New Mexico requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree. The state has no minimum age requirement and does not require that individuals be a U.S. citizen or a resident of New Mexico. However, applicants are required to hold 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 New Mexico
Sitting for the CPA exam in New Mexico requires that candidates possess a bachelor’s degree, which includes coursework in accounting and business law courses.
Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
The coursework includes:
- 30 hours in accounting
- No more than 3 hours in business law
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 from an accredited school. Applicants are also required to submit a 2-inch by 2-inch photo.
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 given the first two months of each calendar quarter.
State law requires that first-time applicants submit an application fee of $155 plus exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a registration fee plus exam fees. Registration fees are $120 for four sections, $105 for three sections, $90 for two sections and $75 for one section.
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 New Mexico
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 New Mexico. Applicants must submit a licensure application to New Mexico along with a $175 application fee. Applicants must also submit a 2-inch by 2-inch photo, complete a background check and complete a Fingerprint Certificate Form.
In addition to passing the CPA exam, applicants must take 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.
A bachelor’s degree and 150 hours of education are required for full licensing, including a minimum of 30 hours in accounting.
Work experience in New Mexico
One year of experience is required for full licensing, which can be obtained in government, industry, academia or public practice. All work must be certified by a licensed CPA.
Out-of-state CPA licenses
New Mexico allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the state as long as they have one year of experience and the issuing state has been verified to be substantially equivalent to the NASBA’s Qualification Appraisal. New Mexico also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure provided they meet the requirements of the New Mexico Board of Accountancy.
Disclaimer: Requirements for New Mexico 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 New Mexico’s CPA requirements.
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