CPA Requirements By State

CPA Requirements By State

Updated:December 9, 2018
Bryce Welker, CPA

The requirements to sit for the CPA exam and get licensed vary from state to state.

Since CPA certificates and licenses are granted by the individual state accounting boards rather than at a national level, the rules can be a little bit confusing.

My goal is to simplify this process for you by providing you with all the information you need to know in a easy to follow format.

If you meet the basic qualifications below then you should not run into any problems registering for the CPA exam. However, if you do not meet them all then you might need to be more selective about which state you choose to register in.

  1. You are a US citizen
  2. Attended/attending a US accredited college or university with a concentration in accounting
  3. Currently have or working towards a 150 semester hour degree (ex. BMAcc or Master’s Degree in accounting or business)
  4. Over the age of 18
  5. Work or plan on working in the accounting industry. Public accounting firms are preferred but private accounting jobs are accepted by most states as long as one of your supervisors is a CPA that can sign off on your work.

You should register and apply for both the CPA exam and license in the state you plan to work in. Please click on your state below to learn about the specific requirements.


Other Locations:  Puerto Rico CPA License Requirements

Non-Traditional CPA Candidates

If you answered NO to any of the 5 basic qualifications at the top of the page, this will help point you in the right direction.

States that require you to be a US citizen: Alabama, North Carolina, Louisiana

States that don’t require a Social Security Number: Illinois, Montana, New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin

States that only grant CPA licenses and certificates to local residents: Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Wyoming (each state defines “residency” slightly different)

Applying for the CPA Exam

Once you have found your state and are aware of the requirements, the next step is to apply to the state’s boards of accountancy.  This entails much more than just filling out a simple application form and can cost you months of waiting if you miss one small item on their checklist.  To avoid all that stress and headache I have created a step-by-step application process to help you navigate through it as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

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  • Kalish
    Posted at 6 March, 2018 09:37 AM Reply

    [* Shield plugin marked this comment as "0". Reason: Human SPAM filter found "credit score" in "comment_content" *] Hi BRYCE, This is Kalish. I have completed my International Evaluation from NIES and as per the report i am eligible to apply for CPA exams in North Hampshire and Oregon. I am living in North Carolina and i would like to get my CPA licence in North Carolina if i clear the exams. Is there any option to get the licence in North Carolina if i clear my exams in North Hampshire or Oregon . I mean could i transfer my ecam credit scores to North Carolina Can you guide me in selecting the Jurisdiction?

    • Bryce Welker, CPA
      Posted at 5 April, 2018 22:53 PM Reply

      Hi, to find out if your CPA license will transfer between your selected states please use this tool from the AICPA:

    • Shashank Jain
      Posted at 4 February, 2018 22:52 PM Reply

      I am from India and moving to Cincinnati in March. I am a qualified Chartered Account (in 2005) from India and completed 3 Years Bachelor in Commerce (from 2000-2003). I have 12+ years of experience of working in Finance and Accounts field with Multi National Organisations. Request to know if I am eligible to appear for the CPA Exam? Regards Shashank.

      • AM
        Posted at 14 February, 2017 16:12 PM Reply

        If I live in Texas, can I still test for Arkansas? I was a little confused by what it said on the Arkansas page as must be a resident.

        • Jogy Jacob
          Posted at 14 November, 2016 01:59 AM Reply

          Hi,I would like to join CPA. I am a (3 year course) graduate from Kerala University and MBA from IGNOU. I have completed FRM and CMA (US). Please inform me weather I am eligible for CPARegardsJogy

          • Mt
            Posted at 31 August, 2016 16:57 PM Reply

            Hi, I work in Philadelphia, PA but live in Nj. Which state should i get my license in, Nj or PA?

            • BWelk
              Posted at 13 September, 2016 05:32 AM Reply

              If you plan on working in PA for a while then I'd suggest getting your CPA license there.Cheers,Bryce

            • Mark
              Posted at 29 June, 2016 22:09 PM Reply

              I currently live in Texas and plan to study for and take the CPA exam this year, however, I plan to move to Utah by the end of next year (2017). Would it be best to, 1) pass the exam in Texas and then transfer the license to Utah, 2) pass part of the exam in Texas, transfer exam credits, and then pass the rest of the exam in Utah and then get licensed in Utah, or 3) just wait until I move to Utah to take and pass the exam and then get licensed? I do meet the education and experience requirements for both states. I have researched on mobility and reciprocity but still am a bit confused on how it all relates to my situation. Any clarification would be appreciated.

              • THenderson
                Posted at 28 June, 2016 14:32 PM Reply

                I received CPN in 2010 from DC; conflicting experience requirements (industry vs audit) kept me from getting experience; new employer has signed experience form. Is there any state that will allow 2010 original exam? (I have kept up CPE)

                • TrinityGroen2
                  Posted at 30 May, 2016 02:07 AM Reply

                  Informative discussion - I Appreciate the details ! Does someone know if I would be able to get access to a template IRS 990 document to work with ?

                  • ahuva klein
                    Posted at 1 May, 2016 22:15 PM Reply

                    is there any state that allows part time hours to accumulate and doesn't need an ethics exam

                    • Elexia Salinas
                      Posted at 13 April, 2016 17:59 PM Reply

                      Ok so if i get a cpa license in texas is it good in NY,CA, and FL or do i have to take it again there?

                      • BWelk
                        Posted at 13 April, 2016 20:47 PM Reply

                        You will need to make sure it can transfer first:

                      • 790fahad
                        Posted at 28 March, 2016 21:40 PM Reply

                        I would like to purse CPA from any states. I m not a resident in US, I am from India currently residing in Middle East Kuwait. I have completed my bachelors ( in 128 credits ) Accounting from Arab Open University, Kuwait Branch which is affiliated to UK Open university. I don't have any credits or paper in taxation because Kuwait is free from all taxes. Kindly suggest which is the most appropriate state for me to pursue my CPA.

                        • Beth
                          Posted at 2 March, 2016 00:28 AM Reply

                          I will graduate this summer with a Masters in Taxation. I plan to take the CPA exams this fall and next spring. I currently live in UT, but am planning to move to GA or FL in a couple years. I work in Finance and may not be working under a CPA for some time, so I'm not sure when I would get the experience requirement. What is the best state to test under? I'm leaning towards GA because it looks like they don't have a deadline for experience after testing, but they only have six month windows, so I would need to apply twice to get in all the exams. Is there another option I should consider?

                          • Pratidii
                            Posted at 9 December, 2015 09:54 AM Reply

                            hi.I am Pratiksha Surve from India , an international student appearing @ Dubai locationHave an experience of 5 year in Indian audits in a Big 4 audit firmWanted to check whether this experience can be verified by a licensed CPA or would I require some other work experience?

                            • Sajjad Ahmad Khan
                              Posted at 20 March, 2015 10:48 AM Reply

                              Hi,I am interested in CPA. So please some body help me with the following situations:1) Pakistan citizen1) 2 Year B.Com degree3) CA Inter qualified4) 2 year experience in Audit, corporate and taxation.

                              • FD
                                Posted at 12 February, 2015 23:12 PM Reply

                                Hi Bryce,I am interested in pursuing CPA. I would like your help on state selection as I am confused.1. I have a 3 years Bachelor of Management Studies degree from India.2. a one year International MBA.3. I don't have account related work experience.4. I am looking for CPA certificate and license. I wish to work in Texas.5. I am a green card holder.Is there any state which will let me take the exam? Which will be the best state to choose and how to go about it?Thanks for useful information on the site. It was very useful. :)P.S. Bachelor in Management Studies Syllabus:First Year Bachelor in Management StudiesFirst Year: 1st Semester1:1 Foundations of Human Skills1:2 Introduction to Financial Accounts1:3 Business Law1:4 Business Statistics1:5 Business Communication1:6 Principles of Management1:7 Introduction to ComputersFirst Years: 2nd Semester2:1 Business Environment2:2 Industrial Law2:3 Computer Applications in Business2:4 Managerial Economics – I2:5 Business Mathematics2:6 Introduction to Cost Accounting2:7 Environmental ManagementSecond Year Bachelor in Management StudiesSecond Year: 3rd Semester3:1 Management Accounting3:2 Managerial Economics – II3:3 Marketing Management3:4 Business Aspects in Banking & Insurance3:5 Production Management & Materials Management3:6 Strategic ManagementSecond Year: 4th Semester4:1 Productivity and Quality Management4:2 Direct & Indirect Taxes4:3 Export Import Procedure & Documentation4:4 Cooperatives & Rural Markets4:5 Research Methods in Business4:6 Public Relations ManagementThird Year Bachelor in Management StudiesThird Year: 5th Semester5:1 Human Resource Management5:2 Indian Management – Thoughts and Practices5:3 Financial Management5:4 Operations Research5:5 International Marketing5:6 Special Studies in MarketingThird Year: 6th Semester6.1 Entrepreneurship & Management of Small and Medium Enterprises6.2 Elements of Logistics & Supply Chain Management6.3 Service Sector Management6.4 Business Ethics & Corp Social Responsibility6.5 International Finance6.6 Retail Mgmt

                                • BWelk
                                  Posted at 21 February, 2015 20:51 PM Reply

                                  Hi,You are going to need to ask an expert about this since this is above my knowledge. A foreign credentials evaluation service can help you out here.Cheers,Bryce

                                • Manny
                                  Posted at 19 January, 2015 16:18 PM Reply

                                  Hello,You have a great website with tons of awesomeinformation. I am a former accountant with5 years of work experience in Corporate Accounting; last time I ever did anybook keeping was 5 years ago. However Iwant to complete the CPA exam, something I started 6 years ago and didn’t passthe first time. I have this sense offinishing what I started and I plan on moving back to Accounting since I’m onlyin my early 30’s.So I was wondering if you could help direct me to whichState will license me as a CPA with my education only, I have a Bachelors and Mastersin accounting (160 credit hours). I noticedthat Colorado would do it, but things are changing in July 2015 so I wouldn’tqualify since I’m not going to finish the exams by that time frame.I am currently a resident of UT, but I don’t think I qualifyto be licensed under this State since I have to be actively supervised by aCPA.I guess my question is basically which State would license aUS Citizen with only their education credentials and perhaps 5 years of workexperience from 5 years ago.I hope that made sense.Appreciate your help,Cheers,M.C

                                  • ka
                                    Posted at 8 January, 2015 17:19 PM Reply

                                    Hello, I have a BBA in Accounting and an MST (no audit hours) and have been practicing as an EA in my private practice for the last 16 state won't allow me to obtain my CPA without first working for a CPA for 2 years.....with what you know about me above, is there a state that would be better for me? And I initially thought CO, but would I have to take some additional audit hours of college?

                                    • Hazem Elmamlouk
                                      Posted at 14 December, 2014 23:12 PM Reply

                                      I m USA citizen has foreign accounting degree from Alexandria university of Egypt my US evaluation is more than 120 semester credits but because it is based on foreign degree I think I need to take at least 15 hours post graduate classes witch mean I need to pass the GMAT first to qualify me to take these post graduate classes first before I sit for the exam . do I understand that rules correctly or not? and if it is true ! is there any states has easier requirements to sit for the CPA exam thanks so much in advance . Hazem Elmamlouk

                                      • BWelk
                                        Posted at 19 December, 2014 00:20 AM Reply

                                        I have never heard of anyone being required to take the GMAT first to qualify, however this is not my area of expertise so I suggest contacting a foreign credentials evaluation service to get an exact answer to your question.Cheers,Bryce

                                      • Wasim Akram
                                        Posted at 21 November, 2014 21:19 PM Reply

                                        Hi.I have two years bachelors (Yes its possible in Pakistan) plus I am an ACCA member. I have worked in EY audit department for 4 yrs and currently working as accountant in UAE. Can you suggest if any state would consider my application.I am non resident and not a citizen.I am working as an accountant and will be working in the same field. However I might be able to get my work signed by some supervisor but i will not be working directly with him.

                                        • BWelk
                                          Posted at 26 November, 2014 12:50 PM Reply

                                          Sorry Wasim, I am not qualified to help you out with those questions. I'd suggest hiring a Foreign credentials evaluation service to help you figure things out about your specific situation.Cheers,Bryce

                                        • AC
                                          Posted at 27 October, 2014 21:09 PM Reply

                                          If I am taking the CPA exam in NJ would I be able to work in NY and get my experience/license in NY? I am currently looking for a job and sitting for the CPA exam in NJ because that's where I live right now but am looking for jobs in both NJ and NY and wasn't sure how that worked.

                                          • BWelk
                                            Posted at 3 November, 2014 09:19 AM Reply

                                            Yes you can transfer test scores between different states. However, certain states have specific rules about this so please check with NY BOA to see how they handle this process.

                                            • BWelk
                                              Posted at 3 November, 2014 09:19 AM Reply

                                              Hi AC,Yes you can transfer test scores between different states. However, certain states have specific rules about this so please check with NY BOA to see how they handle this process.