Alabama is one of only a few states to maintain the two-tier method. This means if you pass all four sections of the exam, you’ll be issued a certificate immediately. You will not be fully licensed to practice until you fulfill the work experience requirements. This includes 1-year or working public accounting or 2-years of working in a business, private industry, government, or college teaching. After your work experience is done, you can get fully licensed.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do to take the exam and get licensed.
Alabama CPA Exam Requirements
In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in Alabama, candidates must meet the following personal qualifications and educational requirements.
- At least 19 years old
- Must be a US citizen
- Not required to be an AL resident
- Valid Social Security Number required
- AL does not participate in the International Examination Program
Educational Requirements to Sit
Before you sit for the exam you will have to complete at least 150 college credit hours AND graduate with at least a Bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor’s degree or higher including 150 credit hours include the following:
33 credit hours of accounting broken up into:
- 9 hours in financial accounting
- 6 hours in auditing
- 6 hours in taxation
- 3 hours management accounting
- 3 hours in governmental and not-for-profit accounting
- 6 hours in accounting electives
- 3 hours in business law concentrating primarily on the Uniform Commercial Code.
27 credit hours of general business focusing on
- Business Ethics
- Business Communication
- General Business
The state of Alabama also allows non-traditional students to sit for the exam who have fulfilled either of these two educational requirements:
Obtain a graduate degree in accounting from a program with curriculum that has been accredited by the AACSB or American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. A few other accreditations are also acceptable.
If you are a non-traditional student who didn’t major in accounting, you can still sit for the test. You must obtain a graduate degree in business from an AACSB accredited program that meets all the credit hour requirements first listed in this section.
The total cost to take the CPA exam in Alabama is $900 including an initial one-time $100 application fee. The cost for each section is listed below.
|AUD – Audit||$215.00|
|FAR – Financial Accounting and Reporting||$215.00|
|BEC – Business Environment and Concepts||$185.00|
|REG – Regulation||$185.00|
The fees are typically based on the duration of the exam. That’s why the FAR and AUD exams cost the most.
IMPORTANT – Don’t go all out and register for all the sections at once. Your NIT or notice to sit is only valid for six months. After that, it will expire and you will have to re-register. Re-registration application fees are $50 per section, so only sign up for the exams that you are ready to sit for in the next 6 months.
CPA License Requirements
Taking the exam is obviously only one step in the process of actually getting licensed in the state of Alabama. After you sit for the big test, you’ll still have to complete a few things before you can truly call yourself a Certified Public Accountant.
Pass the Exam
You’ll have to pass all four sections of the exam with a score of at least 75 in an 18-month period.
Submit all the required paperwork to the state board usually includes transcripts, license application, and proof of work experience.
Pay the $75 license/certification fees with your application.
Take and pass the AICPA Professional Ethics exam (found on the AICPA website)
If you didn’t complete your 150 credit hours of college courses, you will need to do so before you will be issued a license.
Work Experience Requirements
After completing the exam you must fulfill one of the following work experience requirements before you can get certified.
1-years of general accounting and auditing skills in Public Accounting supervised and verified by a CPA in good standing.
2-years in Private Industry, Governmental Accounting, or Teaching
More Exam Resources and Information
As you can see, this is kind of an involved process of sending all of your information to the state board, especially if you attended more than one college. Yes, you will have to send in transcripts from every college you attended.
It’s sometimes easiest to contact the state board directly to see what they need and what they already have on file. For example, they should already have your test scores if you requested a copy be sent to them in your exam application process.
Here is the contact info for the state board.
- PO Box 300375
- Montgomery, AL 36130-0375
- Phone: 334-242-5700
- Toll Free Phone: 1-800-435-9743
- Fax: 334-242-2711
Time to Get Busy!
OK. So you have all the information to get signed up for the exam. Now you need to find a study guide that will work for you. Depending on how you learn, your overall time frame goals, and budget, picking the right CPA review course can be tricky. Don’t waste any time though. Jump into it right away.
Generally, state boards take anywhere from one to three months to review and approve your application. You can spend this time to choose your first CPA exam section and study to pass the CPA exam your first try.