Colorado CPA Exam & License Requirements

Colorado CPA Exam & License Requirements

  • Updated:February 18, 2019
  • Bryce Welker, CPA
  • State CPA Requirements
  • Comments (26)

Colorado is less strict than most states and does not require 150 credit hours to earn a CPA license. However, if you do earn 150 credit hours your work experience requirement will be waived.

To be eligible to sit for the CPA exam students must first fulfill these qualifications and requirements:

  1. Minimum age: None
  2. U.S. Residency NOT Required
  3. State Residency NOT required
  1. Bachelor degree or above
  2. Accounting courses: 27 semester hours including 3 hours in auditing 21 hours in specialized courses
  3. Business courses: 21 semester hours (no more than 6 for each subject)
  4. Please see Colorado CPA Requirements for more course details

*CPA applicants who received a bachelor’s degree before July 1, 1993 must adhere to the old CPA requirements.

**International candidates: The State Board no longer accepts Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) certificates to fulfill the educational requirement.

Chartered Accountant (CA) qualifications from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico and New Zealand are accepted as part of the U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) MRA agreement. However, those from other jurisdictions are no longer accepted.

Please check out the Information and Application for Pre-Evaluation if you have questions regarding this rule.

CO CPA License Requirements

Important Note: Effective July 1, 2015, Colorado will require the completion of 150 credit hours before applying for a CPA license.

There are 2 different options to choose from to obtain a Colorado CPA license:

(1) Education with Experience

Education: no additional requirements


  1. Must include 1 year (1,800 hours) in public or non-public accounting as well as in academia
  2. Must have been met within 5 years preceding date of application
  3. Part-time work is acceptable as long as you complete 1,800 hours within 1-3 years
  4. Must be under the supervision of an active CPA or Chartered Accountant from an IQAB MRA country in good standing. (Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico and New Zealand)
  5. Please refer to chapters 2 and 4 for more details
(2) Education Only : No Experience Required
  1. Master’s degree, doctoral degree, OR bachelor’s degree with total 150 credit hours
  2. 45 semester hours in Accounting: 6 hours in Audit covering US GAAS
  3. 36 semester hours in General Business related subjects with no more than 9 hours in any one subject
  4. Experience requirement is waived
Ethics Exam
  1. Passing of the AICPA ethics exam is mandatory for both pathways above
  2. Cost of course is $149 or $119 for AICPA members


Colorado Exam Fees

The cost to take all four sections of the CPA exam in Colorado is $743 plus the initial $150 application fee.  The re-examination registration fees vary depending on the number of sections.

Auditing and Attestation (AUD)$195.35
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)$176.25
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)$195.35
Regulation (REG)$176.25
Application Fee:$150

**Important Note: You should not apply and pay for exam sections that will not be taken within six months because your Notice to Schedule (NTS) in Colorado expires 6 months after issuance.

Additional CPA Requirements

  1. Pass all 4 sections of the CPA exam with a score of 75% or higher
  2. Complete verified accounting work experience (only if pathway 1 is chosen)
  3. Pass AICPA Ethics Exam
  4. Fill out and submit all required CPA license application paperwork
  5. Pay the CPA license application fee

1560 Broadway-Suite 1340
Denver, CO 80202
Email[email protected], [email protected]
Phone: 303-894-7800
Fax: 303-894-7692

What’s Next?

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!

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  • Abigail Schuster
    Posted at 8 August, 2016 21:34 PM Reply

    Hi! I have passed 3/4 sections of the CPA exam and am looking ahead to applying for a license. The state of Colorado requires one 'GAAS'-based audit course and an additional 'other auditing' course. I took a Forensic Accounting class that focused on both investigative and fraud auditing. Have you ever heard of someone using a Foresnic Accounting class to satisfy this credit?

    • awad Zawahra
      Posted at 17 February, 2016 01:16 AM Reply

      Hello there,I have passed all the CPA exams in 2013 from the State of Colorado, I also have an MBA with finance concentration from Keller Graduate School of Management of Devry University in New York State, I have 180 credits in finance and accounting, but I have no public accounting experience, am I eligible to get Colorado license? and if yes, how do I apply and send the documents, I am now in UAE,advise please.

      • Ravi Sharma
        Posted at 22 April, 2015 18:18 PM Reply

        Hi I have passed FAR under Colorado Jurisdiction and have 136 credits as per NASBA. I am eligible to take exams prior to 30th June 2015 but am I eligible to give exams post 1st July. if not, what happens to my FAR credit. Can I transfer to any other state. Please guide me. Thanks

        • BWelk
          Posted at 22 April, 2015 20:08 PM Reply

          Does anyone know the answer to Ravi's question or have experience with this same thing? I am not sure how Colorado handles this.

        • [email protected]
          Posted at 18 March, 2015 16:35 PM Reply

          Hi I have passed all the 4 sections of CPA exams from Colorado in year 2009 and would now like to apply for a license. I have over 3 years of work experience in public accounting. But my education consists of B.Com from India with a CA license and CS exam passed. Is there a way to get a license in Colorado with this qualification. I am OK with applying in any other state by transferring Exam Credits as long as a license is given.. Please advise.

          • BWelk
            Posted at 1 April, 2015 22:32 PM Reply

            Hi,You will need to use a foreign credentials evaluation service to know exactly what you need and don't need in order to qualify. Your state board of accountancy website should have some of these services listed on their website.Cheers,Bryce

          • Jerry
            Posted at 8 August, 2014 23:42 PM Reply

            Hi, I am confused by Colorado website. The website provide a purchase option ofAICPA Professional Ethics Self-Study Book for $135. Is this the same with the one provided by AICPA website? Which one is accepted by CO for initial licensing? I thought CO accept AICPA ethic course.

            • BWelk
              Posted at 18 August, 2014 10:57 AM Reply

              Yes both of those are the same thing Jerry.

            • siju
              Posted at 23 June, 2014 17:10 PM Reply

              Hi, I am an international candidate who passed CPA exam from CO. My license application has rejected due to lack of 16.5 semester hours. Please name any online universities who can satisfy this requirement.

              • Jigyasa Kumar
                Posted at 4 June, 2014 22:55 PM Reply

                Hi,I am a (Hons) graduate from India.Is there any state that accepts 3 years of graduation.I have 2 years of work experience with Big 4 in Auditing.Can this help me to meet the credit requirements?Thanks.

                • Mohammad
                  Posted at 28 May, 2014 12:37 PM Reply

                  Hi,what if the one year experience has been acquired overseas and verified through an active Non American CPA?Thank you.

                  • BWelk
                    Posted at 29 May, 2014 09:35 AM Reply

                    "Must be under the supervision of an active CPA or Chartered Accountant from an IQAB MRA country in good standing. (Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico and New Zealand)" Does this apply?

                  • TK
                    Posted at 13 May, 2014 11:19 AM Reply

                    Hi! I wish to transfer my credits from New Hampshire to CO. I passed in August 2010 when India CA was considered towards 120 credits. Would you please guide me as to when CO stopped considering Indian CA certificate as academic qualification? If as of August 2010 it was valid, there maybe a chance for me to transfer my credits to this state.Thanks in advance.

                    • Em
                      Posted at 27 March, 2014 09:25 AM Reply

                      If I am a resident of California, am I eligible to take the Colorado CPA exam? Can I take the test in California & where?Thank you

                      • Bryce
                        Posted at 27 March, 2014 14:52 PM Reply

                        Hi Em,No you cannot take the Colorado CPA Exam in California, you have to take it in Colorado.

                        • Dcpa
                          Posted at 26 September, 2014 01:51 AM Reply

                          Not true, you can take it in ca

                      • Zak
                        Posted at 21 January, 2014 23:33 PM Reply

                        Hi,Does this mean I can get licensed as a CO CPA just by passing the CPA exam and having the educational requirements without proper work experiences?Thanks,Zak

                        • Bryce
                          Posted at 22 January, 2014 18:49 PM Reply

                          Yes, if you have a masters degree or higher and meet the education requirements then you don't have to have work experience to get a Colorado CPA license. Here is the text taken directly from the state's board of accountacy about the no work experience pathway to licensure:A Baccalaureate Degree deemed conferred by an Accredited Baccalaureate Granting College and have successfully completed at least 30 additional semester hours for a total of 150 semester hours of coursework at the undergraduate or graduate level, or a master's degree or higher degree deemed conferred by an Accredited Baccalaureate Granting College; and 2. Completed at least 45 semester hours of non-duplicative accounting coursework at the undergraduate or graduate level. The transcripts must indicate an accounting program code or the Applicant must otherwise demonstrate that the coursework was in accounting. The 45 semester hours must include 39 semester hours in specialized accounting courses.

                          • Kyle
                            Posted at 14 March, 2014 06:13 AM Reply

                            Hi Bryce,Regarding to your answers getting license with experience waived, you said completed 45 semester hours of accounting at undergrad or grad level. However I checked the CO requirements on NASBA website, it says at least 21 semester (32 quarter) hours must be in upper-division accounting courses. So I was wondering if intermediate accounting 1 and 2 counts? (they are not on the upper-division list and they are at undergrad level)?Does it mean I need 21 hours to sit for the exam and need 45 to get licensed? I currently have 19 hours of courses on the "upper-division list" (I have 8 hrs of intermediate that are not included in the 19) and will get 43 hrs after i finish my master degree. (8 hrs of intermediate that are not included in the 43 hrs). Will I be fine?Thank you so much!

                            • Bryce
                              Posted at 17 March, 2014 14:04 PM Reply

                              Hi Kyle,You need 27 accounting credits to sit for the exam and 45 to get licensed. Intermediate accounting 1 and 2 count towards those initial 27 credits. It sounds like you will be fine but it wouldn't hurt to call the state board to verify that 100%.Cheers,Bryce

                        • Hany Karam Taki Tanious
                          Posted at 10 August, 2013 21:19 PM Reply

                          Hi,I passed the uniform CPA exam under the state of California in November 2003. I am not licensed yet. i would like to be licensed under the state of Colorado accordingly would you please feed me back with the requirements based on the above?Please be informed that i am international candidate.Thanks in advace,Hany Tanious

                          • Bryce
                            Posted at 11 August, 2013 16:01 PM Reply

                            Hi Hany,You will need to apply to take the exam again in the state of Colorado. You can click on the link above to go to the Colorado State Board of Accountancy website and fill out an application.Cheers,Bryce

                            • Jim
                              Posted at 10 June, 2014 18:03 PM Reply

                              Hi Bryce,If the exam is the same wherever you take it, why would Hanny have to sit again in Colorado?Thanks,James

                              • BWelk
                                Posted at 12 June, 2014 14:05 PM Reply

                                Jim,Hanny passed the exam in 2005 but never officially got licensed. So he loses credit for passing those sections and must retake them all (as well as fulfill the applicable work experience and ethics exam requirements.)Cheers,Bryce

                                • Geol
                                  Posted at 18 June, 2014 13:04 PM Reply

                                  Hi Bryce,I passed the CPA exam under the Colorado state in Oct 2010 and have not got licensed since I work abroad. Is it possible to get licensed now by taking up the CPA Ethics Exam.

                                  • BWelk
                                    Posted at 19 June, 2014 08:21 AM Reply

                                    You have to pass all 4 sections within an 18 month window to get your license, I believe most states allow 1 year after that to get fulfill the ethics exam requirement. Not certain of Colorado's rules though, contact their board of accountancy to get a definite answer.Cheers,Bryce