Ohio CPA Exam & License Requirements: How to Become a CPA in Ohio

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In Ohio, becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) requires adherence to strict standards set by the Accountancy Board of Ohio (ABO) and the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA). Recently, the ABO announced a significant change: the extension of the CPA Exam testing window from 18 to 30 months.

This decision, aligned with national trends and addressing the CPA workforce shortage, reflects Ohio’s commitment to maintaining robust licensure standards while adapting to the evolving needs of the profession. Still, the process of becoming a CPA in Ohio isn’t an easy one. As one actual CPA candidate put it:

“I am really confused on what the next steps are. I know you go to Ohio, but they give you little information on how you submit your education and work experience.”

This article explores the guidelines, changes, and implications for Ohio’s CPA candidates.

Steps to Get Your CPA License in Ohio

  • Meet Education and Verified Work Requirements: Ensure you meet Ohio’s specific educational criteria, including the necessary credit hours and course requirements.
  • Pass All Sections of the CPA Exam: Successfully complete all sections of the CPA Exam. Considering a CPA review course can be beneficial given the exam’s complexity.
  • Complete the AICPA Ethics Exam: This is a mandatory step to ensure adherence to professional ethical standards.
  • Submit CPA License Application Paperwork: Accurately fill out and submit all required documentation for your CPA license application in Ohio.
  • Pay the CPA License Application Fee: Ensure payment of the necessary fees associated with the licensure application.

CPA License Requirements in Ohio

To become a CPA in Ohio, candidates must meet several key criteria as outlined by the Ohio Accountancy Board. These include:

  • Age and Citizenship: Candidates must be at least 18 years old. While Ohio does not have specific citizenship requirements, candidates must have a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • In Ohio, to become a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA), one of the key requirements is residency. Candidates must be residents of Ohio or have a place of business in the state. This residency requirement ensures that those seeking CPA licensure in Ohio have a vested interest in the state’s business and regulatory environment.
  • Ethical Standards: Demonstrating good moral character is essential. Candidates may need to undergo a background check as part of the application process.

Education Requirements

The educational prerequisites for CPA licensure in Ohio are specific and must be met before sitting for the CPA Exam.

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution.
  • Credit Hours: A total of 150 semester hours in college coursework is required.
  • Accounting and Business Courses:
    • At least 30 semester hours in accounting courses above the introductory level, including coverage of financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management accounting.
    • 24 semester hours in business courses other than accounting, such as business law, economics, finance, or marketing.

Work Experience

Work experience is a critical component of the CPA licensure process in Ohio.

  • Experience Requirement: Candidates must complete one year (2,000 hours) of work experience in the field of accounting. This experience can be in public accounting, industry, government, or academia.
  • Supervision: The experience must be verified by a licensed CPA who can attest to the nature and duration of the work.
  • Time Frame: The work experience should be completed within a certain period before or after passing the CPA exam, as specified by the Ohio Accountancy Board.

Ethics Exam

In Ohio, CPA candidates are required to pass the Ohio Professional Standards and Responsibilities (PSR) exam as a part of their licensure process. This requirement is distinct from many other states that require the AICPA Ethics Exam, highlighting Ohio’s specific focus on ethical standards within its jurisdiction.

Ohio Professional Standards and Responsibilities (PSR) Exam

  • Purpose: The PSR exam is designed to ensure that all aspiring CPAs in Ohio are well-versed in the state’s specific professional and ethical standards. This includes an understanding of Ohio’s accountancy laws and rules.
  • Content: The exam covers topics related to the ethical and professional responsibilities of CPAs in Ohio, including state-specific regulations and guidelines that govern accounting practices in the state.
  • Cost: The cost of the course and the corresponding PSR exam is relatively affordable, typically under $50. This makes it accessible for most CPA candidates.

Ohio CPA Exam Fees

Education Evaluation Application: In Ohio, the first step towards CPA licensure is to have your educational credentials evaluated to determine eligibility for the CPA Exam.

  • Education Evaluation Application Fee: $90.00
  • Purpose: This fee is for the evaluation of your educational background to ensure it meets Ohio’s specific requirements for taking the CPA Exam.

Exam Section Application: Once deemed eligible for the CPA Exam, candidates in Ohio can apply for specific sections of the exam.

  • Exam Section Application Fee: $349.80 per section
  • Application Process: Candidates can apply for one exam section at a time. It is recommended to apply for a section only when ready to take it.
  • Notice to Schedule (NTS): Upon application approval, candidates receive an NTS, which is valid for a limited time. The exam section listed on the NTS must be taken within this timeframe, or the fees paid will be forfeited.

Ohio License Application Fee: After successfully passing all sections of the CPA Exam and meeting other licensure requirements, candidates must apply for their CPA license in Ohio.

  • Ohio License Application Fee: $100
  • Purpose: This fee is associated with processing the CPA license application in Ohio.

These fees are an integral part of the CPA licensure process in Ohio. Candidates should plan their exam schedule and licensure application carefully to ensure they are prepared and to avoid unnecessary loss of fees.

Ohio Exam Information and Resources

  1. Ohio Accountancy Board (OAB)
  2. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) – Ohio
  3. American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) – Ohio
  4. Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA)

For more details, please contact:

77 South High Street, 18th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6128
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 614-466-4135
Fax: 614-466-2628


Are there any ethics requirements for Ohio CPAs?

Yes, Ohio requires candidates to pass a Professional Standards and Responsibilities (PSR) course that focuses on Ohio accountancy law and professional ethics. This course must be completed before licensure.

Can I transfer my CPA license to Ohio from another state?

Yes, Ohio accepts CPA license transfers through reciprocity. However, applicants must meet Ohio’s licensure requirements and may need to fulfill additional criteria, such as passing the PSR course.

How much work experience is required for Ohio CPA licensure?

Applicants are required to have at least one year (2,000 hours) of work experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. This experience can be in public accounting, industry, government, or academia.

Is residency in Ohio required for CPA licensure?

Yes, candidates must either be residents of Ohio or have a place of business in the state to be eligible for licensure.

What are the educational requirements for CPA licensure in Ohio?

To qualify for CPA licensure in Ohio, candidates must have a minimum of 150 semester hours of college education, including a bachelor’s degree or higher. This education must include specific accounting and business-related courses.

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