Arkansas has some of the most comprehensive educational requirements of any state. This can be confusing for some new applicants, so if you are still in college make sure you are in a CPA track program that will meet all of the required credit hours. In addition, you must be an AR resident to take the exam, so if you have just moved to the state you’ll have to establish residency before you are eligible.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do to take the exam and get licensed.
Arkansas CPA Exam Requirements
In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in Arkansas, candidates must meet the following personal qualifications and educational requirements.
- No minimum age limit
- Not required to be a US citizen
- You must be an AR resident
- Valid Social Security Number required
- AR does participate in the International Examination Program
Educational Requirements to Sit
Like most states, Arkansas has moved to the 150 credit hour standard for licensure. It wasn’t until recently, July 2013, that AR allowed candidates to sit for the test before they completed the 150 hours. Now the state allows up to 3 years from passing the exam to obtain the additional 30 semester hours. This is what is required to sit.
Bachelor’s Degree or higher with one of the following or a combination of both:
- 30 credit hours in Upper level Accounting
- 20 graduate credit hours in Accounting
- 30 credit hours of general Business classes like Economics and Management
Many times graduate credits are measured on a quarterly basis, so they don’t always directly transfer to regular under graduate semester hours. Make sure to talk with you school and the state board to confirm your eligibility.
The total cost to take the CPA exam in Arkansas is $849.08 including an initial one-time $120 application fee. The cost for each section is listed below.
|AUD – Audit||$192.03|
|FAR – Financial Accounting and Reporting||$192.03|
|BEC – Business Environment and Concepts||$172.51|
|REG – Regulation||$172.51|
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 $75 for one section and vary depending on how many your sign up for at once, so only sign up for the exams that you are ready to sit for in the next 6 months.
Here is the breakdown for the registration fees you will have to pay. As you can see, registering more exams at once will save you some money.
- 1 section $75.00
- 2 sections $90.00
- 3 sections $105.00
- 4 sections $120.00
CPA License Requirements
Taking the exam is only the first step in becoming a CPA in the state of Arkansas. After you sit for the big test, there are a few things administrative things you must do 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 $50 certification fee when you send in your initial license 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
Like most states, Arkansas requires a brief work experience requirement be met after passing the exam. You must have:
1-year in Public Accounting, Private Industry, or Governmental Accounting
More Exam Resources and Information
As you can see, between applying, taking the exam, and sending your paperwork, it can be an involved, especially if you attended more than one college. Before you can sit for the exam, you’ll have to send in transcripts from every college you’ve attended. This can be a pain.
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.
- 101 East Capitol, Suite 450
- Little Rock, AR 72201
- Phone: 501-682-1520
- Fax: 501-682-5538
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.