Table of Contents
Louisiana CPA Exam Requirements
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.
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Summary of Louisiana CPA Requirements
|Credit Hours to sit for CPA Exams
|Louisiana State Residency
|Good Moral Character
|Credit Hours in Business courses other than Accounting
|Credit Hours in Upper-level Accounting-related courses
|Credit Hours in Commercial Law as it affects Accounting
|Bachelor’s Required to sit for CPA Exams?
|Credit Hours to receive a CPA License
|Ethics Exam Required?
|Work Experience Required
|Required CPE Hours Every Two Years
In order to meet Louisiana CPA Exam requirements, the state requires candidates to meet certain general requirements including:
a.) Must be 18 years of age. A person must have attained the age of 18 years to be granted a certificate of certified public accountant in Louisiana.
b.) Meet the residency requirement. Candidates must have maintained continuous residence (physical presence) in Louisiana for a period of not less than 120 days within the one year period preceding the date of the initial examination. Students are exempted provided they return home when not taking classes, summer, etc.
c.) Be of good moral character, confirmed by personal references. This determination of a candidate’s good moral character is made by evaluation of the applicant’s character references and the candidate’s response to the question concerning the conviction of a misdemeanor or felony.
The reference must be a Louisiana resident who has known the applicant for a period of 12 or more months. A minimum of 3 references is required.
References should be from CPAs or substantial and representative business or professional individuals. They should not be submitted by the following individuals:
- More than one member of a household
- Relative of the applicant
- University or college instructors unless they have had significant contact with the applicant outside the classroom.
- A person having a financial or business investment with the applicant.
d.) Meet the Louisiana CPA educational requirements at the time of filing an application.
Louisiana CPA Exam Requirements: Education
For CPA Exam
Prior to sitting for the exam, all CPA exam candidates in Louisiana must have a bachelor’s degree or higher (in any major) from a regionally accredited college or university and must have earned specified hours in accounting and business courses.
However, accounting programs at Louisiana universities are generally designed so that graduates with degrees in accounting will have completed the necessary accounting and business concentrations to qualify as a Louisiana candidate, but it is always best to check with an academic advisor.
Applicants must successfully complete 24 hours (or 21 hours graduate level) of specific accounting and 24 hours of business courses including an acceptable three hours of business law exclusively covering Uniform Commercial Code and forms of commercial transactions.
If an applicant is moving to another state to work after college, they should consider the education requirements in that state and/or consult with its board of accountancy before they finish their college education.
Please note that after successful completion of the CPA Exam, applicants must meet all education requirements to become licensed (150 hours) by December 31st of the fifth calendar year following successful completion of the examination, or their exam scores will be voided.
For CPA License
In order to be eligible to apply for a Certified Public Accountant license in Louisiana, applicants must have 150 hours of college education including a baccalaureate or higher degree in a college or university acceptable by the board with concentrations in accounting and business courses. They must as well have successfully passed the CPA Exam and have the qualifying experience.
Applicants must note that if they have not already earned the required 150 semester hours for licensing after successfully passing the CPA exam, they must have earned the required hours to become licensed by December 31st of the fifth calendar year following successful completion of the examination, or their exam scores will be voided.
Recognized Schools, Colleges and Courses
There are six major regional associations and those universities and colleges under these accrediting bodies are accepted by the board, these six regional associations are:
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (formerly known as Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools)
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Higher Learning Commission (formerly known as North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (formerly known as Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges)
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Accounting and Business Courses
Louisiana CPA applicants must meet the required accounting and business courses for the educational requirements. These are the following:
Accounting Courses (24 hours undergraduate or 21 hours graduate level or in combination):
Undergraduate Semester Hours
- Intermediate – 6 hours
- Cost accounting – 3 hours
- Income Tax – 3 hours
- Auditing (related to external reporting) – 3 hours
- 9 hours of Accounting Electives (see below)
- Total Accounting Courses (Undergraduate) – 24 hours
Graduate Semester Hours
- Intermediate – 3 hours
- Cost – 3 hours
- Income Tax – 3 hours
- Auditing (related to external reporting) – 3 hours
- 9 hours of Accounting Electives (see below)
- Total Accounting Courses (Graduate) – 21 hours
Accounting Elective Hours – 3 semester hours from one of the following:
- Advanced Financial Accounting
- Not-for-Profit (or Govt,) Accounting/Auditing
- Accounting Theory
Additional 6 semester hours in accounting above the basic and beyond the elementary/principles or introductory level.
• Business Courses – 24 hours, not inclusive of Accounting courses:
- Including at least 3 semester hours in Commercial Law
- Total Business Courses:
- Undergraduate – 24 hours
- Graduate – 24 hours
- Or a combination of undergrad & grad of 24 hours.
For further information on the course requirements, visit the Louisiana Board of Accountancy’s rules related to the education and CPA examination.
Candidates or applicants who have completed educational requirements at institutions outside the U.S. must have their credentials evaluated by the Foreign Academic Credentials Service (FACS) or NASBA’s International Evaluation Services (NIES).
Either will provide the candidate and the board with an evaluation as to the degree and the credited accounting and business courses. This evaluation must be made well in advance of the time for filing an application to take the CPA examination. There is a fee charged for this service. Refer to FACS or NIES for more information.
Uniform CPA Examination
After completing the educational requirements, applicants will now have to apply and submit their documents online.
Applicants for these examinations shall file complete application forms. A complete application is one that is properly filled out, including payment of the required examination fee and, if an initial application, accompanied by all required official transcripts.
First-time or transfer applicants must complete an initial application form. An official transcript from each institution at which original credit toward the educational requirements was earned must accompany the initial application form. Official evidence of a baccalaureate or higher degree conferral must be included, regardless of any other degrees the applicant has earned.
First-time applicants will have their educational eligibility determined, so the process may take several days or a couple of weeks. Re-examination applicants should be able to re-apply and be sent a Notice to Schedule (NTS) for the examination within a few days.
Once it has been determined an applicant is eligible to take the CPA exam and they receive their NTS, the next course of action is to schedule their exams through Prometric.
The NTS may remain valid for 9 months. That means applicants will have 9 months from the date the NTS is issued to schedule, make appointment(s) and take the examination section(s) for which they have applied.
The Louisiana CPA exam costs consists of the three core sections and one of the three disciplines and here are their fees:
|Education Evaluation Application Fee
|Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
|Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
|Disciplines (ISC, TCP, or BAR)
|Total for all 4 CPA Exam Sections
|CPA Certificate Fee
|CPA Certificate Renewal Fee
All first-time applicants are required to pay both an application fee and an examination fee upon submission of the first-time application. All re-examination candidates are required to pay both a registration fee and an examination fee at the time of registration.
Studying for the 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.
- 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.
Prometric Test Centers
Applicants may choose which test centers they will take their CPA exams. These centers are:
- Baton Rouge
- Bossier City
- Metairie, New Orleans
- Jackson, MS
- Beaumont and Houston, TX areas
Applicants may apply for exam sections and make appointments on different dates. However, once applicants pass any section of the examination, they will have 18 months from the date of that exam section to pass the remaining sections in order to retain the credit on the passed section. The considered passing grade is 75 or higher on each section.
Note that applicants may take each exam section of the examination up to four times a year. Applicants may take any or all of the four sections of the examination during any testing window. However, they are not allowed to take the same section more than once during any given testing window.
Each applicant shall be notified by mail, on the date specified by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, of the grades earned by the applicant in each section of the examination. No information concerning grades will be released until such date.
Candidates should review the Candidate Bulletin at NASBA for additional examination details.
Louisiana CPA License Requirements
After passing the Uniform CPA exam, successful exam candidates must meet all education requirements (150 semester hours) by December 31st of the fifth calendar year following successful completion of the examination, or the CPA exam scores will be voided.
Once the education, examination and experience requirements have been met, an application can be downloaded and submitted to the board for approval.
A successful exam candidate may not use the Certified Public Accountant or CPA title until the certificate (license) application has been approved by the board.
Requirements for a Louisiana CPA license include:
- Successful completion of the Uniform CPA examination.
- Be of good moral character.
- Be 18 years of age or more.
- Complete the one-year experience requirement as verified by a licensed CPA.
- Submit the application form required by the board.
- Pay the certificate application fee of $100.
- Execute an oath prescribed by the board.
While most states require ethics before licensing, Louisiana candidates can become a CPA without it as there are no Louisiana CPA ethics exam requirements. However, part of the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirement is to complete a course in professional ethics as required by the board wherein the contents of which must have been pre-approved by the board.
An applicant for a license may meet the Louisiana CPA experience requirement for a CPA certificate (license) before, during, and/or after passing the CPA exam. The qualifying experience must have been obtained in the four years immediately after the application for the CPA certificate/license.
Applicant work experience will be as follows:
- Soon after a candidate has passed the CPA exam, the applicant must submit a license application along with written confirmation of one year of recent qualifying experience. One year of full-time (2,000 hours of part-time) qualifying work experience, obtained within the last four years, is the minimum.
- The experience must involve the use of accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills. It must be of sufficient complexity and diversity and be verified by a licensed active CPA.
- The experience may be satisfied in more than one employment positions, in public practice, industry or government and can be satisfied inside and/or outside of Louisiana.
- The nature of the applicant’s job duties, the complexity and diversity, are considered and must be confirmed by the employer(s). Part-time hours must be fully documented by timesheets and/or payroll records.
- The CPA sponsor may confirm the dates, job titles and description of the applicant’s experience with the employer — if this is appropriate to the employer organization. In any event, licensed active CPA(s) must provide letter(s) to the applicant (addressed to the State Board) explaining and verifying accounting-related work experience with the application. Any period of time in which the CPA’s license has lapsed would typically not be counted by the board.
The employment and work experience letter(s) must be addressed to the State Board of CPAs of Louisiana, but the applicant should collect these and enclose the letter(s) with the application. The applicant may collect such letters in advance, as may be convenient, prior to being eligible to apply, but all experience must fall within the four years preceding the board’s receipt of the CPA certificate (license) application.
CPE Requirements in Louisiana
Each license certificate holder must complete and report a minimum of 20 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) annually and at least 80 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) within a rolling two (2) calendar year period. Failure to timely submit the CPE Report Form may result in the expiration of a CPA license.
Note that only those CPAs who are renewing as Active need to report CPE.
Louisiana has CPE credit limits for certain types of courses:
- Accounting and auditing (A&A) – CPAs practicing in attestation services during a calendar year must earn a minimum of 8 hours for that calendar year in A&A courses.
- Personal development – CPE credits pertaining to personal development cannot exceed 20 hours annually.
- Publishing articles, writing books – CPE credits cannot exceed 10 hours annually.
- Completion of board-approved exams – CPE credits cannot exceed 20 hours annually.
- Lecturing or speaking presentation – CPE credits cannot exceed 20 hours annually.
A CPE documentation such as a certificate of completion or other official forms of verification supplied by the sponsor must be produced and should include the following information:
- Name of CPE Provider/Sponsor
- Name and signature of a Sponsor Representative.
- Participant’s Name
- Location of course (Formal class location or online)
- Title and/or description of the content.
- Dates Attended
- The number of CPE hours awarded by the course sponsor.
CPE documentation must be kept for a full five calendar years from when the program was completed. Participants in CPE programs shall also retain advance materials and other promotional material which reflects the content of a course and the name of the sponsor(s) in the event the participant is requested by the board to support the course content.
For additional details on Louisana CPE requirements, visit here.
In addition to CPE, ethics requirement is included for the 2022 CPE Report Year. Every licensed CPA who is subject to mandatory CPE for 2022 will have to complete an approved 3-hour ethics course.
Below are the approved courses:
- Society of Louisiana CPAs (LCPA) – 2022 Ethics Course for Louisiana CPAs in Public Practice or CPAs NOT in Public Practice
- Surgent McCoy CPE, LLC / CPA Self Study – Louisiana Ethics for CPAs
- Thomson Reuters – 2022 Ethics for Louisiana CPAs
- Master CPE, LLC / CPE Think / Kaplan Financial – Professional Ethics for Louisiana CPAs
- Becker Professional Education – Professional Ethics for Louisiana CPAs
- Beacon Hill Financial Educators – Ethics for CPAs: Louisiana
CPA License Renewal
If applicants wish to renew by mail, send it to this address:
601 Poydras Street, Suite 1770,
New Orleans, LA 70130
Make sure to fill out all the necessary details and provide all documentation and forms. Each certificate holder shall, when applying for certificate renewal, report CPE information in the manner approved by the board. Further instructions are provided online and on the form. Renewal of the certificate will cost $120.
The completed original renewal form with payment is due by December 31, 2021. Delinquent fees are effective February 1, 2022. Failure to submit a completed renewal form and applicable fee by February 28, 2022 results in the expiration of the certificate/license.
If you’ve made it this far then you are one step closer to your CPA goal. As someone who now has an idea on what to expect if one wishes to be a Certified Public Accountant, it only means the next step is to act on it. It takes diligence and self-responsibility but the payoffs make it all worth it. With the growing demand for financial specialists, CPAs will never fall short of the flexibility and opportunities that this title can offer.
Louisiana CPA Exam F.A.Q.s
Below are the commonly asked questions about the Louisiana CPA exam and CPA license requirements:
What are the requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Louisiana?
To meet the Louisianna CPA exam requirements, the applicants must be at least 18 years of age, of good moral character and a resident of the state for 120 days within one year preceding the application date to take the examination. Applicants must also obtain the minimum education requirement.
How many accounting credits do you need to sit for the CPA license in Louisiana?
Lousiana applicants need to obtain 150 semester hours in various subjects including 24 semester hours in upper-level accounting-related courses, at least 3 semester hours in commercial law and 24 semester hours in business courses other than accounting.
How do I register to take the CPA exam in Louisiana?
To be able to take the CPA exam, apply and submit your application and transcripts through NASBA. Once your complete application is approved, NASBA 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 Louisiana?
During the application for the exam, first-time applicants are required to pay the education evalution application fee of $90 and an examination fee of $344.80 for each section. There are three core exams and one of the three disciplines so the total would be $1,379.20 for first-time applicants.
Does Louisiana require an ethics exam for the CPA?
The Louisiana board does not require an ethics exam upon obtaining the initial license. However, it is required to finish a 3-hour board-determined professional ethics course for CPE.
Do CPA exam scores expire in Louisiana?
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 Louisiana.
How long does it take to become a CPA in Louisiana?
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, 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 Louisiana.