New York CPA License Requirements and Exams

If you’re interested in becoming a licensed certified public accountant in New York, you need to be at least 21 years old and have a bachelor’s degree or higher — or have worked in accounting for 15 years. Once you’ve met these requirements, the first step toward becoming a licensed CPA in New York is to pass the Uniform CPA Examination. The second step is to meet all of the state’s education and work experience requirements.

Step 1: CPA exam in New York

Education requirements in New York

To sit for the CPA exam in New York, you must complete at least 120 semester hours of education, including one course in financial accounting and reporting, tax or management accounting, taxation, and auditing. The required coursework for test-takers will be credited toward the 150 semester hours of education for obtaining your CPA license.

Application and test fees in New York

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) administers the online test. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts, demonstrating completion of the 120 semester education hours, sent to NASBA.

The process to apply for the CPA exam starts with requesting and receiving authorization to take the test, followed by an official notice to schedule (NTS) the exam. Once this process is completed, you can select a date to take the CPA exam. The NTS expires in six months, after which candidates must submit a new application.

State law requires a $377 application fee, payable to New York’s State Education Department.

The Uniform CPA Examination comprises four sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Regulation
  • Business Environment and Concepts

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.

In addition to the state’s application fee, there are substantial administrative costs that must be paid in advance to the NASBA.

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 York

After you’ve taken and passed all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination, and you have met the state’s age and 150-hour education requirements, you can apply to become a certified public account in New York.

Education requirements in New York

Unless your degree is in accounting and encompasses the required coursework, you will need to take specific business and accounting curriculum or provide evidence of equivalent experience as a practicing accountant.

To obtain a CPA license in New York, applicants must pass the CPA exam and fulfill one of the following:

  • have a master’s degree in accounting from a program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which automatically meets the 150 education hours for CPA licensing
  • have a bachelor’s degree in accounting from a program, registered by the State Board of Regents, that satisfies New York’s 150 semester hours of education requirements for CPA licensing
  • have a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in a discipline other than accounting from a regionally accredited college or university and completion of 150 semester hours of education requirements:
    • 33 semester hours in accounting, with at least one course in:
      • financial accounting and reporting
      • cost or managerial accounting
      • taxation
      • auditing and attestation services; and
    • 36 semester hours in general business electives that include, either as standalone courses or integrated into other courses, the study of business or accounting communications, ethics and professional responsibility, and accounting research
  • have a foreign equivalent of a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in accountancy and the equivalent of 150 semester hours in business and accounting courses, and proof of one year of full-time accounting work

Experience requirements in New York

In addition to passing the CPA exam and meeting the state’s 150-hour education requirements, New York requires one full year of accounting experience or the part-time equivalent (generally two years of accounting experience) for CPA license applicants.

Exemption for 15 years of experience

New York CPA applicants may substitute 15 years of accounting experience for a bachelor’s degree and the 150 hours of education requirement. But the more-experienced applicant must pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

Out-of-state CPA licenses

New York allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the state. New York also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided they meet the requirements of New York’s State Board of Regents.

Disclaimer: Requirements for New York CPA test-takers and license applicants are subject to change. Please visit the state’s Education Department’s website to check for recent revisions to New York’s CPA requirements.

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