Washington CPA Exam & License Requirements

Updated: May 23, 2023 You’re our #1 priority.
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Washington’s journey to CPA licensure is one of balancing traditional requirements with the evolving needs of the profession. Despite discussions on modifying requirements, like the 150-hour education rule, Washington maintains this standard.

As stated in “The Washington CPA Spring 2023” issue, “We are well conditioned to maintain the status quo… It takes conscious thought and practice to notice a potential barrier and dissect it.” This reflects the broader challenge of adapting the CPA pathway to contemporary needs without compromising the profession’s integrity.

Aspiring CPAs in Washington must navigate these traditional paths while being aware of potential shifts in the landscape, recognizing the profession’s commitment to dismantling barriers, and facilitating easier access to the CPA career. Here are some of the specifics of Washington CPA licensure.

Washington CPA Licensure

To be eligible to sit for the CPA exam, students must first fulfill these qualifications and requirements:

  1. Minimum age: None
  2. U.S. Residency NOT Required
  3. State Residency NOT required

Education Requirements

Washington requires 150 credit hours to earn a CPA license. However, you may sit for the CPA exam up to 180 days prior to meeting this education requirement. The work experience requirements are more lenient than in most states and allow qualifying part-time and volunteer work.

  1. Bachelor’s degree or above
  2. 150 semester units from an accredited university or educational institution
  3. Accounting courses: 24 semester units (at least 15 units in upper level/division)
  4. Business courses: 24 semester hours, which can include the following: Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Budgeting, Investments, Business Law, Statistics (Maximum of 6 undergraduate units), Banking, Finance, Management and Admin, Accounting courses in excess of the required 24 semester hours.

Other WA CPA License Requirements

Work Experience

  • 1 year (2,000 hours) of public accounting work experience
  • Work can be in accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax , tax advisory, or consulting
  • Experience must be verified by either a Washington CPA or any CPA who has had an active license for at least 5 years (Does not need to be your direct supervisor)
  • Part-time and even volunteer work can be counted
  • See Washington CPA Work Experience for more information

Ethics Exam

  • Passing of the AICPA ethics exam (Cost of course is $245 or $189 for AICPA members)

Washington CPA Exam Fees

The cost to take all four sections of the CPA exam in Washington is $1,379.20 ($344.80 per section) plus the initial $90 education evaluation application fee. The re-examination registration fee varies depending on the number of sections you are signing up for. 

**Important Note: You should not apply and pay for exam sections that will not be taken within six months because your Notice to Schedule (NTS) in Washington expires 6 months after issuance.

Additional CPA License Requirements

  1. Pass all 4 sections of the CPA exam with a score of 75% or higher
  2. Complete verified accounting work experience
  3. Pass AICPA Ethics Exam
  4. Fill out and submit all required CPA license application paperwork
  5. Pay the CPA license application fee

WA Exam Information and Resources

For more information, please contact:

PO Box 9131
Olympia, WA

Phone: 360-753-2586
Fax: 360-664-9190
Email: [email protected]

What’s Next?

Now that you have started the CPA exam application process, your next step is to find a CPA review course that fits your budget, learning style, and schedule.

It can take several weeks for your application to be processed, so don’t waste that valuable time waiting to hear back from your state board.  If you start studying now, you will get a nice jump start on the material and will be better prepared to pass your first CPA exam!

Washington CPA Licensure FAQs


What are the educational requirements for CPA licensure in Washington?

Candidates must complete 150 semester hours of education, including a bachelor’s degree. The coursework should include specific accounting and business subjects as defined by the Washington State Board of Accountancy.

Is work experience required for CPA licensure in Washington?

Yes, candidates need one year (2,000 hours) of work experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. This experience should include a variety of accounting tasks and responsibilities.

Does Washington require an ethics exam for CPA licensure?

Washington CPA candidates must pass an ethics exam as part of their licensure requirements. The specific ethics exam and its details can be obtained from the Washington State Board of Accountancy.

How often must a CPA license be renewed in Washington, and what are the CPE requirements?

CPA licenses in Washington must be renewed every three years. CPAs are required to complete a specified number of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours during each renewal cycle, with specific requirements available from the Washington State Board of Accountancy.

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

Yes, Washington allows CPA license transfers through reciprocity. However, candidates must meet Washington’s specific licensure requirements, which may include additional educational or examination criteria based on their original state of licensure.