How to Become a Licensed CPA in Tennessee

Tennessee, like many modern states, now requires 150 credit hours to take the CPA exam. These credits can be made up of either an undergraduate or graduate degree as long as certain courses are included. Luckily, TN offers students the ability to sit for the exam up to 200 days before their education is complete. This is pretty awesome for the candidates willing to take advantage of it.

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

Tennessee CPA Exam Requirements

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

Educational Requirements to Sit

Tennessee requires a full 150 credit hours before you can take the exam. This is a pretty standard rule among most states. In addition, you 150 credit hours must be made up of the following curriculum.

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

  • 30 credit hours of Accounting including at least 24 hours of upper level accounting classes
  • 24 credit hours of General Business courses like Business Law, Economics, and Management also including at least 12 hours of upper level classes.

Think about taking advantage of the early exam option. It’s a great way to go into your first set of post college interviews by saying you have already taken one section. Firms are usually pretty impressed by that!

Exam Fees

The total cost to take the CPA exam in Tennessee is $884.08 including an initial one-time $155 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 $75 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

Tennessee 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 $75.00
  • 2 sections $100.00
  • 3 sections $125.00
  • 4 sections $150.00

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 TN. 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

There are no additional education courses that you need to complete after you have reached the 150 required to take the exam.

Work Experience Requirements

Tennessee has fairly strict requirements for both the candidate and the CPA supervisor during the work experience program. Here is what you need to complete:

1-year or 2,000 hours of general accounting and auditing skills in Public Accounting supervised and verified by a CPA with at least 2 years of attest service experience.

The 2,000 hours much be complete between 1 and 3 years from passing the exam.

More Exam Resources and Information

The application process can be a little daunting especially if you attended more than one college. The Tennessee 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. I know this first hand. My transcripts actually got lost in the mail. I had to send them twice from one of my colleges! It was a huge pain and added two weeks to my application process.

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.

Tennessee State Board of Accountancy

Tennessee CPA Application Forms

    • 500 James Robertson Parkway
    • Davy Crockett Tower
    • Nashville, TN 37243-1141


  • Phone: 615-741-2550
  • Fax: 615-532-8800


Tennessee Society of CPAs

NASBA – Tennessee