Alaska requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants be at least 19 years old and hold a bachelor’s degree. The state does not require that individuals be a U.S. citizen or a resident of Alaska. However, applicants must have a valid Social Security number. Individuals who meet these qualifications can take the first step to getting licensed by taking the Uniform CPA Examination.
Step 1: CPA exam in Alaska
Sitting for the CPA exam in Alaska requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree and have 150 hours of education, which includes coursework in accounting, business law and other business-related courses.
Education requirements in Alaska
Applicants possessing a bachelor’s degree that was received after Jan. 1, 2008, are required to have a concentration in accounting. Advanced degrees are not accepted in lieu of a bachelor’s degree. Applicants can sit for the exam when they are within 18 semester hours of completing a bachelor’s degree.
The coursework includes:
- 24 semester hours in accounting
- 3 semester hours in business law
- 3 semester hours in economics
- 3 semester hours in college-level math, statistics and/or computer science
Experience requirements in Alaska
In lieu of a bachelor’s degree in accounting, applicants qualify by meeting the following education and experience qualifications.
- Obtaining a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
- Completing one year of public accounting experience under the direct supervision of a Certified Public Accountant.
Application and test fees
The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to NASBA, showing proof of a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited school or a general bachelor’s degree that includes 15 hours of accounting. Transcripts must also verify the completion of the required 150 education hours.
The process to apply for the CPA exam starts with requesting and receiving authorization to take the test, followed by acknowledgement from the state and official notice to schedule (NTS) the exam. Once this process is completed, applicants can select a date to take the CPA exam. The NTS expires after six months, after which candidates must submit a new application. The exam is given the first two months of each calendar quarter.
State law requires that first-time applicants submit a $175 application fee and an examination fee for the sections of the exam that they are taking. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay an $85 registration fee and an additional fee for each section they are taking.
In addition to the state’s application fee, there are substantial administrative costs that must be paid in advance to the NASBA.
The Uniform CPA Examination comprises four sections:
- Auditing and Attestation
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
- Business Environment and Concepts
Each section of the exam has a specified administration fee. Applicants may take one or more of the four required sections at a time. In addition to the administration fee for each section, CPA exam applicants are charged a separate fee for each testing session they take.
Taking, passing and retaking the CPA exam
The passing score for each of the four exam sections is 75. Applicants may take the sections individually and in any order, but are required to pass all four within a rolling 18-month period, which begins on the date the first examination section passed was taken.
Credit for any section passed shall be valid for 18 months from the actual date the examination sections were taken. Examination credits expire by section, and applicants will lose credit for each section passed outside of the 18-month period.
Step 2: CPA license in Alaska
After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Alaska. Applicants must submit a licensure application with Alaska along with a $100 application fee and a $390 certification fee.
In addition to passing the CPA exam, applicants must take and pass the AICPA Ethics Examination. Official verification, mailed directly from the AICPA showing that the applicant passed the exam with a score of 90 or higher, is required.
Alaska is not a two-tier state. Candidates who pass the CPA exam and the ethics exam have full practicing privileges.
Out-of-state CPA licenses
Alaska allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the state as long as they have four years of experience. Alaska also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided they meet the requirements of Alaska’s State Board of Public Accountancy.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Alaska CPA test-takers and license applicants are subject to change. Visit the state’s Board of Public Accountancy website to check for recent revisions to Alaska’s CPA requirements.
Tags: AccountingLearn More: Click to view related resources.