North Carolina CPA Exam Requirements 2022: 3 Important Factors

North Carolina CPA Exam Requirements

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North Carolina CPA Exam Requirements

Getting licensed to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can seem so complicated that people often find it hard to see the first step in getting their CPA. This article will outline the requirements for CPA licensure in North Carolina. It is a complete overview of everything you need to know about the North Carolina CPA exam requirements, education, and experience needed to take the North Carolina CPA Examination. By the end, you’ll have a thorough understanding of how to become a licensed CPA in North Carolina.

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Summary of North Carolina CPA Requirements

Credit hours to sit for the CPA exam120
Bachelor’s required to sit for the CPA examYes
Credit hours in accounting subjects to sit for the CPA exam30
Total credit hours to receive a CPA license150
Work experience required to receive a CPA license1 – 4 Years
Ethics exam required to get a CPA licenseYes

North Carolina CPA Education Requirements

In order for an applicant to get a North Carolina CPA license, he or she had to undergo a series of training programs. NCCPA requires all candidates who are planning to get a CPA license would need the following North Carolina CPA education requirements:

For CPA Exam. Must have 120 semester hours including a concentration in accounting that has:

  • 30 semester hours of undergraduate-level courses with 6 semester hours in accounting principles and 3 semester hours in business law, or
  • 20 semester hours of graduate-level accounting courses open exclusively to graduate students, or
  • a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses equivalent to the requirements mentioned above.

For Licensure. Must hold a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in accounting and 150 semester hours that include:

  • 24 semester hours of coursework with one 3-hour course in at least 8 of the following fields of study:
    1. Computer Technology
    2. Communications
    3. Ethics
    4. Economics
    5. Humanities/Social Science
    6. Finance
    7. Law
    8. International Environment
    9. Management
    10. Law
    11. Statistics

The only accountancy law course that the state board accepts is the NC Accountancy Law: Ethics, Principles, & Professional Responsibilities.

Accepted Educational Institutions

The North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners (NCCPA) accepts degrees from the following Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)-recognized accrediting associations:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  •  Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC) (formerly New England Association of Schools and Colleges)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges

The NC State Board also accepts degrees from the following US Department of Education (USDE)-recognized accrediting associations:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)

North Carolina Uniform CPA Examination

The North Carolina Uniform CPA Examination is a series of examinations with the ultimate goal to become a licensed CPA as an accountant in the state of North Carolina. There are a lot of things you should know about the Uniform CPA Examination, and we’ll go over them all so that we know what the North Carolina CPA Exam Requirements are.

To be eligible to take the Uniform CPA Exam, applicants must meet the following educational prerequisites.

  • A citizen of the United States or is a resident alien
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Good moral character
  • Meets the necessary education requirements
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree
  • 120 semester hours from a college or university accredited by one of the regionally accredited associations in any subject that includes, or is supplemented by, a concentration in accounting
    • Concentration in Accounting is as follows:
      • With at least 30 semester hours of undergraduate accountancy courses and should include the following:
        • Six or more semester hours of accounting principles
        • Three or more semester hours of business law
      • With at least 20 semester hours of graduate accounting courses that are open exclusively to graduate students or a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses

If the concentration in accounting is already complete or is reasonably expected to be completed by the end of the school term in which the Examination falls, and the applicant reasonably expects to receive the bachelor’s degree within 120 days after the application is received by the Board, the Board may approve an application to take the Examination before receiving a bachelor’s degree.

  • The Examination grades will not be released if the candidate does not acquire the degree within the required time frame.

Applicants who are applying for the first time must fill out an Initial Examination Application, while those who are applying to retake a part of the exam must fill out a Re-Examination Application. Send the application in with the applicable exam fees and wait for approval.

The forms can be found on the forms and applications section of the North Caroline State Board Of Certified Public Accountants’ websites.

The application for testing will take around 10 business days to be approved for Initial Examination applicants and 5 business days for Re-Examination applicants. Once approved, you’ll receive a Notice To Schedule email from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) which is valid for six months only.

North Carolina Exam Coverage

The North Carolina CPA exam is divided into four portions, each of which must be taken separately. The four sections of the exam cover different areas of the accounting profession, and there is no specified order in which the exam sections need to be taken. The four sections of the CPA exam include:

  • Auditing and Attestation.
    • This exam section covers the basics of financial and attest services, such as audits, reviews, compilations, and preparation agreements.
  • Business Environment and Concepts.
    • This exam section covers general business concepts, such as economics, business communications, and related business courses. 
  • 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.

The applicant must score 75 for all four examination parts within an 18-month window to pass the CPA exam.

North Carolina Uniform CPA Examination Fees

One of the first things that a North Carolina resident would want to know is how much are the CPA exam fees for the state of North Carolina. A CPA candidate who plans on passing the examination may want to have a rough idea of how much it would cost to sit for the exam.

The North Carolina CPA exam cost consists of five main fees: the initial examination application of $230, the CPA exam registration which cost $75, the current per CPA exam section fee of $226.15 totaling $905 for all four sections (will increase by August 2022), the certificate application fee that cost $100, and finally the renewal fee of $60.

Initial Exam Application Fee$230.00
Registration Fee$75.00
Section Fees (Current)
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
Section Fees (Effective 08/06/2022)
Auditing and Attestation (AUD)$238.15
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)$238.15
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)$238.15
Regulation (REG)$238.15

North Carolina CPA Ethics Exam Requirements

To meet the North Carolina CPA ethics exam requirements, candidates are expected to complete an eight-hour course on the North Carolina Accountancy Statutes and Rules, including the Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct. The course should be taken within one year prior to applying for a license or, as the board suggests, meet the requirement within the last few months prior to applying for a license.

The North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA) course, NC Accountancy Law:  Ethics, Principles, & Professional Responsibilities, is the only accountancy law course the Board accepts for CPA licensure.

North Carolina CPA Experience Requirements

When applying for a CPA license in North Carolina, the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners (NCCPA) will not issue a certificate unless the candidate has completed the required work experience. One of the following four North Carolina CPA experience requirements must be met by the applicant:

  • One year’s experience in the field of accounting under the direct supervision of a certified public accountant who currently holds a valid license in any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia.
  • Four years of experience teaching accounting in a four-year college or university accredited by one of the regional accrediting associations or in a college or university determined by the Board to have standards substantially equivalent to a regionally accredited institution.
  • Four years of experience in the field of accounting.
  • Four years of experience teaching college transfer accounting courses at a community college or technical institute accredited by one of the regional accrediting associations.
  • Any combination of such experiences determined by the State Board to be substantially equivalent to the foregoing.

One year of work experience is 52 weeks of full-time employment. Full-time employment is defined as working at least 30 hours each week for at least one year. Experience affidavits for part-time work (less than 30 hours each week) must contain a record of the actual part-time hours the applicant performed accounting services only for each week of part-time employment. Actual part-time hours do not include hours paid for sick leave, vacation leave, attending CPE courses, or other time not spent directly performing accounting services.

Getting your North Carolina CPA License

Where do we go from here? As you have now passed the rigorous three-part exam of the Uniform CPA Examination, you are still not officially a CPA yet. One last form needs to be filed with the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners (NCCPA) to receive your CPA license. To do that the applicant must satisfy all the CPA license requirements below:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Good moral character
  • Meets the necessary education and experience requirements
  • Passed all 4 sections of the Uniform CPA Examination with a minimum grade of 75

The CPA candidates must complete the Application Package for Original NC CPA Certificate that can be found on the forms and applications section of the NCCPA website along following documents:

  • Three certificates of good moral character
  • Experience affidavits
  • Proof of completion of the accountancy law course
  • A photo that meets US passport standards
  • Payment by check or credit card.

If a CPA candidate did not take the Exam as a North Carolina candidate, the candidate must submit an Interstate Exchange Form (included in the Original NC CPA License Application package) and request a transfer of Exam credit from the jurisdiction that holds his or her Exam grades.

Reciprocal License

Out-of-state CPAs who want to practice in North Carolina can get a reciprocal license. A reciprocal license can be obtained if an applicant meets the following requirements:

  1. The applicant has the legal authority to use the CPA title and to practice public accountancy in a jurisdiction.
  2. The applicant has received a passing score on each part of the Uniform CPA Examination.

International Reciprocal License

The NC State Board of CPA Examiners considers Chartered Accountants from Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, or Nova Scotia to be substantially equal to CPAs from North Carolina.

You must first pass the NASBA International Qualification Exam (IQEX) in order to be eligible for international reciprocity and become a CPA in North Carolina.

Renewal of CPA License

North Carolina CPAs expire annually and would need to renew before July 1. To renew their CPA license they must submit two things:

  1. A documented CPE hours completed in the previous year with the completed certificate renewal application form.
  2. Renewal Fee of $60

A letter of demand will be sent to the CPAs who fail to renew their CPA license and if there is no response within 30 days of receiving the letter of demand, it will automatically result in forfeiture of the CPA certificate.

Summary

You’ve decided to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and look forward to the journey. It’s a long and arduous road, but the end goal is well worth it. I hope that this article provided you with help in getting actual information about the North Carolina CPA exam which will serve as a roadmap for your upcoming CPA licensure.

North Carolina CPA Exam F.A.Q.s

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

What Are the Requirements to Sit for the CPA Exam in North Carolina?

To sit for the CPA exam in North Carolina, you must be at least 18 years old, be of good moral character, U.S. Citizen, they should have a Social Security number, and meet the education requirements which require at least 120 semester hours of college with a concentration in accounting, as well as paying the applicable exam fees.

How Long Does it Take to Become a CPA in North Carolina?

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 North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners, if approved you will receive your license in the mail within 3-4 weeks.

How Much Does It Cost to Take the CPA Exam in North Carolina?

The total cost of the CPA exam for an aspiring CPA in North Carolina is $1134.60, this is considering that you pass all exams on the first try. The breakdown of the cost is $230 for the application and $904.6 for all four sections of the exam ($226.15 per section).

How Many CPAs are in North Carolina?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as per the 2021 data, there are currently around 41,570 accountants in North Carolina with an annual salary of $84,960.

Who Issues a North Carolina CPA License?

The North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners (“the Board”), established by Chapter 93 of the North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS), is an occupational licensing board that grants certificates of qualification as certified public accountants (CPAs) to those individuals who meet the legal requirements.

When Can I Take the CPA Exam in North Carolina?

You can take the CPA Exam anytime as long as you have met the requirements that you must be at least 18 years old, be of good moral character, a U.S. Citizen, they should have a Social Security number, and meet the education requirements which require at least 120 semester hours of college with a concentration in accounting.

Do CPA Scores Expire in North Carolina?

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 North Carolina.

How Do I Register to Take the CPA Exam in North Carolina?

You’ll need to download and complete the Initial Application for Uniform CPA Exam (03-2022) taken from the North Carolina State Board of Public Accountant Examiners forms page.

How Many Accounting Credits Do you Need to Sit for the CPA License in North Carolina?

You must complete at least 30 semester hours of undergraduate accountancy courses and should include six or more semester hours of accounting principles and three or more semester hours of business law

OR at least 20 semester hours of graduate accounting courses that are open exclusively to graduate students

Does North Carolina Require an Ethics Exam for the CPA?

Yes, within 1 year of becoming a CPA, the North Carolina State Board of Accountancy requires CPAs to undergo an eight-hour course on the North Carolina Accountancy Statutes and Rules, including the Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct.

The North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA) course, NC Accountancy Law:  Ethics, Principles, & Professional Responsibilities, is the only accountancy law course the Board accepts for CPA licensure.

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