Where to Take the Exam

In the past, CPA candidates almost always sat for the CPA exam in the state in which they lived. This was primarily because most states had residency requirements. In recent years, however, residency requirements have been relaxed. The 150-hour educational requirement has led many candidates to take the CPA exam in states where there is no 150-hour requirement.

Another 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.

The states listed below 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 sit for the CPA exam.

  • Alabama
  • Montana
  • Delaware
  • Illinois

Use the list of State Boards on page 7 of Gleim’s CPA Review: A System for Success to check their websites. Call or write to the state boards of accountancy in those states you may want to be certified. Communicate your intentions and confirm your expectations in writing, i.e., separate CPA certificate, no experience required for CPA certificate, residency not required, CPE not required of certificate holders, etc.