Illinois CPA Education Requirements [2022]

Illinois CPA Education Requirements

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Illinois CPA Education Requirements

To meet the Illinois CPA education requirements and become a CPA, applicants will have to acquire 150 semester hours with at least a bachelor’s or graduate degree. These can be fulfilled through either of the following:

  • Graduate degree in accounting, or
  • Graduate degree in business, or
  • Baccalaureate degree with any major or graduate degree in subjects other than accounting or business.

Summary of Illinois CPA Requirements

Credit Hours to Sit for CPA Exams150
Credit Hours in Accounting subjects to sit for the CPA Exam (For graduate degree in business)30
Credit Hours in Business subjects to sit for the CPA Exam (For graduate degree in business/other major or graduate degree)24
Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree required to sit for CPA Exams?Yes
Ethics Exam Required?Yes
Work Experience Required1 – 4 Years
Required CPE Hours Every Two Years80

Educational Requirements for the CPA Exam in Illinois

There are two main education requirements to take the CPA exam and get your Illinois CPA license set by the Illinois Board of Examiners:

  1. A bachelor’s degree with higher education accreditation.
  2. 150 semester credit hours.

The basic education requirement is a graduate degree or a bachelor’s degree in either accounting or business courses. The bachelor’s degree in accounting or business must have a regional accreditation by the Illinois state board. The accrediting body must be under the ACBSP accredited program or must have the ACBSP accreditation. However, Illinois has specific education requirements for CPA candidates that fall into three different “options”:

Option 1

Earned a graduate degree or a bachelor’s degree in accounting and 150 total semester credit hours

Option 2

A graduate degree in business or accounting and 150 semester credit hours, which includes 30 semester credit hours in accounting that includes managerial accounting that include managerial accounting, financial accounting, taxation, and auditing.

Option 3

A baccalaureate degree in any subject, OR a graduate degree in any subject, AND 150 semester credit hours that include:

  1. 30 semester credit hours in accounting that include managerial accounting, financial accounting, taxation, and auditing.
  2. 24 semester credit hours in business that include 2 semester hours in business communication, and 3 semester hours in business ethics.

Age and Residency Requirements for CPA Exam

Illinois state board requires no minimum age, citizenship, or residency requirement as a qualification for CPA candidates in Illinois to take the CPA examination.

In order to be licensed, you must obtain social security number (SSN). However, SSN is not necessary to take the CPA exam or receive certification.

Pass the Uniform CPA Examination

The “Uniform CPA Examination”, which is a 4-part exam, is developed by the AICPA – the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and administered by NASBA – the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

The Four CPA Exam Sections are:

Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

The Auditing and Attestation (AUD) section of the Uniform CPA Examination (the Exam) tests the essential knowledge and skills a newly licensed CPA must demonstrate when performing audit engagements, attestation engagements or accounting and review service engagements.

Newly licensed CPAs are required to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills related to professional responsibilities, including ethics, independence and professional skepticism. Professional skepticism reflects an iterative process that includes a questioning mind and a critical assessment of audit evidence.
  • Understand the entity including its operations, information systems (including the use of third-party systems) and its underlying business processes, risks and related internal controls.
  • Understand the flow of transactions and underlying data through a business process and its related information systems.

Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)

The Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) section of the Uniform CPA Examination (the Exam) tests knowledge and skills that a newly licensed CPA must demonstrate when performing:

  • Audit, attest, accounting and review services
  • Financial reporting
  • Tax preparation
  • Other professional services

The content areas tested under the BEC section of the Exam encompass five diverse subject areas. These content areas are enterprise risk management, internal controls and business processes, economics, financial management, information technology and operations management.

Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

The Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section of the Uniform CPA Examination (the Exam) assesses the knowledge and skills that a newly licensed CPA must demonstrate in the financial accounting and reporting frameworks used by business entities (public and nonpublic), not-for-profit entities and state and local government entities.

The financial accounting and reporting frameworks that are eligible for assessment within the FAR section of the Exam include the standards and regulations issued by the:

  • Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (U.S. SEC)
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)

Regulation (REG)

The Regulation (REG) section of the Uniform CPA Examination (the Exam) tests the knowledge and skills that a newly licensed CPA must demonstrate with respect to:

  • U.S. federal taxation
  • U.S. ethics and professional responsibilities related to tax practice
  • U.S. business law

Tips for Passing the CPA Exam

The CPA exam covers so many topics that you will need to study specifically for each section, usually for 6-8 weeks per section. Even a master’s degree in accounting doesn’t adequately prepare you to just walk in and pass the 4 CPA exams.

You will need a full review course such as Becker, Wiley CPA, Gleim, Roger, etc, and you will need to dedicate several hours a day over the course of months to even have a chance at getting passing scores.

How to Save Yourself MONTHS of Time and Frustration
Keep in mind that the CPA exam is the one part of getting your CPA license that you can control how long it takes. The education and experience requirements take as long as they take, but the CPA exams can take you as little as 6 months, or as long as multiple years… depending on how effective your study process is from the beginning.
Learn how to study strategically so you can save yourself tons of time and retake fees with this free training…

Illinois CPA Exam Cost Breakdown

The Illinois CPA exam cost consists of four main fees: the CPA exam registration fees which will depend on the number of sections taken, $226.15 per CPA exam section totaling $905 for all four sections, the CPA license application fee of $120, and the renewal fee of $40.

Examination Fees
Auditing and Attestation (AUD)$226.15
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)$226.15
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)$226.15
Regulation (REG)$226.15
Total for all 4 CPA Exam Sections$905.00
Registration Fees
4 Examination Sections$120.00
3 Examination Sections$108.00
2 Examination Sections$76.00
1 Examination Section$40.00
CPA License Application Fee$120.00
Renewal Fee$40.00

AICPA Ethics Exam

The CPA Ethics Exam is one of four standards that the state where you live and practice requires you to complete before awarding you a license and they vary depending on your location. As for Illinois, the AICPA Ethics Exam is required for certification. The AICPA Ethics Exam is taken after completing a course called Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course. You must earn a minimum score of 90% in order to qualify for certification.

How to Save Yourself MONTHS of Time and Frustration
Keep in mind that the CPA exam is the one part of getting your CPA license that you can control how long it takes. The education and experience requirements take as long as they take, but the CPA exams can take you as little as 6 months, or as long as multiple years… depending on how effective your study process is from the beginning.
Learn how to study strategically so you can save yourself tons of time and retake fees with this free training…

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