In 2007, Massachusetts enacted the 150-rule where candidates have to complete all 150 semester hours within 3 years from passing the exam. Applicants do, however, have to complete a bachelor’s degree including 120 credit hours in order to take the exam. MA also allows you to waive the work experience requirements if you graduate with a Master’s degree. This can be a great alternative for people who want to go straight into academic teaching.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do to take the exam and get licensed.
Massachusetts CPA Exam Requirements
In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in Massachusetts, candidates must meet the following personal qualifications and educational requirements.
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Not Required to be a US citizen
- Not Required to be a MA resident
- Valid Social Security Number required
- MA does participate in the International Examination Program
Educational Requirements to Sit
In order to sit for the Massachusetts CPA exam, you will have to complete at least 120 credit hours of college level courses. This is a pretty standard rule among all states. MA also requires the following course work be completed before your application.
Bachelor’s Degree (120 semester hours) or higher including:
- 21 credit hours of Accounting including financial accounting, auditing, cost accounting, and taxation
- 9 credit hours of General Business courses including Management, Finance, Business Law, and Computer Information Systems
At this time, there is no provision for students to take CPA exam early in MA. You have to wait until you graduate with at least an undergraduate degree before you can apply.
The total cost to take the CPA exam in Massachusetts is $924.00 including an initial one-time $195 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 get crazy and register for all the sections immediately. Your notice to sit (NIT) will expire if you don’t take the exam in 6 months and you will have to re-register. The bummer is you will have to pay again in order to register. Re-registration application fees are $117 and varied depending on how many you register for, so only sign up for the exams that you are ready to sit for in the next 6 months.
Unfortunately, MA has some of the most expensive registration fees out of any state. 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 $117.00
- 2 sections $137.00
- 3 sections $157.00
- 4 sections $177.00
CPA License Requirements
You might be a little overwhelmed by the CPA exam process. It’s okay! You can make it. Registering for the test is only the first step in becoming a CPA in MA. After you pass the exam, there are a few simple things you have to do before you can legally 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 license/certification fees with your application.
No Ethics exam is required.
If you haven’t completed the 150 hours of college classes by the time you passed your exam, you will need to complete your additional 30 semester hours within 3 years from the time you passed the last section.
Work Experience Requirements
Massachusetts has two different work experience requirements depending on what type of license you want to get. A non-reporting license has much more lenient rules than the reporting license. Here’s what you need to do for both.
Non-Reporting License Requirements
1-year or 2,000 hours of general accounting experience in Public Accounting supervised by a current CPA
3-years of general accounting experience in Private Industry or Governmental Accounting performing the same procedures as an equal public accountant.
Reporting License Requirements
1-year or 2,000 hours of general accounting experience in Public Accounting supervised by a CPA in good standing including:
1,000 hours of attest procedures with a maximum of 300 hours of full disclosure compilation engagements.
Keep in mind that MA does offer a waiver for work experience if you graduate with a Master’s degree that fulfills their specified course work.
More Exam Resources and Information
The application process, taking the exam, and organizing your paperwork to be sent in can be quite an involved, especially if you attended more than one college. Yes, the Massachusetts state board will need proof of your education, so you’ll have to send in transcripts from every college you’ve attended. This can be a pain. I know.
I think it’s always a good idea to contact the state board directly to see what they already have on file and more importantly what they need to complete your application.
For example, sometimes the state doesn’t receive your test scores from Prometrics. Unfortunately, most state boards rarely notify you that something is missing. It’s important to contact them directly and confirm they have everything they need before you get too far along in the process.
Here is the contact info for the state board.
- 1000 Washington Street Suite 710
- Boston, MA 02118
- Phone: 617-727-1806
- Fax: 617-727-2197
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.