Steps to Licensure
Once the professional has met the basic educational requirements, tackling the licensure track takes a bit of finesse. Choose the state of licensure with care. The state where the professional will take the CPA exam determines the requirements for the designation. There are subtle differences -- frequently with respect to the makeup of the previously mentioned 150 semester hours of coursework. For example:
California: The candidate must provide the licensing board with a valid social security number and pass the Professional Ethics for CPAs (PETH) exam. The candidate must further file a criminal conviction disclosure form that includes expunged records and submit to live scan fingerprinting.
Florida: Florida CPA candidates are required to pass each of the four examination aspects within 18 months; the cumulative score must be 75 percent. The candidate must show at least one year of work experience in the field of accountancy while under the direct supervision of an already licensed CPA. With respect to education, 36 semester hours -- of the aforementioned 150 -- must involve auditing, taxation, cost/managerial accounting, financial coursework and information systems. Six semester hours must cover business law.
Guam: The Board of Accountancy specifies that candidates for licensure do not have to have passed the CPA exam in its jurisdiction. However, to qualify for a Guam-issued license to practice accountancy, the candidate must either show a track-record 4,000 hours of hands-on professional experience or one year’s worth of experience and 150 education hours. The time-frame for showing this experience must be more than one year but less than five.
Illinois: The State of Illinois sets a one-year work experience record as one prerequisite for the receipt of a professional license. It is interesting to note that the Illinois Board of Examiners administers the CPA examination, yet it is the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation that governs the issuance of the practice license and the registration license.
Texas: Licensure requirements in Texas enumerate the need for “good moral character." Of the 150 semester hours, 30 must include accounting courses of an upper-level nature. A board-approved three-semester-hour ethics course is another requirement.
The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy offers direct links to the various states’ examination and licensure requirements. Once these prerequisites are met, the candidate will sit for the uniform CPA examination in the state of choice. Upon passing the exam -- once again, there are state-specific requirements for a minimum score or time frame -- the professional applies for the license in the state where she plans to practice.