How to Become a CPA: Your 4-Step Guide

At Becker, we aim to demystify the process of becoming a CPA and help candidates through every step of the CPA licensure process. Below, we've put together an easy, four-step guide on how to become a CPA.

Step 1: Check Your State's CPA Licensing Requirements

States have different requirements for applicants to sit for the CPA Exam and be licensed in that state. These variances can include residency or experience requirements, requirements for semester hours in accounting and more.

Learn about the requirements for the state you plan on practicing in. A full list of requirements by state and territory can be found on the AICPA website.

Step 2: Complete Your Accounting Degree and Gain Experience

If you are not already a practicing accountant, you will need to complete educational requirements specified by the state in which you plan to obtain your license.

In addition to the required college coursework, some states have additional experience requirements that students must fulfill to be eligible to sit for the CPA Exam. Find out what your state requires here.

Step 3: Pass The CPA Exam

The CPA Exam consists of four sections that will test your knowledge of accounting standards, the legal requirements of the profession and much more. It is strongly recommended that anyone considering sitting for the CPA Exam study extensively beforehand. (See the latest pass rates for this exam.)

Becker offers a variety of preparation options for students at any point in their career:

  • The Self Study Track is designed for students who need flexibility in their study schedule. This online option allows you to study when and where it's most convenient for you, and is perfect for accountants looking to study for the CPA Exam while working full-time.
  • The LiveOnline Track allows you engage with professors in real time from the comfort of your own home via webinar-based learning programs. This track is for students who enjoy a bit more structure but would prefer to study from the comfort of their own home.
  • The Live CPA Exam Review Format, featuring in-person review sessions in your area, is designed for students who require more structure and thrive in traditional classroom settings.

To schedule your Live or LiveOnline courses, please visit our Getting Started page.

Becker also offers a variety of additional study materials to get you across the finish line – from flashcards, to Final Review, to supplemental multiple-choice questions.

Step 4: Finalize Your Certification

Passing the CPA Exam does not give you automatic license to begin practicing as a certified public accountant. Some states may require an ethics exam and you will need to work with your state's licensing board to obtain your CPA license.

Important Note

It's important to know that acquiring your CPA designation is not the final step in your CPA journey. Many states require licensed CPAs to participate in continuing professional education annually to maintain their certification. Becker's got you covered there too! Explore Becker's CPE courses.

Are you ready to begin your journey to becoming a CPA? Explore what Becker study product is right for you here.

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