Illinois CPA Exam Requirements (Rules on Exam and Licensing)

Illinois CPA exam requirements

The Illinois CPA requirements have changed in the last decade. After all, Illinois was a two-tier state until 2012, when it stopped issuing CPA certificates. Today, Illinois remains a popular option among Canadians and other international CPA candidates. Besides, Illinois does not require a Social Security Number and welcomes license applicants for the IQEX.

Illinois CPA Requirements

1. Education Requirements to Sit for the CPA Exam

  • Bachelor’s 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 a school accredited by AACSB or ACBSP:

  • Automatically qualified.

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

  • Accounting courses: 30 credit hours at the undergrad or graduate level, including at least one class each in:
    • Financial Accounting
    • Auditing
    • Taxation
    • Management Accounting
    • Or, 2 credit hours of accounting research

(c) Bachelor’s Degree in Business

  • Accounting courses: 30 credit hours at the undergrad or graduate level, including at least one class each in:
    • Financial Accounting
    • Auditing
    • Taxation
    • Management Accounting
    • Or, 2 credit hours of accounting research
  • Business courses: 24 credit hours (undergrad or grad level)

(d) Bachelor’s 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:

The Illinois State Board only accepts NIES (NASBA International Evaluation Services) as the foreign credential evaluation provider. The NIES process is clearly stated on the board’s 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 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 is not required to be under the supervision of a licensed CPA. You can check out Admin Code 1420.10 for the exact wording, and the Illinois CPA Society‘s explanation of 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 is not required.
  • Illinois residency is not required.
  • Minimum age: 18

4. Fees

  • First-timers: $226.25 exam fee (per section, and remember that the CPA Exam has 4 sections) + $120 application fee

5. Continuing Education

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

6. Other Useful Information

7. 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 I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!

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