Virginia 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. Applicants are not required to be a U.S. citizen or a resident of Virginia. However, applicants are required to 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 Virginia
Sitting for the CPA exam in Virginia requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, which includes coursework in accounting and other business-related courses.
Education requirements in Virginia
Applicants sitting for the CPA exam must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university recognized by the board and have a concentration in accounting or equivalent educational courses.
The coursework includes:
- 24 semester hours of accounting courses, including:
- financial accounting
- management accounting
- 24 semester hours of business courses (no more than 6 hours can be accounting courses.)
Application and test fees
The Virginia Board of Accountancy administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to VBA, 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 12 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 $120 application fee and exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a $20 fee.
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 Virginia
After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, the ethics exam, completing a Virginia-specific ethics course and completing the work experience, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Virginia. Applicants must submit the application to Virginia along with a $75 application fee.
Ethics exam and Virginia ethics course
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. Applicants must have passed the ethics exam within three years prior to applying for licensing.
Applicants must also take and pass a two-hour Virginia-specific ethics course that is certified by the VBA.
Licensing requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and complete 150 semester hours of education.
One year of work experience is required for licensing and can be obtained in academia, a firm, government or industry in any capacity involving the substantial use of accounting, financial, tax or other relevant skills.
Out-of-state CPA licenses
Virginia 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 National Association of State Boards of Accountancy ’s Qualification Appraisal.
Virginia also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure as long as they meet the requirements of the Virginia Board of Accountancy and have a U.S. Social Security number or a control number issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Qualified countries include Canada, Ireland, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Applicants must also pass the AICPA ethics exam.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Virginia CPA test-takers and license applicants are subject to change. Visit the state’s Board of Accountancy website to check for recent revisions to Virginia’s CPA requirements.
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