Can You Sit For The CPA Exam With 120 Credits

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 4 minute read

“CPA” is a term you’re likely familiar with if you’ve spent any time researching a career in accounting. One who is a certified public accountant (CPA) For the most part, they are well-respected business and financial advisors and decision-makers. A CPA’s day-to-day responsibilities include assisting businesses and individuals alike in developing and achieving their financial goals.

Exam for Certified Public Accountants

The Exam’s Essentials

The path to becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) is not an easy one. All aspiring CPAs are required to pass a comprehensive exam. Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation are all four four-hour sections of the exam (REG). Before taking the test, previous successful test-takers recommend studying between 300-400 hours (or 80-100 hours per section).

The order in which test takers take their exams is completely up to them. A minimum of a 75 on each section is required for passing, and students have 18 months to complete the exam. Within an 18-month period, the oldest exam must be retaken if a student fails to pass all four sections of the exam. Between 9 and 15 months, the vast majority of test-takers finish all sections.

Exam Requirements for the CPA Exam.

It’s possible to sit for the CPA exam while you’re a student, but it’s not the best idea. The requirements for taking the CPA exam vary from state to state. The CPA exam requirements for the state in which you plan to practice will need to be examined by any aspiring test-takers. If you’re interested in learning more about a specific state right now, head over to this page.

To sit for any section of the exam, most states require that you have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited accounting program. In other states, taking the exam necessitates completing at least 150 semester hours of college coursework. A work experience or internship may also be required by some states.

Some states allow students to begin studying for the exam while still in school, but this is not the norm. Students must have completed specific courses and have only a limited number of courses remaining before they can graduate to be eligible for this program. Freshmen and sophomores are not allowed to sit for the CPA exam before graduation. Most often, a senior can only finish one of the four sections of the final exam before graduating.

Requirements for Non-Accounting Majors to Take the CPA Exam

To sit for the CPA exam, you’ll need to have earned at least a bachelor’s degree, but it doesn’t have to be in accounting. The CPA exam requirements for non-accounting majors will once again vary from state to state, as noted above. A bachelor’s degree in accounting is currently not required in five states (ME, HI, MA, GA and AK). If you are applying for a license in another state, you don’t have to sit for the exam there. Candidates who meet the requirements can take the exam at any of the country’s Prometric testing centers.

No bachelor’s degree in accounting is required in these states, but they do require accounting college credits and coursework, hours of “internship” work under the supervision of a certified CPA, and/or work experience in the field of accountancy itself. Individuals in these states who wish to take the exam may be required to complete work experience or additional accounting coursework in order to be eligible to take it.

The 150-Credit Minimum

As briefly mentioned above, in order to sit for the CPA exam, students must have completed 150 college credits, regardless of whether or not they majored in accounting. The typical 120-credit bachelor’s degree program lasts four years. Some students may find this additional college credit requirement frustrating, but most accounting students plan to pursue an MBA and those courses and credits will count toward that degree. Non-accounting majors could use these additional college credits to make up for any accounting courses they may be missing in their curriculum.

Is it Possible to Become a CPA While Attending School?

In some states, it is possible to become a certified public accountant (CPA) while still in college. However, the chances of it happening are extremely low. These additional courses and credits would have to be taken throughout the four years of college, as well as work experience and an additional 300-400 hours of study in the final months of their senior year. Despite the fact that this is possible, it is not advisable. Prior to graduating, a student who is well-prepared and academically on track should aim to finish one or two sections of the exam.

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