Kentucky CPA Exam Requirements 2024: Critical Steps

Kentucky CPA Exam Requirements

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Kentucky CPA Exam Requirements

If you want to become a CPA in Kentucky, we’ve summarized the Kentucky CPA exam requirements. Read below to know the exact steps and needs to be a licensed CPA in the Bluegrass State.

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Summary of Kentucky CPA Requirements

Credit hours to sit for the CPA exam150
Bachelor’s required to sit for the CPA examYes
Credit hours in accounting subjects to sit for the CPA exam27
Credit hours in business subjects to sit for the CPA exam12
Total credit hours to receive a CPA license150
Work experience required to receive a CPA license1 Year
Ethics exam required to get a CPA licenseNo
Must have Social Security NumberYes


In order to meet the CPA exam requirements, candidates will have to be the following:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must be of good moral character.
  • Must have a social security number.
  • A graduate of an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s or master’s degree that includes a concentration in accounting or its equivalent.

Education Requirements

The Kentucky CPA education requirements are fairly straightforward. Candidates are required to complete 150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours in various course subjects, including:

  • Accounting Courses (27 semester hours):
    • Financial accounting
    • Auditing
    • Taxation
    • Managerial accounting
  • Business-related courses (12 semester hours):
    • Business
    • Finance
    • Marketing
    • Management
    • Economics
    • Computers
    • Statistics

With the standard bachelor’s degree in accounting consisting of just 120 semester hours, continuing on to earn a post-baccalaureate certificate or master’s in accounting is the most recommended way to get the 30 additional credits.

Each candidate must provide the board, upon application for the CPA exam, a final official transcript that clearly indicates the candidate has earned a baccalaureate or master’s degree with a concentration in accounting and the date the degree was awarded.

Accredited Universities or Colleges

The Kentucky board accepts all accounting degrees and additional business and accounting credits earned through colleges and universities recognized by one of the six regional accreditation agencies that operate in the U.S.:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Northwest Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

CPA Exam Requirements in Kentucky

After candidates meet the eligibility and education requirements, they may now start applying for the Uniform CPA exam.

The CPA exam consists of the three core sections and candidates would need to select one of the three discipline to demonstrate deeper skills and knowledge, allowing candidates to choose a specialization. There is no set order in which the exam portions must be completed. The components of the CPA test are as follows:

  • Auditing and Attestation. This exam section covers the basics of financial and attest services, such as audits, reviews, compilations, and preparing agreements.
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting. This exam section covers financial accounting topics for all business entities, including the government and nonprofits.
  • Regulation. This exam section covers federal taxation, tax services, professional ethics, and business law for individuals and business entities.
  • Disciplines
    • Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR): Focused on financial reporting, data analytics, and performance management. This area is suitable for those who are interested in financial analysis and reporting. An extension of FAR core.
    • Information Systems and Controls (ISC): Concentrates on IT governance, data security, and system controls. Ideal for individuals who wish to specialize in IT audits and information security. An extension of AUD core.
    • Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP): Centers on personal financial planning and tax compliance for individuals, businesses, and other entities. Suitable for those with a strong interest in taxation and financial planning. An extension of REG core.

You may take the required test sections in any order, but you must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination within an 18-month period beginning on the date the first examination section completed was taken. All components must be passed within the 18-month term. Any exam taken outside of the 18-month timeframe will result in a loss of credit.

CPA Exam Application Process

a. Apply at the Kentucky State Board of Accountancy website to take the Uniform CPA Examination. Select at least one section to sit for and make sure to get the 2nd page notarized.

b. Mail the complete application packet to:

Kentucky State Board of Accountancy,

332 W. Broadway, #310, Louisville, KY 40202.

Along with your completed application, submit:

  1. Official transcript from all schools attended. The transcripts must show that the candidate has earned at least a bachelor’s degree with an accounting concentration. The school can mail them directly to the board or the candidate can go through the student clearing house and have them sent directly to cpa@ky.gov.
  2. Check or money order payable to Kentucky State Board of Accountancy for application and examination fees.
  3. Signed and notarized application

c. It takes at least 2 – 4 weeks to process an application. The board will receive the application, approve it and send an authorization to test to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

d. NASBA will email the candidate to create an account with them and then send an invoice for their fees, which must be paid by the candidate within 90 days. They will direct the candidate to use the payment coupon for NASBA fees. Once paid, NASBA will issue the Notice to Schedule (NTS) for the Uniform CPA Exam which is valid for 6 months.

e. Schedule the test at a Prometric site in or near Kentucky. Sites include:

  • Louisville
  • Lexington
  • Florence

f. Arrive at the chosen Prometric site on exam day ready to take the test. Make sure to have 2 current forms of identification with at least a driver’s license or other official picture identification card.

g. The board will mail scores to the candidates once they have been tabulated.

Kentucky CPA Exam Cost Breakdown

The Kentucky CPA exam cost consists of five main fees: an initial application fee of $30, another $30 for per section fee which will total depending on the number of exams taken, the $238.15 fee for each CPA exam section, a $100 fee on the CPA license and the renewal fee of $100.

Initial Application$30.00
Per Section Fee$30.00
Auditing and Attestation (AUD)$238.15
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)$238.15
Regulation (REG)$238.15
Disciplines (ISC, TCP, or BAR)$238.15
Total for all 4 CPA Exam Sections$952.60
CPA License Application Fee$100.00
CPA License Renewal Fee$100.00
Late CPA License Renewal Fee$200.00

All fees are nonrefundable and payment shall be in the form of a check or money order made payable to the board.

CPA License Requirements

Candidates who have successfully passed the exam can now move forward with applying for their CPA license. A candidate shall apply for a license within 5 years of passing the last exam. To proceed, it is important that candidates must first meet the following:

  1. Is a United States citizen.
  2. Is a citizen of a foreign country who is legally residing in the United States (must supply supporting documentation).
  3. Earned 150 college semester hours before applying for a license. Must have a minimum of 27 accounting semester hours and 12 semester hours.
  4. Is an employee and working in an accounting or attest position in a public accounting firm, company or an institution of postsecondary education located outside the United
    States, but which has an office or campus located in the United States.

Experience Requirements

To meet the Kentucky CPA experience requirements, candidates are expected to complete 1 year or 2,000 hours of experience in an accounting or auditing position in public practice, industry or government. Experience must be within 5 years (before or after) of the date the candidate passed their last exam. The hours shall not include any leave or holiday time. The certificate of experience may be submitted for more than one place of employment in order to meet the 1 year or 2,000 hours of the experience requirement. 

CPA License Application

To apply for an initial license, send the documents listed below to the board. Documents must be received no later than one week prior to the board meeting date.​​

While most states require an ethics exam before licensing, Kentucky candidates can become a CPA without it as there are no Kentucky CPA ethics exam requirements. However, part of the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirement is to attend 4 hours of board-approved ethics every two years.

License Renewal

A Kentucky CPA must renew their license every two years. CPAs with odd-numbered licenses renew their license in odd-numbered years. Those with even-numbered licenses renew their license in even-numbered years. Online renewal notices are mailed in late June to the mailing address on file at the state board office.

Renewal Fee: $100

Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

To renew a Certified Public Accountant license, Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours must be completed in the two calendar years prior to the year a license is to be renewed. These two calendar years are referred to as the “reporting period.”

Beginning January 1, 2021, the following changes have been made for CPE requirements:

  1. 50% of the CPE hours required of all licensed CPAs must be comprised of technical standards courses. Technical standards courses include:
    • Accounting
    • Auditing
    • Business Law
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • Information Technology
    • Management services
    • Professional Ethics
    • Statistics
    • Securities
    • Tax
    • Or specialized areas of industry that contribute directly to the professional competence of a licensee.
  2. CPAs in public accounting firms who perform attest services or compilation or preparation of financial statement engagements subject to SSARS must complete 8 hours of CPE in the subject matter of accounting or auditing each year, for a total of 16 hours over the two-year reporting period.
  3. CPAs required to complete 80 hours of CPE per every two-year reporting period may include up to 8 hours of personal development courses toward their requirement, and CPAs required to complete 60 hours of CPE may include up to 12 hours of personal development courses.An acceptable personal development course improves time management, leadership, team building, goal setting and similar soft skills related to working in an office or professional setting. Human resources courses also qualify under personal development hours.

See FAQS on these recent changes for more details.

CPE Documentation

Each CPA is continuously required to obtain and retain for 5 years the appropriate documentation to establish that he or she completed the continuing professional education requirements. 

These course completion evidence shall consist of a document prepared by the course sponsor that includes all of the following:

  • Name of the Licensee
  • Course Title
  • Field of Study
  • Dates Attended
  • Number of CPE Hours Awarded
  • Signature of Provider or Sponsor


It is well noted that a CPA designation is the most coveted title for accountancy individuals and even more coveted in the industry. Yes, it can be a neverending process and some may be content with an accounting degree. But as you move up with this title, so do the opportunities it would present to you. With the learning and skill that they possess, CPAs are one of the trusted personnel in every business and will continue to be in demand in the years to come.

Kentucky CPA Exam F.A.Q.s

Below are the commonly asked questions about the Kentucky CPA exam and CPA license requirements:

What are the requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Kentucky?

To meet the Kentucky CPA exam requirements, applicants must be 18 years of age or older, be of good moral character, must have a social security number and obtain the education requirement of a bachelor’s degree or higher completing 120 semester hours.

How many accounting credits do you need to sit for the CPA license in Kentucky?

Kentucky applicants need to obtain 39 semester hours of business-related courses and 27 semester hours of accounting courses.

How do I register to take the CPA exam in Kentucky?

To be able to take the CPA exam, fulfill first the education requirements for Kentucky state. Apply and submit your application to the Kentucky Board of Accountancy website and send transcripts to the board’s address. Once your complete application is approved, the board will inform NASBA and they will issue a Notice to Schedule (NTS). The NTS lets you schedule your exams with Prometric and is one of the important documents to be presented upon taking the exam.

How much is the CPA exam in Kentucky?

During the application for the exam, first-time applicants are required to pay an application fee of $30 and an examination fee of $30 for each section. There are four (4) exam sections and would total to $150 for first-time applicants.

Does Kentucky require an ethics exam for the CPA?

The Kentucky board does not require applicants to take the AICPA ethics exam to get their initial CPA license. However, to keep a license active, applicants will need to complete 2 hours of ethics every two years according to Kentucky’s CPA continuing professional education requirements.

Do CPA exam scores expire in Kentucky?

As with all states, once a CPA candidate passes their first CPA exam section, they will only have 18 months to pass the remaining three CPA exam sections to complete the Uniform CPA Examination. Once a CPA candidate has passed the Uniform CPA Examination, their scores never expire in Kentucky.

How long does it take to become a CPA in Kentucky?

With the required credit of 150 semester hours to apply for a license, it is already around 5 years for education alone. Another year would be for taking and passing the exams. After passing the exam, at least one more year is required for the mandatory experience in order to be eligible to apply for the license. That’s roughly 6 to 7 years to acquire the license and be a Certified Public Accountant in Kentucky.

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