Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in Colorado will not only propel your career forward; it will also open the doors to way more opportunities than you had before.

Meeting your Colorado CPA requirements takes a lot of dedication and commitment, but it’s well worth it in the end. Ultimately, you’ll be able to advance faster in your career and get paid more with a certification.

Truthfully, the Colorado CPA certification requirements are pretty lenient by comparison to other state requirements. You don’t currently have to get 150 credit hours to sit for the exam. Furthermore, you can also bypass the work experience requirement as long as you fulfill additional educational qualifications. All of these rules can be kind of confusing to figure out, but don’t worry. We’ll walk you through the qualifications, so you can start your career as a certified public accountant in Colorado and get the higher salary that you deserve.

Here’s what you need to do in order to fulfill the CO CPA requirements and become a certified public accountant in the state of Colorado!

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7 Easy Step to Become a CPA in the state of Colorado

1) Determine If You Eligible to Sit for the CPA Exam in CO

Colorado CPA Certification Requirements

There are several personal requirements that must be met before you can qualify to sit for the CPA exam in Colorado. Basically, candidates are required to have the following:

  • A valid Social Security Number
  • Must fulfill educational requirements prior to sitting for the exam

The Colorado CPA exam Doesn’t have the following requirements:

  • Minimum age limit
  • US citizenship
  • Colorado residence

CPA Exam Tip: Colorado participates in the International Examination Program. Hence, if you’re an international CPA candidate, CO might be a good state for you to get certified!

2) Fulfill CO CPA Requirements

What are the Education Qualifications to Take the CPA Exam in Colorado?

The Colorado state board does not require CO CPA candidates to get 150 college credit hours in order to take the exam, but candidates are required to finish a bachelor’s degree before sitting for the exam. This bachelor’s degree must include the following courses:

  • Upper-level Accounting classes (27 credits) including:
  • Auditing (6 credits) including:
    • Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (3 credits)
    • Accounting and professional ethics (3 credits)
  • General Business classes (21 credits) including:
    • Economics, Management, and Marketing

Keep in mind that these are only the educational requirements to sit for the exam. Colorado will most likely require candidates to complete 150 credit hours to obtain a CPA license in the future.

3) Study for the CPA Exam in CO

How to Study for Colorado CPA Certification

The most difficult part of becoming a CPA in Colorado is simply studying for the exam and actually taking it. Unfortunately, if you don’t dedicate yourself to a study schedule and use a CPA review course that matches your learning style, you will probably end up failing a section or two.

Typically, most review companies suggest that you study for at least 100 hours for each exam section if you use a CPA study guide. However, if you don’t use one, you will probably end up doubling that study because you will be studying way less efficiently.

Take it from me. It’s well worth it to get some CPA study materials. You will learn and remember the topics faster and remember them longer. Alternatively, it’s a total waste of time to try to study on your own. Find a review course that works for you and fits your study schedule and budget.

Here’s a list of all of the top review companies out there. I’ve tested and reviewed each, so you can find the right one for you.

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4) Take the CPA Examination in CO

How to sit for Colorado CPA Certification

The Colorado CPA exam application process is fairly straightforward. It’s similar to other states. You will need to do the following:

  1. Sign up for an online account with CPA Examination Services (CPAES)
  2. Submit your transcripts to the Colorado State Board
  3. Fill out, sign, and mail in the following forms to CPA Examination Services:
    1. Colorado First-Time Application for the Uniform CPA Examination
    2. Affidavit of Eligibility and copy of identification (driver’s license or passport)
    3. Signed and notarized Attestation Form
  4. Get your Authorization to Sit (ATT) after your education and application has been approved
  5. Sign up for your NASBA Notice to Schedule (NTS)
  6. Schedule your exam sections with a Prometric Testing Center located in the following cities:
    1. Colorado Springs
    2. Grand Junction
    3. Greenwood Village
    4. Longmont
  7. Wait for NASBA and the Colorado State Board of Accountancy to report your score.

That’s a short list of what you’ll need to do to sit for the exam. However, if you want more information about each one of these steps, check out my complete guide on the CPA exam application process.

5) Fulfill the CO CPA Work Experience Requirements

What are the Colorado CPA Certification Work Experience Qualifications to get Licensed?

Before you can become a Certified Public Accountant in Colorado, you must complete the work experience qualifications. Typically, each CPA candidate must complete at least 1 year (1,800 hours) of experience in public accounting, governmental accounting, academia, or private industry supervised by a CPA.

Previously, Colorado was unique in that it didn’t require work experience. Therefore, you were previously able to get out of having any work experience if you simply completed an additional 45 credit hours of college courses. However, the Code of Colorado Regulations have changed, meaning you must now complete both the education and experience requirements.

6) Complete the AICPA Ethics Exam

Does CO require a CPA ethics exam?

Colorado requires candidates to pass the AICPA ethics exam in order to obtain a CPA license. Ultimately, you must pass the 50 multiple-choice question test with at least a 90 percent or higher.

Fortunately, if you fail the exam, you can retake it as many times as needed. However, keep in mind that if you fail it more than 3 times, you will no longer be able to take it online. Consequently, you will have to take the exam at your state board.

The AICPA ethics exam and its study materials cost about $100 and can be purchased directly from the AICPA or the Colorado state board.

7) Apply for Your Colorado CPA License

How to apply for a CPA license in Colorado

After you have successfully passed all four sections of the CPA exam, completed your educational qualifications, fulfilled your work experience requirements, and passed the AICPA ethics exam, you will need to apply for the CO CPA licensure.

The licensure application process is easy since the state board already has your college transcripts and exam scores. Here’s what you need to do to get your license:

  1. Complete your Application for Original License
  2. Send in work experience certificates and documentation to the state board
  3. Submit your official CPA license application
  4. Send in your application and licensing fees to NASAB Licensing Services

Typically, it takes the Colorado state board about two weeks to review applications and send you notification that they have issues you a license. However, it may take longer depending on several things. For instance, if your scores are not finalized or all of your transcripts have not been received.

Colorado CPA Exam and Licensure Fees

How much does it cost to become a CPA in Colorado?

There are several different fees that you will have to pay in order to get your CPA license in the state of Colorado. They can be split into two different categories: exam and license fees. Basically, the total cost to take all four sections of the CPA exam in Colorado is $729 plus the initial $110 application fee. Furthermore, the re-examination registration fees vary depending on the number of sections. The total cost to get a CPA license in Colorado is $472 including a $77 annual renewal fee.

Colorado CPA Exam Fees

CPA Exam Section Fees
Initial Application Fee $100
Auditing and Attestation (AUD) $192.03
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) $192.03
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) $172.51
Regulation (REG) $172.51
Total Fees: $829.08

Colorado CPA License Fees

Fees Amount
Initial Application Fee $110
Ethics Exam $100
Transfer of Grades $185
Annual License Renewal Fee $77
Total Fees: $472

Additional Colorado CPA Resources

You can visit the following sites to get more information about becoming a CPA in Colorado.

Colorado State Board of Accountancy

Colorado CPA Application Forms

Colorado Society of CPAs

Code of Colorado Regulations

NASBA – Colorado

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.