These are the requirements to either qualify as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of North Dakota or to acquire a CPA license in North Dakota. CPA requirements by state vary, so here we will focus on North Dakota’s CPA requirements.

In addition to passing the CPA exam, which is known 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 North Dakota State Board of Accountancy. 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

North Dakota has no minimum age requirement to sit the CPA exam.

Residency

There are no residency requirements for the state of North Dakota.

Citizenship

North Dakota does not require US citizenship to take the exam.

Exam Educational Requirements

North Dakota CPA candidates require a bachelor’s degree or higher from a accredited association listed on Chea.org. This degree must have an accountancy concentration or equivalent, as per the Board stipulations. They are also required to meet to have acquired at least 150 semester hours prior to sitting the exam.

The educational requirements include:

  • Accounting courses (24 hours), such as
    • Accounting
    • Audit
    • Tax rubric
  • Business courses (24 hours), such as:
    • Business
    • Management
    • Finance
    • Marketing
    • Up to three hours of economics courses may be included in other business courses
  • One quarter credit = 2/3 semester credit

Foreign Educations

Foreign students can have their credentials evaluated by NASBA’s International Evaluation Services (NIES). If they are found to be substantially equivalent, they will be able to sit the CPA exam.

Work Experience

There is work requirement of one year’s experience before you will qualify for licensure. The applicant can meet the work experience requirement either before or after taking the CPA exam. This equates to at least 2,000 work hours per year. This can be acquired over a period of no less than one year and no more than four years preceding the date of application.

This experience must include providing any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills. Furthermore, it must be verified and must meet any other requirements prescribed by the Board’s rules. The experience is acceptable if it was gained through employment in government, industry, academia, or public accounting.

Ethics

The North Dakota State Board of Accountancy requires the candidate to take the AICPA self-study Professional Ethics: AICPA’s Comprehensive Course (For Licensure) and their corresponding exam. The applicant must achieve 90% or higher in order to apply for licensure. This can be done before or after taking the CPA exam.

Background Check

  • Request issuing bodies to send your official transcripts to the North Dakota State Board of Accountancy
  • Submit work experience form
  • Complete the AICPA exam
  • Be of good moral character
  • Submit the application form
  • Pay the fee

Fees

Initial Application Fee$120.00
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$80.00
Total$1,024.60

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

How to Apply for Licensure in North Dakota

  • Provide proof of being of good moral character
  • Provide proof of passing all four parts of the CPA exam with 75% or higher within an 18-month timespan
  • Provide proof of passing the AICPA Ethics course
  • Submit the Experience Verification Form
  • If applying through reciprocity, you will need to provide proof of substantial equivalency, request that the issuing board submit proof of licensure and pay the $140.00 fee
  • Submit the application form directly to the Board through their online portal

License Reciprocity

Interstate License Reciprocity

North Dakota recognizes interstate license reciprocity on condition that the following requirements are met:

  • The submissions 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 accountancy
  • Have passed the examination with grades that would have been passing grades in North Dakota at the time
  • Proof from the licensing jurisdiction that the applicant’s license is current
  • Paying the application fee and License Endorsement fee
  • There is also provision for obtaining a North Dakota certificate without meeting all these requirements, if the applicant (or the state which issued their certificate) has attained substantial equivalency

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 North Dakota can operate in North Dakota without a license can obtain a permit from the North Dakota State Board of Accountancy. In order to apply, they must have:

  • A current, valid license verified has substantially equivalent by NASBA
  • Practice privilege will be lost as soon as the CPA license expires in the issuing state

International License Reciprocity

North Dakota does not recognize the NASBA International Qualification Exam (IQEX). Therefore, they do not have international license reciprocity. However, they do allow for holders of foreign educations to get their credentials reviewed by either the NASBA’s International Evaluation Services (NIES) and Foreign Academic Credentials Services (FACS) evaluations, if they wish to apply for the Uniform CPA Exam.

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 12 months in which to schedule the exam, or the NTS will expire. Once it does, you will need to pay the fee again.

License Renewal Requirements

Active license holders

North Dakota CPA license holders are required to renew their licenses every three years, with the current cycle ending June 30th, 2022.

Renewal applicants must submit:

  • The renewal application form
  • The renewal fee of $85.00
  • The completion of an ethics course from a board-approved provider
  • Proof of fulfilling the 120 Continued Profession Education (CPE) requirements. These must include:
    • Board-approved ethics (6 hours)
    • There are no other specific requirements
  • The Board may, in its discretion, waive requirements for CPE on an individual basis for reasons of hardship, such as health, military service, or other due cause, upon written request by the licensee at least 60 days prior to the last day of the triennial renewal period then in effect.

Although the license renewal period ends June 30th, the applicant may still renew their license after that until August 31st. But this will incur and extra $100.00 fine. If the license is not renewed by then, it will be involuntarily relinquished.

Continuing Education Information

CE programs are measured in 1/5th hour increments, with 1/5th hour of credit awarded for each 10 minutes of instruction. Fractional hours in a conference may be combined into one program total.  Only class hours or self-study equivalents, and not preparation hours, are to be counted. Self-study can be counted on an hour-for-hour basis if it meets the National CPE Standards interactivity provisions. Programs offered by NASBA CPE Registry sponsors qualify if they meet North Dakota CPE requirements. NASBA registration is not mandatory. Additionally, courses taken for college credit may receive credit at the rate of 15 hours per semester hour of credit (10 hours per quarter hour).

Any CPE not reported will cause the application to be considered incomplete. This could result in disciplinary action, including a possible fine of up to $1,000.00.

Non-resident exemption

Non-resident accountants are exempt from North Dakota CPE requirements, if they meet their resident-state CPE requirements, provided they are considered comparable to North Dakota. Non-resident accountants practicing public accounting in North Dakota must meet the public practice CPE requirements of their residence jurisdiction. When filling out the form, simply insert the state, sign, and return the form with the fee payment. You do not need to report the CPE hours.  You also may not need a North Dakota certificate in some cases, so it is worthwhile to consult the Board office first.

License reinstatement

Anyone who in any way maintains CPA licensure in North Dakota, with the exception of those on “retired” or “inactive” status, must have completed 60 hours in the 3 years prior to application, and at least 16 hours each year. This will change with the year ending June 30, 2022. For July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 the 3 year look back requirement to increase to 120 credit hours of acceptable CPE in the immediate preceding three reporting periods and at least 20 credit hours each year including 6 credits of ethics. You will also need to submit the application form and pay the $150.00 reinstatement fee.

State Board

North Dakota State Board of Accountancy