Unlike most states, Montana does not require a valid social security number to take the exam. This makes MT a great state for international candidates, mainly in Canada, to come and take the exam in the U.S. Montana is also one of few states that still operates a two tier system where you get a CPA certificate issued you to immediately after passing the exam. A license can be applied for separately after you finish the 150 credit hour requirement.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do to take the exam and get licensed.
Montana CPA Exam Requirements
In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in Montana, candidates must meet the following personal qualifications and educational requirements.
- No minimum age limit
- Not Required to be a US citizen
- Not Required to be a MT resident
- Not Required to have a Valid Social Security Number
- MT does participate in the International Examination Program
Educational Requirements to Sit
Like most 150-credit rule states, Montana only requires an undergraduate degree that reaches 120 credit hours in order to be eligible. The bachelor’s degree must fulfill a few other course work qualifications as well. Here’s what you will need to do:
Bachelor’s Degree or higher (at least 120 semester hours) including:
- 24 credit hours of upper level Accounting including auditing, financial and managerial accounting, and taxation.
- 24 credit hours of General Business courses including: Management, Finance, Business Law, and Economics
Currently MT does not have a provision for student applicants to take the exam before they graduate.
Note: If you are a Canadian candidate looking to sit in Montana, you should know that MT only recognizes FACS.
The total cost to take the CPA exam in Montana is $924.08 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 try to get ahead of yourself and register for all four sections at once. 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 $90 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.
Here is the breakdown for the registration fees you will have to pay if you re-register in Montana. As you can see, registering more exams at once will save you some money.
- 1 section $90.00
- 2 sections $105.00
- 3 sections $120.00
- 4 sections $135.00
CPA License Requirements
The whole exam process can be kind of overwhelming when you first start looking into it. It’s okay! You can make it. Applying and registering for the test is just the first step in becoming a CPA in MT. Once you pass the exam, there are a few simple things you have to do before you can legally call yourself a Certified Public Accountant.
Since Montana is a two-tier state, you will be issued your CPA certificate as soon as you graduate and pass the exam.
After you have your certificate, you’ll need to fulfill the licensure requirements and apply for a state license. 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.
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
Montana has a pretty standard one-year work experience requirement for all CPA candidates. Here are the details.
1-year or 2,000 hours of general accounting and auditing skills in Public Accounting supervised and verified by a CPA in good standing.
2-year or 4,000 hours of general accounting experience in Governmental Accounting, Private Industry, or University setting that must be verified by an active CPA in good standing.
Note: You can use work hours earned up to 5 years before you apply for your CPA license.
More Exam Resources and Information
Gathering your paperwork, applying to sit, and actually taking the exam can be pretty involved. I know. It can be even worse if you transferred to multiple colleges during your undergraduate program. This is something not a lot of applicants think about. Yes, the Montana state board needs proof of all of your education. You will have to send in transcripts from every college you’ve attended. This can be a pain depending on your school.
This is why I think it’s always a good idea to contact the state board directly. You can find out what they already have on file and more importantly what they need to complete your application. Nothing is worse than finding out they need something after the fact.
For instance, states don’t always receive your test scores from Prometrics. Things can get lost or forgotten about. Unfortunately, most state boards rarely notify you that something is missing. Directly contacting the board is the fastest way to confirm that they have everything they need before you get too far along in the process.
Here is the contact info for the state board.
- 301 S Park (59601)
- P.O. Box 200513
- Helena, MT 59620-0513
- Phone: 406-841-2389
- Fax: 406-841-232
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.