.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Tayyaba,
      Sorry about the rejection from FACS… Illinois requires 150 credit hours (equivalent to master’s / 5-year degree) so please expect quite a lot of coursework ahead!
      Maybe you can check out this page on how to get extra credits for the CPA exam requirements. If you have further questions please ask me over there. STephanie

  • How to Become a CPA in Illinois – CPA Exam Requirements | Accredited Colleges says:

    […] To learn more about the difference and get more information, tips and links to the IL State Board, official FAQ page and application form, please check out this page on Illinois CPA Exam requirements. […]

  • Renu Thapliyal says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    My name is Renu and I have US citizenship. I live in Georgia and applying thru the same state board of accountancy. I have done M.Com from India. I evaluated my degree from FACSUSA (One of the approved evaluators for GA Board of Accountancy). It says that I have completed more than 150 sem. hrs. and at least 20 sem. hrs. in accounting subjects above the elementary level. After receiving this evaluation I sent my application and 2 sections (AUD and REG) exam fees to the GA board. Recently I received a letter from them that my application is being processed and it will take up to 6 weeks time to complete. Now my question is how I would know in advance that I will be definitely eligible for the exam so that I can buy review materials. I am reluctant to spend that much money for the materials until I get their approval and at the same time I really want to study ahead so that I can complete these 2 sections in 6 months NTS validity period. I am a stay-at-home mom and taking care of 2 kids with full household responsibilities. I would appreciate your suggestion.

  • Roger says:

    Hi Stephanie — great website – thanks so much for setting this up! My question concerns being able to sit the CPA exam. If you dont have the accounting credits but have studied multiple degrees (law, economics and masters in tax) plus youre an admitted attorney and have 5+ years experience working under US CPAs at public accounting firms – would a state consider this sufficient in lieu of the accounting credt ? or is the accounting credit requirement something you cant get around? many thanks, Roger

  • Sharon says:

    Hello Stephanie,

    thank you for your website. May I know if the 24 hours in accounting have to include auditing? My bachelor degree is Management Information System and master degree is MBA. Both are taken not in the U.S.. I’ve taken all relevant accounting courses except auditing. Therefore, I wonder, in this situation, whether I still can take US CPA Exam and which state I should take.

  • Sana says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for this awesome website! It really helped me a lot in seeing what states I can get licensed with.

    I’m a Canadian citizen and have no intentions of ever practising in the US, so ideally I only need a certificate. I don’t have the 150 credit hours, I have a 4 year Bachelors degree, which I think is 120 hours, right? But I did write and pass all 3 of the CA exams for Canada.. do you know of cases where the board has made exceptions like these.. having passed the CA exams witha 4 year degress instead of 5?

  • Rachin says:

    Hi Stephanie

    I would like to really appreciate the good work you are doing especially for the aspiring international students.

    I’m from India and I have cleared my CPA exams – all 4 subjects in 2010 from Delaware. As Delaware requires work experience under a licensed CPA to get the certificate & licence, is it possible for me to apply for the CPA certificate (just for credentials) in any of the current 2 tier states…especially Illinois. If yes….then how?

    Thanks & regards

  • Naomi says:

    Hello Stephanie,
    First let me say this is the best website on the net for wannabe and soon-to-be CPA’s. I have been reading this sight for months and I am amazed at how your mind works and I am looking forward to the book! I am anticipating taking the test in IL right before the 2 tier system becomes extinct. I am finishing one Master’s but don’t have any classes in accounting at all. I am planning to earn a Master’s in Finance with a specialization in Financial Management where I will meet the 15 hour graduate accounting requirement (Yay!). My first question – is there any stipulation that the classes have to be face to face in IL. In other words, will accounting classes online be sufficient. My second question is out of curiosity, can undergraduate hours and graduate hours be mixed and matched to meet the requirement or is it either or? And last question are there other states with the similar 15 hour grad work and only a year experience requirements that don’t have residency requirements? I have only been looking at IL, but should I miss that 2012 deadline I would like another option. I appreciate any assistance or advice you may have. Thank you

  • Aman says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks a lot for the help you are doing for us.
    My query is in respect to my educational requirements i.e 150 hrs requirement. I have a B.Comm and Bachelors in law (both 3yrs each), does that make me equivalent for the above. In the meanwhile I have already sent my docs upto B.Comm to FACS for evaluation and copy to be sent to Delaware.
    Thanks in advance & Regards, Aman.

  • Laurie says:

    If I take the CPA exam in AZ and work as an auditor for one year I can become a licensed/certified CPA. I then plan to move to IL within one-two years. If I am licensed in AZ what would I have to do to be licensed in IL.
    Thank You for your time.

  • Narayan Rao. B. says:

    Hi Stephanie :

    Requesting some clarification :

    I am trying for a CPA certificate from Illinois (not license)

    I am a Canadian citizen currently working in India.

    1. I passed CPA from Colorado in Nov 2002
    2. I passed professional ethics examination in November 2006
    3. I have a 3 years Bachelors degree in Statistics
    4. I am a Fellow Member of the Institute of CA of India since 1990
    5. My indian education has been evaluated by International Consultants of Delaware (a NACES Member) to be equivalent to Masters Degree in Accounting from any accredited university/college of USA

    My questions are :

    1. If I were to transfer my examination credits from Colorado to Illinois along with all the above documents will I be eligible for CPA certificate from Illinois ?
    2. Do I need to get my Indian education evaluated by Illinois Board of Accountancy once again ? Will I succeed ?

    Appreciate your kind reply in this regard

    Best regards


  • Amer Mushtaq says:

    Hello Stephanie
    I have passed all four sections of CPA from state of Colorado. I live outside US (Qatar) and have done CA (from Pakistan) & hold Master Dgree in Economics also.

    What to do next?


  • Michele says:

    Hallo Stephanie,
    I am Italian, with Italian University degree. I will apply for the exam and I am confident that I will be allowed to take it in Chicago. I need only the CPA certificate and not the license, as a consequence I should not have problems linked to SSN and experience.
    My question is: if I pass the exam before July 2012, is there a risk that no certificate is issued because of time delays? I imagine a situation like this: exam passed in May, date of issuance of certificates in August, two-tier regulation cancelled in July and final result no certificate issued.
    If I candidate for the exam and eventually I pass it…what are my rights in the “grey zone” around July 2012?

  • vaishali says:


    I have a question for you. I have passed all my CPA parts from Michigan. I have worked in Illioins for almost 7 years with CPA doing publice audits. I am CA from India with BCOM. When I ook my CPA from Michigan, I did not need the 150 credit hours requirement since Michigan doesnt need that when u are appearing for the exam. Now that I am done with all my parts my question are

    Can I get a CPA certificate from Michigan.?

    Can I transfer my credit to Illionois? I dont think my CA degree with BCOM will make up for 150 credit hours. Can I take extra courses and than be eligible for CPA license ???

    Please help

  • matt mascia says:

    Hi Stephanie
    I passed the cpa exam in ny back in 1989. I sat and passed 2 parts in Nov 1988, and the last two in Nov 1989. I have the 150 hours with my mba. Someone in Illinois mentioned there could be a problem meeting Illinois conditioning requirements at that time. I submitted everything and await their reply. The problem may be I didn’t sit for all parts the first sitting. I am just looking for registration and not full license. I could not find any info on this.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you

  • Avesha says:

    I am non US resident, without a SSN. I have had my ACCA and other qualifications evaluated by WES and have the 150 hrs. I applied to Virginia only to realise that I require a SSN to apply to write the exam. Can I write the exam in Colorado and then transfer the credits to Illinois after. The process of evaluations etc have taken so long so far and to start it all over again with Illinois is very discouraging. I wish to do my start my exams in summer 2011. I look forward to your guidance.

  • Evelyne says:

    Under the work Experience session, you said that Experience must have been gained after completion of the education required to take the Uniform CPA Examination. Can you kindly clarify this?

    Also, the 1 year of experience you talked about, is it only in the US? If not, if you are an international student, and have completed the 1 year of experience in the private sector with a private firm, will you be accepted?

  • Lisa Liu says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Do you have latest information about the working experience requirement for getting license in IL state? I just would like to know whether they recognize “CPA equivalent” (i.e. Canadian CPA) to verify the experience.

    Thank you so much


  • Srimathi says:


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

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Srimathi, the problem is that California strictly requires a SSN. If you are quite sure in getting your SSN after the CPA exam, then you can go ahead; otherwise I would pick other state board. You can get an out-of-state license and work in CA with no problem. It’s only an issue if you want to be a partner in a CPA firm or launch your own CPA firm.

  • Barb says:

    Hi, I recently submitted my online application and initial exam app, paying $40 to take the BEC section within the next six months. I recently decided I would like to take another exam in this time period and do not want to wait for the six months. I read that the six months is from the payment to NASBA, so is it possible this timeframe would be six months after the 6-8 weeks it could take to process and approve my application? Is it possible to take another exam in this timeframe? And when exactly does the timeframe start?


  • Hao says:


    how I can evaluate my transcript to know how many credit hours I earned and how many I need to get to reach 150 credit hours.
    I was graduated from a University in Vietnam and I came to USA to pursue the MAster Degree in Accounting and Finance.

  • Arsal says:

    Does the work experience also need to be in the state I take exams? For example, if I wanna get an Illinois License, do I need to do my work experience in Illinois as well??

  • Merill Javier says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I found your site when I googled the ‘top us states for Filipino CPA’. I haven’t read all of your articles and perhaps you can assist me which ones to read. I am interested and planning to take a US CPA exam but I need more info how to proceed with it. To give you a brief background, I am originally from Philippines and a CPA with license since 2009. I am currently working here in Cayman Islands as an Audit Manager at Ernst and Young (EY). I’ve been with the audit practice since 2009.

    I need your help in terms of choosing the right US States for me to register. I’m initially thinking of New Hampshire. I have my transcript of records with me and the certificate of diploma. Thanks.

  • Rafi says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    i passed from california in 2005. Had 150 credits at that time.Did not wrtie the ethics exam and had no intention of practising in CA.
    Now while registering with CPA Ontario in Canada for Membership they say that i am not a member with california and in order to register for a CPA ontario i had to be a member of the US accounting board.
    Not clear which state to transfer in USA .. … Though i have 2 years experience in canada , i dont have a US SSN / experience in US/ or know any CPA there….
    Please advise.

  • Muriel says:

    Hi ! Thank you so much for your research. You write that for Educational requirements “Graduate Degree in Accounting from school accredited by AACSB or ACBSP:

    Automatically qualified.”

    Can you link your source ? I could not locate this online. My school is a member of the AACSB. That would make my life so much easier. Thanks !

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