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CostHelper > Schools & Job Training  > Becoming a CPA

Becoming a CPA Cost


How Much Does Becoming a CPA Cost?

 
low costApplication Fees: $30-$200average costExam Fees: $800-$1,000high costExam Review Courses: $70-$4,000
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A CPA is a certified public accountant who is licensed by the state. An individual seeking CPA licensure should hold a bachelor's degree in accounting and is often expected to have worked professionally in public accounting. After studying for and passing the CPA exam, a candidate must meet his or her state's additional requirements for certification before receiving a CPA license.

Typical costs:

  • Application fees for CPA license candidates are typically $30-$200. For example, first-time applicants in Ohio[1] pay $140 for the application fee, which is separate from any examination fees.
  • CPA exam fees are typically $800-$1,000. The fees in Alabama[2] are $850 for all four parts, for example.
  • Ethics exam fees are typically range $75-$130. Separate from the CPA exam, the ethics exam is a self-administered course and exam required by most states. For example, in Minnesota[3] , the ethics exam is called Professional Ethics: The AICPA's Comprehensive Course and costs $105 for members of the American Institute of CPAs and $130 for non-members. The fee includes a self-study course for the exam, which can be completed online. California[4] CPA candidates can take the Professional Ethics for CPAs (PETH) course and exam for $125 for members or $150 for non-members.
  • Review courses for the CPA exam typically cost $70-$200 for a self-study book or software course. More expensive self-study or interactive college courses may cost $1,000-$4,000. For example, the CPA Ready[5] software by Bisk costs $100. The self-study Becker CPA Review Course[6] costs $3,245 for all four parts of the exam.
  • Licensing fees for the CPA certificate are typically $30-$400, and they must be paid after an applicant has passed the exams. In most states, accountants can still work in the profession without this license, but they will not be able to use the term certified public accountant and this may limit their advancement in the field. In New York[7] , the fee for a CPA license is $377. CPA applicants in Connecticut can expect to pay $75 for a one-year license; the equivalent license in Florida[8] costs $50.
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What should be included:
  • Requirements for becoming a CPA vary by the state in which the accountant applies. According to the American Institute of CPAs[9] , most states require a bachelor's degree plus two years of public accounting experience. Other requirements vary, although all states use the same Uniform CPA Exam. For example, CPAs in California[10] must have at least a bachelor's degree with 24 semesters credits each in accounting and business-related subjects, and 150 semester credits total. They also must pass the Uniform CPA Exam and an ethics course, as well as have one year of general accounting job experience under supervision of a licensed CPA.
  • The Uniform CPA Exam[11] is made up of four sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). The four sections require 14 total hours of testing, but they do not have to be taken all at once.
Additional costs:
  • CPA licenses must typically be renewed annually for about $100-$400 or more. In Connecticut, for example, license renewal costs $450. In Florida[12] , annual renewal costs of $105.
  • A bachelor's degree in accounting is necessary to become a CPA. According to the non-profit organization College Board[13] , the average cost of attending a four-year public college is $7,605 per year (in-state) or $11,990 (out-of-state) for tuition and fees. At a private college, that cost would be an average of $27,293 per year for tuition and fees.
Discounts:
  • Members of professional accounting associations may be eligible for discounts on CPA review courses. For example, members of the West Virginia Society for Certified Public Accountants[14] may receive discounts of about 30% on study guides and other books.
Shopping for becoming a cpa:
  • Information about state fees and requirements for CPA licensure are available at the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy[15] .
  • CPA exam review software is available for those who prefer to study course material on their own rather than take a class. Monster reviews[16] nine brands of CPA software including prices for each.
  • The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants lists tips for passing the CPA exam[17] . The organization recommends applying to sit for the exam as soon as possible after graduation. Among states that require candidates to have work experience in public accounting before taking the exam, the minimum time range is usually 6 months to 2 years of field experience.
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External Resources:
  1.  nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/ohio/
  2.  www.asbpa.alabama.gov/Fees.htm
  3.  www.mncpa.org/cpa-exam/exam-facts/ethics-exam.aspx
  4.  www.calcpa.org/Public/Products/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=PETHOL10
  5.  www.amazon.com/CPA-Version-4-Section-Multimedia-Software/dp/B000W0NMMG/
  6.  www.becker.com/accounting/cpaexamreview/courses/pricing-discounts/index.cfm
  7.  www.op.nysed.gov/prof/cpa/cpalic.htm
  8.  www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/cpa/renew.html
  9.  www.aicpa.org/BecomeACPA/Licensure/Pages/default.aspx
  10.  www.calcpa.org/content/licensure/requirements.aspx
  11.  www.aicpa.org/BecomeACPA/CPAExam/ExamOverview/PurposeandStructure/Pages/default.aspx
  12.  www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/cpa/renew.html
  13.  /bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/college-costs-faqs
  14.  /secure.wvscpa.org/membership/member_benefits
  15.  nasba.org/stateboards/
  16.  college.monster.com/training/articles/825-top-9-cpa-exam-review-programs
  17.  www.mncpa.org/cpa-exam/cpa-exam-tips.aspx
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