Arizona CPA Exam & License Requirements

Updated: January 5, 2024 You’re our #1 priority.
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According to the Controllers Council, a staggering 75% of today’s public accounting CPAs are set to retire in the next 15 years. This looming mass exodus, coupled with a decline in the number of students taking the CPA exam, has created a “perfect storm” of issues for the industry.

But here’s the twist: This crisis presents a unique opportunity, especially in Arizona.

The current scenario offers an unprecedented chance for aspiring CPAs in Arizona to fill this gap and establish a rewarding career in a field that is more in demand than ever. Let’s look at the requirements for getting licensed.

Steps to Get Your CPA License in Arizona

  • Educational Requirements: Fulfill the necessary educational qualifications, including specific accounting and business-related courses.
  • CPA Exam: Successfully pass the Uniform CPA Examination. Consider enrolling in one of the best CPA review courses to enhance your chances of passing on the first attempt.
  • Experience Requirements: Complete the required amount of verified work experience in accounting under the supervision of a licensed CPA.
  • Ethics Exam: Pass the AICPA Ethics Exam, an essential step to ensure adherence to professional standards.
  • Application Process: Accurately complete and submit all the necessary paperwork for the CPA license application.
  • Application Fee: Pay the applicable fee for the CPA license application in Arizona.

CPA License Requirements in Arizona

Education Requirements

Under the guidelines of A.R.S. § 32-721(A) and (B), the educational prerequisites for CPA licensure in Arizona are as follows:

  • Degree and Credit Hours: Applicants must hold a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution or a college/university with comparable standards. They must complete 150 semester hours of education.
  • Accounting Coursework: This education must include 36 non-duplicative semester hours of accounting, with at least 30 hours of upper-level coursework.
  • Related Courses: Additionally, 30 semester hours of related courses are required. As defined in A.R.S. § 32-701(25), these can include:
    • Business administration
    • Statistics
    • Computer science, information systems, or data processing
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • Management
    • Business law
    • College algebra or advanced mathematics
    • Advanced written and oral communication
    • General ethics
    • Marketing
    • Other closely related courses or those satisfactory to the Board

Helpful Hints:

  • Course credits must be listed on the transcript from the school where the courses were originally taken.
  • For transcripts showing quarter hours and semester hours, conversion is possible by dividing quarter hours by three and multiplying by two.

Education for International Students

Applicants educated outside the United States must have their education evaluated course-by-course by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy International Evaluation Services (NIES). NIES is the exclusive provider for evaluating foreign transcripts, ensuring the integrity of the U.S. CPA credential. More information about NIES and its services can be found on the NIES Website.

Work Experience

For certification by Exam or Grade Transfer, A.R.S. § 32-721(B)(1) stipulates the following experience requirements:

  • Experience Hours: Candidates must complete at least 2,000 hours of paid or unpaid experience, either before or after passing all sections of the CPA examination.
  • Nature of Experience: The experience should expose the applicant to and provide them with experience in the practice of accounting. This includes critical inquiry and analysis of financial accounting information such as balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and tax returns.
  • Supervision: If your supervisor is not a certified CPA in Arizona, a Supervisor Verification Form needs to be sent to their licensing state and returned to ASBA. They must attach a resume and a job description to verify they have the education and experience to oversee a potential CPA candidate. One way of establishing competency for verifying CPAs not certified in Arizona is to provide signed and dated letters from three clients.

“I’m impressed with Arizona’s work experience requirements for CPA candidates. Allowing a mix of full-time, part-time, volunteer, or internship experiences is a forward-thinking approach. Unlike many states that require strictly full-time work, Arizona’s flexibility accommodates diverse professional paths, enriching candidates’ skills and understanding of accounting. It’s a progressive and accessible model for aspiring CPAs to achieve their goals.”

Bryce Welker – CPA Expert

Ethics Exam Requirements

As part of the journey to becoming a Certified Public Accountant in Arizona, candidates are required to successfully complete the AICPA’s Professional Ethics for CPAs Self-Study Course and Examination. This step is crucial in ensuring that all CPAs adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct and ethical decision-making.

Accessing and Completing the Exam

  • Purchase and Access: The ethics exam course can be purchased through the Arizona Society of CPAs (ASCPA). Members are charged $199, while nonmembers pay $229. Access to the exam is not immediate; it may take up to three business days after purchase to receive access via email.
  • Timeframe: Once purchased, candidates must take the exam within one year.

Exam Details

  • Passing Criteria: The Arizona State Board of Accountancy mandates a passing score of 90% or better on the exam.
  • Validity of Scores: In Arizona, a passing score on this ethics exam is valid for two years.
  • Certification Upon Completion: After completing the exam, candidates receive a completion certificate online, which can be printed or saved as a PDF. Depending on the State Board’s requirements, this certificate may be submitted directly, or candidates might need to contact the AICPA to have the certificate sent to the State Board.

This ethics exam is a pivotal step in the CPA licensure process, reflecting the commitment of the accounting profession to uphold ethical standards. For more information and to purchase the exam, visit the Arizona Society of CPAs website.

Arizona CPA Licensure and Exam Fees

  • Initial Application Fee: For first-time CPA candidates in Arizona, there is an initial application fee of $100. This fee is required when submitting the application for CPA licensure and covers the processing of the application.
  • Per Section Fee: The CPA exam in Arizona is divided into sections, and candidates are required to pay a fee for each section they attempt. The fee for each CPA exam section is $254.80. Candidates should plan their exam schedule and budget accordingly, considering the cost of each section they intend to take.

Re-examination Fees

  • Re-exam Application Fee: For candidates who need to retake any section of the CPA exam, there is a re-exam application fee of $50. It’s important to note that only current and not out-of-date forms will be accepted for re-examination applications. This fee is applicable each time a candidate applies to retake an exam section.

CPA Evolution and Exam Update in Arizona

The CPA Evolution is a significant transformation in the CPA profession, reflecting the rapidly changing skills and competencies required in the accounting industry. This evolution has brought about substantial changes to the CPA Exam, which are particularly relevant for candidates in Arizona and across the United States.

Key Changes in the CPA Exam

  • Updated Structure: The CPA Exam has been updated to better align with the real-world skills and knowledge required in today’s digital and data-driven business environment.
  • New Content Areas: The exam now includes more emphasis on technology, data analytics, and digital acumen, reflecting the evolving role of CPAs in business and finance.
  • Flexibility and Specialization: Candidates can now choose areas of specialization, allowing them to tailor their skills to specific career paths or industry needs.

Impact on Arizona CPA Candidates

  • Preparation: Aspiring CPAs in Arizona need to adapt their study and preparation strategies to meet these new exam requirements. This includes a greater focus on understanding and applying technology in accounting practices.
  • Education Requirements: Educational institutions in Arizona are expected to align their curricula with these changes, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for the evolved CPA Exam.
  • Continuing Professional Education (CPE): Current CPAs in Arizona may need to seek additional CPE opportunities to stay abreast of these changes and maintain their competencies in the new areas of focus.

What Potential CPAs Need to Know

  • Stay Informed: It’s crucial for CPA candidates in Arizona to stay informed about the latest developments in the CPA Evolution and how it affects the exam structure and content.
  • Skill Development: Emphasize developing skills in technology and data analytics, as these areas are increasingly integral to the CPA role.
  • Adaptability: Be prepared to adapt to ongoing changes in the accounting profession, as the CPA Evolution represents a dynamic shift towards a more technologically adept and versatile accounting workforce.

The CPA Evolution marks a pivotal shift in the accounting profession, ensuring that CPAs remain at the forefront of business and financial expertise. For Arizona CPA candidates, understanding and adapting to these changes is key to success in their professional journey.

CPA Resources and Local Organizations in Arizona

  1. Arizona CPA Exam FAQ
  2. Arizona State Board of Accountancy
  3. Arizona Society of CPAs
  4. Arizona Examination Forms
  5. NASBA


Arizona State Board of Accountancy
100 N. 15th Avenue, Room 165
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Phone: 602-364-0804


What are the fees for the CPA Exam Application in Arizona?

For first-time applicants, the fee to apply for the CPA Exam in Arizona is $100. If you need to retake the exam, the application fee for each re-examination is $50.

What are Arizona’s Educational Requirements for CPA candidates?

To be eligible for the CPA Exam in Arizona, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This must include 24 semester hours of accounting courses, of which at least 12 hours should be upper-level (beyond introductory courses). Additionally, 18 semester hours should be in related fields such as business administration, economics, finance, management, and computer science.

How are international educational credentials handled for the CPA Exam?

Candidates educated outside the United States must get their educational credentials evaluated by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy International Evaluation Services (NIES). This evaluation ensures that international education meets U.S. standards.

Is pre-application transcript review available in Arizona?

The Arizona State Board of Accountancy does not offer a transcript review service prior to application submission. Candidates must first apply for the exam for their transcripts to be evaluated.

What if I haven’t graduated yet but have completed my coursework?

Candidates who have completed all required coursework but have not yet officially graduated can apply for the exam. However, their transcripts must indicate that the degree will be conferred and include grades for all completed courses.

What documents are required for the CPA Exam Application?

For first-time applicants: a completed application form, official transcripts in sealed envelopes or emailed directly from the institution, the application fee, and any necessary documents for name changes or disability accommodations. Re-exam candidates need to submit a similar set of documents with a reduced application fee.

How do I handle CPA Exam Applications if I’ve previously taken the exam in another state?

If you have previously taken the CPA Exam in another jurisdiction, you can apply as a re-exam candidate in Arizona. You will need to schedule your exam through Prometric to take it in Arizona.

How can I change my exam sections after applying?

To change exam sections before the Authorization to Test (ATT) is submitted, you must request the change in writing. If the ATT has already been submitted, you will need to cancel your application, forfeit the application fee, and reapply for the correct sections.

Bryce Welker, CPA

Bryce Welker is a regular contributor to Forbes,, YEC and Business Insider. After graduating from San Diego State University he went on to earn his Certified Public Accountant license and created to share his knowledge and experience to help other accountants become CPAs too. Bryce was named one of Accounting Today’s “Accountants To Watch” among other accolades.   As Seen On Forbes