Becoming a CPA in the state of California is the best thing that you can do to propel your career forward in public accounting or finance. Unfortunately, the California CPA requirements are somewhat difficult to navigate, but you will be happy you did. Ultimately, you will be able to take on more responsibilities, get promotions that were formerly out of reach, and earn a higher salary as a certified public accountant in California.
Typically, it takes a lot of work and isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world. However, becoming a CPA in California is extremely doable and you’ll be happy that you did. Don’t be afraid of pursuing the CPA certification. I know the CPA exam and license certification process can be confusing, but it’s not that hard. Just follow and these steps.
- 1.Becker CPA Review Course Endorsed by Big 4 Accounting Firms
- 2.Surgent CPA Prep Course Best Technology + Save $1,100
- 3. Wiley CPAExcel Review Course Best Instructor Support
- 4.UWorld Roger CPA Review Courses Best for Engaging Video Lectures
- 5.Gleim CPA Review Course Most Task-Based Simulations
7 Easy Step to Become a CPA in the state of California
1) Determine If You Eligible to Sit for the CPA Exam in CA
California CPA Requirements
There are a few general requirements that California requires every candidate to have just to qualify to take the CPA exam.
- Candidates must have a valid Social Security Number
- Candidates must fulfill all education requirements prior to sitting for the exam.
CPA Exam Tip: Note that California CPA candidates are not required to be a certain age or to be US/CA residents.
2) Fulfill CA CPA Exam Education Requirements
What are the Education Qualifications to Take the CPA Exam in California?
The state board of California requires all candidates to complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business in order to sit for the exam. Furthermore, your degree program must also include the following credits in order to qualify:
- 24 Semester Units of Accounting Subjects
- 24 Semester Units of Business-Related Subjects
- 20 Semester Units of Accounting Study
- 10 Semester Units of Ethics Study
Only a bachelor’s degree is required to take the exam itself. However, you will need 150 credit hours to become certified and get your full license in California.
3) Study for the CPA Exam in CA
How to Study for the California CPA Exam
Truthfully, studying for the CPA exam is probably the hardest part of taking it. Ultimately, you need to be disciplined and set a study schedule. Otherwise, you’ll probably never get through the entire exam!
It’s a common recommendation for candidates to study using a CPA review course for at least 100 hours for each CPA exam section. A lot of people ask if they can pass the exam without using a CPA study guide. The answer is, yes it’s possible although not very likely.
Sure, if you take the exam 10 times, you will probably pass it without using a review course, but it’s not worth it. The fastest way to pass the exam is to find a CPA review course that works with your study style, budget, and schedule.
I’ve reviewed all of the top review course providers. Check them out to see which one is right for you.
4) Take the CPA Examination in CA
How to sit for the CPA exam in California
The California CPA requirements are similar to those of other states. You will need to:
- Sign up for an online California Board of Accountancy account
- Submit your transcripts to the CBA
- Fill out and mail in your application with fees
- Get your Authorization to Sit (ATT) after your education and application has been approved
- Sign up for your NASBA Notice to Schedule (NTS)
- Schedule your exam sections with a Prometric Testing Center located in the following cities:
- Fair Oaks
- San Bruno
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Wait for NASBA and the CBA to report your score.
This is a pretty brief list of what you need to do in order to sit for the exam. Here’s a full detailed guide on the CPA exam application process.
Get Discounts On CPA Review Courses!
Save $1,100 off Surgent CPA Ultimate Pass
Save $800 off Wiley CPAexcel Platinum Review Course
Gleim CPA Premium Review Discount – Save $200
Save $465 – Fast Forward Academy CPA Discount
Save $700 on the Becker Premium CPA Review Package.
Save $400 off on the Becker CMA Advantage Bundle.
Save $800 off on the Becker CMA Pro Bundle.
Save $400 off Wiley CMAexcel Platinum Review
Becker CPA: Payment Plans for the #1 Rated CPA
UWorld Roger CPA Review Save $570 off Premier!
UWorld Roger CPA Review Save $400 off Premier!
Save 20% Off Surgent CPE Unlimited Packages
Save $300 off the Becker Advantage Bundle. #1 Rated
Lambers CPE: 20% off 2-Year & 10% off 1-Year
Surgent EA Ultimate Pass Review Coupon – Save $250
Surgent EA Premier Pass Coupon – Save $140
$509 off Surgent CMA Ultimate Pass Review!
$50 Off Single Part Becker Review Courses. #1 Rated
Gleim CMA Premium Review Discount – Save $160
New Year Sale! Save 22% OFF PPI2PASS SE Review
New Year Sale! Save 22% OFF PPI2PASS PE Review
New Year Sale! Save 22% OFF PPI2PASS FE Review
Save $300 off School of PE PE/SE/FE Engineering Courses
Save 30% OFF Aceable Agent Premium Real Estate School
Up to 30% OFF Mbition Real Estate Appraisal, Home
Save 35% off The CE Shop Real Estate
Save 40% OFF Prep Agent Real Estate Course!
10% Off AYPO Real Estate
Save $1,000 off Surgent CPA Premier Pass!
Save $700 off Surgent CPA Essential Pass!
PM PrepCast CAPM Discount
$200 off Surgent CMA Review Premier Pass
$150 off Surgent CIA Review Course
New Year Sale! Save $200 off Wiley CIAexcel Review
Get $400 OFF CMA Exam Academy!
Save 70% on Grey Campus Self-Learning Courses
Save 10% on Grey Campus Self-Learning Courses
Save 10% on Grey Campus Live-Online and Live
Save 20% on Grey Campus Live-Online and Live
The Agile PrepCast Elite for PMI-ACP Discount
Surgent EA Premier Pass Coupon – Save $140
Get Gleim EA Review
Lambers EA – Save $300 & 1-Year FREE CE
Lambers EA 1-Year FREE CE
Brain Sensei $50 OFF PMP Course!
Brain Sensei $50 OFF CAPM Course!
10% off Exams PM PMP & CAPM Courses
Save $300 off Edumind PMP/CAPM Review
Save $300 off Edumind PMP Review
Save $100 off Dooey.org PMP/CAPM/PMI-ACP/Lean Six Sigma Review Courses!
Edumind ARE Review 65% off
Save $300 off Blueprint LSAT 12-month Self-Paced
LSATmax only $67/month
Save 10% off LSATmax Review
10% OFF Alpha Score LSAT Coupon Code
Princeton Review Ultimate LSAT Coupon – Save $300
Save 10% off Wize LSAT Exam Review
Save 10% off LSAT Lab
Save $120 On Kaplan LSAT
10% OFF ExamsPM Offer (PMP or CAPM Certification)
$87/month Master of Project Academy PMP and CAPM Courses!
Save 15% off Velociteach PMP, CAPM, PMI-ACP Classes
Save 10% off Crushendo Bar Prep Products
Save 10% off Bar Prep Hero Bar Review Products!
Save 10% or up to $100 off Quimbee Bar
Princeton Review Ultimate GMAT Test Prep Promo Code –
Save $90 on Kaplan DAT
Save 10% off Wiley CFP Review Course
Save 10% off Wiley CAIA Review Course!
Save 10% off Wiley CMT Review Course
Save $200 off Prep Expert PSAT 4-Week Course!
Save 10% off Wiley FRM Review Course
Save 20% off Analyst Prep CFA/FRM Review
Princeton Review CFA® Coupon – Save $200
Save $300 off Wiley CFA Platinum Review Courses.
$48 Off Gleim CIA Review Discount
10% off Achievable Series 7 Exam Review
Save 20% Off Surgent SIE Essentials Pass
10% off Achievable SIE Exam Review
Save 10% off Series Exam Prep at Securities Institute
Save 20% off Securities Training Corporation
Save 10% off ExamFX Securities Exams
UWorld Roger CPA Financing Offer
Surgent CPA 5-Day FREE Trial Offer
Princeton Review Ultimate ACT Test Prep Promo Code –
Princeton Review Ultimate DAT Test Prep Promo Code –
$400 Off Prep Expert SAT Courses!
$200 Off Prep Expert SAT Courses!
$200 Off Prep Expert ACT Review Course!
$200 Off Prep Expert ACT Review Course!
20% off OnCourse Learning Continuing Education
Save 20% Off All New License and Exam Prep
Save 20% off OnCourse Learning Mortgage Education
5) Fulfill the CA CPA Work Experience Requirements
What are the Work Experience California CPA Requirements?
In order to get certified and become a certified public accountant in California, you will have to work under a licensed CPA for a minimum of one year including 500 hours of audit or attestation work.
You will also need to complete 150 college credit hours of coursework.
6) Complete the California Professional Ethics Exam (PETH)
Does CA require a CPA ethics exam?
Yes, California CPA requirements include its own ethics exam aside from the AICPA exam. You must pass the 50 multiple-choice question test with at least a 90 percent or higher.
The exam and its study materials cost $150 and can be purchased from the CBA.
If you fail the exam the first three times you take it, you will be able to call the CBA and get a special price on more exam attempts.
7) Apply for Your California CPA License
How to apply for a CPA license in California
Once you have passed all four sections of the CPA exam, completed your education qualifications, fulfilled your work experience requirements, and passed the ethics exam, you will need to apply for CPA licensure.
This application process is pretty simple. Since the state board already has your college transcripts and exam scores, all you have to do at this point is:
- Send work experience documentation to the state board
- Submit your official CPA license application
- Submit a 2” x 2” photo of yourself to the state board
- Submit your fingerprint packet request
- Submit your criminal conviction disclosure
- Send in your application fees
If you are an international candidate, you might want to contact the state board directly for instructions. The fees vary depending on if you are a US resident and a CA resident.
California CPA Exam and Licensure Fees
How much does it cost to become a CPA in California?
There are several different fees that you will have to pay in order to get your CPA license in the state of California. They can be split into two different categories: exam and license fees.The total cost to take all four sections of the CPA exam in California is $585 plus the initial $250 application fee. The re-examination registration fees vary depending on the number of sections. The total cost to get a CPA license in California is $585 including a $120 annual renewal fee.
California CPA Exam Fees
|CPA Exam Section||Fees|
|Initial Application Fee||$100|
|Auditing and Attestation (AUD)||$193.45|
|Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)||$193.45|
|Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)||$193.45|
California CPA License Fees
|Initial Application Fee||$250|
|Annual License Renewal||$120|
Additional California CPA Resources
You can visit the following sites to get more information about becoming a CPA in California.