CPA Exam Fees: The Cost of the CPA Exam

The process of passing the CPA Exam involves three key components: time, effort, and money. The amount of time and effort required fluctuates per candidate, as each will have unique life situations and educational backgrounds. However, the amount of money is less varied due to the fact that the different organizations associated with the Uniform CPA Examination – such as state boards, NASBA, AICPA, Prometric, and CPA review courses – have predetermined CPA Exam fees and costs. Candidates can tally these fees at the beginning of the examination process to estimate their total expected expenditure.

So, how much does it cost to take the CPA Exam? The following information about CPA Exam fees and CPA Exam costs will help you set your budget for becoming a CPA.

CPA Exam Fees

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) reports that all candidates applying to take the CPA Exam for the first time must pay an application fee and an examination fee, which they do via the NASBA website. After paying the initial application fee and examination fee, candidates may schedule all four parts of the CPA Exam with the same Notice to Schedule (NTS), which gives candidates six months to take all four sections before the NTS expires. Candidates who choose not to schedule all four sections at once or who have to retake one or more sections of the CPA Exam will incur more costs as a result of having to pay registration fees.

Application Fee

The initial application fee varies by state board. The range for this fee is $25 (Guam) to $246 (Wisconsin). South Dakota has no initial application fee but does have a $30 application processing fee for each exam section. The average initial application fee is around $137, but the most popular amount for this fee is $150.

Examination Fee

The following NASBA fee schedule applies to candidates taking the CPA Exam:

Exam Section Cost
AUD $193.45
BEC $193.45
FAR $193.45
REG $193.45
Total $773.80

These fees total charges that cover the services of the AICPA, Prometric, and NASBA and the price of a digital photograph.

Fee Type Fee
AICPA (development and scoring) $90.00
Prometric (testing) $79.40
Digital Photograph $6.05
NASBA (database and reporting) $18.00

Out of the 55 boards of accountancy, 48 adhere to NASBA’s fee schedule, although some of these state boards have discounted these fees by a few dollars. Alabama, Maryland, South Dakota, Wyoming, and the Virgin Islands have differentiated their examination fees the most, with all but Wyoming having raised their fees to around $200 or more per section. Wyoming has actually reduced its fees by about $6 per section.

Registration Fee

Fifty-two of the 55 jurisdictions charge a registration fee, which allows candidates to receive an NTS if they have yet not sat for all the CPA Exam sections or if they need to retake a section. Of the 52 jurisdictions that charge a registration fee, 22 vary the registration fee based on the number of parts the candidate would like to schedule. Thirty state boards have a flat fee for candidates to pay no matter how many parts they are scheduling, and these flat fees range from $25 to $115, with $75 being the most common one-time registration fee.

CPA Exam Costs

To successfully prepare for the CPA Exam, meet the CPA requirements, and obtain the CPA license, candidates may also need budget for the following line items.

CPA Exam Review Courses

One of the best ways to ensure that you will pass the CPA Exam is by studying with a CPA review course. Many different CPA review providers offer CPA review courses, with prices rising from just shy of $600 to well over $3000. Base your CPA review course decision on your preferred learning style and budget, and remember that self-study is generally cheaper than live courses. With so many other costs to account for, why pay more than necessary? If self-study is the means by which you learn best, you should know that Gleim CPA Review is an extremely economical option, especially considering the quality and value of the study materials included.

Gleim CPA Review includes our innovative SmartAdaptTM technology, professor-led video lectures, expert-authored materials, most authentic exam-emulating online course, the largest test bank on the market, and more at a price point well under those of other popular CPA review providers. You can receive all four sections in our Traditional Course for $1,299 or all four sections in our Premium Course for $1,599. While you can buy the course for each section separately, purchasing a complete review system is much more cost-effective. You can even make easy payments over 3, 6, or 12 months when you choose to finance your Gleim CPA Review course through Affirm.

Ethics Exam Fee

Thirty-four different state boards expect candidates to pass an ethics exam along with the CPA Exam. Of these state boards, 24 use the AICPA’s Professional Ethics course to fulfill this requirement, the cost of which is $129 for AICPA members and $159 for non-members.

Other Potential Expenses

  • Accounting CoursesTo meet all of the CPA Exam requirements for your state, you may need to take additional accounting courses. College courses can costs anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars and include an investment in materials as well.
  • Foreign Credential EvaluationsPart of the CPA Exam qualification process for international candidates is having their transcripts evaluated by a foreign credential evaluation agency. The price of this service ranges from $85-$550 depending on the urgency of your request.
  • Travel and AccommodationsCandidates traveling in or around the U.S. to take the CPA Exam must prepare to pay for things like airplane tickets, bus tickets, taxis, hotel rooms, and meals during their stay. Transportation alone will likely cost CPA candidates several hundred dollars.
  • CPA LicenseAfter you pass the CPA Exam, you will eventually have to pay for the CPA license in order to be legally considered a CPA. Depending on the state in which you register for your license, you may have to pay between $50-$300.

Total CPA Exam Fees and CPA Exam Costs

Adding up these individual figures reveals rough totals for a few different CPA Exam scenarios.

If you take the CPA Exam and pay the typical amount for the application fee, a review course, and the ethics exam, you will spend somewhere around $2,651.

If you have to retake one section of the CPA Exam and pay the general re-examination fee, you will probably pay a little more than $2,726.

You will of course save money if you do not have to take the ethics exam, and you will have to spend a bit more if you are an international candidate or have yet to meet the educational requirements.

Though the CPA Exam fees and CPA Exam costs can add up to a considerable amount of money, the CPA title is well-worth it. The benefits of becoming a CPA include increased salary, job security, career opportunities, and more, so the examination and license will soon pay for themselves. With our affordable courses that prepare you to pass better than any other review, Gleim CPA is here to help you secure CPA Exam success. For budgeting assistance and information about available discounts and Affirm financing, email accountingteam@gleim.com or call 800.874.5346 today. To save money on all these CPA Exam fees, discover some great ideas for cutting your CPA Exam cost!