Kentucky CPA Exam & License Requirements

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Are you considering a career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Kentucky? If so, you’re not alone. According to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, the CPA profession is growing, with thousands of candidates sitting for the exam annually.

But here’s something you might not know:

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy reports that the pass rate for the CPA exam hovers around 50%. This statistic highlights the challenge and prestige associated with becoming a CPA.

So, what does it take to be part of the successful 50% who pass the CPA exam in Kentucky? First, you must meet certain qualifications, including age, residency, and educational requirements. Let’s take a look at what these are together.

How to Get Your CPA License in Kentucky

  • Meet Education and Work Experience Requirements: Obtain a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in accounting, including specific course requirements. Accumulate 150 semester hours for licensure, although fewer are needed to sit for the exam.
  • Pass All Sections of the CPA Exam: Consider enrolling in a CPA review course to enhance your preparation.
  • Work Experience: Gain 1 year (2,000 hours) of public or non-public accounting experience, verified by an active CPA licensee. College teaching in accounting can also qualify.
  • Complete and Submit CPA License Application: Ensure all paperwork is accurately filled out and submitted.
  • Pay the CPA License Application Fee: Budget for the application fee as part of your licensure process.

Education Requirements

  • Bachelor degree or above with concentration in accounting
  • Accounting Courses: 27 semester units
  • General Business Courses: 12 semester units

License Requirements

  • 150 semester units from an accredited university

Work Experience

  • 1 year (2,000 hours) of public or non-public accounting experience
  • Work experience has to be verified by an active CPA but does not necessarily need to be supervised by one
  • College teaching can also qualify as your work experience. One year of full-time teaching (24 semester hours in accounting) at an institution of higher education

Ethics Exam

One of the most appealing aspects of pursuing CPA licensure in Kentucky, as opposed to other states, is the absence of an ethics exam or course requirement. This unique feature of Kentucky’s licensure process significantly streamlines the path to becoming a CPA. In many states, candidates are required to complete an additional ethics exam or course, which can add to the time, cost, and complexity of obtaining licensure.

Kentucky’s omission of this step not only simplifies the process but also allows aspiring CPAs to focus their efforts and resources more directly on the essential components of the CPA exam and fulfilling the practical experience requirements. This streamlined approach can be particularly attractive to those who are eager to advance their careers in accounting without the added burden of extra examinations or coursework in ethics.

Kentucky CPA Exam Fees

When pursuing CPA licensure in Kentucky, candidates should be aware of the various fees associated with the process. Here’s a breakdown of the costs:

  • Initial Application Fee: There is a one-time fee of $30 for submitting the initial application. This fee covers the cost of processing the application.
  • Examination Fees: For each section of the CPA exam, candidates must pay a fee of $30 each time they sit for the exam. The cost of the actual exam is $344.80 per section.
  • Additional NASBA, AICPA, and Prometric Fees: Once the initial application is approved, candidates will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) from the Kentucky State Board of Accountancy. Subsequently, a payment coupon from NASBA will be issued for additional fees charged by NASBA, the AICPA, and Prometric. These fees must be paid within 90 days to avoid cancellation of the ATT.
  • Licensure Application Fee: In addition to the above fees, candidates must also budget for a $100 licensure application fee.

It’s important for candidates to plan financially for these expenses as part of their journey to becoming a CPA in Kentucky. The fees must be paid by check or money order made payable to the “Kentucky State Board of Accountancy.”. Remember, investing in your CPA licensure is an investment in your professional future.

CPA Exam Updates in Kentucky

The CPA profession is on the brink of a significant transformation with the CPA Evolution initiative, set to take effect in 2024. This initiative is a joint effort by the AICPA and the NASBA to ensure that CPAs continue to meet the rapidly changing demands of the business world.

The CPA Exam will undergo substantial changes to better reflect the skills and knowledge required for modern accountants. The new exam structure will focus more on technology, analytical skills, and a deeper understanding of evolving business environments.

The exam will consist of a core in Accounting, Auditing, and Taxation, complemented by three disciplines: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC), and Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP). Candidates will choose one discipline to demonstrate deeper skills and knowledge.

Recognizing the growing importance of technology in accounting, the CPA Evolution will integrate topics like data analytics, information technology, and cybersecurity across the exam.

Expert Tips to Become a CPA in Kentucky

Focus on Kentucky’s unique CPA path: prioritize core exam subjects and engage with our vibrant business community for real-world experience. Stay ahead of the CPA Evolution changes, especially in tech and analytics, to build a skill set that goes beyond the exam.

Bryce Welker, CPA Expert

Learning from Other CPAs

A valuable resource for candidates is the shared experiences found in online communities like Reddit. In a Reddit CPA thread, CPA candidates and licensees discuss their journeys, offering insights, tips, and support. These real-life stories highlight the common challenges faced and the sense of community and accomplishment that comes with pursuing CPA licensure.

Local CPA Organizations in Kentucky

These organizations are key players in the Kentucky CPA community, offering various services from professional development to regulatory guidance and networking opportunities.

  1. Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants (KyCPA): A prominent organization in Kentucky, KyCPA offers a range of services to CPAs, including continuing education, advocacy, and networking events.
  2. Kentucky Board of Accountancy: This is the state regulatory agency responsible for licensing and regulating CPAs and CPA firms in Kentucky. It’s an essential resource for compliance and regulatory information.

Exam Information and Resources

For more details, please contact:

Kentucky State Board of Accountancy

332 West Broadway, Suite 310
Louisville, KY 40202-2115
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 502-595-3037


What are the educational requirements for CPA licensure in Kentucky?

To be eligible for CPA licensure in Kentucky, candidates must obtain a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in accounting. This includes accumulating 150 semester hours for licensure, although fewer hours are required to sit for the CPA exam.

Is work experience required for CPA licensure in Kentucky?

Yes, candidates must gain 1 year (2,000 hours) of public or non-public accounting experience. This experience must be verified by an active CPA licensee. Notably, college teaching in accounting can also qualify as work experience.

Do I need to pass an ethics exam for CPA licensure in Kentucky?

No, one of the unique aspects of Kentucky’s CPA licensure process is the absence of an ethics exam or course requirement. This streamlines the path to becoming a CPA in Kentucky compared to other states.

What are the fees associated with CPA licensure in Kentucky?

The fees include a $30 initial application fee, a $30 fee for each section of the CPA exam, and additional fees charged by NASBA, the AICPA, and Prometric. There is also a $100 licensure application fee. The cost of the actual exam is $344.80 per section.

How important is choosing a CPA review course for the Kentucky CPA exam?

Selecting the right CPA review course is crucial in the Kentucky CPA licensure process. With a national pass rate around 50%, a tailored review course can significantly enhance exam preparation, aligning with your budget, learning style, and schedule.

What should I do while waiting for my CPA exam application to be processed?

It’s recommended to engage in a CPA review course during this time. Starting early lays a strong foundation in the material and boosts your chances of passing the CPA exam on your first attempt.

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