There is a LOT of bureaucracy involved in converting your degree. Firstly, if you are not from a jurisdiction that is recognized by the MRA, you will need to have your degree evaluated by an International Evaluation Service that is recognized by the state to which you are applying. These can usually be found on the state accountancy board’s official website. The most commonly recognized service (and more expensive than some other options) are the NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES). A list of the states that recognize these services can be found later in this piece. For now, we will be focusing on the fees themselves.

NASBA’s evaluation options:

Before beginning any of these processes, it is important to verify which ones are required by your country, or the state that you are applying to. 

1. International Credential Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($225)

This report is needed for foreign students and accountants who wish to either participate in the CPA exam or to convert their license through an MRA agreement. This is done to ensure that the applicant’s credentials meet the standards of NASBA and the state to which they are applying. They also confirm that the credits listed can be accounted for and that the dates received are accurate. It might need to be done again in the case where additional international higher education credits were not covered in the first reports. It will also need to be applied in cases where there is a change of jurisdiction such as where the applicant would like to move to a different state. 

2. Undecided Jurisdiction Evaluation for CPA Examination/Licensure ($350)

If you have not yet decided where to apply for your CPA license, this service might be useful to you. It incorporates the International Credential Evaluation listed above, and then analyzes the results to advise you on which jurisdictions best suit your credentials. Of course, you will then need to apply for a Change in Jurisdiction Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure for the CPA Exam or License itself, which will bring it to a combined total of $460, so you might want to do some independent research instead, where possible.

3. Non-Accredited Domestic Credential Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($250)

This is a service that evaluates credits that are received from domestic US tertiary education institutions that are either not regionally or nationally accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting body. Again, it is important to confirm that the state accountancy board that you are applying to recognizes this evaluation before you apply, or you will just be wasting your money.

4. Additional Education Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($120)

As it sounds, if you have already conducted an educational evaluation through NIES, this is a cheaper option to evaluate those credentials that were not included in the initial evaluation. 

5. Change in Jurisdiction Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($120)

This may be required when you are planning on changing the state jurisdiction in which you either work or where you plan on taking the CPA exam. It will also be the evaluation option that you will need to select after having originally conducted an Undecided Jurisdiction Evaluation for CPA Examination/Licensure mentioned above.

6. Duplicate Report for CPA Examination and/or Licensure ($0-$25)

This is a jurisdiction-specific report. This applies to applicants who completed this evaluation over a year ago. If the body no longer has the report, NASBA will send it to the bord at no charge. However, if the report was last applied for over five years prior, the applicant may need to apply for the International Credential Evaluation for CPA Examination and/or Licensure. However, they may still have PDF copies saved on file, so it is worth double-checking with NASBA before applying.

7. Credential Language Translation ($68 – $87 per page)

This applies in instances where the original transcript is not in English. NASBA stipulates ‘one page’ to be either 11×17 inches or smaller and be approximately 250 words or less.

Links to all of these forms can be found here. However, as stated, some state boards provide links to other recognized service providers that may be more affordable for you. Furthermore, there are also some states that do not recognize non-state accredited degrees at all. 

States that currently recognize NASBA International Evaluation Services

Once this is done, you will need to write the CPA Exam. Again, these fees vary per state, and there are some states that only allow state or US residents to write the exam.

The CPA Exam Fees

These are the possible exam fees:

  • Initial Application fee – Ave. $50~$200
  • Uniform CPA Exam fee is divided into four parts, one for each part of the exam. It varies from state to state with the cost being broken down even further in some states. For instance, some charge and initial application fee, an exam fee per section and an application fee per section. They may also give sliding discounts so that it is cheaper to apply for multiple exams at once. All of these variances put the usual range between $550-$850, but it can be either cheaper or more expensive as well. 
  • Rescheduling charges (NASBA)

There is no fee if you choose to cancel or reschedule your exam at least 30 days in advance. However, if you need to do so between 24 hours and 30 days prior to the exam you will need to pay a fee:

  • Six to 29 days: $35
  • 24 hours – five days: $83.76
  • Less than 24 hours: Cannot cancel. You will need to reapply and pay the full fee. 

For more information, you can review NASBA’s Candidate Bulletin

  • Reapplication charges

This is usually the same as the original application fee, but it is cheaper in some states. Although a daunting consideration, with pass rates of between 46.37%-61.76% for the different exam parts, these fees are a real factor to be budget for just in case.

Read More: How Much Does the CPA Exam Cost?

Credit Requirements

All states signed an agreement to have a  150-credit rule that must be met before the exam can be set. A typical four-year Bachelor’s degree usually awards 120 credits. This is why some students decide to take their Master’s degree to earn the outstanding 30 credits. Then there are other students who decide to take elective courses at a community college to make up the difference, while still others decide to go the online route. If you find that you do not meet the 150-credit requirement after your evaluation, the latter option might make the most sense for you. Of course, it is important to first heck that the state accountancy board that you are applying through recognizes non-college credits.

It is also important that the online courses are accredited. If you are applying through a state that recognizes online accreditation, CpaCredits’ courses might be a worthwhile consideration for you. All courses can be done according to your own schedule, as we now offer courses that can either be taken on a self-paced basis starting at the first of each month, or as a 6, 8 or 11-week semester-based course. Both options award 3 credits through regionally accredited colleges and universities once they are completed.

Ethics Exam Requirements

Some states stipulate ethics exam requirements that need to be met within a certain timeframe prior to applying for CPA licensure. This cost will vary depending on the exam that is required. However, in most cases the state will require AICPA’s Professional Ethics: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Comprehensive Course and exam. This costs between $189-$245, depending on whether the applicant is an AICPA member or not. Some states also have their own ethics exam, with its own associated cost.

Travel Costs

There are many internationally located Prometric testing stations located around the world. However, each station is only open to certain jurisdictions. Students from countries without a Prometric testing center will need to go to the nearest center that covers their jurisdiction. This will entail transport fees and possibly food and lodging costs as well. Some countries, such as those In Africa, are only eligible for writing in the US.  This means that they will need to write one of the participating NASBA state jurisdictions. This will incur the added costs of VISA applications, lengthy waiting periods and longer stays.

If you already have an international accounting  license, you may be able to convert your license without undergoing this process. We have outlined the cost of converting your international license in this piece.