North Dakota CPA License Requirements and Exams

North Dakota 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 North Dakota. 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 North Dakota

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

Education requirements

Applicants sitting for the CPA exam must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university and have 150 hours of education. Applicants can apply to sit for the exam when they are within six months of completing the educational requirements.

The coursework includes:

  • 24 semester credits of accounting coursework or equivalent
  • 24 credits of business coursework, not including accounting principles

Application and test fees in North Dakota

The North Dakota Board of Accountancy administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to the NDBA, 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 $60 fee plus exam fees.

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 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 North Dakota

After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, the ethics exam and completing the work experience, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in North Dakota. Applicants must request a licensing application from the North Dakota State Board of Accountancy and then return it along with an application fee.

Ethics exam

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.


Licensing requires that candidate’s hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and complete 150 semester hours of education.

Work experience

One year of experience is required for licensing, which can be gained through employment in government, industry, academia or public accounting.

Out-of-state CPA licenses

North Dakota 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. North Dakota also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Disclaimer: Requirements for North Dakota CPA test-takers and license applicants are subject to change. Visit the state’s Board of Accountancy website to check for recent revisions to North Dakota’s CPA requirements.


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