Illinois CPA requirements

Are you ready to earn your CPA license in Illinois? Your first step should always be to check the Illinois CPA requirements, because the Illinois Board of Accountancy will ultimately license you. This page serves as a resource for Illinois' CPA licensure requirements and how to maintain your licensure with continued professional education (CPE). Always consult with Illinois' board of accountancy for the most current information.

Illinois CPA Exam requirements

Getting a CPA in each state mandates different requirements for taking the CPA Exam. There is no residency requirement to take the CPA Exam in Illinois. In order to be eligible for the CPA Exam, candidates must meet the following education requirements.

CPA Illinois education requirement

All CPA Exam candidates in Illinois must have a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university.

With the upcoming CPA Evolution, some states are changing their requirements. Beginning January 1, 2023, candidates can be approved to sit for the CPA Exam after completing 120 semester credit hours including 24 hours in accounting with at least one course in Audit and one course in Tax. Candidates must also have a minimum of 12 hours of business courses and a baccalaureate degree. Provisional approval will be available for students completing these requirements in the final term in which they receive a degree. 

Illinois CPA license requirements

In order to earn a certified public accountant license in Illinois, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants may only receive experience after completing 120 hours of undergraduate education and having obtained a baccalaureate degree with an accounting concentration or equivalent.
  • Pass all four sections of the CPA Examination
  • Complete at least one year of full-time experience, or its equivalent, providing any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attestation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills that may be gained through employment in government, industry, academia or public practice.
  • 12 months with an average of at least 20 workdays per month during which the applicant was engaged in full-time employment equal to 1,500 hours or more annually.
  • If an individual works part-time for more than one year, but less than four years, and gains 2,000 hours of experience, the individual has met the equivalent of one year of full-time experience.
  • Complete an AICPA Ethics Exam self-study course titled Professional Ethics, with a score of 90% or higher.    
  • After January 1, 2023, CPA license candidates will still need a total of 150 semester hours of earned credit, a total of 30 hours of accounting including courses in tax, audit, managerial and financial accounting. Candidates will also need a total of 24 hours of business including three hours of business ethics and two hours of business communication. 

Illinois CPA license renewal requirements

CPA licenses in Illinois are renewed triennially, expiring on September 30th every three years.

Illinois CPA CPE requirements

Each permit holder must have completed at least 120 hours of acceptable continuing professional education (CPE) each triennial period. Of the 120 hours, at least 4 hours must be of professional ethics.

Courses, programs or activities must include one or more of the following fields of study as their subject matter:

  • Accounting
  • Government accounting
  • Administrative practice
  • Auditing
  • Governmental auditing
  • Behavior ethics
  • Business law
  • Business management and organization
  • Communications
  • Computer science
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management advisory services
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Personal development
  • Personnel/HR
  • Production
  • Regulatory ethics
  • Social environment business
  • Statistics
  • Taxation

Registered CPAs are exempt from CPE requirements.

Licensed CPAs are exempt from the continuing professional education requirement for the first renewal period following the original issuance of the license.






Ethics exam

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