CPA Exam Requirements

Updated:December 9, 2018
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What is the CPA Exam?

The CPA Exam is one of the several steps a student must complete to become a certified public accountant. It is a rigorous test that is meant to reflect real situations that may arise in the profession. Once a student passes, it serves as confirmation that the individual is familiar with the rules, processes, and technical knowledge to properly serve the public.

Educational Requirements to sit for the Exam

There are similar requirements many jurisdictions but licensure for a CPA is different for each state. Generally, most states require at least 150 hours of semester credits from a college or university. It depends on what type of programs the college offers but for some it can be the same as a Master’s degree in accounting because a Bachelor’s degree is around 120 hours.

Depends on your State

Each state may have its own core requirements but individuals can have a Bachelor’s degree in a subject other than accounting and a Master’s degree in taxation or accounting and it will be acceptable. Though each state may be different often a CPA’s license will be accept in other jurisdictions.

Can you sit before you graduate?

An individual can get their necessary classes and credits without obtaining a degree. This may require close evaluation of your transcripts and the courses you took to ensure you met all of the core course requirements, but it is possible.

Citizenship Requirements

In some states an applicant must have residency and/or an employee or office in the state they wish to obtain licensure. In other states, it isn’t required. For example, Texas doesn’t require that the individual have residency or even an office in the state.

Experience Requirements

No work experience in the field is necessary to sit for the exam; however, it is necessary to be eligible for a CPA license. The individual has to be 18 to sit for the exam.


Requirements for the CPA Exam may consist of minimum credit hours at an accredited college, residency in a certain jurisdiction, or the place of employment be in the jurisdiction.


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