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Each state has slightly different requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination, so you’ll want to check the specific CPA exam requirements for your state.
Most states require you to have a bachelor’s degree and have completed a certain number of accounting credit hours (and possibly business credit hours) to sit for the exam. Some states have exceptions to this, and some states require you to complete all 150 credit hours (as opposed to just 120 hours for a bachelor’s degree) to sit for the exam.
Check with your state to verify that you have completed the required number of accounting and/or business semester hours (this is important because you don’t want to have your application rejected).
As soon as you meet the education and credit hour requirement, submit your official transcripts to your state board. You can (and should) do this before submitting your CPA exam application, even if you aren’t sure when you will sit for the exam.
If you wait to request your college transcripts until you submit your application, your state board will have to wait until it receives your transcripts to review your application. It’s better to have your state board receive them early and hold onto them until you apply to take the CPA exam.
Plus, some schools don’t process transcripts quickly and you don’t want this step holding up the CPA registration process (luckily though, some schools have your transcripts available online).
Note: You will need to submit all of your college transcripts to your state board. This means every junior college, community college, and university you attended.
Most states do not require residency to sit for the CPA exam. This is particularly important to understand for exam candidates who may be moving from one state to another during or shortly after taking the exam. The best practice is to apply in the state where you intend to practice.
The CPA exam is uniform across all jurisdictions, so you do not need to travel to that state to take the exam.
Are you an international candidate wanting to take the U.S. CPA exam either in the U.S. or at an international testing center? Our consultants are available to assist you in learning more about CPA exam eligibility requirements and the process to become a CPA. Schedule your free U.S. CPA Exam Eligibility Assessment today.
Most states do not have a minimum age requirement to sit for the CPA exam, but some do. If your state does have a minimum age, it is between 18 and 21.
The CPA exam application fee is typically between $100-200 depending on the state.
After your state approves your application (usually 4 – 6 weeks after submission), you’ll receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) document that allows you to sign up for the CPA exam.
Signing up for CPA exam: To sign up, log into your NASBA website account and pay the exam section fee(s). Each exam section costs roughly $225. This is about $1,000 in total exam fees.
Generally, your ATT is only good for 90 days, so you need to decide what order to take the different sections of the CPA exam.
There are two main schools of thought on deciding what order to take the CPA exam: easiest to hardest or hardest to easiest.
Hardest first is a popular strategy because if you fail the first time around, your 18-month window to pass the remaining 3 exam sections hasn’t started yet. And once you get the hardest section done with, the rest should get progressively “easier.” Easiest first gets you an early win and possibly helps you build momentum.
Read our free resource to learn more about the CPA exam sections.
The problem with both of these strategies is that you don’t really know which section is the hardest or easiest for you until you start studying. So, it could be a good idea to just start with the section you feel the most familiar with. Or you could go with the majority of CPA candidates and take the FAR CPA exam first (FAR does take the longest to prepare for).
Either way, the order you decide to take the CPA exam is up to you. We just advise not signing up for all 4 exams at once. Doing this only gives you 6 months to take and pass all 4 exams and doesn’t give you ample time to study and rest. We recommend applying for a maximum of 2 tests on your initial application.
Also, you don’t have to wait for your first NTS to end before applying to obtain another one—they can overlap. If you apply for each of the four tests individually, you will have to pay a re-application or registration fee each time.
Also, make sure to print and hold onto your NTS because it is your ticket into the exam.
Be sure to check out our CPA exam schedule updates resource to learn everything you need to know about scheduling your exam.
You can reschedule your CPA exam up to 1 day before the exam is scheduled. If it’s within 24 hours, you can’t reschedule the CPA exam, and you will just have to reapply for the exam (and pay the exam fee again).
Whether you will be charged a rescheduling fee or have to pay the full price of the exam to reschedule depends on the timeframe you initiate the change.
If you sign up for 2 sections of the CPA exam, you will schedule your third exam once you get the results from your first exam. That way, if you pass your first exam, you can move forward with your third section. Or if you failed your first exam, you can plan to retake that first exam section after you have taken your second exam.
Now is the time to put in the work and study for your first section of the CPA exam! Seeing as only about 50% of candidates pass the CPA exam, you want to do anything you can to increase your odds of passing. That’s where Wiley CPA Review Course can help—90% of Wiley candidates pass the exam section they are studying for!
Learn more about how hard is the CPA exam.
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Other helpful resources include:
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Here are some quick answers to frequently asked questions about how to apply to sit for the CPA exam.