North Carolina CPA requirements

Wondering how to become a certified public accountant (CPA) in North Carolina? The first thing you’ll want to do on the road to becoming a CPA is to check North Carolina’s state requirements, as North Carolina will ultimately license you. This page serves as a resource for CPA requirements in North Carolina and is current as of August 2021. Always consult with North Carolina's Board of Accountancy for the most current information.

North Carolina CPA Exam requirements

Getting a CPA in each state mandates different requirements for taking the CPA Exam and becoming a licensed CPA. In order to be eligible to take the CPA Exam, the following requirements must be met.

All candidates must submit three references of good moral character. These references must sign the Uniform CPA Exam Certificate of Moral Character, which is provided by the board.

North Carolina CPA requirements for education

Before taking the CPA Exam in North Carolina, you must meet a set of education requirements. First, you need a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university. You must also have 120 semester hours, including a concentration in accounting, and 24 semester hours of coursework. The 24 hours must include one three-semester hour course from at least eight of the following 10 fields of study:

  • Communications
  • Computer technology
  • Economics
  • Ethics
  • Finance
  • Humanities/social science
  • International environment
  • Law
  • Management
  • Statistics

North Carolina CPA license requirements

In order to become licensed in North Carolina, you must meet the requirement of 150 semester hours of coursework. North Carolina requires all CPA candidates to complete a designated amount of work experience in the field of accounting. This work experience must include one of the following:

  • One year’s experience in the field of accounting under the direct supervision of a certified public accountant who currently holds a valid license in any state or territory of the United States; OR
  • Four years of experience teaching accounting in a four-year college or university accredited by one of the regional accrediting associations or in a college or university determined by the Board to have standards substantially equivalent to a regionally accredited institution; OR
  • Four years of experience in the field of accounting; OR
  • Four years of experience teaching college transfer accounting courses at a community college or technical institute accredited by one of the regional accrediting associations.

Any combination of such experience above must be determined by the Board to be substantially equivalent to the foregoing.

NC CPA requirements for ethics exam

Within one year prior to applying for licensure, all applicants must complete an eight-hour course on the North Carolina Accountancy Statutes and Rules, including the Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct.

North Carolina CPA license renewals and CPE

North Carolina CPA licenses are renewed yearly, from January 1 to December 31.

All licensed CPAs in North Carolina must complete 40 hours of general continuing professional education (CPE) per year, including at least 50 minutes of regulatory or behavioral professional ethics and conduct.

If a CPA completes more than the required number of CPE hours in one calendar year, the extra hours may be carried over and treated as hours earned in the following year. The carry over total cannot exceed 20 hours. Carried hours cannot be used to meet the ethics requirement.


North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners

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