Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licenses are issued by all states to protect the residents of those states. The licensing process is designed to ensure the competence of the licensees.

As an accountant, you cannot legally claim or use the CPA title unless you hold a valid CPA license issued by your state. In some states, you may also be restricted from offering certain public services (such as auditing).

A CPA certificate is a valuable addition to your resume in many fields. When you apply for a position, or are being considered for a raise or promotion, a CPA certificate from any of the states is tangible evidence that makes your resume stand out above others.


To take the examination to become licensed as a certified public accountant, you must meet your state’s requirements for education, experience, and knowledge. Most states now require 150 semester hours of university education.

If you are now in school, some states allow you to sit for the examination during the last term before your graduation. You can provide evidence of the necessary experience later. For the specific requirements of your state, refer to APPLYING TO TAKE THE EXAM.


Reciprocity is the granting of a CPA license by one state based on your CPA license from another state.

Because they use the Uniform CPA Examination, most states recognize the validity of licenses from other states. Requirements for experience and education vary, but states generally allow you to claim credit for successful completion of the examination in another state. Check the requirements of your state board for the specific rules that apply to you.


To become a certified public accountant, you must pass all four parts of the Uniform CPA Examination. Each state administers the examination and reports scores to its candidates. However, the examination is made up and graded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).


The exam is offered up to six days a week during January, February, April, May, July, August, October and November each year. Each two month testing period is called a window. Candidates make appointments for specific dates and times during a window at a regional testing center.

After the state board determines a candidate is eligible to sit for specific sections of the CPA Examination, the candidate will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS).

The candidate can then register directly with a Prometric testing center to take one or more sections. Candidates can schedule test appointments online at www.prometric.com\cpa, or by calling 1-800-580-9648 (Candidate Services Call Center) or contacting their local test center.


The four parts of the examination are:

  • Auditing & Attestation
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting (business enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, and governmental entities)
  • Regulation (professional responsibilities, business law, and taxation)
  • Business Environment & Concepts
The examination takes two days. Each of the four parts of the examination is graded on a scale of 0 to 100. The minimum passinng score is 75.


BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT is 85% multiple choice, 15% for three written communication (essay) questions.

AUDITING is 60% multiple choice questions and 40% simulations.

REGULATION is 60% multiple choice questions and 40% simulations.

FAR is 60% multiple choice questions and 40% simulations.

If you aren’t familiar with the FASB and AICPA electronic professional literature that is used for research in the AUD, FAR, and REG exam sections, a six-month free subscription is available to exam candidates that have been given exam eligibility by a state board. These are the databases actually used for research in the FAR and AUD exam simulations. The tax research interface is the same, but the tax database is not available at a reduced price to exam candidates. Click here to order a subscription.

Written communications questions on BEC are graded for writing skills in addition to being graded for technical content. Writing skills are evaluated for organization, conciseness, clarity, use of standard English, responsiveness to the question’s requirements, and appropriateness for the reader.

The CPA exam is a closed book, secured examination. Candidates are required to sign a statement that they will not disclose the contents of the examination.

What topics are tested in each section of the examination? Here is a summary of the content specifications:


  • 12-16% engagement acceptance and planning
  • 16-20% entity and internal control
  • 16-20% procedures and evidence
  • 16-20% reports
  • 12-16% accounting and review services
  • 16-20% professional responsibilities

  • 17-23% concepts
  • 27-33% accounts and disclosures
  • 27-33% transactions
  • 8-12% governmental
  • 8-12% not-for-profits

  • 15-19% ethical and legal responsibilities
  • 17-21% business law
  • 11-15% federal tax process
  • 12-16% gain and loss taxation
  • 13-19% individual tax
  • 18-24% taxation of entities

  • 16-20% corporate governance
  • 16-20% economics
  • 19-23% finance
  • 15-19% IT
  • 10-14% strategic planning
  • 12-16% operations management

Accounting Institute Seminars® (AIS) provides self study books for people taking the United States CPA examination.

Most are available on-line, for download to your computer. The electronic version is less expensive than paper books. You can magnify pages on your screen, fill the screen (view – full screen), search for terms, and print pages. Best of all, you can start studying it now instead of waiting days for it to arrive!

Here is the list of our currently available E-BOOKS CPA REVIEW.

For more information on e-books or for paper copies, refer to CPA REVIEW SELF STUDY BOOKS.

Comments or questions to us at

YvetteH@AIS-CPA.com or Brandon@AIS-CPA.com

If you would like to know more about AIS, see answers to questions frequently asked about AIS.

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Contact us for more information.


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