West Virginia requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree. The state does not require that individuals be a U.S. citizen or a resident of West Virginia. However, applicants must have a valid Social Security number. There is no minimum age requirement to sit for the exam. Individuals who meet these qualifications can take the first step to getting licensed by taking the Uniform CPA Examination.
Step 1: CPA exam in West Virginia
Sitting for the CPA exam in West Virginia requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree, which includes coursework in accounting, business law, ethics and other business-related courses. Applicants do not have to satisfy 150 hours of education before taking the exam.
Education requirements in West Virginia
Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Board of Regents degrees are accepted in lieu of bachelor’s degrees as long as the course requirements are met. The state also accepts College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) courses, if transcripts indicate that the applicant tested out. Applicants can also qualify under the Mentor Program offered by the University of West Virginia.
The coursework includes:
- 27 semester hours in accounting
- 27 hours in business courses
- 6 hours in business law courses
- 3 semester hours in ethics
Application and test fees in West Virginia
The West Virginia Board of Accountancy administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to WVBA, showing proof of a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, applicants must supply the following items with the application
- Two character witnesses
- One additional CPA or PA character witness
- Signed non-disclosure agreement
- Notarized signature affirming the information on the application
- One 2-inch by 2-inch color passport 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 examination is available in the following months each year: January/February, April/May, July/August and October/November.
State law requires that first-time applicants submit a $10 application fee payable to the West Virginia Board of Accountancy. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a $40 fee for each section they are taking.
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 West Virginia
After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in West Virginia. Applicants must submit a licensure application to West Virginia along with a $120 application fee.
Applicants must attain at least 150 semester hours of college education, including a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university.
Work experience in West Virginia
At least one year of experience providing any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills is required. The experience requirement may be satisfied by employment in private practice, government, industry, not-for-profit organizations, academia or public practice.
Out-of-state CPA licenses
West 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 is substantially equivalent. An individual from a non-substantial equivalency state who holds a valid license as a CPA and has obtained National Association of State Boards of Accountancy‘s National Qualification Appraisal Service verification that his or her qualifications are substantially equivalent may practice in West Virginia.
West Virginia also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided they meet the requirements of West Virginia’s State Board of Public Accountancy.
Disclaimer: Requirements for West Virginia 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 West Virginia CPA requirements.
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