These are the requirements to either qualify for the CPA exam in the state of Pennsylvania or to gain a Pennsylvania CPA license. In addition to passing the CPA exam, which is known for its difficulty, you must also meet the course credit, educational and work requirements. We have listed all of the relevant information below, as well as the contact information for the CPAES. 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

There is a minimum age requirement of 18 to sit the CPA exam in Pennsylvania.

Residency

There are no residency requirements for the state of Pennsylvania.

Citizenship

There are no state or US citizenship requirements in the state of Pennsylvania.

Education

Candidates require a bachelor’s degree or higher from a college or university that is recognized by either a nationally recognized accrediting agency that is recognized by the United States Board of Education, or a college that is approved by the state board. They must also meet the 150-credit hour requirement. This includes the following educational requirements. Make sure that the courses are board approved, as there are some that are not.

  • A total of 24 credits from:
    • Accounting and Auditing
    • Business Law
    • Finance
    • Microeconomics
    • Macroeconomics
    • Or Tax subjects of a content satisfactory to the board
  • 12 Additional Accounting and Auditing or Tax credits
    • This can be from a source external to their undergraduate or graduate courses

The Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy recognizes correspondence, CLEP and online credit courses when they are accredited through a board-approved college or university.

NOTE: You only need 120 credits to sit for the exam. Once you have obtained the remaining 30 credits, you can apply for your CPA license.

Work Experience

You are required to complete one year of work experience either before or after passing the exam

Ethics

The Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy does not require an ethics exam.

Background Check

Fees

Initial Application Fee$105.00
Auditing & Attestation (AUD)$226.15
Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)$226.15
Regulation (REG)$226.15
Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)$226.15
Registration Fee ($105 x 4)$420.00
Total$1,429.60

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

Locations

Prometric Testing Centers both in and out of state

CPA Uniform Exam Extensions

Prior to Covid-19, the state board could grant an extension of up to 90 days on the 18-month exam result window mentioned above. However, in light of the epidemic, the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy ruled that candidates whose exam credits expire during the time of an emergency declaration, such as a statewide lockdown, will be granted an extension which lasts for the duration of the emergency plus an additional 180 days from the end of the emergency.

Practice Privilege for Out-of-State License Holders

This incidental license enables licensed CPAs from other states to provide public accounting services in Pennsylvania without the need of a Pennsylvania CPA license or paying a fee, provided that:

  • Holds an active license in good standing in a substantially equivalent jurisdiction
  • Has individual qualifications that are substantially equivalent to Pennsylvania’s requirement Temporary Practice Permit, or if they have been evaluated for equivalence by NASBA’s CredentialNet Service

Temporary Practice Permit:

Out-of-state license holders can apply for a Temporary Practice Permit. This allows a CPA or firm to work for not more than 500 hours in Pennsylvania during a 12-month period. The exception to this 500-hour limitation is where the holder of the temporary practice permit is working only on a single, nonrecurring engagement. It is only valid for 12 months from the date of issuance and can be renewed on condition that it was not granted for a single, nonrecurring engagement in excess of 500 hours.

Reciprocal Application

Interstate License Reciprocity:

Pennsylvania recognizes state reciprocity. In order to apply you will need to:

  • Submit a Domestic Reciprocity Application form
  • Submit a certified copy of your valid CPA license from the relevant state
  • Request for NASBA to send your Uniform CPA Exam results to the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy
  • If you have held license for less than 5 years:
    • Submit a Verification of Experience form
    • Fulfill the 80-hour CPE education requirements stated above
    • Request for official copies of your transcripts to be sent to the state board be your institution

International License Reciprocity:

Mutual Recognition Agreements:

Pennsylvania only recognizes the licenses from some of the countries listed in the NASBA Mutual Agreements, namely those of:

  • New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants(NZICA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA)
  • Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants(CICA)
  • Chartered Accountant in Ireland (ICAI) Instituto Mexican de Contadores Publicos (IMCP)
  • Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)

 Members of these boards will need to:

  • Pass the international Uniform Public Accountant Qualifications Examination (IQEX) of the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and request the results to be sent to the Pennsylvania State Board
  • Have their transcripts evaluated by one of the state-recognized evaluation board listed above
  • Meet the state’s education requirements
  • Submit a Foreign Reciprocity Application

Foreign Educations

Accountants who graduated from international institutions may apply to have their transcripts evaluated by one of the board-approved foreign credentials evaluation services stipulated above. Official copies of all transcripts from all schools in including any translated transcripts must be submitted for review along with the application and credit evaluation report. These must be sent directly from the office of each institution’s Registrar.

License Renewal

Active license holders:

Pennsylvania CPA licenses expire biannually on December 31st of every odd-numbered year. For instance, from January 1st, 2021 to December 31st, 2023. In order to renew your license, you will need to meet the following Continued Professional Education (CPE) requirements:

  • 80 credit hours of board-approved programs every two years, with a minimum of 20 credit hours per year
  • Pay the $100.00 renewal fee

Inactive license holders:

To renew an inactive license, you will need to meet the educational requirements as stipulated above and pay the fee.

State Board

Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy

  • Mailing Address: State Board of Accountancy P.O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
  • Phone: (717) 783-1404
  • Fax: (717) 705-5540
  • Toll Free: 1-833-DOS-BPOA
  • Email: St-Accountancy@pa.gov
  • Website: https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Accountancy/
  • Hours: Monday – Friday / 8:30 am – 4:00 pm
  • Resources: Application forms