CPA Requirements

What is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)?

A CPA is a certified public accountant who is licensed by the state. In California, to earn a CPA license, individuals are required to demonstrate their knowledge and competence by meeting high educational standards, passing an exam, and completing a specified amount of general accounting experience.

The California Board of Accountancy has outlined two pathways for earning a CPA license:

Pathways
Pathway 1 Pathway 2
Pathway 1: Pathway 1 is designed for individuals who will practice only in California and requires:* Pathway 2: Pathway 2 is similar to the licensing requirements of many other states. If you are licensed under this pathway, the majority of other states will recognize your license. As a result, if you anticipate you may practice in another state, Pathway 2 may provide you the professional mobility you desire. It requires:*
  • A bachelor's degree;
  • 24 semester units (or 36 quarter units) in accounting-related subjects;
  • 24 semester units (or 36 quarter units) in business-related subjects.
  • Note: accounting courses beyond the 24 (36) required units may apply toward the business units);
  • Passing the Uniform CPA Exam
  • Two years of general accounting experience supervised by a licensed CPA; and
  • Passing an ethics course
  • A bachelor's degree;
  • 24 semester units (or 36 quarter units) in accounting-related subjects;
  • 24 semester units (or 36 quarter units) in business-related subjects. Note: accounting courses beyond the 24 (36) required units may apply toward the business units);
  • 150 semester units (or 225 quarter units) of education;
  • Passing the Uniform CPA Exam;
  • One year of general accounting experience supervised by a licensed CPA; and
  • Passing an ethics course

*Taken from the California Society of CPA online website http://www.calcpa.org

The following courses at CSUH will satisfy the coursework unit requirement and includes the following:

Courses
Subjects Suggested Courses Units
Accounting-related subjects including accounting, auditing, & taxation; 24 semester units (or 36 quarter units); note: ACCT courses taken in excess of this 36 quarter requirement may count towards business-related subjects listed below • ACCT 2251 or 6011 4
• ACCT 3170 4
• ACCT 2253 or 6011, 3230 2-8
• ACCT 3220,4220,4221 4-12
• ACCT 3211,3213, 4211, 6012, 6013 12-16
• ACCT 4223, 4250, 4911, 6251 16
• Other courses such as ACCT 4210, 4370, 4704 and graduate coursework such as ACCT 6211,6212,6230,6250 & 6000-level tax courses 0-12
     
Business-related subjects including business administration, business communications, business law, business management, information technology, economics, finance, marketing, & statistics; 24 semester units (or 36 quarter units) (note: ACCT courses taken in excess of the 36 quarter units accounting-related requirement above may also be used to satisfy this requirement) • CIS 3060 4
• FIN 3300 4
• ECON 3551, MGMT 3620 (or ECON 2301,2) 8-12 
• MGMT 2701, MGMT 4500 4-8
• MGMT 3600, MGMT 3614 4-8
• MKTG 3401
• STAT 1000 or 2010, MGMT 3100, or 6100 9
• Other appropriate CIS, ECON, MGMT, MKTG courses  
• ACCT courses taken beyond the 24 semester (or 36 quarter unit) accounting-related requirement listed above  

The CPA exam consists of 4 sections. Effective, Spring, 2004, the form and content of the CPA exam were revised. If you have any questions about the exam, or want an application, you may call the California Board of Accountancy at 916-263-3972 or visit their web site at http://www.dca.ca.gov/cba. Applicants taking the CPA exam will find the following courses helpful in passing the CPA exam:

CPA Exam
CPA Exam Section Suggested Courses
Auditing & Attestation: including planning the engagement, internal controls, obtaining & documenting information, review engagements and reports ACCT 4250, 6251
Business Environment & Concepts: including business structure, economic concepts, financial mgmt, information technology, planning & measurement ACCT 3170, 2253
ACCT 3200, and/or 3230
ACCT 4220
ECON 2302, MGMT 2701, MKTG 3401
Financial Accounting and Reporting: including concepts & standards for financial statements, typical items in financial statements, specific types of transactions & events, accounting & reporting for governmental entities, and accounting & reporting for nongovernmental & not-for-profit organizations ACCT 3211, 3212, 3213 (6011, 6012), 6211, 6212
ACCT 4211
ACCT 4280
Regulation: including ethics & professional responsibilities, business law, federal tax procedures & accounting issues, federal taxation of property transaction, and federal taxation of individuals & entities MGMT 2701
ACCT 3220, 4220, 4221
ACCT 4223
ACCT 4250 , 6251
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