The AICPA Uniform CPA exam is known to be challenging on its own, but this process is further complicated by each state providing their own set of requirements to fulfill before the applicant qualifies both to sit the exam and to apply for licensure. Therefore, we have compiled a detailed summary of the Washington State Board of Accountancy’s requirements. This also includes details on transferring your existing credits or CPA license to Washington, or to maintain your existing Washington CPA license. As these requirements are subject to change, we recommended confirming all information with the Washington State Board of Accountancy to make sure you qualify, and to verify that the charges have not been updated since this piece was published.
There is no minimum age requirement to sit the CPA exam in Washington.
There are no residency requirements for the CPA exam in Washington.
Washington has no citizenship requirements to sit the CPA exam.
Washington has a requirement of a bachelor’s degree or higher from a college or university education with a either an accounting major or concentration in accounting to sit the CPA exam. This includes fulfilling credit requirement of 150 semester hours by the time of sitting the exam.
These hours must include:
- 24 semester hours (36 quarter hours) or the equivalent in Accounting subjects of which at least fifteen semester hours must be at the upper level or graduate level (an upper-level course is defined as a course that frequently carries completion of a lower-level course(s) as a prerequisite)
- 24 semester hours (34 quarter hours) or the equivalent in Business administration subjects at the undergraduate or graduate level.
- Those listed on the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
- Credits earned from online colleges and schools will be accepted if it is accredited by one of the listed acceptable accrediting agencies
Non-accredited institutions or foreign educations
If an institution was not accredited by one for the Board’s recognized accrediting agencies or was received in a foreign country, the applicant will need to have their transcripts evaluated by the NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES). The Board no longer accepts evaluations from any other service. Should the education be found to be substantially equivalent to those of the Boards, the applicant will be able to proceed to taking the exam. Otherwise, they will need to fulfill the outstanding requirements and then submit their transcripts from evaluation again.
Washington CPA applicants are required to acquire at least 2,000 hours of work experience either before or after passing the CPA exam. These must be acquired between no less than one year and no more than eight years and can be acquired through as either billable or non-billable hours. This must be completed within ten years prior to applying for licensure.
This experience may consist of providing any type of services or advice using accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills under the employment of either government, academia, industry or public practice. They must be fulfilled and tracked under the direct supervision of a CPA whose license is valid and in good standing with their issuing board.
The Washington State Board of Accountancy requires the candidate to take the AICPA Professional Ethics Comprehensive Course and Exam “For Licensure.” The applicant must achieve 90% or higher in order to apply for licensure. This must be completed within 90 days of completing your experience requirement.
How to Apply for the Washington CPA Exam
To apply to take the Washington CPA exam, applicants will need to:
- Create an account and apply for the exam with NASBA’s CPA Exam Services (CPAES).
- Request the Registrars of all the issuing institutions of their educations to submit official copies of their transcripts to the CPAES either via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via postal service to Washington Coordinator, CPA Examination Services, PO Box 198469, Nashville, Tennessee 37219-8469. These must show that the full 150 semester hour requirement and course requirements are met
- Include official copies of transcript translations, evaluations, and official copies of the transcript themselves where necessary
- A certificate of enrollment should be submitted if the degree is expected to be completed within 180 days of completing the first section. You will then need to submit proof of completing all educational requirements within 210 days of completing the first section
|Auditing & Attestation (AUD)||$226.15|
|Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)||$226.15|
|Business Environment & Concepts (BEC)||$226.15|
Fees are non-refundable. Most exams can be rescheduled.
The reapplication fee is $90.00.
NTS Validation Period
You will receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS) upon paying for your Payment Coupon from NASBA. You will have 6 months from the date of issuance in which to write your CPA exam, or the NTS will expire. You will then need to reapply for the exam. Therefore, before trying to save money by applying for multiple exams at once, make sure that you will be able to study for them and schedule them in beforehand.
How to Apply for a Washington CPA License
To apply for CPA licensure in Washington, you will need to:
- Create an online account and submit your application to the state board
- Complete and submit the Experience Verification Form
- Provide proof of passing the AICPA Ethics Exam
- Request the Registrars of all educational institutions to send official copies of all transcripts directly to the Board illustrating that the 150-semester hour and course requirements have been met
NOTE: CPA licenses will not be issued between November 1 and December 31 due to the 20-hour minimum annual CPE requirement. Applications are still accepted, but will not be approved until the beginning of January. Additionally, if it has been more than four years since you passed the CPA exam, then you will need to provide proof of meeting the Board’s CPE requirements as well.
Practice Privilege for Out-of-State License Holders
A CPA who holds an out-of-state license recognized as substantially equivalent to that of Washington’s, can practice in Washington without needing to obtain a license or permit from the Board on condition that:
- The license is current and in good standing with the issuing state or jurisdiction
- Their principal place of business is in the state of licensure
- They have fulfilled the 150-credit hour requirement, have acquired one year of work experience and have passed the CPA exam
- The individual will stop practicing in Washington should their license expire in the issuing state
Interstate License Reciprocity
Washington recognizes interstate reciprocity of CPA licenses from jurisdictions and states that are considered to be substantially equivalent to that of Washington’s as per NASBA’s National Qualification Service (NQAS.) In order to apply for CPA license conversion, you will need to me the following requirements as well:
- Provide a letter of good standing from the issuing state or jurisdiction
- Create an online account with the Board and submit the application form
- Provide proof of passing the AICPA Ethics exam
- Provide proof of meeting the CPE requirements for reciprocity
- More details can be found here
International License Reciprocity
Washington recognizes international license reciprocity for licensing bodies of foreign associations who have entered into Mutual Recognition Agreements with the US International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB.) License holder from these institutions will be able to take the NASBA’s International Qualification Exam (IQEX) in lieu of the full CPA exam. However, they will still need to meet the ethics and work requirements stipulated above.
License Renewal Requirements
Washington CPA license holders are required to renew their licenses triennially between January 1st and April 30th, with the chart cycle available here. During this time, the applicant must acquire 120 hours of continued professional education (CPE) and is required to submit 20 CPE per year. Additionally, they are required to report 4 hours of Ethics from a Board-approved ethics course. Further information can be found here. The renewal fee is $230.00. If submitted between May 1st and June 30th, you will also need to submit a $100.00 late fee.
Inactive license holders
Washington has not offered the option for ‘inactive license’ status since July 1, 2001.
Expired license holders
Failure to pay the renewal fee or meet the CPE requirements on time will result in the license’s lapsing. The license holder will then have 6 months to renew their license, meet the CPE requirements and pay both the late and renewal fees, or their license will expire. The license holder will then need to reactivate their license as follows:
- Provide proof of fulfilling 120 CPE hours within the 36 months prior to applying for reinstatement, including 4 hours of a Board-approved ethics course. The ethics course must be completed within 6 months of applying for reinstatement. At least 60 CPE must be in technical subjects. This must be submitted through SecureAccess Washington (SAW). This CPE cannot be used towards the current renewal period
- Provide a written reason as to why you believe your license should be reinstated
- Provide letters of recommendation from two licensed CPAs who can personally testify as to your activities since the suspension of your license
- Pay the $480.00 reinstatement fee