These are the requirements to either qualify as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of Ohio or to gain an Ohio 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 Accountancy Board of Ohio. 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

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

Residency

There are no residency requirements for Ohio.

Citizenship

Ohio requires state residency, but not US citizenship to take the exam.

Exam Educational Requirements

Ohio candidates require a bachelor’s degree that is accredited by the Accountancy Board of Ohio in order to sit the exam. However, they will still need to meet the 150 -credit hour requirement to apply for the license itself. Alternatively, they can sit if they get minimum score of 670 on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT.) They will also need to meet the minimum educational requirements outlined below:

  • Business subjects – 24 semester hours
  • Accounting subjects:
    • 24 semester hours at the undergraduate level, or
    • 18 semester hours of graduate credit in accounting will qualify as meeting the requirement.
    • These MUST include at least one course of each in:
      • Financial accounting,
      • Management accounting,
      • Auditing with coverage of FAAS, and
      • Taxation

NOTE:

  • For licensure, applicants will need a total of 30 credit hours in Accounting
  • Candidates who are licensed using a score on the GMAT in lieu of 120 semester hours of college education may not be able to earn reciprocity in another state without additional education
  • Internal Auditing may not be used for auditing but may be used as an elective
  • Commercial CPA review courses will not be accepted
  • Courses in auditing or external auditing will satisfy the auditing and professional ethics subject requirements
  • Courses in internal auditing may only be applied toward general accounting hours
  • Courses earned at a regionally accredited community college or two-year degree granting institution are acceptable
  • Correspondence, online courses and CLEP credits are acceptable when you receive credit for the courses at a regionally accredited university. These courses must appear on an official transcript
  • CPA Review Courses may be accepted as an accounting elective when taken at a regionally accredited institution and credit is awarded for the courses by them

Foreign Educations

Holders of foreign educations must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Have their credentials evaluated a Board-approved credentials evaluation service provider
  • Obtain the form to request this service from the evaluation service agency
  • Submit a translated copy of each international transcript used for the evaluation
  • Require the agency to evaluate as follows:
    • An equivalency summary that indicates the analogous academic degrees in the US you hold
    • A credential analysis that specifies:
      • The name of the country
      • The degree awarded
      • The year the degree was awarded, and
      • The entity that awarded the degree
    • A course-by-course listing
    • A course credit analysis that includes:
      • Total credits earned toward the degree as stated on transcripts submitted
      • Total accounting credits earned
      • Total business credits earned
      • Proof that all educational and credit requirements are met

Coursework completed as part of a Chartered Accountant or similar program is considered professional training and is, therefore, not accepted toward the education requirements for the US Uniform CPA Examination.

Ohio accepts credential evaluations from the following service providers

Work Experience

Before taking the Uniform CPA exam, the applicant is required to gain at least 1 year of experience before they can apply for their CPA license. This equates to 2,000 hours. This must be acquired from either a public accounting firm, business, college or governmental organization and must be done under the supervision of a currently licensed CPA. The exceptions for licensure are:

  • You will require four years of experience if you took the exam on the basis of the GMAT test
  • Two years is required if you complete fewer than 150 semester hours of college credit prior to sitting for the CPA examination but have the 150 semester hours of college credit prior to CPA certification

Ethics

The Accountancy Board of Ohio requires the candidate to take three hours of credit in Professional Standards and Responsibilities, generally referred to as ‘ethics,’ in order to apply for or renew an Ohio CPA license.

Background Check

In addition to submitting your application form and paying the fee, you will also need to submit your fingerprints to a ‘WebCheck’ vender to confirm that you have no criminal record.

Fees

Initial Application Fee$180.00
Auditing & Attestation (AUD)$224.99
Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)$224.99
Regulation (REG)$224.99
Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)$224.99
Total$1,079.96

The re-application fee is $100.00.

The CPA license fee application is $180.00.

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

Learn more about the CPA exam fees.

Locations

  • Prometric Testing Centers both in and out of state
  • Certain International Prometric testing centers (In 2021, this included Japan or the Republic of Korea.) This should be confirmed with the board

License Reciprocity

Interstate License Reciprocity

Initial license

Applicants who have passed all four parts of the Uniform CPA and have never been licensed may apply for their initial license in Ohio.

Current license holders from out-of-state:

Ohio recognizes state reciprocity with states and territories that meet substantial equivalency. License holders planning to relocate and practice in Ohio will need to apply for a Reciprocal License. They can also only do so if it is in-line with the licensing state’s policies.

Practice Privilege

An out-of-state CPA license holder or holder of a foreign license of substantial equivalence whose principal pace of business is not in Ohio can obtain an Ohio permit from the Accountancy Board of Ohio. Such license holders are also allowed to practice within Ohio on a temporary basis, provided that they have a valid license from the issuing jurisdiction and that that jurisdiction is their primary place of work.

International License Reciprocity

Mutual Recognition Agreements

Ohio recognizes Licenses from institutions that are part of NASBA’s Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA.) These applicants will need to pass the NASBA/AICPA International Qualifications Appraisal Board’s (IQAB) International Qualification Examination (IQEX) and request IQAB to forward the results directly to the Accountancy Board of Ohio.

The institutions that form part of the MRA are:

When applying, they will need to verify their credentials, complete a criminal background check and complete an Ohio specific PSR/Ethics course.

Other foreign license holders

License holders from non-equivalency jurisdictions may apply to have their credentials reviewed by one of the credit-evaluating services listed above. The service will then inform the applicant of outstanding credits or work requirements that may still need to be met. Once fulfilled, they can then reapply for evaluation of their new credits. Once approved, they must request that the service send an official copy of your evaluation to the Accountancy Board of Ohio. They may then apply to write the CPA exam as outlined above. The academic requirement is 120 semester credits including 24 in accounting and 24 in business.

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 six months in which to schedule the exam, or the NTS will expire. So, make sure that you will be ready to write the exam within that time frame, or you will need to pay the fee again.

License Renewal Requirements

Active license holders

Ohio CPA licenses expire in two cycles. Firstly, for first-time license holders, their license will expire within two years. However, they will only need to meet a 40 semester hour requirement of Continued Practice Education (CPE) in any subject. Other CPA license holders will be subject to a three-year license cycle. These cycles last from January 1st – December 31st. The current first cycle is from 2021-2023.

In order to renew your license after the first cycle, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • 120 CPE credit hours, including:
    • Those working in accounting, auditing, assurance of attestation engagements, prepare or sign financial reports must complete at least 24 credits hours in:
      • Accounting
      • Auditing and/or attestation
    • Those working in taxation must complete at least 24 credit hours in the field of taxation
    • At least 20 CPE hours per year
    • Ethics (3 hours)
    • Failure to meet the minimum annual requirement will result in a $10 fine per credit deficit
    • NOTE: All CPE must come from sponsors or accredited institutions that are registered with the Board
  • Submit the reapplication form
  • Submit a report demonstrating the completion of at 20 credit hours of board-approved CPE each year, and 120 credit hours for the full cycle, including those educational requirements stipulated above.
  • Pay the $180.00 renewal fee

Note:

There are providers offering online ‘continuing education’ courses with an option to purchase a completion certificate that show no credits completed or earned, and in some cases specifically state no credit earned. These courses cannot be applied toward meeting your CPE requirement, as they do not meet the Accountancy Board of Ohio’s standards.

Inactive license holders

A license holder can register to have their license made inactive. They will then need to pay a renewal fee for their inactive license of $85.00 at the end of each three-year cycle. This will exempt them from needing to meet the CPE requirements for the cycle.

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

  • Complete the 120 CPE credit requirement mentioned above
  • 3 credit hours of Ethics
  • Payment the full license fee

Expired licenses

A person with an expired CPA license must complete 120 Continuing Education (CPE) credits in the 36 months prior to requesting to return the license to active status. 

These must include:

  • 3 credits of an Ohio-based course in Professional Standards and Responsibilities (PSR) from a provider approved by the Board,
  • 24 credits in the field of accounting or auditing,
  • 24 credits in the field of taxation. 

A list of Board approved PSR sponsor can be found at Professional Standards and Responsibilities (PSR) – Accountancy Board of Ohio.  Many of these providers offer optional CE packages that can be purchased to acquire the remaining CPE credits required to return to practice.   

Once the CPE requirements have been met, the licensee can renew their license via the online portal, elicense.ohio.gov.  When renewing, the person will be required to upload the CPE certificates of completion.  

State Board

Accountancy Board of Ohio

  • Mailing Address: 77 South High Street, 18th Floor
    Columbus, OH 43215-6108
  • Phone: 614-466-4135
  • International: (615) 880-4250
  • Fax: 614-466-2628
  • Email: AccBd-Ohio@acc.state.oh.us
  • Website: http://acc.ohio.gov/
  • Hours: Mon-Fri: 07:30-16:30
  • Resources:
  • NASBA CPA Candidate Bulletin