Maryland CPA License Requirements and Exams

Maryland requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree and be at least 18 years of age. Applicants are not required to be a U.S. citizen or a resident of Maryland. 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 Maryland

Sitting for the CPA exam in Maryland requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in accounting, which includes coursework in accounting and related courses.

Education requirements in Maryland

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university and complete 120 semester hours or their equivalent. Foreign applicants must be evaluated by the NASBA International Evaluation Service (NIES). College credits earned through AP, CLEP or other qualified alternative learning organizations do not qualify unless listed on a regionally accredited college transcript and a separate transcript from the credit-issuing alternative learning organization.

The coursework includes:

  • 30 semester hours must be in accounting and related subjects, including the following:
    • 3 semester hours in auditing
    • 3 semester hours in cost accounting or managerial accounting
    • 3 semester hours in U.S. federal income tax
    • 9 semester hours in financial accounting
    • 9 semester hours in elective accounting courses
    • 3 semester hours in ethics

Application and test fees

The Maryland Board of Accountancy (MBA) administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to MBA, showing proof of a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited school. Applicants must also request that transcripts include the type of degree conferred and the date of graduation.

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 six months, after which candidates must submit a new application. The examination is available in the first two months of each calendar quarter.

State law requires that first-time applicants submit a $67 application fee plus exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay the same fees.

The Uniform CPA Examination comprises four sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Regulation
  • 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 Maryland

After successfully passing all four sections of the CPA exam, the ethics exam and obtaining the required work experience, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Maryland. Applicants must submit a licensure application to Maryland along with a $22 fee.

Education

In addition to the requirements for the CPA exam, applicants must achieve 150 hours of education, including the following:

  • 21 semester hours in five of the following areas:
    • statistics, economics, corporation or business finance, management, marketing, U.S. business law, business communication, quantitative methods and computer science/information systems

Work experience

Maryland requires one year of practical work experience for full licensing, which is obtained through employment in government, industry, academia or public practice.

Ethics exam

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.

Out-of-state CPA licenses

Maryland allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the state as long as the firm they work for has a valid Maryland Firm Permit. Individual CPAs may only provide certain attest services unless they obtain a Maryland Firm permit. Maryland does not recognize individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure until they have their foreign education evaluated by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy  International Evaluation Service (NIES).

Disclaimer: Requirements for Maryland 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 Maryland’s CPA requirements.

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