California CPA requirements

This page serves as a resource for your state's CPA licensure requirements and is current as of December 2019. Always consult with your state or jurisdiction's board of accountancy for the most current information.

Degree requirements
bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university

Education requirements
150 semester hours including:

  • 24 semester hours of accounting subjects
    • accounting
    • auditing
    • taxation
    • financial reporting
    • financial statement analysis
    • external and internal reporting
  • 24 semester hours of business-related subjects
    • business administration
    • business management
    • business communications
    • economics
    • finance
    • business law
    • marketing
    • statistics
    • mathematics
    • computer science and information systems
    • business-related law courses offered at an accredited law school
    • any accounting subjects in excess of the 24 units needed to fulfill the accounting requirement
  • 20 semester hours of accounting study including:
    • Minimum 6 semester units in accounting subjects (see above)
    • Maximum 14 semester units in business-related subjects (see above)
    • Maximum 9 semester units in other academic work relevant to business and accounting (maximum 3 units from any one area): skills-based courses, foreign language/cultural and ethics studies and industry-based courses
    • Maximum 4 semester units in internships/independent studies in accounting and/or business-related subjects
    • Completion of a master of accounting, taxation or laws in taxation is equivalent to 20 semester units of accounting study
  • 10 semester hours of ethics study
    • Minimum 3 semester or 4 quarter units in accounting ethics or accountants’ professional responsibilities.
      • The course(s) must be completed at an upper division level or higher, unless it was completed at a community college. Maximum 7 semester or 11 quarter units in courses in any of the following subject areas:
        • auditing
        • business, government and society
        • business leadership
        • business law
        • corporate governance
        • corporate social responsibility
        • ethics
        • fraud
        • human resources management
        • legal environment of business
        • management of organizations
        • morals
        • organizational behavior
        • professional responsibilities
    • Maximum 3 semester or 4 quarter units in courses from the following disciplines: philosophy, religion, theology
      • Course title must contain one of the following words or terms, or the sole name in the course title is the name of the discipline: introduction, general, fundamentals of, survey of, introductory, principles of, foundations of

Experience requirements
12 months of general accounting experience providing any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills

2-year; even/odd years based on birth year
based on the last day of the month of the legal birthday

80 hours required.
Licensees who plans, directs or approves any financial or compliance audit report on any governmental agency must complete a minimum of 24 hours of qualifying continuing education in the area of governmental accounting or auditing or related subjects during the two-year license renewal period
licensees who provides audit, review, other attestation services or issues compiled financial statement reports must, during the two-year license renewal period, complete a minimum of 24 hours of qualifying continuing education in the area of accounting and auditing related to reporting on financial statements


Initial application $250
Hard-copy fingerprint process $49
Biennial license renewal $120
Application for retired status $75
Retired-to-active status $50



Initial license FAQ

Renewals, CPE

More on renewals, CPE here and here