Ohio CPA License Requirements and Exams

Ohio requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree and be 18 years old. Applicants are not required to be a U.S. citizen but must be a resident of Ohio. Applicants are also 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 Ohio

Sitting for the CPA exam in Ohio requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, which includes coursework in accounting and general business courses.

Education requirements in Ohio

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university and have obtained 150 hours of credit. An advanced degree qualifies in lieu of a bachelor’s degree if the proper coursework is satisfied. Applicants who have not completed 150 hours of education can sit if they obtain a score of 620 or higher on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and earn an associate or bachelor’s degree.

The coursework includes:

  • Graduate degree in business with
    • 30 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level or 18 semester hours of accounting at the graduate level with at least one course in each of the following:
      • financial accounting
      • management accounting
      • auditing with coverage of Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS)
      • taxation
      • professional ethics and responsibilities
  • Bachelor’s degree with
    • 30 semester hours of accounting with at least one course in each of the following:
      • financial accounting
      • management accounting
      • auditing with coverage of GAAS
      • taxation
      • professional ethics and responsibilities
    • 24 semester hours in business subjects

Application and test fees

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to NASBA, showing proof of a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited school and 150 hours of coursework or a 620 GMAT score.

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 first two months of each calendar quarter.

State law requires that first-time applicants submit a $140 application fee plus exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay a registration fee and exam fees. Registration fees are $130 for four sections, $110 for three sections, $90 for two sections and $70 for one section.

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.

In addition to the state’s application fee, there are substantial administrative costs that must be paid in advance to the NASBA.

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 Ohio

After successfully passing all four sections of the CPA exam, the ethics exam and obtaining the required work experience, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in Ohio. Applicants must submit a licensure application to Ohio, for which there is no fee. Applicants must also submit a criminal records check by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation & Identification (BCI).


Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university and achieve 150 hours of education.

Work experience

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

Ethics exam in Ohio

Applicants must pass an Ohio Board of Accountancy course on basic professional responsibilities and standards. A link to approved courses is available on the State Board of Accountancy’s website.

Out-of-state CPA licenses

Ohio allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the state as long as long as the issuing state has been verified to be substantially equivalent to the NASBA’s Qualification Appraisal. Applicants are required to submit an application along with a $100 fee, take an ethics course and submit to a background check. Ohio also recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, as long as they meet the requirements of the Ohio Board of Accountancy, submit to a background check, take the ethics course and pay a $100 fee.

Disclaimer: Requirements for Ohio 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 Ohio’s CPA requirements.


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