Montana CPA Requirements (Rules on Exam and Licensing)

Montana cpa requirementsMontana was one of few two-tier states that granted a CPA certificate. As of July 1, 2015, Montana state board only gives out CPA license. Here is the latest news on the new rule.

After the change, there is little reason why international candidates would register through MT state board.

Montana CPA Requirements

1. Education Requirements to Sit for the Exam

  • Accounting course: 24 credit hours of upper-division (i.e. 3rd or 4th year level) / graduate courses including at least one course in each of financial accounting; auditing; taxation; management accounting
  • 24 credit hours of general business subjects

Update for international candidates: Montana State Board now accepts NIES instead of FACS as the foreign credential evaluation agency. It is more expensive but faster.

2. Additional Montana CPA Requirements for Licensing

Montana is a 2-tier state, i.e. the State Board issues a certificate and a permit to practice. For the different between CPA certificate vs license please click here.

Note: All certificate only licenses will terminate on December 31, 2017.

For CPA permit to practice (License)


  • 4-year bachelor degree or equivalent with 150 credit hour
  • Passing of the CPA exam
  • Passing of the CPA ethics exam administered by the AICPA

Working experience:

  • 1 year or 2,000 hours or “adequate” experience.
  • Adequate means there is sufficient evidence of “having performed accounting and auditing functions ordinarily required in the practice of public accounting”
  • The experience has to be “attested” (i.e. verified) by an active US CPA licensee *
  • The experience should “take place in 3 years prior to the date of this [licensing] application

*Launched in Apr 2016* The NASBA Experience Verification service is now available to those who do not have access to an active U.S. CPA for verification.

Note to Indian BCOM + CA holders

Montana State Board is kind enough to clarify the situation on CA upon my email inquiry:

“[The Montana Board] will not be accepting credit earned through Chartered Accountants, Cost and Works Accountants, ICMAP, and similar organizations.”

If you have a BCOM + CA, I suggest you contact Leslie-Anne Rogers at CPAexcel for assistance (with a fee). She could still find a way to help you get through the application process as a BCOM + CA. More information can be found here for Indian candidates.

3. Montana CPA Requirements on Residency & Age

  • US citizenship not required
  • Montana residency not required
  • Minimum age: none

4. Fees

  • First-timers: $774 + application fee
  • Repeaters: exam fees + $95 to $135 (registration fees)

5. Continuing Education

You can refer to this page on Montana CPA CPE requirements, which is mandatory after you obtain the license.

6. Other Useful Information

7. Contact

Montana Board of Public Accountants
301 S Park
PO Box 200513
Helena, MT 59620-0513

  • Email:,
  • Phone: (866) 350-0017 (NASBA hotline)
  • Fax: 406-841-2305

Can You Help me in the State Board Selection Process?

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.

* Photographs courtesy of meantux

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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  • Nisha says:

    Hi Stephanie

    Ok I am the first one to write on this forum but i ve been writing prior to this also…

    Just wanted to ask you looking at my education 3 yr BCOM from Mumbai Univ+1 yr MCOM correspondence from Mumbai univ+2 yr MBA its( 55 credit mentioned in my marksheet)

    looking at this would you think I would stand chance in MT..i knw its a generalized question but i just want your suggestion… I have Colorado as my second option i think it requires 120 semester hours

    So just waiting for your reply…

    Thanks in Advance


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Nisha,
      Thanks for dropping by again! I think Montana needs a bachelor degree to sit for the exam but 150 credit hours to get the cert/license. If your Mcom is correspondence from outside of US it probably can’t count in any state. The MBA should work though. 3 yr Bachelor + 2 yr MBA will theoretically give you 150 hours; but since your courses are done outside of US it is really hard to tell. But I would think that you can at least fulfill the 120 credit hour requirement.

      The only way to find out for sure is to go through the evaluation agencies. I know it costs money but that’s the way to do it.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Abdullah says:

    Hello Stephanie,

    first of all i would like to thank you for doing such a great and useful website..

    I passed all four exams and I would like to get a certificate but I don’t know which state to apply to.
    I’m international, I have a SSN and I have 120 hours.
    Are you sure that Montana requires 150 hours for certification ?
    I looked in their website, and all I could find is the same as you have in this page: 24 hours in accounting and 24 hours in business..
    if 150 hours is not required, then Montana would be the best option for me. If it is required, then I don’t know what I will do..

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Abdullah,
    You are right that in order to sit for the CPA exam, you can simply fulfill the requirements as mentioned; but in order to get the certificate, you need to fulfill the 150 credit hour requirement.

    For reference, you can take a look at ARM 24.201.501 of Montana Rules, section 3(f).


  • Abdullah says:

    I used to live in the USA for four years..
    I just sent Montana an email asking about the SSN, and they told me that it is NOT required if we’re applying for only a certificate..
    But they still want 150 hours.. So the only thing I could do now is to go and get these hours and hope they don’t change their law regarding the certifiate by the time I get the required hours..

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Abdullah,
    That’s interesting — I got an email from one of their reps saying the opposite (i.e. certificate also requires SSN).
    But I have to say in their website it is stated as you said. If you get the email as well, then I think you are ok to go ahead… and keep our fingers crossed!

    Better to pass the CPA exam and get the certificate before the rule changes again!


  • Amir says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have noticed recently that FACS has been disqualified from NH and Montana as well, do you have any idea what are the reasons behind? Or it’s just about NIES is taking over.


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Amir, no idea, but for Montana they have always had one evaluator only. So if they like NIES they may just decide to kick out FACS. Given NIES is part of NASBA it’s understandable that the state boards support their own association’s service. I suspect that it is also a very profitable business 😉 Regards, Stephanie

  • Jun says:

    Hello Stephanie.
    Really admire your work you’ve done at this site.
    It helped me greatly in getting the necessary information, and to make decisions to take the exam.

    I passed the Exam(all 4 sections) in Montana and currently working at experience in one of the Big4 accounting firms in Korea. I’ve searched the NASBA myself, and familiar with their requirements, and thought I might stand a chance for the license.

    But some of my acquaintances have said that Montana, although said to allow people without SSN and the overseas experience, don’t really give out the license after their evaluation.

    Is this correct?

    Is there anyone that you know of, gained the license from Montana on foreign work experience and without the SSN? Just wanted to know whether or not I stand a chance. (Given I got the attested by active USCPA holder on my experience)

    Thank you!

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Jun, thanks for your note. I know of readers who got license through Montana but I don’t keep track on whether they have SSNs or not. Certainly haven’t heard of unsuccessful cases. I haven’t seen a clause banning those without SSN from getting the license so do give it a try. Please let me know how it goes so I have onre more useful data point. Thanks and best of luck! Stephanie

    • Amir says:

      Hi Both,
      I have a friend of mine who is certified in Montana and he neither have SSN nor local experience in US.There is a SSN affidavit form that he submitted and that’s it.
      Actually, Montana one of the best states that everyone should target if you can satisfy the 150 H requirements. your boss doesn’t need to be CPA and even you can count any industry experience. Hence, typically any experience in accounting would count toward MA experience requirements.


      • Stephanie Ng says:

        Amir, thanks a lot for your sharing. It’s good to know. I understand that the SSN affidavit works when one applies for the exam; if it also works for certification / licensing it’s certainly good news.

        On the experience, unfortunately Montana has changed its rules and has stopped issuing CPA certificate since July 2015. Nowadays only license is available, and for license one is required to work under a US CPA. Regards, Stephanie

  • Britney says:

    Hi, Stephenie!

    I am an accounting major undergraduate student and I am currently attending university in Canada. I just wanted to ask a couple of questions.

    1. Since Canada universities have different curricular, Montana is the only state that I am eligible to write the CPA test. For the Montana requirements, it says I would need 24 upper level accounting credits, and at my university, the intro financial accounting course is 300 level course. Would it be considered as an upper level course?
    2. For the license requirement, do I have to have 150 credits to be eligible? Or can I fulfil the requirement by obtaining my bachelor degree? I will only have 120 credits when I am graduating from University and I cannot get more than 120 credits because it’s the school policy.

    Thank you and have a wonderful day!


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Britney,
      Thanks for your note. I don’t really know why Montana is your only choice, given Montana doesn’t have the most flexible requirements these days… Anyway, to answer your questions first:
      1. It’s hard to tell but upper level typically means intermediate or advanced classes. Not sure why 300 can be an intro class but it may be due to different system.
      2. No problem — you can take extra non-degree courses from any accredited universities (meaning any “decent” ones but if they are non-US you need to send your transcript to an evaluator for an evaluation report)

      • Britney says:

        Hi, Stephenie!

        Thank you so much for your reply!
        The reason I chose Montana is that I am currently an undergrad student and I will only have 90credits when I am writing the tests, and Montana is the only state that does not require 120credits. Is my information correct? Is there any other states that you recommend?
        Thank you again :)!

  • Sophia says:


    I am an international student with a 4 year Bachelors degree in Accounting from an AACSB accredited business school. I also have an MBA from the same school (general, no concentration). Would the board consider my 6-level graduate course in accounting eg ACCOUNTING ANALYSIS FOR MANAGEMENT as fulfilling the 24 credit hrs in accounting given that this is not a foundation or principles course.

    • Sophia says:

      Just received a reply from the Coordinator. They would if it were a US school. This is an american university based in the UAE with the AACSB accredit. so i guess it is a ‘US school’ maybe.

      • Stephanie Ng says:

        Good! If the report states otherwise, show the evaluator this reply you receive from the coordinator. Good luck! Stephanie

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Sophia, it’s hard for me to tell, but if you believe it is course designed to be taken in 3rd of 4th year in college, then it will likely be counted. You will find out when you receive the credential evaluation report. Regards, Stephanie

  • Masood says:

    Hello Stephanie

    Does Montana state board has prescribed expiry period for CPA Exam Credits in case one is not wishing to pursue the License but has passed all CPA Exams.

    Bit odd question but appreciate your feedback.

    • Masood says:

      Just to add to above question. Kindly response considering candidate as International Candidate.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Masood, I don’t recall such a deadline for Montana, but it exists for a few states so it is best to double check with Montana and see. Note that you cannot call yourself a CPA simply by passing the exam. You need a CPA certificate or license.

  • Abid Farooq says:

    Hello Stephanie

    i have B.Com 2 year and 2 years degree from pakistan i am eligible for CPA Montana exame.

  • Roopal says:

    Hi For NTS do I need to contact Montana Board of Accountancy or NASBA if I have filled application for evaluation of my credentials for Montana Board. Am an International student.

  • Ali Bazzi says:

    Hello Stephanie,

    I have a question on whether i can obtain a CPA License from Montana given my credentials below:

    I have the required 150 credits with a bachelors degree, (major in accounting), from Wayne State university from Michigan.

    I then moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 2013 and have been working in a full time senior accounting role for 5 years. I had trouble getting into the CPA program in Canada due to credit transfer issues, being that i graduated from an American University.

    Given that my work experience is from Canada, and assuming that my credits are eligible for me to sit for the exam, would my Canadian work experience qualify for me to become a licensed CPA in Montana?

    I would not want to spend all the effort studying for the exam, if my Canadian work experience would not qualify.

    Thank you kindly.

    Ali B

  • Monojit says:

    Hello Stephine,

    I have completed from calcutta university (India ). I have done my evaluation from NIES from Montana state board. I got 93 credits in my evaluation report. Out of 93 credit 30 credits for accounting.
    My graduation was 2+1 system (First year +2nd year =part I and last year is final year.

    So I am wondering whether I am eligible for CPA exam or not for Montana board. Previously one of my friend done his CPA from Montana and he also done his from calcutta university.
    Could you please tell me whether I am eligible or not?

    If you want I can send my evaluation report also. My email id #

  • Pooja says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Hope you are doing well!

    I am Bcom + Chartered Accountant from Delhi, India. I am interested to pursue for CPA. I have also 3 years of work experience with big 4 accounting firm based out in India. I am getting married and move to U.S. soon. Can you please suggest me which board should be my choice. Should i get the evaluation from my Home country or should i get it done from U.S. after moving. One of the Becker’s associated institute based in India mentioned I should go for Montana and other state Alaska but I am not sure what is basis. Can you please suggest me.

    Thanks in advance for your help and time.
    Looking forward for your reply

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