New York CPA Exam & License Requirements

Updated: September 15, 2021 You’re our #1 priority.
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Anyone interested in accounting should be working towards becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This demonstrates to employers that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in your field. 

New York is an excellent location for CPAs. Recent census reports state that over 20 million residents have an average annual salary of nearly $70,000— so a lot of people need help managing a lot of money there!

Interested in starting an accounting career in the Big Apple? Here’s everything you need to know in order to become a licensed CPA in New York state:

New York CPA Education Requirements

According to NASBA, there are currently 3 options for becoming a CPA when it comes to education:

  • The first one is to complete a bachelor’s degree with a major in accounting from an accredited school. Your course load must include at least 120 credits in accounting. 
  • Alternatively, you could simply complete 120 hours of financial accounting education. This lets you register as a CPA before getting a degree. 
  • Lastly, you can apply for the exam without any education if you have 15 years of accounting experience.

Thanks to these requirements, it takes a minimum of 4 years to complete everything you need. But if you’re not interested in college, it’ll take 15 years to become a CPA.

CPA Exam Details

There are no state specific requirements for the exam itself. Instead, the requirements are uniform across the country.

Anyone attempting to become a CPA must pass the Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG) exams with a minimum score of 75 on each.

Each test is split up into 5 parts; multiple choice questions make up the first 2 parts, and the last 3 cover task-based simulations. Each test lasts 4 hours and includes one mandatory 15 minute break. Test takers are allowed to take 3 additional breaks if they choose, but doing so doesn’t stop the clock.

If you’d like a more specific look at what’s on the exam, then the AICPA offers exam blueprints for free online.

New York CPA Work Requirements

Much like with many other states, you need one year of accounting work experience after you’ve met your education requirement. Keep in mind that your work experience only applies if it’s been verified by a CPA.

There are no limiting factors on where you can work to gain this experience. New York recognizes work from the private sector, public sector, or educational institutions— just make sure there’s a licensed public accountant who can verify the work you do!

New York CPA Exam Fees

Unfortunately, the fees for becoming a CPA are fairly high in New York. NASBA states that the initial application costs $170. Any re-examination candidates must pay an $85 registration fee in addition to the individual exam fees. But you’re still not off the hook after registration. 

Here are some additional costs to becoming a Certified Public Accountant in the New York state:

Each of the 4 CPA exams must be paid for separately and cost $225 each. And since you have to take the entire exam within 6 months of paying for it, you can expect a total bill of $1070. Make sure you pass the first time because you don’t want to pay that twice!

Aside from that, the last thing you need to budget for are any outside fees associated with the test. It’s highly recommended that you enroll in a CPA prep course to ensure you pass on the first try. You also need to calculate how much transportation will cost and account for any days of work you miss due to the test.

License Costs

There’s still one last payment to make after meeting all of the other license requirements. Application for licensure with the New York State Education Department costs $427. 

You’ll also need to pay a cost whenever you renew your license. Every 3 years, your license expires and must be renewed for $277. Payments for this are made to the New York Department Office of the Professions.

After the Exam

After completing the licensing process, you’re finally ready to start looking for work. New York is a high paying area for CPAs but there’s a lot of competition. Additionally, your annual salary will depend on where you work in the state. 

According to ZipRecruiter, Long Island and New York City have the highest average pay at $81,212 and $78,734 respectively. The Bronx pays similarly to NYC, but every other city in the state pays thousands less per year.

Keep in mind that salary isn’t the only thing that affects you monetarily. Rent and the general cost of living in New York are much higher than in the rest of the country. Ideally, finding work in an area where you’ll be paying less for transportation and rent should make up for a lower average salary.

Continuing Education

New York actually has fairly light Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements compared to other states. You must meet all CPE requirements every 3 years; these consist of 4 hours of professional ethics courses, and either 24 contact hours concentrated in a single recognized subject area or 40 contact hours in a combination of any recognized subject area.

The easiest way to fulfill these requirements is with an online CPE provider like Illumeo. Despite how inconsequential it may seem, this is important— so stay on top of it!

FAQs

Q: Do CPA scores expire in NY?

A: CPA scores don’t expire in New York as long as you’ve passed all 4 examinations. However, there’s an 18 month time limit to pass all 4 tests. If you haven’t completed everything within 18 months of the first test you took, then that score will expire and you’ll have to start from square one!

Q: How many CPAs are there in New York?

A: According to the NYSED Public Accountancy page, there are over 64,000 CPAs practicing in New York.

Q: How long does it take to become a CPA in New York?

A: It depends on where you’re starting from. If you already have your degree and work experience, then it only takes about a year to complete the tests and receive your license. But if you’re just getting started, it’ll take at least 5 years to meet all the prerequisites.

Q: How many accounting credits do you need for CPA in NY?

A: You need at least 120 credits in accounting to become a CPA in New York. However, you can choose to work in accounting for 15 years as a requirement instead.

NY Exam Information and Resources

For more information, please contact:

State Education Department
Division of Professional Licensing Services
89 Washington Avenue, 2nd Fl. East Mezzanine
Albany, NY 12234-1000
Phone: 518-474-3817 Ext. 270
Fax: 518-402-5354
Email: [email protected][email protected]

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!