An important consideration in deciding where to take the exam is continuing professional education (CPE) requirements. Most state boards require up to 40 hours of CPE each year. Many accountants take the CPA examination, obtain the experience necessary to become licensed to practice public accounting, subsequently leave public accounting and do not maintain their CPE requirements. If you are not going to practice public accounting, and do not need a license to practice public accounting, you may wish to sit for the CPA exam in a state that has a CPA certificate separate from its license to practice and where CPE requirements apply only to the license to practice.
Four states (Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, and Montana) issue CPA certificates that are separate from the license to practice. They do not require public accounting experience to receive the CPA certificate, do not require CPE of their CPA certificate holders, and do not require residency to register for the CPA exam through their state board.
Click here for a complete listing of the state boards and their contact information. If you have any questions concerning the requirements, call or email a particular state board. Before you decide where to take the exam, carefully weigh all your options and needs.