Below, we have provided an overview of the requirements to either qualify as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of Minnesota or to acquire a Minnesota CPA license. In addition to passing the CPA exam, which has a reputation for its difficulty, you must also meet the course credit, educational and work requirements.

In order to make this process easier for you to navigate, we have listed all of the relevant information below, as well as the contact information for the Minnesota Board of Accountancy. Elsewhere we have covered the CPA requirements by state, but here our focus is on the Minnesota CPA requirements. We recommended confirming all information with the board to ensure that you qualify, and that the charges have not been updated since this piece was published.

Age

Minnesota has a minimum age requirement of 18 to sit the exam.

Residency

There is a residency requirement for the state of Minnesota, with the exceptions of within 90 days preceding or following the date of the exam applied for:

  • Be attending a school in Minnesota with the intent of gaining the education needed to qualify to sit for the CPA examination, OR
  • Be regularly employed or working in Minnesota for the purpose of obtaining qualifying experience needed for licensure.

Citizenship

Minnesota does not require US citizenship to take the exam. However, you are required to have a valid social security number.

Educational Requirements

Minnesota CPA candidates require a Bachelor’s degree or higher with a major in either accounting or business from an accredited institution that is recognized by the board. They are also required to have acquired at least 120 credit hours prior to sitting the exam. However, applicants will need to acquire 150 credits hours in order to apply for their license after passing the CPA exam.

These college credit hours must be meet ONE of the following minimum requirements:

For Accounting degrees:

  • The institution must be recognized by the United States Department of Education

For Business degrees recognized by the Minnesota State Board:

  • 24 credit hours of Accounting at the undergraduate level that must include coverage of, but not necessarily separate, courses in:
    • Financial Accounting,
    • Auditing,
    • Taxation,
    • Management Accounting
  • 15 credit hours in Accounting at the graduate level that must include coverage of, but not necessarily separate, courses in:
    • Financial Accounting,
    • Auditing,
    • Taxation,
    • Management Accounting
  • An equivalent combination thereof, including coverage of, but not necessarily separate, courses in:
    • Financial Accounting,
    • Auditing,
    • Taxation,
    • Management Accounting

For Business degrees recognized by the United States Department of Education:

  • 24 credit hours of Accounting at the undergraduate or graduate level that must include coverage of, but not necessarily separate, courses in:
    • Financial Accounting,
    • Auditing,
    • Taxation,
    • Management Accounting
  • at least 24 semester hours of business-related courses or additional accounting courses at the undergraduate or graduate level.

A Bachelors degree from an accredited institution:

Must include or be supplemented by 24 credit hours of Accounting at the undergraduate or graduate level that must include coverage of, but not necessarily separate, courses in:

  • Financial Accounting,
  • Auditing,
  • Taxation,
  • Management Accounting

Alternate Requirements:

If you completed your Bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, prior to July 1, 2000, you qualify for these alternate requirements, provided that you met all of them prior to July 1, 2000:
These requirements are that:

  • You completed 60 semester hours in liberal arts subjects, such as: English, history, foreign languages, mathematics, general psychology, philosophy, biological sciences, physical sciences, economics, sociology, religion, government, political science, geography, fine arts and music; and
  • Completed a minimum of 60 semester hours in professional courses including:
    • at least 24 semester hours in accounting including municipal and government accounting
    • at least 6 semester hours in Business Law
    • at least 6 semester hours in Finance
    • at least 6 semester hours in Economics, and
    • at least 18 semester hours in related business subjects
  • Special concessions may also be made for military personnel who do not meet the requirements, but who received equivalent experience and education while in the military. They must also prove that they were honorably discharged.

Types of Institutions:

Accredited institutions:

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy recognizes credits a business school or college of business that has been granted accreditation by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or any other national accreditation agency with standards that are substantially similar to the standards utilized by the AACSB or the ACBSP.

Non-accredited institutions:

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy will recognize credentials from a non-recognized institution on the following conditions:

  • Their credentials have been evaluated by either NASBA’s International Evaluation Services (NIES), or the Educational Credential Evaluators and been deemed substantially equivalent to those of the AACSB or ACBSP
  • The bachelor’s degree was accepted by a recognized institution for admission into one of their graduate programs
  • The applicant completes at least 15 semester hours, or the equivalent, in a post-baccalaureate education at the accredited educational institution, of which at least nine semester hours, or the equivalent, is in accounting and the accredited educational institution certifies that the applicant is in good standing for the continuation of studies in the graduate program, or has maintained a grade point average in these courses that is necessary for graduation

Foreign Educations

Foreign students can have their credentials evaluated by either NASBA’s International Evaluation Services (NIES), or the Educational Credential Evaluators. If they are found to be substantially equivalent, the applicant will be able to sit the CPA exam. Otherwise, they will need to meet the outstanding requirements and then resubmit them to their evaluation service.

Work Experience

The Minnesota state board has a 2,000-hour work experience requirement before you will qualify for licensure. It must be met in no less than one year and no more than three years. This experience can comprise of any type of services or advice using accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills. The applicant can meet the work experience requirement either before or after taking the CPA exam.

Ethics

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy requires the candidate to take an ethics exam within two years of applying for your license. The board ONLY accepts the AICPA Professional Ethics Comprehensive Course “For Licensure.” The applicant must achieve 90% or higher in order to apply for licensure. This can be done before or after taking the CPA exam.

How to Apply for the Minnesota CPA Exam

  • Request issuing bodies to send your official transcripts directly to the CPA Examination Service (CPAES)
  • Where possible, request submission of a certificate of enrollment directly from your school
  • Any international credentials evaluation summaries must be submitted directly from the evaluation service provider
  • Submit the Criminal History Information Request Form
  • Supply a full record of all current and inactive CPA licensures from any state or jurisdiction
  • Submit proof of being of good moral character
  • Supporting documents must be submitted within 45 days of the application, or you will need to restart the application process

Fees

Initial Application Fee$170.00
Auditing & Attestation (AUD) Exam (NASBA)$226.15
Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) Exam (NASBA)$226.15
Regulation (REG) Exam (NASBA)$226.15
Business Environment & Concepts (BEC) Exam (NASBA)$226.15
Registration fee$85.00
Total$1,159.60

All fees are non-refundable, but the exams can be rescheduled.

Locations

  • Prometric Testing Centers both in and out of state
  • Certain International Prometric testing centers. This should be confirmed with the Board

How to Apply for Your Minnesota CPA License

When submitting their application for their initial license, the applicant must:

  • Create an online account with the Board and submit their online application form
  • Have the sealed, official transcripts proving 150 semester hours (225 quarter hours) of education from their accredited institutions sent to the Minnesota Board of Accountancy or NASBA
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or higher with an accounting concentration
  • Pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA exam within an 18-month timespan and submit the results to the board
  • Submit an Experience Verification Form directly to the board
  • If it has been more than three years since you passed the CPA exam, then you will also need to submit proof of fulfilling the 120 CE hours outlined below
  • Request the AICPA to submit proof of your passing the AICPA Professional Ethics Comprehensive Course “For Licensure” within to years of applying for CPA licensure
  • Pay $150.00 application fee

Alternative licensing

If you have been licensed for four or more years in another state, you do not need to meet the 150-hour education requirement, provided that you have proof that:

  • You have passed the CPA exam and have four or more years of verified experience earned within ten years of your application to Minnesota, and
  • You can show 120 hours of CE in the three-year period preceding your application date

License Reciprocity

Interstate License Reciprocity

Minnesota recognizes interstate license reciprocity on the basis of substantial equivalency on condition that the following requirements are met:

  • The submission of:
    • The month and year of the applicant’s successful completion of the Uniform CPA Examination
    • A list of all states or jurisdictions in which the applicant holds or has ever held a license to practice public accountancy
    • All academic degrees held by the applicant, and
    • All experience and employment the applicant has obtained since being awarded his or her academic degree
  • Proof from the licensing jurisdiction that the applicant’s license is current
  • Paying the application fee and License Endorsement fee

Practice Privilege

An out-of-state CPA license holder or holder of a foreign license of substantial equivalence according to NASBA’s National Qualification Appraisal Service (NQAS) whose principal pace of business is not in Minnesota can obtain a permit from the Minnesota Board of Accountancy, provided that:

  • Their primary place of business is in the issuing state
  • Their license with that state is current
  •  Their license is in good standing in good standing

International License Reciprocity:

Minnesota will recognize license reciprocity for international license holders who have been deemed as substantially equivalent by the International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB). This means that they indirectly recognize all licenses that are issued by the bodies that form part of NASBA’s Mutual Recognition Agreement. This will allow license holders issued by those institutions to take the NASBA’s International Qualification Exam (IQEX) instead of the full CPA exam.

The institutions that form part of the MRA are:

Other foreign license holders:

License holders from non-equivalent jurisdictions will need to have their credentials evaluated by a state-recognized credentials evaluation service. Once approved, they will be permitted to sit the Uniform CPA Exam. However, in order to receive licensure in Minnesota, they will also need to meet the rest of the requirements outlined above.

NTS Validation Period

After your application is accepted and you have paid the exam fee, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS.) You will then have 6 months in which to schedule the exam, or the NTS will expire. You will then need to pay the fee again. Therefore, make sure that you are able to take the exams within that time frame before registering.

License Renewal Requirements

Active license holders

Minnesota license holders are required to renew their licenses every year by December 31st. However, their continued professional education (CPE) hours go according to a triennial cycle. The application requirements are listed below.  

Renewal applicants must submit:

  • Proof of fulfilling the 120 CPE requirements. These must include:
    • Ethics (8 hours.) This can be in either regulatory (technical) or behavioral (non-technical) ethics
    • At least 20 hours of CPE per year
    • At least 72 CPE hours must be sourced from board-approved providers, as listed on NASBA.
    • At least 60 CPE hours in the following technical subjects:
      • Accounting
      • Accounting (Governmental)
      • Auditing
      • Auditing (Governmental)
      • Business Law
      • Statistics
      • Economic
      • Finance
      • Information Technology
      • Management Services
      • Regulatory Ethics
      • Specialized Knowledge
      • Taxes
    • Non-technical fields of study and include, but are not limited to:
      • Behavioral Ethics
      • Business Management & Organization
      • Communications and Marketing
      • Computer Software & Applications
      • Personal Development
      • Personnel/Human Resources
      • Production

If you fail to meet the CPE requirements on time, you will still be able to report carryback hours. However, you will be fined monthly noncompliance fees beginning in January according to this fee chart.

Non-Resident Licensee Requirement

A non-resident licensee with an active status in Minnesota meets Minnesota’s requirements by meeting the requirements in which the licensee’s principal office is located. This exemption from CPE reporting must be requested annually by December 31st. If the principal office state has no CPE requirements, then Minnesota’s requirements will apply.

Inactive license holders

License holders can apply to make their licenses inactive. They may submit their current CPE hours beforehand to be applied upon its begin reactivated. This status change is done through the Online Renewal  portal on the state board website.

In order to reactivate you license, you will need to:

  • Complete the 120 CPE credit requirement mentioned above within the three years preceding the application
  • If requesting an immediate change, you will need to submit a Status Change to Active Request Form

Recognized CPE

  • Learning programs are considered acceptable if they contribute to the increase of professional competence and professional knowledge of the license holder
  • Programs jointly approved by NASBA and AICPA or such other standards acceptable to the board, including those that are:
    • Live group programs
    • Internet-based live group programs
    • Authoring articles, books or CPE courses for publication
    • Independent study
    • Preparation time and presentation of seminars or courses
  • Group programs are permissible without being registered with NASBA or AICPA, provided that they are from:
    • The Office of the Legislative Auditor or State Auditor, and that that a peer review has been completed in the last three years, as well as an unmodified report on such review has been filed with the board. This peer review must be similar in scope to a system review level peer review conducted on a CPA firm
    • A CPA firm that has had a system review level peer review completed in the last three years, as well as an unmodified report on the review then filed with the board
    • A college or university whose academic programs qualify an applicant to sit for the CPA examination
    • A program that is sponsored by professional organizations recognized by another state’s board of accountancy
  • One credit hour shall be given for each 50-minute period or a half-credit for each 25 minutes, credit hours can be earned through accredited:
    • Courses
    • Discussions
    • Lectures given and taken (The maximum credit given for service as an instructor, lecturer, discussion leader, or speaker shall not exceed 60 credit hours for the triennial period)
    • Published works
  • College course credits shall be awarded as follows:
    • 15 credits of CPE credit for each semester or trimester credit earned or 10 credits of CPE credit for each credit earned in a quarter
    • Noncredit courses shall be awarded CPE at the rate of one credit for every 50 minutes of in-class participation
  • CPE limitations on the above are:
    • Up to 60 hours for presenting or instructing qualifying seminars or courses
    • Up to 60 hours for publishing a work as described above
    • At least 24 hours must be acquired through group learning programs

State Board

Minnesota Board of Accountancy

  • Mailing Address: 85 E. 7th Place Suite 125, St. Paul, MN 55101, USA
  • Phone: (651) 296-7938
  • Phone: (651) 296-7938
  • Toll Free: (800) 627-3529
  • Fax: (651) 282-2644
  • Email: boa@state.mn.us
  • Website: https://boa.state.mn.us/
  • Hours: Mon-Fri: 08:00-16:30
  • Resources: