Chances are if you’ve looked into pursuing CPA exam application and becoming a Certified Public Accountant, you’ve found out that it’s not free. There are several different CPA exam costs involved in sitting for the exam and getting your license that many people don’t tell you about.
Getting your CPA certification is a big investment that will pay off for the rest of your life, but that doesn’t mean it will be cheap. Let’s take a look at all of the expenses required to become a CPA and answer the question, how much does the CPA exam cost?
- 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
How Much Does it Cost to Take the CPA Exam?
CPA Review Course Costs
Even before you pay any actual CPA exam fees, you should purchase a CPA review course. It is possible to study for the exam without one, but it’s way more difficult and you are way more likely to fail multiple times without a real study guide.
Trust me. It’s not worth it. Why would you want to prolong the pain of taking the CPA exam any longer than you have too? Do the right thing; get a CPA review course that is right for you.
Most CPA prep courses cost between $1,000 – $3,000. I’ve made a complete list of all the most popular and most useful courses here. Check it out before you buy one.
The first of the CPA exam costs is the application fee. This varies by state by is usually between $50 – $200.
This is the fee that you pay to your state board in order to apply to take the exam. It’s only a one time fee, but you might end up paying it more than once if your application is rejected the first time or you let your authorization to test notice (ATT) expire.
You don’t want either of these things to happen because there’s no sense in paying the application fee twice. Follow these steps to make sure your application process goes smoothly the first time.
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 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
The next set of fees you will have to pay is the exam fees. These are the costs associated with actually taking the exam.
After you receive your ATT, you will be able to choose which sections you want to take and pay the applicable fees. The cost for each CPA exam section varies by state, but most states charge $193.45 per section.
- AUD: $193.45
- FAR: $193.45
- BEC: $193.45
- REG: $193.45
You will also have to pay a registration fee when you sign up for a section depending on your state. These costs are typically arranged in a tiered fashion allowing you to save money by signing up for multiple sections at one time. Here’s how it works.
- One Section: $63
- Two Sections: $81
- Three Sections: $99
- Four Sections: $177
Thus, if you sign up for each of the four sections individually, you will pay $252 in registration fees. Now calm down and do go crazy thinking you are going to sign up for all 4 sections at once to save $80.
Remember that your NTS is only good for 6 months. If you sign up for all four sections, you will have to schedule all four exams in the next 6 months or your NTS will expire. Then you will have to pay the exam fees and the registration fees again to get a new NTS. That’s where they get you.
Be smart. Just sign up for one at a time. It will save you money in the long run.
CPA Exam Ethics Fees
Many states require you to take and pass an ethics exam after you have completed the uniform CPA exam in order to get your CPA license. This isn’t a big deal as far as tests go, but like all things, it isn’t free either.
The AICPA ethics exam costs between $150 – $200. This includes a study book and all fees required to take the exam.
CPA Licensing Fees
After you have successfully completed all four sections of the CPA exam and you have completed the AICPA ethics exam, you will need to pay your CPA licensing fees to your state board.
This cost varies between states. Some states are as low as $50 per while other states that want to make a buck off of you charge upwards of $500 per year. You will have to pay this fee for eternity in order to maintain your license and practice public accounting.
CPA CPE Costs
You didn’t think you were done yet did you? Well, after you pay your licensing fee to the state board, you will need to maintain your continuing education. Like all requirements, this also varies among states.
Most states require you to take 40 hours of continuing education each year. Depending on what platform and provider you use for your CPE, it could cost $20 per hour on up to $125 per hour.
You can figure that it will cost at least $1,000 per year for continuing education.
Hidden Costs of the CPA Exam You Didn’t Expect
Now I know what you are thinking at this point. “Come on, there can’t possibly be more costs can there?” Well, there could be. Here are a few of them.
Additional Exam Fees
Most CPA candidates don’t pass the exam on their first try. Thus, they have to pay to retake each section that they fail again. This can add up seeing as it costs about $250 to sit for a section.
If you fail two sections, you are looking at another $500 in fees. Yikes!
Additional CPA Prep Course Costs
This cost isn’t as common as the last one, but it is pretty common. A lot of candidates don’t take my advice on how to pick out the best CPA review course and they end up getting one that doesn’t work for them.
This causes them to fail a section or two and puts them in the market for a different review course.
Other candidates do get the right course, but the course has an expiration date that runs out. Thus, they have to pay extra to renew the course. Most companies like Roger and Becker charge about $500 to renew their courses.
International Candidate Credential Costs
If you are applied from outside the United States, your state board will have to evaluate if your education meets the minimum requirements. Like anything else, they will hit you with a fee for this review.
Most states that allow international candidates to take the exam in their jurisdiction charge a $150 – $200 fee for this extra review.
Total Costs to Become a CPA
Here’s a breakdown of all CPA costs to take the CPA exam and get licensed.
|CPA Review Course||$1,500|
|Exam Fees (All 4 Sections)||$775|
|Ethics Exam Fee||$150|
I left off the CPE because most states don’t require this for the first year. It’s also an ongoing cost of maintaining your license just like the license renew fees.
Is the CPA the Most Expensive Accounting Certification?
The certified public accountant certification isn’t the most expensive accounting certification if you look at all credentials including the ones in the financial world.
The CFA® designation is much more expensive to obtain than the CPA credential. It will cost you about $4,000 to become a certified financial analyst.
Is a CPA License Worth It?
In short, yes. It’s way worth it. Getting your CPA license will open so many doors for you that you would never had access to without being certified.
You will also make way more money. The average CPA makes about $1M more than his or her non-certified counter part over the course of his or her career. That’s pretty sweet.
It’s worth the initial investment and the year it takes to pass the exam. Just buckle down and get it out of the way. You will be happy you did.
Have You Started Studying Yet?
If you haven’t started studying yet, you should look at my comparison of the top CPA review courses and find one that fits your learning style best.
The wrong course could mean the difference between you passing the first time and failing several times. Getting the right course is worth every penny.