Florida CPA Exam & License Requirements

Updated: December 15, 2023 You’re our #1 priority.
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In an era where the accounting profession is facing a significant crisis, largely due to a shortage of accountants, the path to becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Florida presents a beacon of hope and opportunity. As highlighted in a recent article from The CPA Journal, the accounting field has seen a drastic reduction in students selecting accounting as their major, leading to a 33% drop in CPA exam candidates from 2016 to 2021. This decline, coupled with the fact that roughly 75% of AICPA members are nearing retirement age, signals an urgent need for new, skilled professionals in the accounting sector.

CPA Licensure Snapshot: Steps to Get a CPA License in Florida

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant in Florida is a journey that combines education, examination, and experience. Here’s a snapshot of the steps involved in the Florida CPA licensure process:

  1. Meet Education and Verified Work Requirements: In Florida, you need to have 150 semester units from an accredited university or educational institution, including specific accounting and business courses. Additionally, you must gain relevant work experience supervised by an active CPA licensee.
  2. Pass All Sections of the CPA Exam: Consider enrolling in a CPA review course to prepare effectively. The CPA exam is challenging, and a CPA review course can provide the necessary guidance and resources to help bridge the gap between your current knowledge and the exam requirements. 
  3. Fill Out and Submit All Required CPA License Application Paperwork: Ensure that all documentation is accurately completed and submitted to meet Florida’s CPA licensure requirements.
  4. Pay the CPA License Application Fee: This is a necessary step to finalize your application process.

CPA Requirements in Florida

Florida offers a more accessible path to CPA licensure compared to some other states, with certain flexible requirements:

  • Minimum Age: Not required.
  • US Citizenship: Not required to take the exam.
  • Residency: Not required.
  • Ethics Exam: Nor required.
  • Social Security Number: Required.
  • Bachelor’s Degree or Higher: Required.

Education Requirements

Initial Education Phase (Pre-Exam)

To be eligible for the CPA exam in Florida, candidates must fulfill specific educational criteria:

  1. Total Semester Units: Candidates must complete 120 semester units from an accredited university or educational institution.
  2. Accounting Courses: A minimum of 24 semester units in upper-level accounting courses is required. These courses should encompass key areas such as:
    • Accounting Taxation
    • Auditing
    • Cost/Managerial Accounting
    • Financial Accounting
    • Accounting Information Systems
    Note: Courses designed for non-accounting majors or basic accounting courses typically offered in MBA programs are not considered valid for these requirements.
  3. Business Courses: Candidates need to complete 24 semester units in upper-level business courses. This includes foundational courses such as:
    • Microeconomics
    • Macroeconomics
    • Statistics
    • Business Law
    • Introduction to Computers (lower division courses are acceptable for these subjects)
    Intermediate and advanced accounting courses can also be counted towards fulfilling the business course requirement.
  4. Additional Business Law Courses: An additional 6 semester units in business law are necessary, covering specific areas like contracts, torts, and the Uniform Commercial Code.

Post-Exam Education Phase

After passing the CPA exam, candidates must meet further educational requirements to obtain the CPA license:

  1. Total Semester Units: A total of 150 semester units from an accredited university or educational institution is required. This 150-credit unit requirement continues to be a hot topic of debate with many Reddit users claiming the requirement should stay and others standing firm on it being a waste of time. As one CPA put it, “If it had not been for the 150-credit requirement, I would have been licensed much sooner.”
  2. Accounting Courses: Candidates must have completed 36 semester units in accounting, with at least 30 units at the upper level.
  3. Business Courses: A total of 39 semester units in business courses is required, including at least 6 units in business law.
  4. Continuing Professional Education (CPE): If more than two years have passed since passing the Uniform CPA Exam, candidates must complete 80 hours of CPE.

Work Experience Requirements

Gaining relevant work experience is a crucial step in the CPA licensure process in Florida as well as other states. Seasoned CPA Bryce Welker emphasizes this, stating,

“The journey to becoming a CPA is more than just passing exams; it’s about cultivating real-world skills and insights that only hands-on experience can provide. This experience is invaluable in shaping competent, ethical, and innovative accounting professionals ready to face the dynamic challenges of the financial world.”

  1. Duration and Nature of Experience: Candidates must complete one year of work experience relevant to accounting. This experience can be in public or non-public accounting and must be supervised by an active CPA licensee.
  2. Alternative Experience Path: For candidates with experience supervised by active Chartered Accountants in Canada or Australia, a five-year work experience duration is acceptable.
  3. Volunteer Work: Florida recognizes volunteer work as valid experience, provided it is verified by a CPA on the Certification of Work Experience form.

By meeting these comprehensive education and work experience requirements, candidates in Florida can pave their way to becoming a licensed CPA, equipped with the knowledge and practical skills essential for the profession.

Ethics Exam Exemption

In most states, CPA candidates are required to pass an Ethics Exam, typically administered by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). This exam is designed to ensure that all practicing CPAs adhere to a standard code of professional conduct, emphasizing the importance of ethical practices in accounting.

However, in Florida, candidates are not required to take this Ethics Exam as part of their CPA licensure process.

Florida CPA Exam Fees

As you embark on the journey to become a Certified Public Accountant in Florida, it’s essential to be aware of the various fees associated with the CPA examination process. Proper understanding and planning for these costs are crucial for a smooth path to licensure.

Breakdown of the Exam Fees

  1. Total Examination Fee: The total cost for taking all four sections of the CPA exam in Florida is $1,379.20. This fee is equally divided among the four sections, resulting in $344.80 per section.
  2. Initial Application Fee: Candidates must pay a non-refundable application fee of $50 when submitting their application. This fee is required for the assessment and processing of the candidate’s eligibility to sit for the CPA exam.
  3. Re-examination Fees: If a candidate needs to retake any sections of the CPA exam, they will incur re-examination registration fees. These fees vary depending on the number of sections a candidate is re-applying for. It’s important for candidates to consider these potential additional costs, especially if multiple retakes are required.

Additional Considerations

  • Budgeting for Fees: Candidates should budget for both the initial exam fees and any potential re-examination fees.
  • Efficient Scheduling: To avoid unnecessary expenses, candidates should plan their exam schedule carefully, especially considering the validity period of their Notice to Schedule (NTS).

Understanding these fees is a vital part of the CPA licensure process in Florida. By effectively managing these costs, candidates can focus more on their exam preparation and less on financial concerns.

CPA Exam Updates in Florida

The CPA Evolution initiative is bringing significant changes to the CPA exam, particularly to the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section. With the new CPA Exam format launching on January 10, 2024, the BEC Exam will be replaced by three new Discipline sections as part of the Core-Plus-Discipline model. Candidates in Florida will be required to pass one Discipline exam in addition to the three Core Exams.

These policy changes are integral to the CPA Evolution project, which aims to ensure the CPA licensure model remains relevant and adaptive to the dynamic business environment. The new CPA Exam structure is designed to equip candidates with diverse skill sets, reflecting the evolving nature of the accounting profession.

Navigating the Application Process for Florida CPA Licensure

Embarking on the CPA licensure journey in Florida involves several key steps:

  1. Initial Eligibility Check: Verify that you meet Florida’s basic requirements for the CPA exam, including the necessary educational qualifications of 150 semester hours with specific accounting and business courses.
  2. Find a CPA Review Course: Choose a review course that aligns with your budget, learning style, and schedule. As it can take several weeks for your application to be processed, starting your studies early will give you a head start and better prepare you for the exam.
  3. Preparing Your Application: Gather all necessary documents, such as transcripts and proof of education. Ensure all information is accurate to avoid delays.
  4. Application Submission: Submit your application through the designated platform used by Florida. Be prepared to pay the application fee at this stage.
  5. Scheduling Your Exam: Once approved, you’ll receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). Schedule your exam sections within the six-month validity period of the NTS.
  6. Final Checks and Balances: Double-check all exam details, including dates, times, and locations. Familiarize yourself with the exam center’s rules.
  7. Post-Exam Steps: After passing the exam, complete any additional licensure requirements, such as the necessary work experience.

Local CPA Organizations and Networks in Florida

In Florida, there are several local CPA organizations that can be immensely helpful for someone looking to become a CPA. These organizations provide resources, networking opportunities, continuing education, and professional development programs. Here are some notable ones:

  1. Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA): The FICPA is a primary resource for CPAs in Florida, offering a range of services including continuing education, advocacy, and community among Florida’s accounting professionals.
  2. American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) – Florida Chapter: While the AICPA is a national organization, it has local chapters and resources specific to Florida CPAs. They provide various resources for CPA candidates and professionals.
  3. Florida Government Finance Officers Association (FGFOA): For those interested in government accounting, the FGFOA provides resources, training, and networking opportunities.
  4. Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA) – Florida Chapter: ALPFA offers networking and professional development opportunities, particularly for Latino professionals in the accounting and finance sector.
  5. Florida Association of Accounting Educators (FAAE): This organization is great for those in academia or interested in accounting education. They host conferences and provide resources for accounting educators.

FL Exam Information and Resources

For more information, please contact:

Florida Board of Accountancy

240 NW 76 Drive, Suite A
Gainesville, FL 32607
Email:[email protected]
Phone: 850-487-1395
Fax: 352-333-2508


What are the educational requirements for CPA licensure in Florida?

Candidates must complete 150 semester hours from an accredited institution, including 36 semester hours in upper-level accounting courses and 39 semester hours in upper-level business courses, with at least 6 hours in business law.

Is a bachelor’s degree mandatory for CPA licensure in Florida?Is a bachelor’s degree mandatory for CPA licensure in Florida?

Yes, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree or higher as part of the 150 semester hour requirement.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to become a CPA in Florida?

No, U.S. citizenship is not a requirement for CPA licensure in Florida.

Is residency in Florida required to obtain a CPA license?

No, you do not need to be a resident of Florida to get a CPA license in the state.

What are the work experience requirements for CPA licensure in Florida?

Candidates must complete one year of work experience in accounting, which must be verified by a licensed CPA.

Is the Ethics Exam required for CPA licensure in Florida?

No, Florida does not require candidates to pass an Ethics Exam for CPA licensure.

How much does it cost to take the CPA exam in Florida?

The total examination fee for all four sections is $1,379.20, with an additional non-refundable initial application fee of $50.

Can international education be counted towards the CPA education requirements in Florida?

Yes, but international degrees must be evaluated by a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) to ensure they meet Florida’s standards.

Bryce Welker, CPA

Bryce Welker is a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc.com, YEC and Business Insider. After graduating from San Diego State University he went on to earn his Certified Public Accountant license and created CrushTheCPAexam.com 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