Louisiana requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree. The state does not have a minimum age requirement for licensure. However, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Louisiana and have a valid Social Security number. For state residency requirements, applicants must have resided in Louisiana for 120 days of the prior year to sit for the exam. Individuals who meet these qualifications can take the first step to getting licensed by taking the Uniform CPA Examination.
Step 1: CPA exam in Louisiana
Sitting for the CPA exam in Louisiana requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university recognized by the board. Advanced degrees can be substituted for bachelor’s degrees as long as the proper coursework is met. They must also have 150 hours of education, which includes coursework in accounting and other business-related courses.
Education requirements in Louisiana
The coursework includes:
- 24 semester (36 quarter) hours of business courses other than accounting, including at least 3 semester (4.5 quarter) hours in commercial law as it affects accountancy
- and 24 semester (36 quarter) hours of an accounting concentration at the undergraduate level
- or 21 semester (31.5 quarter) hours at the graduate level in courses distributed as follows:
- 3 hours of intermediate accounting
- 3 hours of cost accounting
- 3 hours of income tax accounting
- 3 hours auditing
- 9 hours accounting elective
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 or higher from an accredited school and the required 150 education hours. Applicants are also required to submit three signed references supporting their moral character.
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 in nine months, after which candidates must submit a new application. The exam is available the first two months of each calendar quarter.
State law requires that first-time applicants submit a $150 application fee and exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a $75 registration fee in addition to exam fees.
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 section was 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 Louisiana
After successfully passing all four sections of the exam and completing the work experience, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Louisiana. Applicants must submit the application to Louisiana along with a $100 application fee and swear an oath.
Work experience in Louisiana
One year of experience is required for licensure and can be gained through employment in government, industry, academia or public practice. The experience must involve the use of accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills.
Out-of-state CPA licenses
Louisiana allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the state as long as the issuing state has been verified to be substantially equivalent to the NASBA’s Qualification Appraisal. Louisiana also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure as long as they meet the requirements of the Louisiana State Board of Certified Accountants.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Louisiana CPA test-takers and license applicants are subject to change. Visit the state’s Board of Accountancy website to check for recent revisions to Louisiana’s CPA requirements.
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- "State Board of Certified Public Accountants of Louisiana"
- "Applying for the Uniform CPA Examination," National Association of State Boards of Accountancy