CPA Requirements – Degrees and Experience

School Level Program Admissions
Methodist University Bachelor Online Bachelor's in Accounting
100% online, ACBSP accredited, Application Fees Waived!
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Concordia University - Saint Paul Bachelor Online Bachelor’s in Accounting
Students can prepare for the certified public accountant (CPA) and certified management accountant (CMA) exams.
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Ohio University Master Online Master of Accountancy
GRE/GMAT Not Required. AACSB Accredited.
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Seton Hall University Master Online Master of Science in Accounting
AACSB Accredited. Can be completed in 18 months.
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Utica University Master Online Master of Accounting
Gain the knowledge and credits you need to sit for the CPA exam.
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Utica University Bachelor Online BBA in Accounting
Prepare for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential.
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University of New Haven Bachelor Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Prepare for your CPA licensure exam
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Click to view more featured online accounting programs currently taking applications for 2022.

To become a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you must fulfill the "Three E's":

Although they are generally the same across the United States, some requirements vary by state, so be sure to check with your own state’s board of accountancy.

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CPA Degree Requirements

CPA Requirement 1: 4 Year Bachelor's Degree

The first thing you will need to become a CPA is a 4-year bachelor’s degree. Although it is not necessary to have an accounting degree, there are specific accounting requirements that must be met in order to become certified. For example, some states require a bachelor’s degree with at least 24 hours of accounting at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Other states list specific courses you must take, such as Financial Accounting and Reporting, Taxation, Managerial Accounting, and Auditing. If you are fairly certain that you’d like to become a CPA, it would be smart to go for an accounting degree to be sure you meet the education requirements. If you decide to pursue a different degree, make sure you research your state’s education policy so you can meet the requirements.

150 Credit Hours Are Required

Another education requirement is to complete a 150-credit degree program at an accredited college. Most states will not even let you sit for the CPA Exam without having passed 150 credit hours. Because many accounting degree programs require less than 150 credits, you will need to take a few extra courses to fulfill this requirement. Once again, make sure you research your state’s requirements as early as possible.

School Level Program Admissions
Methodist University Bachelor Online Bachelor's in Accounting
100% online, ACBSP accredited, Application Fees Waived!
Website
Concordia University - Saint Paul Bachelor Online Bachelor’s in Accounting
Students can prepare for the certified public accountant (CPA) and certified management accountant (CMA) exams.
Website
Ohio University Master Online Master of Accountancy
GRE/GMAT Not Required. AACSB Accredited.
Website
Seton Hall University Master Online Master of Science in Accounting
AACSB Accredited. Can be completed in 18 months.
Website
Utica University Master Online Master of Accounting
Gain the knowledge and credits you need to sit for the CPA exam.
Website

+ Find online accounting programs that are currently accepting applicants

CPA Requirement 2: Professional Experience as an Accountant

The next step to become a CPA is to have professional accounting experience. Most states require at least two years experience in public accounting, although some states will accept non-public accounting experience. If your experience is not in public accounting, like government or industry, the time requirement is generally longer and may be closer to five years. Most states also require that your work experience be under the supervision of a person licensed to practice public accounting. Once again, make sure you check with your state’s board of accountancy for specific requirements.

CPA Requirement 3: Uniform CPA Exam

The final requirement to become a CPA, and arguably the most difficult, is passing the Uniform CPA Exam, or CPA Exam. According to the CPA Exam Mission Statement, the purpose of the exam is “to admit individuals into the accounting profession only after they have demonstrated the entry-level knowledge and skills necessary to protect the public interest in a rapidly changing business and financial environment.”

The exam is made up of four sections: auditing and attestation; business environment and concepts; financial accounting and reporting; and regulation. Each section can be taken at a different time. With an average passing rate of less than 50%, the CPA Exam is known as one of the most difficult licensing examinations around.

As previously stated, you must meet your state’s education and experience requirements before you can take the CPA Exam. When this has been done and you are ready to sit for the exam, you need to register through your state board of accountancy. After your qualifications have been reviewed and approved, you will receive a notification to schedule your exam.

There are certain testing periods that are closed for scheduling, including March, June, September and November, so make sure you plan ahead. You can expect to learn the results of the exam a few months after you’ve taken the test.

School Level Program Admissions
Illinois College Bachelor Online BA in Accounting
100% online, study at your own pace.
Website
University of Delaware Master Online Master of Science in Accounting Practice
ACSB Accounting-accredited. Earn your degree in 12, 18 or 24 months.
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Point University Bachelor Bachelor of Science in Accounting
100% online accounting degree, concentration in forensics and fraud.
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University of New Haven Master Master of Science in Accounting
Graduates of the online MSA program also meet requirements to sit for the CPA exam in most states.
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University of West Florida Master Online Accountancy, M.Acc.
Approach the CPA exam with confidence.
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Georgetown University Master Online Master of Science in Finance
Part-Time and Full-Time Options.
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Seton Hall University Master Online MBA - Accounting
AACSB accredited.
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American University Master Online Master of Arts in Economics
Finish your degree in as few as 20 months.
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Norwich University Master Online Master of Accounting
15-21 Months to Complete, prepare for the CPA exam in most states.
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Still Looking for an Accounting Degree or Other Information?

If you haven't found what you are looking for yet, consider some of these top pages, which are helpful for students looking for accounting programs.

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