Steps to Become a CPA

Step 1 - Education

What degree do you need?

  • Option 1- A Graduate degree in Accounting, Taxation or MBA from an AACSB or ACBSP accredited program.
  • Option 2 - A Baccalaureate degree in Accounting or Business from an AASCB or ACBSP accredited program. *With additional upper-division and graduate-level coursework.
  • Option 3 - A Baccalaureate or graduate degree not in Account or Business from a regionally accredited institution. *With specific credits in accounting and non-accounting courses.

*For more information on the courses required to sit for the exam with baccalaureate degrees visit NASBA's website.

 

How many credit hours do I need?

The requirements set forth in the the Utah Accountancy Act and defining rules are as follows:

  • -You must complete 120 hours of education to meet the education requirement set forth in the and defining to sit for the exams.
  • -You must complete 150 hours of education to apply for the CPA license.

If you are unsure whether your qualify to sit for the exam, NASBA provides an education checklist and details on their website.

Hint:The general rule of thumb is that obtaining an undergraduate degree in accounting plus a MAcc or an MBA with accounting courses as prescribed in the Certified Public Accounting Licensing Act Rules, from an appropriately accredited institution, will qualify you to sit for the exam.

$$$: If you attend a four year public university in Utah from which you also obtain an MBA or MAcc, you will most likely spend between $25,000-$60,000 on tuition.

Step 2 - Exam

What is the CPA Exam?

The CPA Exam is the national standard test everyone must pass to obtain a CPA license. There are four parts to the exam. Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). Each section is taken separately, typically, you must pass all parts of the CPA exam within an 18-month period. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many states are extending the 18-month window as testing centers have been closed. 

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) is the administering body for the CPA Exam. A first time application must be completed by applicants who have never applied to sit for the exam in Utah or who have previously applied and were denied as ineligible or incomplete.

You may apply for one or more sections of the exam at a time. You are welcome to apply for all four sections at once, this will save you money by only having to pay the application fee once and will set a firm goal of taking all sections of the exam in a  reasonable amount of time.

Send your official college transcripts as soon as they are available to help avoid delays. NASBA will not review your application until official transcripts are received.

For more information check out the CPA Exam Candidate Bulletin.

 

When can I take the Exams?

In response to numerous candidate requests, NASBA has announced that Continuous Testing for CPA Exam candidates will begin July 1, 2020. Under the new Continuous Testing model, candidates will have the ability to take the Exam year-round, without restriction,  other than waiting to receive scores from prior attempts of the same section or when there is a major change to the Exam.

Where are the testing centers in Utah?

There are four Prometric testing centers in Utah. Two in Salt Lake City, one in Utah County and the last in St. George.

Salt Lake City testing centers

201 S. 1460 E.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

5500 S. Redwood Rd.
Salt Lake City, UT 84123

Utah County testing center

350 S. 400 W.
Lindon, UT 84042

St. George testing center

46 S. 1000 E.
St. George, UT 84770

How much does it cost to take the Exams?

All first-time applications are required to pay both an application fee and an examination fee upon submission of the first-time application. All re-examination candidates are required to pay both a registration fee and an examination fee at the time of registration.

You are able to apply for one or more sections of the examination at a time; however, we recommend that you only apply for a section if you are ready to take it within the next nine months.

 

Application Fee$145.00 
  
Examination Fees 
Auditing and Attestation (AUD)   $224.99
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
 
 $224.99
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) 
 
 $224.99
Regulation (REG)  $224.99
    
Registration Fees 
4 examination sections   
 
 $110.00
3 examination sections   $95.00
2 examination sections $80.00
1 examination section   $65.00

Total cost = $1,044.96 + registration fees

Hint: There is no one right way to prepare to sit for the CPA Exam. You have completed 15 years of schooling and know what works for you. Speak with your peers and those that have come before you. Get different input on what worked for others and create your own study plan.

If you decide to register for a paid review course, check out the Student Resources for exclusive discounts for UACPA Student Affiliates.

Take CPA Exam practice tests

  • Make sure you are using an HD monitor. If you do not have an HD monitor, you will have to adjust the format of your screen size by clicking (CTRL +) in order to see the entire page and have the full functionality of the test.
  • The sample tests are not a complete, four-hour Exam. On average, it make take you up to two hours to complete each sample test.
  • Each Sample test has five testlests with 10 MCQs and 6 TBSs, except BEC, which has 10 MCQs, 3 TBSs and 2 WCTs.
  • By clicking the "HELP" icon in the toolbar of each sample test, you can access the tutorial topics.
  • You will not receive a score for completing a sample test.
  • To access the correct or sample answer:
    • MCQ - Click the "Show Correct Answer" button at the bottom of the screen
    • TBS - Open exhibit named "Show Correct Answer" (answer explanation and Exam Blueprint information also provided)
    • WCT - Open "Show Sample Response" for a sample answer

AUD practice test

BEC practice test

FAR practice test

REG practice test

Step 3 - Notice to Schedule

Once your application has been processed, it's determined that you are eligible to take the exam, and have paid your fees, you will receive a Notice to Schedule(NTS) from NASBA.  One NTS will be sent to you listing the section(s) of the exam that you are approved to take.You may now contact Prometric, the CPA Exam testing organization, to begin the  scheduling process.

After you schedule your exam there can be fees to reschedule or cancel your appointment.

What should you take to the exam?

1- Notice to Schedule (NTS)

2- Two forms of ID. One must be a drivers license or passport, the other can be a debit or credit card. Social security cards are not accepted.

* Your name on the NTS must match exactly the name on the ID you bring to the exam. 

Hint:When you apply to take the exam, choose to receive your NTS via email to speed up the process. Otherwise, the NTS will be mailed to you.

Step 4 - AICPA Ethics Exam

The AICPA Ethics Exam is an "open book" self-study exam that can be purchased directly from the UACPA. You must submit your answers to the AICPA before the expiration date  noted on your particular exam - usually 9 months to a year after purchase.  Your passing score, however, will not expire.

Hint:The Ethics Exam may be taken at any point in the process being described in these steps. You do not have to wait until you finish your education or experience. Upon purchase of the Ethics Exam from the UACPA, you may be eligible for a free one year trial membership.

$$$:You can purchase the Ethics Exam directly from the UACPA for $110.

Step 5 - Utah Laws & Rules Exam

Provexam administers the Utah Law & Rules Exam, which is an open book test that is completed on a computer. More information is available at www.provexam.com You can also call  them at 386-518-6889. 

This Examination Handbook can answer your questions related to the Utah Laws & Rules Exam.
 

Study Resources

DOPL Licensing Act, 58-1

General Rule of the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, R156-1

Certified Public Accountant Licensing Act, 58-26a

Certified Public Accountant Licensing Act Rule, R156-26a

Hint: Although the test is open book, it is timed. You should read through the materials at least once and highlight important sections so that you can easily find and refer to them during the exam.

Additional questions about licensure can be found on the DOPL website here.

$$$: It will cost $75 to register for the Utah Law & Rules Exam.

Step 6 - Experience

You must obtain 2000 hours, roughly equivalent to one year of “Accounting Experience,” prior to applying for your license. "Accounting Experience" means applying accounting and  auditing skills and principles,under the direct supervision of a current CPA, that are taught as a part of the education qualifying a person for licensure and generally accepted  by the  profession, under the supervision of a licensed certified public accountant.

Hint:"Accounting Experience" may be obtained before or after the education requirement is met. Internships and part-time jobs may count toward the experience requirement. Have the CPA you worked for sign the required paperwork before you leave - collecting it later can be difficult. Most often, individuals are obtaining their "Accounting Experience" while studying to sit for the exam.

Step 7 - Application

Wow! That was a lot of work, but you've finally made it! The final step is to make application to the State of Utah Department of Professional Licensing for your CPA License. Now  just sit back and wait for that certificate to arrive and plan on joining us at our Annual CPA Inauguration!

$$$: The application fee for CPA Licensure is $85.00.