Massachusetts CPA Exam Requirements 2022: 3 Important Factors

Massachusetts CPA Exam Requirements

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Massachusetts CPA Exam Requirements

Becoming a CPA in Massachusetts is not as straightforward as you might imagine. It can take years of education and experience to qualify, and then after all that, passing the Uniform CPA Exam is no guarantee you’ll be a CPA. This article covers everything you need to know about the Massachusetts CPA exam requirements, the education, CPA exam requirements, and experience. We’ll help you with your journey to becoming a Massachusetts CPA.

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Summary of Massachusetts CPA Requirements

Credit Hours to Sit for CPA Exams120
Credit Hours in Accounting courses to sit for the CPA Exam21
Credit Hours in Business courses to sit for the CPA Exam9
Bachelor’s Required to Sit for CPA Exams?Yes
Credit Hours for CPA License150
Credit Hours in Accounting courses for the CPA license30
Credit Hours in Business courses for the CPA license24
Number of Character Reference Letters for CPA License3
Work Experience Required1 – 9 Years
Required CPE Hours each Biennial Period80

Massachusetts CPA Education Requirements

When applying for the Uniform CPA exam or even to be a licensed CPA there are the Massachusetts CPA education requirements. The qualifications for obtaining a CPA license vary by state. The first requirement in obtaining your Massachusetts CPA license is that the applicant should have a bachelor’s degree from a national or regional accredited education institution and 150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours.

But that’s not all. The applicant must also fulfill one of the following options:

  • Earned a graduate degree in accounting from a program at a nationally or regionally accredited college or university that is further accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Programs not accredited by AACSB must be approved by the Board or an Educators Credential Committee appointed by the Board.
  • Earned a graduate degree in accounting, business administration, or law from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
    • 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of accounting courses at the undergraduate level
      • Or 18 semester hours (27 quarter hours) of accounting at the graduate level.
      • Should cover financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management accounting
    • 24 semester hours (36 quarter hours) of business courses (other than accounting courses) at the undergraduate level
      • or 18 semester hours (27 quarter hours) at the graduate level, or an equivalent combination thereof; or
  • Earned at least a bachelor’s degree from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
    • 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of accounting courses
      • It should cover financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management accounting. In addition, the degree must include
    • 24 semester hours (36 quarter hours) of business courses other than accounting courses.
      • Should cover areas of business law (must include coverage of the UCC), information systems, finance
      • At least one (1) of the areas of economics, business organizations, professional ethics, and/or business communication.

Course Requirements

Your Course Requirements for your Education: It is crucial that you know what course requirements are needed because if you don’t fulfill them, you will not be able to sit for the exam or even be a licensed CPA.

  • Online courses, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and pass/fail grades are acceptable when you receive credit for the courses at a regionally accredited college or university. These courses must appear on an official transcript.
  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit will qualify toward the 150 semester hour rule when reflected on the transcript of a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Correspondence courses and/or commercial review courses are not acceptable.
  • CPA Review courses are acceptable if a regionally accredited college or university awards credits.
  • Internships in accounting subjects are accepted to meet accounting course electives; they cannot be accepted toward specific subject requirements.
  • Personal finance is not an acceptable course to meet the finance course requirement.

Foreign Education

If you received your education outside of the United States, Massachusetts requires some additional steps to ensure a license is permissible in the state. First, the International Evaluation Services (NIES) of NASBA or Center for Educational Documentation (CED) must write and submit an evaluation report for applicants who received their education outside of the United States.

IES sends your academic credentials to a review panel which then decides if your education should be classified as equivalent to that of accredited education in the United States.

Academic Credential Evaluation

Education Evaluation Requirements applying for a CPA license in Massachusetts are complex. Only licensed CPAs or students currently enrolled in a CPA program are eligible to sit for the examination. To practice as a licensed CPA, you will have to seek admission by examination. Applicants for qualification by examination must have their education evaluated by NASBA’s Licensing Service.

  • Fees
    • Initial: $175
    • Transfer of Grades: $100
    • Reciprocal: $499

Massachusetts Uniform CPA Examination

The CPA exam is probably the biggest test most of us will ever take. It’s one of the most challenging exams in the United States. It will cost you—lots of time, lots of energy, and lots of money. The good thing is we’re here to help you get down to all the necessary details of the Massachusetts CPA exam requirements.

The requirements needed to take the CPA exam differ from getting the license. The minimum requirements necessary to sit for the CPA exam are as follows:

  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree
  • Completed at least 120 of the 150 semester hours (or 180 of the 225 quarter hours) of college or university education from a nationally or regionally accredited institution
    • Or complete 120 of the required 150 semester hours within 90 days of sitting for the examination
  • 21 semester hours of accounting courses, including:
    • Financial Accounting
    • Auditing
    • Taxation
    • Management or Cost Accounting
  • 9 semester hours of business courses, including:
    • Business Law that covers the U.S. Uniform Commercial Code
    • Finance
    • Information systems

Massachusetts Uniform CPA Examination Fees

The Massachusetts CPA exam cost consists of five main fees: an initial exam application fee of $195, the $226.15 per CPA exam section totaling $905 for all four sections, the CPA exam registration fees which will depend on the number of sections taken, an initial license fee that costs $175 and the renewal fee of $161.

Applicants taking the test for the first time must pay both the application fee and the examination fee on their first-time application.

Re-examination applicants are required to pay the registration and examination fees at the same time during registration.

Initial Exam Application$195.00
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$177.00
3 Examination Sections$157.00
2 Examination Sections$137.00
1 Examination Section$117.00

Take note that the exam fees are not refundable. Unless under extreme circumstances, then you can file an NTS extension or a partial refund of the fees for specific circumstances, and the applicant must fill up an Exception to Policy Form, which can be found over at the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website for the Massachusetts Uniform CPA Examination.

Massachusetts CPA Experience Requirements

When filling out the CPA license application form, one of the requirements is Massachusetts CPA experience requirements. The applicant applying for a Massachusetts CPA license would need the following work experience:

  • Experience providing any type of services or advice using accounting attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, and consulting skills are required.
  • One to three years in public accounting with more than 2000 hours, part-time or full-time.
  • Three to nine years in non-public accounting with more than 2000 hours, part-time or full-time.

Getting your Massachusetts CPA License

Now that you have passed the Uniform CPA Examination and gathered the necessary experience to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Massachusetts, the last thing that you’ll need is to know about the Massachusetts CPA license requirements.

The Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy is the state government organization in charge of regulating and licensing professional accountants located in the state. Their organization is responsible for overseeing the examination process and issuing licenses to accounting professionals.

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

To apply for a CPA licensure in Massachusetts, here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need:

  • Complete 150 semester hours from a nationally or regionally accredited educational institution
  • Pass the Uniform CPA Examination
  • One to three years in public accounting with more than 2000 hours, part-time or full-time
  • Three to nine years in non-public accounting with more than 2000 hours, part-time or full-time
  • Three character reference letters dated within the past year and addressed to the Board.
  • Criminal Offender Record Information or CORI Permission form

Keep in mind that you must get a formal congratulatory letter from NASBA CPA Examination Services (CPAES) along with instructions on how to apply for your CPA license, as your application may be rejected if it is done incorrectly.

For the general checklist, you can check them over at the Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy website.

Reciprocal Accountancy License

The reciprocal accountancy license allows out-of-state Certified Public Accountants (CPA) to obtain a CPA license in Massachusetts without going through the whole licensing process.

  • CPAs who have been practicing for at least 4 years out of the past 10 years can apply.
    • Verification of your out of state license(s) from the state board
    • Verification of employment
    • CORI Permission form
  • CPAs who have been licensed for less than 4 years or have not practiced in 4 years out of the past 10 years would need to request a reciprocal license using the same procedures as first-time applicants.

Fees

  • Initial license fee – $175
  • Reciprocal license – $499

Renewal of CPA License

The Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy uses an online renewal system as of June 30, 2019. Renewals are done every two years, and CPAs should receive a renewal notice at least 45 days before June 30. The notice will also include separate instructions on uploading the required Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours which is 80 which should include 4 hours in Ethics.

Fees

  • Renewal fee: $161.00
  • Late Renewal Fee: $57

Reinstatement of Expired CPA License

The reinstatement process varies depending on how long your license has been expired.

  • If your license has expired for less than 20 months, you can follow the standard renewal process.
  • If your license has expired more than 20 months, you’ll need to fill up a Reinstatement Of An Expired License form that can be found on the Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy website, which can be found here.

Summary

Massachusetts has fairly typical requirements for becoming a CPA, almost the same processes as the other states. It would be best if you always double-check before applying for the CPA exam because the requirements might change in time. It’s not easy to become a CPA, but the payoffs are well worth it, and I hope this article helped you on your journey to be a CPA.

Massachusetts CPA Exam F.A.Q.s

Here are some commonly asked questions regarding Massachusetts’s CPA exam and CPA license requirements.

How Long Does It Take to Get the CPA License in Massachusetts?

While you can sit for the CPA exam once you have 120 semester hours, you will still need to attain the full 150 semester hours required nationwide. This is roughly five years of education, then one year to take and pass the CPA exam, and then one year to meet the experience requirement. That makes a total of 6-7 years to get your CPA license. Once you have met all the requirements and have submitted your application to receive your CPA license from the Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy, if approved you will receive your license in the mail within 3-4 weeks.

How Much is a CPA Exam in Massachusetts?

The total cost of the CPA exam for an aspiring CPA in Massachusetts is $1276.60, this is considering that you pass all exams on the first try. The breakdown of the cost is $195 for the application, $177 for the registration of all four exams, and $904.6 for all four sections of the exam ($226.15 per section).

How Do I Become an Accountant in Massachusetts?

To become a licensed CPA, you will need to complete 150 semester hours, pass the Uniform CPA Examination, gain the necessary experience either through one to three years in public accounting with more than 2000 hours, part-time or full-time, OR three to nine years in non-public accounting with more than 2000 hours, part-time or full-time. You would also need three character reference letters and a Criminal Offender Record Information Permission Form.

How Many Accounting Hours Do You Need for the CPA License in Massachusetts?

As part of the 150 semester hour requirement, 30 of those semester hours must be in accounting classes, and 24 semester hours must be in general business classes. Accounting classes that meet the requirement would be classes in financial accounting, cost or management accounting, auditing, and taxation. Business classes should cover areas of business law (must include coverage of the UCC), information systems, and finance with at least one of the areas of economics, business organizations, professional ethics, and/or business communication.

Do You Need Public Accounting Experience to be a CPA in Massachusetts?

Not necessarily, you can still be a CPA working part-time or full-time in non-public accounting with three to nine years of experience with more than 2000 hours. Having to work part-time or full-time in public accounting is faster with experience requiring one to three years of experience with more than 2000 hours.

Do CPA Exam Scores Expire in Massachusetts?

Regardless of the state, once a CPA candidate passes their first CPA exam section, they then 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 Massachusetts.

How Many CPEs Do You Need for CPA in Massachusetts?

Licensed CPAs in Massachusetts require 80 hours of CPE every 2 years which should include at least 4 hours in Ethics.

How Do I Renew My Expired CPA License in Massachusetts?

If your license has expired for less than 20 months, you can follow the standard renewal process. If your license has expired more than 20 months, you’ll need to fill up a Reinstatement Of An Expired License form that can be found on the Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy website, which can be found here.

The Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy has moved to online renewal through the Division of Professional Licensure e-Place Portal.

How Do I Renew My CPA License in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy has moved to online renewal through the Division of Professional Licensure e-Place Portal. The renewal fee is $161.00 while there is an additional $57 charge for late renewals.

Do CPA Scores Expire in Massachusetts?

Regardless of the state, once a CPA candidate passes their first CPA exam section, they then 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 Massachusetts.

What Are the Requirements to Sit for the CPA Exam in Massachusetts?

To sit for the CPA exam in Massachusetts, you must have a bachelor’s degree with at least 120 semester hours of college education. 21 semester hours in accounting courses which include financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management or cost accounting. 9 semester hours of business courses including Management or Cost Accounting. 9 semester hours of business courses which include Business Law that covers the U.S. Uniform Commercial Code, Finance, and Information systems, as well as paying the applicable exam fees

How Do I Register to Take the CPA Exam in Massachusetts?

You may register/apply for the exam through CPA Portal.

For any questions or inquiries, you may contact:

Massachusetts Coordinator
CPA Examination Services
PO Box 198469
Nashville, Tennessee 37219-8469

OR call 1-800-CPA-EXAM (800-272-3926)

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