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CPA Information

2017 CPA Exam: Requirements for Sitting & Licensure

  • What is the CPA?

    • The Uniform CPA Examination is a comprehensive test that will create many professional opportunities for you, once certified. It is a 16 hour test comprised of four sections: AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG.

  • California CPA Exam Requirements

    • Education Requirement: 24 semester units in accounting subjects and 24 semester units in business-related courses are required to take the CPA Exam in California.

      • Note: Requirements may vary. Contact the California State Board for more information on California requirements for the CPA exam.

    • Minimum Degree: Baccalaureate degree

    • Education Requirements for Licensure: After passing the CPA Exam , the following additional education requirements must be met: 150 semester units total including 20 semester units in accounting subjects and 10 semester units in ethics study

  • California CPA License Requirements

    • Social Security Requirement: Yes

    • Education Requirement: 150 semester hours (225 quarter hours)

    • Participates in International Exam Program: No

    • Experience Requirements: 1 year general experience which includes any type of service of advice involving the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills. For those wanting to sign attest reports, the experience shall include 500 hours of attest.

    • Ethics Exam: Must pass California Professional Ethics Exam (PETH)

      • Note: This is separate from The Uniform CPA Exam, and is generally taken after the CPA

  • Format of the Four Parts of the CPA Exam

    • AUD (4 hours): Standards, Planning & Evidence, Internal Control, Reports, Compilations, & Reviews

    • BEC (4 hours): Cost Accounting, Economic Concepts, Financial Mgmt., Information Technology

    • FAR (4 hours): Business Enterprises, Governmental Entities, Not-for-Profit Organizations

    • REG (4 hours): Federal Taxation, Ethics, Professional and Legal Responsibilities, and Business Law

      • Note: For more information visit CalCPA.

  • Types of Questions

    • Multiple Choice

    • Task-Based Simulations

    • Written Communication

      • Note: Only in the BEC section

  • CPA Exam Preparation

    • There are multiple CPA test preparation classes that can be taken. Two of the most common are Becker and Roger. The links for both companies are listed below.

      • Please click here for information regarding Becker.   

      • Please click here for information regarding Roger.

    • It is also important to note that many firms offer one of these programs free of charge to their new hires. For information regarding the test prep course used by your firm, we would encourage you to reach out to your recruiter.

  • Cal Poly CPA Eligible Classes

    • To see which Cal Poly courses transfer over to the CPA click here.


Options for Getting the Extra Units

  • One option for getting the additional units after receiving a Bachelor's Degree is to enroll in an Accounting or Tax Masters program. There are a variety of different schools that offer these programs. For information regarding the Cal Poly Masters programs please refer to the following links. For information regarding the Tax Masters please click here. For information regarding the Accounting Masters please click here.

  • Another option for students that may already have a lot of extra units is to complete the additional units needed at a Community College. This option works best for students who graduated undergrad with a lot of extra units.

  • A another great option would be to complete all of the units necessary during your undergrad at Cal Poly. This method will work best for students that are just starting their academic careers. This is because it takes careful planning as well as the utilization of Summer terms to get all the required units in 4 years.

  • Please note: These are some of the common paths for students; however not every path will be the same. It is encouraged to reach out to and ask for the CPA advisor for more individual counseling.


Expediting Transcripts / CBA Information

  • Expediting transcripts to the California Board of Accountancy from Cal Poly is important due to the length of time it takes the CBA to process applications. The Evaluations office is aware of the importance of timely degree processing for accounting students but it is important to request rushed transcripts.

  • For information about ordering transcripts please click here.

  • The CBA is the the governing body when it comes to the CPA Exam. They have a variety of information when it comes to licensure and testing information.

  • There homepage can be found by clicking here.

  • Additionally one of the useful tools put out by the CPA that can help with planning your courses for the CPA is the CBA self assessment worksheet.

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