Below, we have provided an overview of the requirements to either qualify as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of South Carolina or to acquire a South Carolina 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.
While each state has its own set of CPA requirements but here we will be solely looking at the rules that affect South Carolina.
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 South Carolina 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.
South Carolina has a minimum age requirement of 18 to sit the exam.
South Carolina does not have a residency requirement to sit the CPA exam.
South Carolina requires either a Social Security Number or have a Lawful Permanent Resident Number (Green Card.)
South Carolina CPA candidates require a bachelor’s degree or higher from a college or university that is accredited by a Board-recognized institution. They are also required to have acquired at least 120 semester hours prior to sitting the exam. However, applicants will need to acquire 150 semester hours in order to apply for their license after passing the CPA exam.
These college credit hours must be meet the following minimum requirements:
- Accounting (24 hours) at the graduate or higher (300+) level that must include the following courses:
- Financial Accounting,
- US Taxation
- Management Accounting
- Business (24 hours) that are at the graduate or higher level, which may include courses such as:
- Business Law,
- Computer Science,
- Accounting courses not mentioned above
The South Carolina Board of Accountancy accepts transcripts colleges or universities accredited by either the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or another regional accrediting association having the equivalent standards. They will also accept transcripts from an independent senior college in South Carolina certified by the State Department of Education for teacher training, and accounting and business programs accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or any other accrediting agency having equivalent standards.
Foreign students can have their credentials evaluated by NASBA’s International Evaluation Services (NIES) only. 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 the NIES. However, although the board allows for the exam to be taken globally, the board does not license people in foreign countries.
The South Carolina Board of Accountancy has a one-year work requirement that equates to no more than 2,000-hours, at a rate of around 40 hours per week. These can also be accrued on a part-time basis. This experience can comprise of any type of services or advice using accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills. They must be supervised by a CPA with a valid license that is in good standing with the issuing board.
The South Carolina Board of Accountancy requires the candidate to take an ethics exam before applying for CPA licensure. 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.
- Create an account with CPA Examination Service (CPAES)
- Request the Registrars of all accredit colleges and universities to send your official transcripts directly to the CPAES
- Where possible, a certificate of enrollment directly from your school
- Any international credentials evaluation summaries directly from the evaluation service provider
- Submit the Criminal History Information Request Form
- Supply a full record of all current and inactive licensures from any state or jurisdiction
- 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
|Initial Application Fee||$135.00|
|Auditing & Attestation (AUD) Exam (NASBA)||$224.99|
|Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR) Exam (NASBA)||$224.99|
|Regulation (REG) Exam (NASBA)||$224.99|
|Business Environment & Concepts (BEC) Exam (NASBA)||$224.99|
|Registration fee (4x$60.00): |
4 sections – $105.00
3 sections – $90.00
2 sections – $75.00
1 section – $60.00
All fees are non-refundable, but the exams can be rescheduled.
Any Prometric Testing Center
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.
Initial License Requirements
When submitting their application for their initial license, the applicant must:
- Create an online account with the South Carolina Board
- Have the Registrars of all accredited institutions send sealed, official transcripts proving that the 150 semester hours (225 quarter hours) education requirement has been met…
- Pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA exam within an 18-month timespan and submit the results to the board with a score of at least 75%
- Submit proof of being of good moral character
- Submit an Experience Verification Form directly to the board
- Pay $150.00 application fee
Interstate license reciprocity
South Caroline recognizes interstate license reciprocity on the basis of substantial equivalency to that of South Carolina’s at the time of issuance on condition that the following requirements are met:
- Submit the application form
- Submit proof that they have passed all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam
- A list of all states or jurisdictions in which the applicant holds or has ever held a license to practice accountancy
- Their educational background is substantially equivalent to that required of South Carolina CPAs
- They have acquired at least four-years’ worth of experience in the ten years prior to applying for CPA licensure
- Submit proof of fulfilling 80 hours of CE within the last two years
- Submit proof from the licensing jurisdiction that the applicant’s license is current
- Paying the $150.00 application fee
An out-of-state CPA license holder with a license considered to be substantially equivalent to that of South Carolina’s whose principal pace of business is not in South Carolina can obtain a permit from the South Carolina Board of Accountancy without the need to apply for licensure, provided that:
- Their primary place of business is in the issuing state
- Their CPA license is valid and in good standing with the issuing board
- They have a bachelor’s degree or higher from a college or university and they have acquired at least 150 semester hours of education
- They have met the experience requirement specified above
International license reciprocity
The South Carolina Board of Accountancy does not offer international license reciprocity. It requires all reciprocal license applicants to have passed the Uniform CPA exam.
License Renewal Requirements
Active license holders
South Carolina CPAs are required to renew their licenses annually by 11:59 p.m. on January 31st. The board mails renewal notices by mid-November each year. They will also be required to submit 40 continued professional education (CPE) hours anywhere between January 1st – December 31st annually, as well as 6 CPE hours of ethics triennially. 2 of these hours must be in a South Carolina Board-approved course in South Carolina Rules & Regulations.
Renewal applicants must also submit:
- Submit the online renewal application form
- Submit proof of fulfilling the CPE requirements
- The $80.00 renewal fee
The CPE requirements are outlined on the CPE reporting form.
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 being 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:
- Submit proof of fulfilling 40 CPE per year if it has been less than 3 years since the license was retired
- If it has been more than 3 years, they will need to fulfill 120 hours of CPE as well as 6 months of experience prior to application
- Submit the reinstatement package
Lapsed license holders
Failure to renew one’s license by February 1st will result in the license lapsing. The license can still be reactivated without further repercussions until 11:59 PM on February 14th. However, if it not renewed by February 15th, the license holder will also need to pay an $80.00 renewal fee and a $500.00 reinstatement fee, as well as submit to a criminal background check. They will also need to submit proof of fulfilling 40 CPE per year if it has been less than 3 years since the license has lapsed. If it has been more than 3 years, they will need to fulfill 120 hours of CPE as well as 6 months of experience prior to application.
South Carolina Board of Accountancy
- Mailing Address: 110 Centerview Dr, Columbia SC 29210, USA
- Phone: (803) 896-4770
- Email: Contact.Accountancy@llr.sc.gov
- Website: https://llr.sc.gov/acct/
- Hours: Mon-Fri: 08:30-17:00