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CPA Exam Cost

How much does it cost to take the CPA Exam?

CPA Exam cost varies by state board and your unique situation. You might spend $3,000 to $4,500 or more. It includes application, registration, and examination fees; study materials; possible fees to retake or reschedule sections; additional fees for international applicants; potential a background checks; and lifestyle costs.

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The cost of the CPA Exam

Passing the CPA Exam requires you to invest time, effort, and money. The amount of time and effort you’ll have to put in depends on your educational background and where you are in your career. When it comes to the CPA Exam cost, the major inputs are the fees you pay to your state board, NASBA, and Prometric; your CPA Exam review course; and any additional services you may need.

CPA Exam cost breakdown

CPA Exam cost can be broken down into the fees you’ll pay to sit for the examinations plus the expenses of preparing for it. The additional cost of preparing for the CPA Exam will depend on your choice of CPA review course plus extra expenses based on your study commitment. Let’s look together at what you should budget for your total CPA Exam cost, including ways you can save.

Each state board has different processes and fees. Each year we look at the costs for California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas to give you an overview of the fees. However, for the most accurate pricing, check with your state board.

Sample CPA Exam costs from California ($1,005+), Florida ($1,225+), Illinois ($1,260+), New York ($1,240+), and Texas ($980+)
CPA Exam feesStudy and Other Costs
Initial Application fee$20 - $200+CPA Review Course$2,000+
Registration fees$60 - $340+Lifestyle expenses$$
Examination fees$900University courses to get to 150 hours$$
Background ceck$25+
Total$985 - $1,245$2,000+
Grand Total$2,985 - $3,245
Also consider:
If you have to retakeApprox. $300/sectionInternational site fee$371.55
If you have to reschedule$25 - $83.76International/Non-Accredited Domestic credit evaluated$225 - $350

CPA Exam cost: the fees

CPA Exam fees vary by state, including when and how you pay them. While some state boards use different terms to refer to the various CPA Exam fees, they generally fall within these major categories.

APPLICATION FEE
$20 – $200

EXAMINATION FEE
Approx. $225/section

REGISTRATION FEE
$60 – $340

Other CPA Exam costs may include a background check, travel, foreign transcript evaluation, re-scheduling and re-examination fees if you retake parts, etc. Let’s look closer at each of these fees.

Sample CPA Exam Fees
StateInitial Application FeeRegistration FeeExamination Fee per SectionFee to Retake
California$100Not specified$226.15$50
Florida$170$75$226.15Repay registration fee ($75)
Illinois$200 for a credit evaluation$40 - $120 (depending on number of sections on application)$226.15Repay registration fee ($40 - $120)
New York$170$85$224.99Repay registration fee ($85)
Texas$20 - $100$15 per section$224.99Not specified

CPA Exam application fee

Your state board of accountancy charges a CPA Exam application fee to determine your overall eligibility to sit for the CPA Exam. This initial application fee varies by state. The average is around $140, and most states charge between $100 and $200. This is a non-refundable, one-time fee that you will pay directly to the state board.

CPA Examination fee

NASBA has set a fee schedule of about $225 for each section of the CPA Exam. The majority of the 55 state boards charge this amount, though they have the discretion to charge a different amount. If you pass all four sections on the first try, you will spend $900 on NASBA CPA Examination fees. These fees are non-refundable, so only schedule your exams when you’re ready to sit for them.

Because NASBA handles the application process for many states, you will find that some state boards charge the CPA Examination fee along with the application fee when you apply to take the CPA Exam through their boards, while NASBA states require you to pay the examination fee directly to NASBA. In this case, NASBA will send you a payment coupon after your state board has specified which sections you are eligible to sit for.

Background check

Some states may require a background check, which you will have to pay for. Find out whether your state board requires this in our guide to CPA Requirements. NASBA looked at background checks from past years and found that costs to the candidate that ranged from $1 – $49. This is something you’ll want to confirm directly with your state board.

Fees to reschedule the CPA Exam

If you are unable to sit for the CPA Exam on the appointment date you scheduled, you may need to pay Prometric an additional fee to reschedule the CPA Exam. There’s no fee if you contact Prometric to reschedule 30 or more days in advance. With 6-29 days’ notice, the fee to reschedule is $35, and with 5 or fewer days’ notice, that fee increases to $83.76. As long as your rescheduled date is still within the period that your Notice to Schedule (NTS) is valid for, you will not need to repay the application and examination fees.

If you miss your testing appointment without formally canceling or rescheduling with Prometric at least 24 hours in advance, or if you bring the wrong ID or NTS, you will be marked as a no-show. That means you forfeit all the fees you paid! However, if you reschedule before your NTS expires, you will not have to repay the application and examination fees. State boards may give exception to extreme circumstances, so call your board if you believe your situation warrants consideration.

Fees to Prometric for Rescheduling
a CPA Exam Section
NoticeFees
30+ days$0.00
6-29 days$35.00
1-5 days$83.76
Less than 24 hoursCan’t reschedule, fees forfeited

CPA Exam registration fee

Most of the state boards charge a registration fee when you schedule an exam. This fee ranges from $15 to $150 and is commonly around $75.

Additional fees for Guam and international locations

If you will be taking the CPA Exam in Guam or an international location such as one of the nine testing sites in Europe, you will need to pay an additional fee when you register. The additional fee you must pay for each CPA Exam section you plan to take internationally is $371.55 per section, regardless of which state board of accountancy has declared your eligibility for the examination. You will pay this through the NASBA candidate portal.

Foreign credential evaluations

For international candidates, part of the CPA Exam qualification process is getting your transcripts evaluated by a foreign credential evaluation agency. There are many to choose from, including NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES), World Education Services (WES) or International Education Research Foundation (IERF). The price of this service can range from $100 to $400 depending on who the provider is and how they package their offerings.

Travel and accommodations

If you will be traveling to take the CPA Exam, make sure to budget for additional expenses like airplane and bus tickets, taxis, hotel rooms, and meals. Transportation alone could cost several hundred dollars.

CPA Exam fee refunds

The fees required to take the CPA Exam are fixed by the organizations involved.

Don’t expect any refunds. The exception may be when you’ve paid fees to your state board and are found ineligible when you first apply, in which case you might receive a partial refund. Be sure to verify refund policies with your state board. You will NOT receive a refund if you are later found ineligible because of misconduct, a change in requirements, or other factors. Also, if you cancel without rescheduling during your current NTS or if you’re marked a no-show, you will not receive a refund of any CPA Exam fees you have paid.

CPA Exam cost: study and preparation

Fees are one thing, but you will find the bigger CPA Exam cost is your investment in preparing for the CPA Exam. There’s a reason nearly half of the people who take it fail! Doing everything in your power to pass the first time is one of the best ways to keep your CPA Exam costs down in the long run.The best strategy is to recognize those risks now and invest in your future by purchasing a proven CPA Review course.

CPA Exam study materials

One of the best ways to make sure you pass the CPA Exam is to choose a great CPA review course. Many different CPA review providers offer study materials, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.

Since you’ll be spending so much on a study materials, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be able to prepare no matter what the future has in store. That’s why Gleim offers our Access Until You Pass® guarantee. With our Premium CPA Review Course, you can study with peace of mind knowing you’ll have access until you pass the CPA Exam. On top of this, we also offer our Product Replacement Guarantee, and we always ensure our online materials are up-to-date so you never have to worry about what to study or whether you you’ll need to spend extra money!

THE Gleim Logo SOLUTION 


We were the first to create self-study CPA review materials—and we’ve spent the last 45 years perfecting them — all while keeping prices down!

 

Just a few of the reasons CPA candidates love us:

  1. A bank of exam-quality questions and simulations that can’t be beat
  2. Detailed answer explanations for powerful learning
  3. A practice environment that’s just like the real exam
  4. Personalized support and study experience

Gleim CPA has everything you need to pass on your first try! Talk to us today.

 

University-level accounting courses

To meet the CPA Exam education requirements for your state, you may need to take additional accounting courses. College courses and materials can cost anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

Most state boards require candidates to already have 120 hours (the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree) to sit for the exam, but you will also need an additional 30 hours to get licensed. Additionally, your state board may have specific course requirements you must meet in order to sit. If you didn’t complete these requirements during your undergrad career, you will need to earn these credits before you are eligible to sit and/or get licensed.

Support for your lifestyle

The cost of studying for the CPA Exam includes expenses that may arise from your lack of availability. If you’re studying three hours a day, you’re not going to be able to cook dinner, transport kids to activities, stay on top of housework, and so on—at least not in the same way you might have otherwise. Be sure to factor in any additional costs for you or your family because of your unavailability. Housekeeping, ordering dinner out, and additional childcare could cost you hundreds more every month.

As you can see, the range of CPA Exam costs is quite wide, with plenty of variables. You could find yourself spending well beyond the amounts mentioned here if you have to retake exam sections—or if you realize you need to supplement your study materials or even switch to a completely new CPA Exam review provider.

How can I save money on the CPA Exam?

Though CPA Exam costs can add up to a considerable amount of money, the CPA designation is well worth it. The benefits of becoming a CPA include increased salary, job security, career opportunities, and more. Still, why pay more than is necessary? There are ways you can save money on the CPA Exam. Use the following tips to cut your CPA Exam costs.

1. Save by scheduling two or more CPA Exam sections at a time

You can avoid paying multiple registration fees by sitting for more exam sections in a shorter period of time. You can schedule all four parts of the CPA Exam at one time and receive just one NTS, for example. You would therefore only have to pay the application and examination fees. Remember, however, that while scheduling several sections at once may be great for your finances, it may not be so great for your sanity. You’ll have to pay the registration and examination fees again if you’ve been overly ambitious and need to retake a section.

If taking all four exams in six months is not feasible for you—and it’s not for most people—you can still save money. Even scheduling two or three exams at a time cuts the registration fees in half. If you start your studies early, you can aim for one exam at the beginning of your NTS, the second a few months after, and the third at the end.

2. Ask for a discount on your CPA review course

Your CPA Exam review course is a big component of your total CPA Exam cost. But those who have passed the exam will tell you it’s not optional. Look for ways you can tap into discounts and special sales.

Gleim partners with employers all over the world to help their employees achieve their career goals. If your company or organization isn’t a Gleim partner yet, contact us so we can set something up!

3. Ask your state board about discounts

You’ll likely be talking to your state board to confirm eligibility, so why not ask about any potential scholarships or other financial assistance, too? Also, state societies might have additional discounts or opportunities for members to save. Never hurts to ask!

THE Gleim Logo SOLUTION 


Gleim’s mission has always included making the CPA Exam attainable for anyone who aspires to be a CPA, regardless of background or financial status. Here are a few ways to tap into special pricing:

  • Create an account with Gleim to receive our sale notifications.
  • Call or email our sales team to find out if we have any sales or special pricing available when you’re ready to buy.
  • Ask about student discounts, scholarships, or additional ways to save. We’ve got a variety of programs!

We offer CPA review courses at different price points. Call 800-874-5346 or email accountingteam@gleim.com. Talk to us today!

4. Consider reimbursement opportunities

Years ago, NASBA took steps to be added to the Veterans Affairs list of approved organizations, meaning veterans can be reimbursed up to $2,000 for their costs of CPA certification. In addition, military spouses of active duty service members are covered under the Department of Defense’s Military Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) program for up to $4,000 in financial assistance toward their education and testing. It pays to ask around if you think you might be eligible for reimbursements.

5. Ask your employer to cover your CPA Exam costs

Many employers are keen to see their accountants gain CPA certification. Talk to a few folks like your supervisor and the human resources department to see if you can expense your CPA Exam costs. (Be sure to inquire about any bonuses and salary bumps that might come with the CPA license, too!)

Your employer may pay for your certification, including covering the cost of your Gleim CPA Review System. Even if they do not cover the cost, buying an effective CPA review course is a smart investment.

6. Don’t be tempted to use old materials

It might be tempting, but don’t use old materials that may be offered to your friends. The CPA Exam content changes often, making old materials a waste of time and money. You’ll likely end up studying information that won’t appear on the exam and totally miss information that WILL appear on the exam. If you buy old CPA Exam review materials, you could find yourself needing to buy a new review course, which may also mean paying more fees to retake the exam.

7. Don’t buy from questionable sellers

Buying second-hand review materials on sites like eBay and Craigslist is risky. It may be outdated or pirated content. You also won’t receive access to accounting experts or customer service representatives, when you buy from a questionable seller. You may find yourself out of pocket for even more when you realize you actually do need to buy a proper CPA Exam review course after all.

8. Confirm you will have unlimited access as long as you need

Some review providers charge you more to access study materials after a certain time. Others may offer unlimited access at certain product levels. Gleim offers Access Until You Pass® on its Premium CPA Review course. If you buy from a seller who doesn’t offer a guarantee, you won’t receive free content updates. This means you could be stuck paying for access if you don’t pass as quickly as you planned.

9. Buy all four sections of your CPA review at once

If you have researched carefully and are confident in the CPA review course you have chosen, you can save money by buying all four sections at once instead of each section separately. You’ll have to pay out a bit more upfront, but with courses like Gleim CPA Review, you can actually save a couple hundred dollars by opting for the complete CPA review system.

When you buy the Gleim Premium CPA Review System, you will get more materials for your money and you will also receive free shipping in the contiguous 48 states. More money saved!

10. Choose a review provider so you don’t have to buy supplemental products

Do your research and choose the CPA Review course that will work best for you so you don’t have to supplement it with materials from another course. If you buy a course with a small test bank and then realize you need more practice, you’ll have to spend more money to ensure you get what you need to pass. 

11. Pass each section the first time

Put the time and effort necessary into passing each section the first time, so you can avoid additional registration fees. Visualizing success while preparing for the CPA Exam and relying on your CPA study plan to stay motivated can help keep you on track. We have plenty more advice to help you pass the CPA exam. You can always call on our Personal Counselors—they are here to help you develop a study plan that woks for you and will help you pass the first time!

12. If you need to reschedule, don’t put it off

Gauge how prepared you feel when you’re around a month out from your scheduled exam. If you don’t feel like you will be ready by the time you are supposed to sit for an exam section, rescheduling the CPA Exam may be a money-saving move. As long as you reschedule at least a month in advance, you won’t pay a rescheduling fee, nor will you sit for the exam unprepared and fail. If you wait and panic at the last moment, you may be at risk of forfeiting the fees you’ve already paid.

13. Pass all your exams within the 18-month window

After you pass your first section of the CPA Exam, you will have 18 months to pass the remaining three sections. If you don’t pass them all within that time period, you will lose credit for any you have passed and will have to retake them. This includes paying fees again. Also, if your CPA Exam journey extends beyond 18 months for any reason, you may have to pay to extend access to your CPA review course.

The best way to make the 18-month exam deadline is to create a CPA Exam study schedule and stick with it. Avoid paying a review course renewal fee by buying a review system that doesn’t expire until you pass, like the Gleim Premium CPA Review system, which comes with a true Access Until You Pass® Guarantee.

Cost to become licensed as a CPA

Wait—you’ve passed the CPA Exam but you’re not a CPA yet. You still have more fees to shell out. In fact, it never really ends, because you will be completing CPE courses for the rest of your career as a licensed CPA. But you’ll hardly notice the cost then—it’s just when you’re starting out that everything feels so expensive!

Ethics exam fee

Several state boards require candidates to pass an ethics exam along with the CPA Exam. Of these state boards, many use the AICPA’s Professional Ethics course to fulfill this requirement. This ethics exam costs $179 for AICPA members and $225 for non-members.

CPA license application fee

Your state board of accountancy will charge a fee for your license application, somewhere between $50 and $500.

Continuing professional education (CPE) courses

CPAs must complete a requisite number of continuing education (CPE) courses to remain licensed. These hours are due based on an annual or biennial basis as determined by your state board. Gleim CPE courses are available for as low as $6 per hour, depending on the package you buy. Learn more about our online CPE courses.

Save money with Gleim

One of the main principles behind our founding in 1974 was to make passing the CPA Exam accessible to all—and that includes keeping our costs within reach. Today, Gleim offers student discounts, corporate discounts, government discounts, scholarships, and other programs to promote educational equality regardless of financial ability.

The Gleim CPA Review includes assistance from our team of CPA Exam Accounting Experts and Personal Counselors, who offer priceless support and advice while you’re studying. Combine that with our highly acclaimed study materials, and you’ve got a recipe for success that’s worth a much higher price tag.

Talk to us today about how we can help you with your CPA Exam costs, and try our CPA Exam study materials for free!.