South Dakota CPA License Requirements and Exams

South Dakota requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree. There is no minimum age requirement and the candidate does not have to be a U.S. citizen or a resident of South Dakota. Applicants are not 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 South Dakota

Sitting for the CPA exam in South Dakota requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree and have 150 hours of education, which includes coursework in accounting and other business-related courses. South Dakota does not participate in the International Examination Program.

Education requirements

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university and must have 150 hours of education. Applicants can sit for the exam when they are within 100 days of graduation.

The coursework includes:

  • 24 semester hours in accounting at the graduate or undergraduate level that include the following:
    • Principles and at least one course in intermediate or advanced accounting, auditing, taxation and cost accounting,
  • and 24 semester hours in general business

Application and test fees

The South Dakota Board of Accountancy administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to SDBA, showing proof of a bachelor’s degree or an advanced 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 12 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 exam fees, which also include a $30 application fee. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay the same fees. Each section of the exam has a specified administration fee. 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

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 South Dakota

After successfully passing all four sections of the exam, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in South Dakota. Applicants must submit a licensure application in South Dakota along with a $50 fee if applying between Aug. 1 and Jan. 31 and a $25 fee if applying between Feb. 1 and July 31. Applicants who apply for license more than 90 days after becoming eligible must pay an additional $50.

Ethics exam

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 passed the exam with a score of 90 or higher is required.

Work experience in South Dakota

The experience requirement for licensure is 2,000 hours of accounting experience. The experience must be completed in no less than one year and no more than three years. To perform attest functions, the experience requirement is 375 hours in compilations, audits or reviews in any combination. Applicants are required to apply for a certificate and pass the AICPA ethics exam within 90 days of completing the experience requirement.

Out-of-state CPA licenses

South 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. Applicants must also pass the ethics exam. South Dakota recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided they meet the requirements of South Dakota’s State Board of Public Accountancy.

Disclaimer: Requirements for South Dakota 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 South Dakota’s CPA requirements.


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