Arizona requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants be at least 18 years old and hold a bachelor’s degree. The state does not require that individuals be a U.S. citizen or a resident of Arizona. Individuals who meet these qualifications can take the first step to getting licensed by taking the Uniform CPA Examination.
Step 1: CPA exam in Arizona
Sitting for the CPA exam in Arizona requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree and satisfy the state’s 150 hours of education, which includes coursework in accounting and other business-related courses.
Education requirements in Arizona
Applicants are required to take 24 accounting semester hours of specific accounting and related courses in order to qualify for the exam. Educational requirements include possessing a baccalaureate degree or higher and 150 semester hours from an accredited institution, college or university.
The coursework includes:
- 12 hours in intermediate or advanced accounting
- 18 semester hours of related courses
Application and test fees
The Arizona State Board of Accountancy administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to the ASBA, showing proof of a bachelor’s degree 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 an official notice to schedule (NTS) the exam. The board meets monthly, except for December, to review candidates. Once this process is completed, applicants can select a date to take the CPA exam. The NTS expires after 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 a $100 application fee and an examination fee for the sections of the exam that they are taking. Checks should be payable to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a $50 registration fee and an additional 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 sections were taken. Examination credit expires by section, and applicants will lose credit for each section passed outside the 18-month period.
Step 2: CPA license in Arizona
After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Arizona. Applicants must submit a licensure application with Arizona along with a $100 application fee and a variable registration fee. They must also submit a reference letter from a licensed CPA verifying good moral character.
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 achieved a score of 90 or higher must be achieved within the preceding two years of applying for certification.
To be granted certification, a minimum of 36 semester hours in accounting courses, of which at least 30 are upper level, and at least 30 semester hours are related courses, are required.
Candidates must have had at least 2,000 hours of paid or unpaid experience either before or after passing all sections of the CPA exam. Experience can be any combination of work that is full time, part time, volunteer or an internship.
Out-of-state CPA licenses
Arizona allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the state as long as they have either 2,000 hours of paid or unpaid experience, or have been employed for three years in accounting. Arizona also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided they meet the requirements of Arizona’s State Board of Public Accountancy.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Arizona 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 Arizona’s CPA requirements.
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