How to Become a Licensed CPA in North Dakota

North Dakota is a strict state that requires candidates to complete 150 credit hours in order to sit for the exam. Since this is such a heavy qualification, ND allows students to take the exam up to 6 months before they complete the full 150-credit rule. This is a great opportunity for you to knock one or even two sections out before you even graduate!

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

North Dakota CPA Exam Requirements

In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in North Dakota, 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 ND resident
  • Valid Social Security Number Required
  • ND does participate in the International Examination Program

Educational Requirements to Sit

North Dakota’s 150-credit rule is becoming more standard among the different states. Before you can take the exam, you will need to complete a Bachelor’s degree or higher including 150 semester hours of courses. Let’s take a look at what courses you will need to take in order to sit for the exam:

Bachelor’s Degree or higher (at least 120 semester hours) including:

  • 24 credit hours of upper level Accounting courses including financial and managerial accounting, and auditing.
  • 24 credit hours of General Business courses like Economics, Finance, and Management.

Remember, you can start you application process up to 6 months before you complete these courses. That’s basically 2 semesters of college. This means you can get the entire application, approval process, and one exam section out of the way a before you even finish your undergraduate. It’s a great advantage that most states don’t have. Don’t waste this opportunity! Trust me.

Exam Fees

The total cost to take the CPA exam in North Dakota 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 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 $60, so only sign up for the exams that you are ready to sit for in the next 6 months.

CPA License Requirements

The CPA exam process can be overwhelming to anyone who hasn’t been through it before. It’s okay! You will make it. Applying for the test is just the first step in becoming a CPA in ND. It’s kind of like a right of passage. We have all done it and know what you are going through. After you pass the exam, you will have to do a few simple things 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.

Ethics Exam

Take and pass the AICPA Professional Ethics exam (found on the AICPA website)

Additional Education

Since you are required to complete your bachelor’s degree including 24 hours of accounting and 24 hours of business courses totaling 150 credit hours in order to take the exam, no additional requirements need to be met.

Work Experience Requirements

North Dakota has a standard one-year work experience qualification. Here are the details.

1-year or 2,000 hours of general accounting and auditing skills in Public Accounting or Private Industry supervised and verified by a CPA in good standing.

More Exam Resources and Information

The entire process from gathering your paperwork, applying to sit, studying, and sitting for the exam is pretty involved. I know exactly how you feel. Just know that we all have been through the same thing.

Remember, the North Dakota state board will need proof of all of your education. You will have to send in transcripts from every college you’ve attended if more than one. Sometimes this can be difficult and time-consuming depending on the colleges you attended.

Contacting the state board during the application process is always a good idea. You can find out what they have on file and what they need to approve your application. Nothing is worse than finding out they need something after the fact.

Many times, states don’t receive test scores from Prometrics. Things can get lost or forgotten about. It happens. Unfortunately, most state boards rarely notify you that something is missing. This happened to me. My transcripts actually got lost in the mail. I had to send them twice!

Directly contacting the board is the fastest and easiest way to confirm that they have everything they need before you get too far along in your application.

Here is the contact info for the state board.

North Dakota State Board of Accountancy

North Dakota CPA Application Forms

    • 2701 S. Columbia Road
    • Grand Forks, ND 58201-6029


  • Phone: 800-532-5904
  • Fax: 701-775-7430


North Dakota Society of CPAs

NASBA – North Dakota