Kentucky CPA License Requirements and Exams

Kentucky requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants be 18 years of age and hold a bachelor’s degree. Candidates do not have to be a U.S. citizen or reside in Kentucky. 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 Kentucky

Sitting for the CPA exam in Kentucky requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree or higher with a concentration in accounting, which includes coursework in accounting and other business-related courses.

Education requirements

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher with a concentration in accounting from an accredited college or university. Applicants can apply to sit for the exam when they have 120 hours of credit.

The coursework includes:

  • 39 semester hours in business-related subjects, including the following:
    • business, finance, marketing, management, economics, computers, statistics or accounting
  • 27 semester hours of accounting courses

Application and test fees in Kentucky

The Kentucky Board of Accountancy administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to KBA, showing proof of a bachelor’s degree.

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 computer-based exam is available during the first two months of each calendar quarter.

State law requires that first-time applicants submit a $30 application fee and a $30 fee per exam section taken. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay $30 per exam section taken. Applicants may take one or more of the four required sections at a time.

The Uniform CPA Examination comprises four sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Regulation
  • 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 is 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 Kentucky

After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, obtaining 150 hours of education and completing the work experience, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Kentucky. Applicants must submit a licensure application with Kentucky along with a $100 fee.

Work experience in Kentucky

One year of experience is required for licensing and can include an accounting or auditing position in public practice, academia, industry or governmentThe experience must be obtained within 12 months and occur after receiving a degree. Experience may also be gained through one year of teaching at an institution of higher education, which includes 24 semester hours of accounting courses in which the course participants received credit on an official transcript.

Out-of-state CPA licenses

Kentucky 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. Kentucky recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided they meet the requirements of the Kentucky’s State Board of Public Accountancy.

Disclaimer: Requirements for Kentucky 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 the Kentucky’s CPA requirements.


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