Washington CPA requirements

Wondering how to become a CPA in Washington? Your first step should always be to check the Washington CPA requirements. This page serves as a resource for Washington's CPA requirements and is current as of August 2021. Always consult with Washington's Board of Accountancy for the most current information.

CPA Exam requirements in Washington

Getting a CPA in each state mandates different requirements for taking the CPA Exam. CPA Exam requirements in Washington are detailed below.

Minimum education requirement

All CPA Exam candidates must have a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university with a concentration or major in accounting. In order to meet CPA Exam requirements in Washington, candidates must complete 150 semester hours with a concentration in accounting which must include:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours in accounting subjects, of which at least 15 semester (22.5 quarter) hours are at the upper level or graduate level. The following are examples of acceptable accounting courses:
    • Introductory/elementary accounting
    • Intermediate accounting
    • Advanced accounting
    • Cost/managerial accounting
    • Audit
    • Tax courses
    • Accounting information systems
  • The following are examples of acceptable upper level accounting courses:
    • Intermediate accounting
    • Advanced accounting
    • Managerial accounting
    • Cost accounting
    • Governmental accounting
    • Auditing
    • Tax courses
    • Accounting information systems
    • Not-for-profit accounting
    • Accountant theory
    • Forensic accounting
    • Financial statement analysis
    • Any accounting courses taken as part of a master’s program
  • 24 semester hours (36 quarter) in business subjects at the undergraduate or graduate level in business and general education courses, that can include:
    • Macro- and micro-economics
    • Budgeting
    • Investments
    • Business law
    • Statistics
    • Money and banking
    • Finance courses
    • Management and administration
  • Washington state does not accept credits earned from a volunteer membership, unless either a US college or university or an equivalent foreign college or university accepts those credits.

Washington CPA license requirements

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

Minimum Washington CPA experience requirement

  • A minimum of 12-months, consisting of at least 2,000 hours, through the use of accounting, issuing reports on financial statements, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, tax advisory or consulting skills. The 2,000 hours are work hours; the hours are not limited to billable hours.
  • Must be obtained through the practice of public accounting and/or employment in industry or government.  In certain situations, employment in academia may also provide experience to obtain some or all of the competency requirements.
  • The experience may also be obtained through one or more employers, with or without compensation, and may consist of a combination of full-time and part-time employment.
  • Experience must be verified by a licensed CPA who holds a valid license to practice public accounting in a US jurisdiction for a minimum of five years prior to the date of verifying the experience.

Washington CPA license renewals

Washington CPAs must renew their license every three years. The cycle occurs January 1 - December 31 triennially.

Washington CPA CPE requirements

Continuing professional education (CPE) must be completed in the three calendar years prior to the year during which a license is to be renewed. All CPAs must complete at least 120 hours of CPE that comply with the Washington Board of Accountancy rules. Washington CPAs must complete no more than 24 non-technical hours, and four hours of a state ethics course.

Sources:

Education, residency, fees

Experience

CPE

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