How to Become a Licensed CPA in Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia is a two-tiered jurisdiction. This means once you pass the CPA exam, you will be immediately issued a certificate. You will, however, have to fulfill more requirements before you are awarded with a full-blown license. Either way, it’s still cool to get the certificate early. ☺

Washington DC has adopted the general 150 credit hour rule that most other states have done in recent years. The 150 hours is only required to obtain your license. You are eligible to sit for the exam as long as you have graduated with an accredited bachelor’s degree and completed at least 120 college semester hours includes the required accounting classes. you are all set to take the exam.

Let’s take a look at what you need to do to take the exam and get licensed.

District of Columbia CPA Exam Requirements

In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in District of Columbia, candidates must meet the following personal qualifications and educational requirements.

  • Must be at least 18 years or older
  • Not required to be a US citizen
  • Must be a DC resident
  • Valid Social Security Number required
  • DC does participate in the International Examination Program

Educational Requirements to Sit

Although Washington DC requires 150 credit hours to get certified, you can take the test before you have reached the 150 credit limit. In order to be eligible for the exam in DC, you’ll have to complete the following.

Bachelor’s Degree (120 credit hours) including the following:

    • 27 credit hours in Accounting classes including:
      • 3 credit hours in commercial law
      • 3 credit hours in financial accounting
      • 3 credit hours in auditing
      • 3 credit hours in cost or managerial accounting
      • 3 credit hours in federal income taxation


  • 12 credit hours in general business courses like Finance, Management, and Marketing

Additional requirements can be fulfilled after you have taken and passed the exam.

Exam Fees

According to the DC state board, the total cost to take the CPA exam in District of Columbia is $959.50 including an initial one-time $175 application fee. The cost for each section is listed below.


AUD – Audit $207.15
FAR – Financial Accounting and Reporting $207.15
BEC – Business Environment and Concepts $185.10
REG – Regulation $185.10


The fees are typically based on the duration of the exam. That’s why the FAR and AUD exams cost the most. The initial application fee of $175 includes a refundable $110 fee that can be used to offset your license fees in the future.

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 $65 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.

CPA License Requirements

You might be thinking that just taking the exam is a huge process. You’re right, but it’s only the first step in becoming a CPA in DC. After you pass the exam, there are a few administrative things you must do before you can truly call yourself a Certified Public Accountant. Here is the basic process.

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 $100 certification fee when you send in your initial license application.

Ethics Exam

No Ethics exam is required.

Additional Education

150 credit hours must be completed including:

  • 27 hours of accounting
  • 12 hours of general business

Work Experience Requirements

Like most states, DC requires a pretty straight forward work experience requirement before you get your official license. Here’s what you’ll have to complete:

1-year of experience in Public Accounting, Private Industry, or Governmental Accounting supervised by a current CPA

More Exam Resources and Information

The entire process of applying, taking the exam, and sending your paperwork can be quite an involved, especially if you attended more than one college. Since you have to show proof of your education, you’ll have to send in transcripts from every college you’ve attended. This can be a pain.

A lot of times it’s easier to contact the state board directly to see what they already have on file and what they need to complete your application. For example, sometimes your test scores aren’t received by the state even if you requested a copy be sent to them in your exam application process. It’s a good idea to contact them directly to confirm they have everything they need.

Here is the contact info for the state board.

District of Columbia State Board of Accountancy

District of Columbia CPA Application Forms

    • 1100 4th St., S.W.
    • Washington, D.C. 20024


  • Phone: 202-442-4320
  • Fax: 202-442-9445


District of Columbia Society of CPAs

NASBA – District of Columbia