How to Become a Licensed CPA in South Carolina

Although South Carolina does required that you complete a bachelor’s degree and 150 credit hours to become certified, you only have to complete an undergraduate degree with 120 college credit hours to sit for the exam. SC has a few rules that other states do not have. For instance, a valid social security number is required but a lawful permanent residence number can be used in instead. The work experience requires are also more laid back than most states.

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

South Carolina CPA Exam Requirements

In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in South Carolina, 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 SC resident
  • Valid Social Security Number Required
  • SC does participate in the International Examination Program

Educational Requirements to Sit

South Carolina only requires that you complete an undergraduate degree including 120 hours before you can take the test. Here is what your course curriculum should look like:

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

  • 24 credit hours of Accounting including:
    • Financial Accounting
    • Managerial Accounting
    • Taxation
    • Auditing
  • 24 credit hours of General Business course like Business Law, Economics, and Management

Exam Fees

The total cost to take the CPA exam in South Carolina is $864.08 including an initial one-time $135 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 – I know you are excited to sign up and get started, but don’t try to get ahead of yourself and register for all four sections at once. Your notice to sit will expire if you don’t take the exam in 6 months. This means you will have to re-register and pay an additional registration fee. Re-registration application fees are $65 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

South Carolina fees are pretty standard among other states, but it doesn’t mean you should have to pay these extra fees. As you can see, registering more exams at once will save you some money.

  • 1 section $60.00
  • 2 sections $75.00
  • 3 sections $90.00
  • 4 sections $105.00

CPA License Requirements

The CPA exam process is involved and usually pretty overwhelming for first time applicants. Don’t worry. You can do it! Applying for the test is just the first step in becoming a CPA in SC. Trust me. I know what you’re going through. We have all have been there. It’s kind of like a right of passage. After you pass the exam, here are the things you need to do before you can truly 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.

Ethics Exam

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

Additional Education

If you took the exam with 120 credit hours, you will need to take an additional 30 semester hours before you can apply for your CPA license. Your total 150 college credit hours must include:

36 credit hours of Accounting courses with at least 24 being upper level classes.

Principles and intro classes will not be counted as upper level.

Work Experience Requirements

South Carolina has a unique work experience program in that they allow part time employment and work started up to 24 months before you take the exam. 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.

Non-Public accounting can only be used if it is approved by the SC Board of Accountancy.

These requirements are pretty lenient. Take advantage of them and get this qualification out of the way. While you are still an undergrad, you can even use an internship to count toward your total hours. In other words, you could have this entire thing done before you even graduate or take the exam!

More Exam Resources and Information

The application process can be a little daunting especially if you attended more than one college. The South Carolina state board will need evidence of all of your education. This means that you will need to mail in transcripts from every college you’ve attended.

That is why I always recommend contacting the state board during the application process. They will let you know what they have on file and what they need to approve your application. Believe me. There is nothing worse than finding out you forgot something at the end of the process.

Unfortunately, most state boards rarely notify you that something is missing. Things can get lost or forgotten about. 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 pain and added an extra 2 weeks to my application time.

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.

South Carolina State Board of Accountancy

South Carolina CPA Application Forms

    • Kingstree Building (29210)
    • 110 Centerview Drive, Suite 104, P.O. Box 11329
    • Columbia, SC 29210


  • Phone: 803-896-4770
  • Fax: 803-896-4554


South Carolina Society of CPAs

NASBA – South Carolina