A CPA certification is not required to work in accounting. However, to practice as a state licensed public accountant, an individual needs to meet certain state educational and experience requirements, along with passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination. The CPA exam is developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) but administered at the state level. The exam is designed to assess the knowledge and skills entry-level CPAs need to practice public accountancy. The CPA Exam is one of the three E’s that is required for licensure as a CPA in the U.S. (Education, Examination and Experience).  

The CPA exam and license for accounting professionals is delivered and awarded by state boards of accountancy in the 55 jurisdictions. There is no national CPA license. While the successful completion of the Uniform CPA Exam is a requirement in all 55 jurisdictions, education and experience requirements to both take the exam and become a licensed CPA may vary for each state or jurisdiction.

The Cairn University School of Business currently offers the following degree programs that prepare students to take the Certified Public Accounting exam in the state of Pennsylvania:

Degree programs: BS in Accounting, BS in Accounting/BS in Bible; and Dual-Level BS in Accounting/MBA.

If you plan to take the exam and practice as a licensed public accountant in another state, you should contact their state board of accountancy. State certification requirements can vary by state and territory and are also subject to change. Additional state requirements can include added examinations (e.g. ethics exam), further coursework, state residency requirements, and/or years of work experience. This is particularly important for international students, as there may be additional noncitizen requirements. Each state’s education, exam, and experience requirements are outlined on its official Board of Accountancy website, which can be found on the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website. 

Cairn University makes every effort to ensure the information provided here is accurate and up to date. However, as certification requirements are subject to change at any time, students interested in obtaining CPA professional accounting certification should check with the applicable state’s accountancy board to confirm official certification exam and licensure requirements. Because state certification requirements vary and change, we cannot confirm whether our accounting programs meet the requirements for certification in states other than Pennsylvania.  

Please Note: In addition to exam and experience requirements, Pennsylvania, as well as all U.S. states and territories, requires 150 credit hours of coursework for CPA licensure. Cairn University’s Bachelor of Science in Accounting/MBA program does satisfy this education requirement for graduates to be eligible to meet the CPA education requirements for licensure certification in Pennsylvania. 

Additional certification and contact information can be found on the American Institute of CPAs sponsored websites below.

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