CPA Requirements By State

CPA Requirements By State

  • Updated:February 18, 2019
  • Bryce Welker, CPA
  • CPA Prep Courses
  • Comments (51)

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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  • 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:

            • 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