Pennsylvania does have a 150-credit rule, but you are only required to complete a bachelor’s degree consisting of 120 semester hours in order to sit for the exam. The PA work experience and general education requirements are pretty standard across states even though it doesn’t allow you to take a section before you graduate college.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do to take the exam and get licensed.
Pennsylvania CPA Exam Requirements
In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in Pennsylvania, 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 a PA resident
- Valid Social Security Number Required
- PA does participate in the International Examination Program
Educational Requirements to Sit
Pennsylvania requires 150 college credit hours to become licensed but only 120 hours to take the test. Those 120 semester hours must be made up of the following courses:
Bachelor’s Degree or higher (at least 120 semester hours) including:
- 24 credit hours of Accounting courses including financial and managerial accounting, and auditing.
- 24 credit hours of General Business courses like Economics, Finance, and Management.
Unfortunately, PA does not have a provision for students to take the exam before they graduate.
The total cost to take the CPA exam in Pennsylvania is $824.08 including an initial one-time $95 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 $95, 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 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 PA. We have all done it and know what you are going through. It’s kind of like a right of passage. Once you pass the exam, here is what you need to do before you can legally call yourself a Certified Public Accountant.
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 didn’t complete the 150 credit hours before you took the exam, you will need to do so in order to apply for your CPA license.
Work Experience Requirements
Pennsylvania has a simple work experience qualification of one year before you can get certified. You will need to complete:
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 the application process, gathering your paperwork, and taking the exam is extremely involved especially if you attended more than one college. The Pennsylvania 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 is always a good idea during the application process. You can find out if they need anything to approve your application and what they have on file. There is nothing 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! What a 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.
- 2601 North Third Street
- Harrisburg, PA 17110
- Phone: 717-783-1404
- Fax: 717-705-5540
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.