Are you Eligible for the CPA Exam?

Every state has its own requirement for the CPA exam. But there is some core qualification set similar in most states that must be met to be eligible for taking the CPA exam. Here is an overview of the requirements for the candidate to take the CPA exam in most states and some additional strategies to adapt to get the certification. Review the below checklist before sending the application to the state board.


Candidate must be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for the CPA exam? Pretty much yes. Licensing jurisdiction of every state require that the candidate must be a USA citizen to take the exam. Majority applicants do not think of this requirement because the traditional candidates are United State citizens. International candidates are still eligible if they do not have U.S citizenship. North Carolina, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Alabama currently do not have a citizenship requirement in order to meet the eligibility criteria.

Social Security Identification

Most of the states require the Social Security number requirement. This is needed for the identification process. This seems ironic because the original Social Security cards have “not for identification” written on them. This requirement is ignored by the traditional U.S. applicants but international candidates are hardly involved in the United States Social Security system. If this is the case then as said earlier that CPA exam requirementsare different in many states so go for the South Dakota, Illinois, New York, Wisconsin, or Montana as they don’t have U.S. SS requirement.

Age Limitations

The minimum age requirement to apply for the exam is 18-years old.

Many candidates do not realize the above qualification requirements in place and none of these have been an issue so far but main requirements need to be thoroughly reviewed.

Educational Requirement

Like many other requirements, the qualification of candidate also varies from state to state. The prime requirement that must be fulfilled is 120 college credit hours or a bachelor’s degree in order to take the CPA exam. Some states have a degree requirement of accounting, finance or other business related filed while few just require a bachelor’s degree in any field. Most states have a requirement that the candidate must have a minimum level of business-related coursework and accounting coursework.

This means that the requirement is to at least complete 24 credit hours accounting related coursework which includesintermediary and advanced financial accounting, taxation, and cost accounting. Some states usually have a minimum of 120 credit hours or some have 150 credit hour requirement in the business field like business law, finance, or management. Few states allow the candidates to sit in the CPA exam before graduating. Check the state board to see whether they allow this or not.

It is required by all states that the candidates must have a degree from a recognized and accredited institute. This might be an issue for international students who attended university in foreign countries. So it is recommended to contact the state board to know the eligibility criteria for your state. They check the transcript and can tell whether the educational credits qualify or not.

Work Experience

Work experience is required for the CPA license no state require work experience from the student to take the CPA exam.