CPA License in California
California CPA Exam Requirements
To be eligible to sit for the CPA exam students must first fulfill these qualifications and education requirements:
- No minimum age requirement
- Bachelor’s degree or higher
- US Citizenship NOT required
- California residency NOT required
- Social Security Number Required
Additional Requirements for Licensure
You must complete ONE of the following pathways:
- 120 semester units (bachelor’s degree)
- 48 semester units of accounting and business courses
- Must be completed before applying to sit for the exam
- 2 years of general experience
- 150 semester units
- 1 year of general experience
*For both pathways non-public accounting work qualifies but must be under the supervision of an active US CPA licensee. Also, at least 500 attest hours are required for anyone who wants to sign attest reports.
*Please note that Pathway 1 will be eliminated on Jan 1, 2014. The California state board will no longer accept 120 semester units. You will need 150 semester units as well as 1 year of experience to get your California CPA license after this date.
The cost to take all four sections of the CPA exam in California is $743 plus the initial $100 application fee. The re-examination application fee is $50 plus the exam fees.
|Auditing and Attestation (AUD)||$195.35|
|Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)||$176.25|
|Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)||$195.35|
*Important Note: You should not apply and pay for exam sections that will not be taken within nine months because California’s ”Notice to Schedule” expires 9 months after issuance.
California Professional Ethics Exam (PETH)
- Pass the CA Professional Ethics Exam with a score of 90% or higher
- Cost of course materials and online test is $150. You get a 20% discount if you sign up as a CALCPA member – 1st year free for recently graduated accounting majors
- There are 50 multiple-choice questions
- The exam must be completed within one year from the date of purchase
- Your test results are valid for two years as you complete all of your licensing requirements for the California Board of Accountancy
*Important Note: You will have three attempts to pass the exam with a grade of 90% or better. If you fail your first three attempts you can call them at 1 (800) 922-5272 and they will give you access to 3 more ethics exams for free. If you fail these 3 attempts they will sell you 3 more for 50% of the original purchase price ($75).
CPA License Requirements
- Pass all 4 sections of the CPA exam with a score of 75 or higher
- Pass the California Professional Ethics Exam (PETH) with a score of 90 percent or higher
- Pay the $120 annual fee for your permit to practice
- Pay the $250 application fee
- Get your fingerprints taken and sent by a notary ($65)
- Fill out and submit all required paperwork
More Information and Resources
For more information, please visit
California Board of Accountancy
2000 Evergreen Street, Suite 250
Sacramento, CA 95815-3832
Now that you have started the CPA exam application process, your next step is to find a CPA review course that fits your budget, learning style and schedule. It can take several weeks for your application to be processed so don’t waste that valuable time waiting to hear back from your state board. If you start studying now you will get a nice jump start on the material and will be better prepared to pass your first CPA exam!