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

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Are you aiming to become a CPA in Virginia? Here’s something you can’t ignore: According to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the CPA exam pass rate hovers around 50% nationwide. This statistic, sourced from AICPA, highlights the challenging nature of the CPA exam. But don’t let this number intimidate you!

Now, you might be wondering, how can you be among the successful half? The key lies in understanding Virginia’s specific requirements for CPA licensure. Virginia requires 150 credit hours for a CPA license, but here’s the catch: you can sit for the CPA exam after just completing your bachelor’s degree.

But wait, there’s more.

The journey to becoming a CPA in Virginia involves not just passing the exam but also meeting work experience requirements. You need one year of accounting experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA.

So, what’s next?

I will guide you through every step of the process, from educational prerequisites to exam fees, and provide essential tips to help you CRUSH the CPA exam in Virginia. Let’s dive in and unlock the path to your CPA success!

Steps to a CPA License in Virginia

  • Meet Education Requirements: Fulfill the 150 credit hour requirement, including a bachelor’s degree with an accounting concentration or equivalent.
  • Pass the CPA Exam: Successfully complete all four sections of the CPA exam. Consider enrolling in a CPA review course for comprehensive preparation.
  • Verified Work Experience: Accumulate 1 year of full-time experience in public or non-public accounting, supervised by an active CPA licensee.
  • Complete the AICPA Ethics Exam: A necessary step to ensure adherence to professional standards.
  • Submit CPA License Application: Fill out and submit all required paperwork for the CPA license application.
  • Pay the CPA License Application Fee: Ensure all financial obligations are met for the application process.

CPA Licensure Requirements in Virginia

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Virginia involves meeting specific criteria set by the Virginia Board of Accountancy. These requirements are designed to ensure that CPAs possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and ethical standards to serve the public effectively. Below is a detailed breakdown of the licensure requirements, including general requirements, education, and work experience.

General Requirements

  • Minimum Age: There is no minimum age requirement in Virginia for CPA licensure.
  • Social Security Number: Applicants must have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Residency: State residency is not a requirement for licensure in Virginia.
  • Ethics Exam: Passing the AICPA Ethics Exam is mandatory.

Education Requirements

To qualify for the CPA exam and licensure in Virginia, candidates must meet specific educational criteria:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required.
  • Credit Hours: Candidates must complete 150 semester hours of college education.
  • Accounting Coursework: At least 24 semester hours in accounting courses, including auditing, financial accounting, management accounting, and taxation. These must be upper-level or graduate courses.
  • Business Coursework: A minimum of 24 semester hours in business courses is required. Up to 6 hours of accounting courses may be counted towards this requirement.
  • Additional Coursework: For detailed information on the coursework requirements, candidates can refer to the Virginia Board of Accountancy’s education requirements.

Work Experience Requirements

Practical work experience is a crucial component of the CPA licensure process in Virginia:

  • Duration: Candidates must complete 1 year (2,080 hours) of full-time work experience.
  • Supervision: The experience must be supervised by an active U.S. CPA licensee.
  • Nature of Work: The experience can be in public accounting, industry, government, or academia. It should involve the use of accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills.
  • Verification: Work experience must be verified by the supervising CPA using the Experience Verification Form provided by the Virginia Board of Accountancy.

Ethics Course and Exam for Virginia CPA Licensure

In Virginia, passing the AICPA ethics exam is a mandatory step in the CPA licensure process. This exam is a pivotal component, ensuring that all CPAs adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct and professionalism. Here’s a detailed overview of the ethics exam for Virginia CPA candidates, including the topics it covers, available study resources, and preparation strategies:

Topics Covered

  • Focus on AICPA Code of Professional Conduct: The exam primarily revolves around the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct, emphasizing ethical principles that CPAs must uphold.
  • Key Ethical Principles: Topics include independence, integrity, objectivity, general standards, acts discreditable, and other ethical conduct aspects in the accounting profession.
  • Application to Real-World Scenarios: The exam challenges candidates to apply these ethical principles to specific, practical situations, enhancing their ability to handle real-world dilemmas.

Study Resources

  • AICPA Ethics Course: The AICPA provides a comprehensive ethics course, which includes a textbook and practice questions. This course is both a study guide and the primary source material for the exam.
  • Pricing: The course is priced at $320, with a discounted rate of $250 for AICPA members.

CPA Evolution and Exam Changes

The CPA profession is undergoing a significant transformation with the CPA Evolution initiative, a joint effort by the AICPA and the NASBA. This initiative aims to ensure that CPAs continue to meet the rapidly changing demands of the business world.

General Changes in the CPA Exam

  • New Exam Structure: The CPA Exam will be restructured to include a core section focusing on accounting, auditing, tax, and technology. This reflects the growing importance of technology in the accounting profession.
  • Specialization Areas: Candidates will have the option to choose one of three disciplines for in-depth study: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC), or Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP).
  • Updated Competency Model: The exam will emphasize higher-order skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical ability, aligning with the evolving role of CPAs.

Specifics for Virginia

  • State Board Adaptation: The Virginia Board of Accountancy (VBOA) is expected to align its licensure requirements with the new CPA Exam structure. This may include updates to education and experience requirements to reflect the new competencies.
  • Continued Professional Education (CPE): Virginia may also revise its CPE requirements to include more focus on technology and data analytics, in line with the CPA Evolution model.

Virginia CPA Licensure and Exam Fees

Pursuing CPA licensure in Virginia involves various fees at different stages of the process. Understanding these fees is crucial for candidates planning their CPA journey. Here’s a breakdown of the fees associated with CPA licensure and exams in Virginia:

Exam Application Fee

  • Amount: The Virginia Board of Accountancy (VBOA) requires a non-refundable application fee of $120.
  • Payment: This fee is payable upon submission of the online application.
  • Process: Once the application is approved and processed by the VBOA, candidates will receive an approval email detailing the payment coupon and Notice to Schedule (NTS) process.

Exam Section Fee

  • Amount: The total fee for each CPA exam section is $254.80.
  • Payment: These fees are paid directly to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
  • Contact: For any issues during the payment process, candidates can contact NASBA Candidate Care at 1-866-696-2722.

Re-exam Application

  • Fee Suspension: The VBOA has suspended the $20 fee associated with re-exam requests until at least March 31, 2024.

CPA Exam Score Transfers

  • Transfer Fee: A fee of $25 is required for candidates requesting an exam score to be transferred from Virginia to another state.
  • Process: Candidates must complete the CPA Exam Score Transfer Form and submit it to the VBOA along with the fee.

Expert Tips to Become a CPA in Virginia

When pursuing your CPA license in Virginia, think beyond the textbooks. Engage in local accounting and finance events. Virginia offers a rich landscape of seminars and workshops, especially in areas like Richmond and Northern Virginia. These events are not just learning opportunities; they’re networking goldmines. You’ll connect with seasoned CPAs who can offer invaluable advice and might even help you land your required work experience. Remember, in the world of accounting, your network is just as crucial as your knowledge.

In Virginia, the landscape of accounting is as diverse as its geography. My advice? Tailor your CPA licensure journey to the specific sector you’re passionate about. If you’re drawn to government accounting, focus on gaining experience in Richmond, the heart of Virginia’s government. If corporate finance excites you, the Northern Virginia region, with its plethora of corporations, is your playground. Aligning your CPA journey with your career aspirations not only makes the process more engaging but also sets you up for a fulfilling career post-licensure.

Virginia CPA Exam Resources and Local Organizations

For more information, contact:

Virginia Board of Accountancy

9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 402
Henrico, Virginia 23233
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (804) 367-8505 
CPA exam services: (804) 367-1111 
Fax: (804) 527-4409


What are the basic requirements to become a CPA in Virginia?

To become a CPA in Virginia, you need to have 150 semester hours of education, pass all four sections of the CPA exam, complete one year of work experience under a licensed CPA, and pass the AICPA Ethics Exam.

Can I sit for the CPA exam in Virginia with a bachelor’s degree?

Yes, you can sit for the CPA exam in Virginia after completing a bachelor’s degree, as long as you have completed 120 semester hours of education.

What are the work experience requirements for CPA licensure in Virginia?

You need one year (2,080 hours) of full-time work experience in public or non-public accounting, supervised by an active U.S. CPA licensee.

How much does it cost to take the CPA exam in Virginia?

The total cost includes a $120 application fee and $254.80 for each exam section. Therefore, for all four sections, it would be approximately $1,139.20, excluding preparation materials and courses.

Is the AICPA Ethics Exam required for CPA licensure in Virginia?

Yes, passing the AICPA Ethics Exam is a requirement for CPA licensure in Virginia.

How long does it take to become a CPA in Virginia?

The time varies depending on how quickly you complete the education, exam, and work experience requirements. On average, it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years.

Can I transfer my CPA exam scores from another state to Virginia?

Yes, you can transfer CPA exam scores from another state to Virginia. There is a $25 fee for transferring exam scores.

What happens if I fail a section of the CPA exam in Virginia?

If you fail a section of the CPA exam, you can retake it. There is currently no fee for re-exam applications in Virginia until at least March 31, 2024.

Are there any continuing education requirements for CPAs in Virginia?

Yes, CPAs in Virginia must complete at least 20 CPE hours per year with a total of 120 hours over three years to maintain their licensure.

How do I apply for the CPA exam in Virginia?

You can apply for the CPA exam in Virginia by submitting an application through the Virginia Board of Accountancy’s website, along with the required documentation and fees.

Bryce Welker, CPA

Bryce Welker is a regular contributor to Forbes,, YEC and Business Insider. After graduating from San Diego State University he went on to earn his Certified Public Accountant license and created 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