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To qualify to take the CPA Exam, you must meet the following minimum requirements in order to apply to take the exam:
A baccalaureate degree or higher conferred by a degree-granting college or university (or foreign equivalent evaluated by a California Board of Accountancy-approved foreign academic credentials evaluation service) accredited by a United States regional institutional accrediting agency or national accrediting agency.
24 semester units of accounting subjects; 24 semester units of business-related subjects. Specific subjects can be found on page 4 and 5 of CBA's CPA Exam Handbook.
Quarter Unit Conversion:
Courses earned at college and universities on a quarter unit calendar must be multiplied by a factor of 2/3 to convert to semester units. For example, 4 quarter units is equivalent to 2 and 2/3 semester units.
Have all transcripts from all U.S. colleges or universities attended and/or evaluation of foreign credentials.
Create your personal Client Account via the California Board of Accountancy (CBA) website found here.
Mail signed Application Remittance Form (given to you when you create an account) and payment to the CBA.
Complete CPA Exam Application-Qualification Checklist for First-Time Applicants.
Q: Can I just send an unofficial transcript to the California Board of Accountancy?
A: No. The California Board of Accountancy will only accept official transcripts from degree granting colleges and universities that are accredited by a U.S. regional or national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. A full list of recognized accrediting agencies can be found on page 15 of the CBA’s Handbook for Initial Licensure.
Q: Will the California Board of Accountancy review my transcript prior to me applying to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam?
A: No. The California Board of Accountancy does not review transcripts prior to the submission of an application. If you are still unsure about a specific course, you may want to check with the California Board of Accountancy directly for guidance on how to best count it. You can find the contact information for the Initial Licensing Unit on the California Board of Accountancy Website.
Q: I earned some of my education units a long time ago. Does this matter?
A: No. Your education units do not expire as long as they are evident on an official transcript.
Q: I have passed all sections of the Uniform CPA Exam, but will need some time to find a placement to earn my work experience. Will my exam credits expire?
A: No. Once you have passed all four sections of the Uniform CPA exam, your exam credits do not expire. However, the ethics examination expires within 24 months of passing, so it is recommended that you take that examination close to the time you are ready to apply for licensure.