How to Become a Licensed CPA in Ohio

Ohio requires that all candidates be residents and complete at least 150 semester hours and a bachelor’s degree before they site for the exam. These rules are by far the strictest out of any state. OH also mandates that all applicants have a criminal background checks before a CPA license is issued.

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

Ohio CPA Exam Requirements

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

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Not Required to be a US citizen
  • Must be an OH resident
  • Valid Social Security Number Required
  • OH does participate in the International Examination Program

Educational Requirements to Sit

Before you can take the exam, you will need to complete a Bachelor’s degree or higher including 150 semester hours of college courses. OH also dictates how these classes should be split between general accounting and business credit. You can accomplish this by either getting a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Let’s take a look at what courses you will need to take in order to sit for the exam:

Bachelor’s Degree (at least 150 semester hours) including:

  • 30 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.


Master’s Degree (at least 150 semester hours) including:

  • 30 credit hours of upper level Accounting
  • 18 credit hours of General Business

Unfortunately, Ohio does not allow students to take the exam before they graduate or finish the required course work.

Exam Fees

The total cost to take the CPA exam in Ohio is $869.08 including an initial one-time $140 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 $70 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.

Registration Fees

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 $70.00
  • 2 sections $90.00
  • 3 sections $110.00
  • 4 sections $130.00

CPA License Requirements

The CPA exam process is involved and usually overwhelming for first time applicants. Don’t worry. You will make it! Applying for the test is just the first step in becoming a CPA in OH. 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, here is what you need 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.

Ethics Exam

Take and pass the Ohio Professional Ethics exam. The AICPA exam is not required.

Additional Education

Since you are required to complete entire 150 credit hours requirements before you take the exam, no additional requirements need to be met afterward.

Work Experience Requirements

Ohio 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, Private Industry, Government, or Academic teaching supervised and verified by a CPA in good standing.

More Exam Resources and Information

I know that applying to sit, gathering your paperwork, and taking the exam is extremely involved especially if you attended more than one college. Keep in mind, the Ohio 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.

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.

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 from one of my colleges! It was a major pain.

Directly contacting the board is the 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.

Ohio State Board of Accountancy

Ohio CPA Application Forms

    • 77 South High Street 18th Floor
    • Columbus, OH 43215-6128


  • Phone: 614-466-4135
  • Fax: 614-466-2628


Ohio Society of CPAs

NASBA – Ohio