Minnesota CPA License Requirements and Exams

Minnesota 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, and applicants do not have to be a U.S. citizen or a resident of Minnesota. 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 Minnesota

Sitting for the CPA exam in Minnesota requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree, which includes coursework in accounting and other business-related courses.

Education requirements

Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university recognized by the board as long as the proper coursework is met. Applicants can sit for the exam when they are within 120 days of meeting the educational requirements.

The coursework includes:

  • Graduate degree with a concentration in accounting
  • Graduate degree from a business school or college of business and completed:
    • 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level
    • or 15 semester hours at the graduate level
    • or an equivalent combination thereof, including coverage of financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting
  • Bachelor’s degree from a business school or college of business:
    • 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate or graduate level, including coverage of financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting
    • 24 semester hours in business-related or accounting courses at the undergraduate or graduate level
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher that is supplemented by:
    • 24 semester hours of accounting at the upper-division or graduate level, including coverage of financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management

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.

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 exam is available the first two months of each calendar quarter.

State law requires that first-time applicants submit a $190 application fee and exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a $115 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
  • 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 Minnesota

After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, the ethics exam and completing the work experience, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Minnesota. Applicants must submit the application to Minnesota along with a $165 application fee payable to the Minnesota Board of Accountancy.

Education in Minnesota

Minnesota requires that candidate’s hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and complete 150 semester hours of education. The 150 hours must include the following:

  • 24 hours in upper-division or graduate-level courses in financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting
  • 24 hours in undergraduate or graduate-level courses in business-related subjects or accounting

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.

Work experience

One year of experience is required for full licensing, which can be obtained in public practice, government, industry or academia. Experience can consist of full- or part-time employment that extends over a period of at least one year and no more than three years and includes at least 2,000 hours of work.

Out-of-state CPA licenses

Minnesota 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. Minnesota also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure as long as they meet the requirements of the Minnesota Board of Accountancy.

Disclaimer: Requirements for Minnesota CPA test-takers and license applicants are subject to change. Visit the state’s Board of Accountancy website to check for recent revisions to Minnesota’s CPA requirements.

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