How to Become a CPA

What is a CPA?

A CPA is a certified public accountant and licensing is issued by each individual state or jurisdiction. Each state or jurisdiction has a separate licensing board that determines and governs specific requirements but in general, CPA exam requirements include:

  • A Bachelor's Degree-this is the first and most important CPA exam requirement
  • Completion of a minimum number of credit hours in business and accounting
Depending on the state and the jurisdiction that you live in, the requirements may vary slightly, which is why it is important to ensure that you are aware of not only of all general requirements but also of any state specific CPA requirements that apply to you.

How do I become a CPA?

The two most important goals to focus on in your quest to become a CPA are passing the Uniform CPA Exam and meeting licensing requirements. The Uniform CPA Exam is developed by the AICPA with significant input and assistance by NASBA and state boards of accountancy. It is designed to assess the knowledge and skills entry-level CPAs need to practice public accountancy. Passing the CPA Exam is only one step in meeting the licensing requirements that must be completed. The steps are referred to as the “Three Es” (Education, Examination and Experience), and completion of the three steps is required for licensure as a CPA in the U.S. The successful completion of the Uniform CPA Exam is a requirement in all 55 jurisdictions; but the Education and Experience requirements may vary for each state or jurisdiction. Many jurisdictions also require an additional exam in ethics in order to obtain a license (sometimes referred to as the fourth “E”). The CPA license is the only license for accounting professionals and is issued by state boards of accountancy in the 55 jurisdictions (there is not a national CPA license). To review the testing requirements and other helpful information for your State or jurisdiction, you can go to this link, provided by NASBA.

What are the four parts of the Exam?

The CPA Exam is a 14-hour, computer-based test comprised of four sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
The CPA exam employs a combination of question formats. It includes the traditional multiple choice questions and essays, as well as highly innovative simulations – questions that replicate workplace situations and require the application of knowledge and skills to arrive at solutions. Today the Uniform CPA exam is a state-of-the-art licensure examination – technologically advanced and psychometrically sound. The details for each section of the exam are as follows: Auditing & Attestation
  • Standards
  • Planning and Evidence
  • Internal Controls
  • Obtaining Document Information
  • Compilations and Reviews
  • Preparing the Communications
(4.5 hours – 3 multiple choice testlets, 2 simulations) Financial Accounting & Reporting
  • Business Enterprises
  • Governmental Entities
  • Not-For-Profit Organizations
  • Typical Items in Financial Statements
(4 hours – 3 multiple choice testlets, 2 simulations) Regulation
  • Federal Taxation of Individuals
  • Federal Taxation of Entities
  • Business Law
  • Professional Responsibilities
  • (3 hours – 3 multiple choice testlets, 2 simulations)
  • Business Environment and Concepts
  • Economic Concepts
  • Financial Management
  • Information Technology
(2.5 hours – 3 multiple choice)

What are the CPA Exam dates?

Each calendar year has four "testing windows" in which a person can sit for their CPA Exam. For the first two months of each quarter, a person can sit for any or all sections of the examination in any order. The third month in each quarter is a "blackout" month in which no exams may be scheduled. Candidates must pass these these four sections over a period of 18 months so it is important to plan a schedule for when you want to take each part of the CPA Exam to ensure that you don't lose credit for any exam sections by going over the 18 month rolling window. You cannot take the same section of an exam more than once during any testing window. For example, if you sit for FAR in January, you could also sit for AUD, but you would not be able to retake FAR until April.

How to I keep my license?

CPA Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is required to maintain your license and the requirements vary for each state. Continuing education for CPA professionals can be done online in almost every state, allowing you to keep your license current while saving you time and money. The continuing professional education requirements in California are as follows: no CPE is required during the first year of licensure. If the license was issued in an even-numbered year, 40 hours of CPE are required to renew the license the following year. Eight of the 40 hours must be in auditing and accounting subjects. After the first renewal period, the CPE requirement is 80 hours every two years. A minimum of 20 hours must be earned in each year. Sixteen of the 80 hours must be obtained in auditing and accounting subjects. The following State Boards no longer maintain a formal CPE Sponsor program. Instead, they have defined the requirements for acceptable CPE courses and Platinum Professional Services courses meet these standards. Platinum Professional Services offers a formal program of self study, provides interactive self study CPE courses, and issues certificates of completion for all courses as proof that you completed a course. All Platinum Professional Services self study courses meet the requirements for Interactive Self Study defined by the NASBA / AICPA standards for self study CPE programs, which is why our CPE courses can be used in the following states.

Course Features

We offer reliable, superior, quality CPE for CPAs at an affordable cost. Our CPA CPE courses will provide you with the knowledge to excel as a tax professional. Platinum Tax School is the only company to offer state supplements to further enhance your education. It does not get better than this. Our tax training will give you the confidence needed in obtaining the tax knowledge to prepare individual tax returns.  

Platinum Tax School offers automatic grading, feedback on your missed quiz questions, printable e-books conveniently located within each CPA CPE course and unlimited tries to pass the quizzes and final exam(s). We even offer full instructor support. Our CPA CPE classes are available to you for six months (180 days) upon purchase and will expire after the six month term. A "Student Course Forum" is available to chat with other students in the same course and a "General Student Forum" is available to chat with students in all courses. Learn 24/7, online and your own pace. Best of all, your certificate of completion is emailed you immediately following the successful completion of the CPA CPE credits. 

With Platinum Tax School there is no confusion, only a direct path to success. Feel free to discover the most proficient way to deepen your education and be efficient, all while saving you time and money. Here at Platinum Tax School, we make it easy for you without any added obstacles. Everyone wants to simplify their life and finally, we have the way.