CPA Exam & License Requirements By State

  •  Updated:Oct. 21, 2019
  • Bryce Welker, CPA
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CPA Exam & License Requirements By State

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.

CPA Exam Qualifications

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.

Related Blog Posts & Resources

 

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.

51 Comments
  • shoheb
    Posted at 10 February, 2019 01:24 AM Reply

    I am not a US citizen neither a resident,I have a bachelors degree in Accountancy and Finance from Scotland (3 year) and have also cleared all my ACCA papers.Can you please suggest which state is most likely to accept me ?

    • Monica
      Posted at 10 January, 2019 04:29 AM Reply

      I'd like to know what state would accept experience verification from a CPA who holds a license but is not active, but retired.

      • Bryce Welker, CPA
        Posted at 15 January, 2019 09:02 AM Reply

        Can anyone help Monica out here who knows of any states that allow this?

      • Keith
        Posted at 13 December, 2018 09:52 AM Reply

        Most of my life has been in Texas. My Bachelor's and Master's was at U Houston. I just transferred to Mobile, AL. I am applying to take the CPA exam. Which state should I apply?

        • Bryce Welker, CPA
          Posted at 15 January, 2019 08:47 AM Reply

          Hi Keith, you should apply in the state that you plan to work in.Cheers, Bryce

        • yusuf Jaffery
          Posted at 10 December, 2018 03:29 AM Reply

          Dear Sir,I have passed my CPA exam and was in process of applying for CPA Certificate and License but unfortunately, I could not meet the requirement of Pennsylvania board to provide experience verification by a "Direct Employer/ Supervisor / co-worker who must be a CPA"..In view of the above situation, can you please guide me with boards that do not require experience verification by a "direct employer/ supervisor who must be a CPA" and would accept my attached educational credits?As per attached Credential evaluation, I have 159.75 semester credits which includes 19.5 credits in AccountingI will appreciate your prompt response and guidance on this matter.Thank you

          • Bryce Welker, CPA
            Posted at 15 January, 2019 09:11 AM Reply

            Does anyone here have any experience with state's that do not require a CPA to sign off on work experience requirement that can help point Yusuf in the right direction?

          • 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 CarolinaCan 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: https://cpamobility.org/

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