Colorado 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 a regionally accredited college or university

Minimum education requirements
150 semester hours of non-duplicative coursework including:

  • 33 semester hours of accounting coursework with a grade of C or better including 27  semester hours of accounting courses at the upper level covering:
    • accounting ethics
    • accounting information systems
    • accounting research and analysis
    • accounting theory
    • auditing and attestation services
    • financial accounting and reporting of business organizations
    • financial accounting and reporting for government and nonprofit entities
    • financial statement analysis
    • fraud examination
    • internal controls and risk assessment
    • managerial or cost accounting
    • taxation
    • tax research and analysis
    • other areas as approved by the board

of the 27 hours listed above, a total of 6 semester hours must be in auditing and must include a 3 semester hour (or more) course concentrating on US GAAS. The remaining semester hours may be in advanced auditing or a subset of basic auditing such as fraud or information technology auditing.

The 27 hours listed above must also include a 3 semester hour (or more) course concentrating on accounting or business ethics.

The 27 hours required above must also include a 3 semester hour, or more, course concentrating on accounting or business ethics. The course content should include the following: the ethical responsibilities of accountants, both personal and professional; ethical dilemmas facing accountants; ethical theory; the various accounting codes of conduct and ethical guidance for accountants; and the application of ethical theory, codes of conduct, and professional standards. Courses focusing on general or business ethics will not be counted toward this requirement.

  • 27 semester hours of coursework in business administration such as:
    • behavior of organizations, groups or person
    • business communication
    • business ethic
    • business la
    • computer information system
    • economic
    • financ
    • legal and social environment of business
    • management
    • marketing
    • quantitative applications in business
    • statistics
    • other areas approved by the board

Of the 27 semester hours listed above, no more than 9 semester hours can be in any single subject area, but semester hours in excess of the 9-hour maximum may count toward the total 150 semester hour requirement.

All coursework must address subject areas as provided above, but the coursework need not be taken within the business or accounting department.

Minimum experience requirement
One year of experience in one area (public accountancy, industry, government or academia):

  • Must include a minimum of 1,800 qualifying hours which must have been obtained over a period of not less than one (1) year and not more than 3 years.
  • Must have been met within 5 years preceding the date of application.

All qualifying hours must be verified by an active Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in good standing for the entire period verified. The verifier must attest to having direct and continuous knowledge of the work done by the Applicant and to having performed contemporaneous periodic review and evaluation of the Applicant’s work. The verifier cannot be subordinate to or otherwise under the supervision or control of the Applicant.

“Qualifying work hour(s)” means hours spent primarily applying the standards described in Rule 4.1.B. Holidays, vacations, and family/employee sick leave shall not be included as qualifying work hours. Clerical experience does not count toward qualifying work hours. Clerical experience includes, but is not limited to, mere data entry, mere mathematical calculations, mere account analysis of information already recorded, and merely recording information in the general ledger.

Ethics exam
AICPA Ethics Exam with a 90 percent or better within two years immediately preceding the date of application for licensure.

Reporting period.
Two year period from January 1 of an even-numbered year through December 31 of an odd-numbered year. The due date for the completion of hours is every December 31 of odd years.

Active CPAs are required to complete 10 hours of CPE for every full quarter the certificate is active during each reporting period. A full reporting period equates to 80 hours of CPE due to the renewal of the active certificate.

No more than 20% of CPE can be in personal development, as defined by the NASBA CPE fields of study (subjects related to personal development include, but are not limited to career planning, leadership, time management).
No more than 50% of CPE can be in any combination of teaching or publishing an article or book.

For internet-based CPE programs, a minimum of 75% of the polling questions, if used as a monitoring mechanism, must be answered by the CPA in order to receive credit for the CPE activity.

Program sponsors will be deemed in compliance with Joint Standard 14 of the Joint Standards regarding CPE credit for self-study learning activities if the program developer or vendor pilot tests the representative completion time, or computes the recommended CPE credit using the prescribed word count formula, or attests to the appropriateness of the recommended CPE credit for the self-study learning activity.

Learning activities that do not maintain and/or improve professional competence as a CPA will not count for credit. Such activities include, but are not limited to activities that teach fundamental accounting skills such as, or comparable to, first and second-semester principles of accounting or their equivalent.

4 HOURS OF CPE MUST BE IN ETHICS, of which 2 hours may be in Colorado Rules and Regulation (CR&R). For the purpose of CPE, behavioral ethics will not be considered to be personal development.


Education, experience, ethics exam

CPE, renewals