Ohio CPA Exam Requirements in 2024: A Helpful Guide

Ohio CPA Exam Requirements

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Ohio CPA Exam Requirements

If you’re thinking about what are the latest Ohio CPA Exam Requirements to become a Certified Public Accountant then this article will serve as a resource guide for those aspiring to be one. Every state has its own set of prerequisites and applicants must meet all of these to qualify for the exam and become a licensed CPA.

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Summary of Ohio CPA Requirements

Credit Hours to sit for the CPA Exam120
Certificate of Good Moral CharacterYes
Social Security NumberYes
Ohio State ResidencyYes
Bachelor’s DegreeYes
GMAT Minimum Score670
Credit Hours in Accounting courses to sit for the CPA Exam24
Credit Hours in Business courses to sit for the CPA Exam24
Total Credit Hours to receive CPA License150
Work Experience required to receive a CPA License2 – 4 Years
Ethics Exam required to receive a CPA LicenseYes
BCI and FBI Criminal Records CheckYes

General Requirements

In Ohio, the state boards do not require CPA exam applicants to be full U.S. Citizens. Applicants however must have an Ohio state residency, and a Social Security number and must be 18 years of age.

Education Requirements

To sit for the Uniform CPA examination, candidates should first meet the exam requirements which is the Ohio CPA education requirement. The ideal first step to getting the CPA title is to get a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

It will not only prepare applicants with the necessary coursework required, but it could also help make applicants be well informed about what they will encounter in the CPA exam.

Ohio accepts candidates with 120-semester hour credit to sit for the exam. However, the accountancy board of Ohio does provide educational requirement options. Candidates can choose either of the two educational requirements to complete:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university. Candidates must complete 150 semester hours in various course subjects that include:
    • 24 semester hours in business subjects
    • 24 semester hours in accounting including at least one course in each:
      • Financial Accounting
      • Management Accounting
      • Auditing with coverage of GAAS (internal auditing may not be used for auditing, but may be used as an elective)
      • Taxation
  2. Achieve a score of 670 or higher on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) completing 24 semester hours in business subjects and 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level.

Note that 18 semester hours of graduate credit in accounting will qualify as meeting the requirement. The accounting hours must include at least one course in each of the following:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Auditing with coverage of GAAS (internal auditing may not be used for auditing, but may be used as an elective)
  • Taxation

The Accountancy Board of Ohio recognizes credits earned at any school accredited and recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), as well as schools of business and accounting that hold specialty accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Ohio CPA Exam Requirements: Application Process

After the successful completion of the education requirements, candidates can now apply to take the Uniform CPA exam. The Accountancy Board of Ohio uses the Certified Public Accountants Examination Services (CPAES) for application processing, credential evaluation, and score reporting of the CPA exam.

Ohio candidates for re-examination are candidates who have previously applied as an Ohio CPA Exam candidate and were found eligible, whether or not they took the exam. If they’ve taken the exam and moved to another state and now wish to move back, they are also considered a candidate for re-examination.

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.

Ohio CPA Exam Cost Breakdown

The Ohio CPA exam cost consists of four main fees: the education evaluation application fee of $90, a $349.80 per CPA exam section totaling $1,399.20 for all four sections, the CPA certificate application fee which cost $100 and finally a registration fee which will depend on the year.

Education Evaluation Application Fee$90.00
Auditing and Attestation (AUD)$349.80
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)$349.80
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)$349.80
Regulation (REG)$349.80
Total for all 4 CPA Exam Sections$1,399.20
CPA Certificate Application Fee$100.00
Three-year Ohio Registration Fee$85.00
Two-year Ohio Registration Fee (Only for Newly Licensed CPAs or Return to Good Standing)$56.00
One-year Ohio Registration Fee (Only for Return to Good Standing)$28.00
Late Payment Fee$100.00


Materials to be Submitted

During the online application, candidates will have to submit the necessary requirements:

  1. An official transcript from each school listed the candidate’s application. Transcripts must be sent directly from the school to CPA Examination Services.
  2. Testing Accommodations Request Form, if applicable. Submission by the aplicant to CPAES.

Send official school transcripts to CPAES at the address listed below:

CPA Examination Services
Ohio Coordinator
PO Box 198469
Nashville, TN 37219-8469

Allow two to four weeks from the file completion date (when application, fees and all additional required materials have been received) for the application to be processed. Acknowledgment of receipt of application will be sent via email, unless otherwise indicated. This notice is sent only as acknowledgment of receipt of the application.

While waiting for confirmation and the NTS, it is best to start studying and reviewing for the CPA exam.

Notice to Schedule (NTS)

Once the application has been processed and candidates have been approved to take the selected exam section/s, they will receive a notification to schedule the exam from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) within five business days of paying the fees through credit card or within three weeks for other methods of payment.

Candidates will receive the NTS by the method of notification chosen when they submitted the application. If they chose email, the NTS will be sent from cbtnts@nasba.org. The NTS will only be good for 6 months and candidates should only register and pay for the exam section/s they intend to take within that time.

The NTS allows applicants to start scheduling the exams. Candidates can sit for the exam parts in any sequence so they can plan reviews to coincide with the exam schedule.

Exam times are scheduled and set up with Prometric. Exams can be taken in any Prometric location that is convenient but here are some sites:

  • Cincinnati
  • Beavercreek
  • Worthington
  • Cleveland
  • Stow
  • Maumee
  • Niles
  • Mentor
  • Strongsville

Candidates can test for up to 4 exam sections at one time. They must pass all sections within an 18 month period in order to be eligible for the certificate. The passing score for each section is 75.

Ohio candidates can access their CPA exam scores online here at the NASBA website. If the scores are not accessible, NASBA has not yet received the scores.

Ohio CPA License Requirements

Soon after passing the CPA exam, candidates are only a few more steps away from obtaining their Ohio CPA certificate and license to practice.

The Experience Requirement is the number of years of qualified work experience required before an individual who has passed all parts of the CPA exam can receive CPA certification. To apply for a CPA license, candidates will then have to meet and complete the following:

Ohio CPA Experience Requirements

To meet the Ohio CPA experience requirements, two years of accounting experience will be required for CPA licensure if the candidate first sat for the CPA Exam prior to completing 150 semester credits, or four years of accounting experience is required for CPA licensure for candidates approved under the GMAT.

Experiences will have to meet the following criteria:

  • Be earned working in a public accounting firm, government, academia or business.
  • Be earned working in Ohio or any other state (experience earned outside of the U.S. must be approved by the board).
  • Be verified by a CPA or a comparably qualified accountant holding an independent auditor credential who is familiar with the candidate’s work and the exact length of the experience.

Complete the Record of Experience form located here. The Experience verification form from a CPA, located here, is necessary only if the authorized supervisor is not a CPA. Send the form/s to:

Accountancy Board of Ohio (ABO)
77 S. High St., 18th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-6128

Ohio CPA Ethics Exam Requirements

To meet the Ohio CPA ethics exam requirements, candidates must accomplish a board-approved course in Professional Standards and Responsibilities (PSR) which emphasizes Ohio accountancy law and board rules.

This board-approved course details the Ohio state-specific accountancy board laws. Included are illustrative examples and useful commentary emphasizing the importance of these regulations and their effect on CPAs in Ohio.

In addition, the course reviews the most frequently asked questions regarding experience, CPE requirements, professional ethics, professional standards and responsibilities and more.  

A list of approved courses may be found here.

Candidates are requested and advised to keep all transcripts of aforementioned experiences and exam result documents as the board may contact individuals for further information or request. The candidate’s approver is also advised to keep their copy of the experience forms.

Obtaining the CPA License

Finally, after passing and completing all educational requirements, exams and experience, candidates may now apply for their CPA license or permit to practice. In order to receive the CPA license, candidates need to complete and submit the following:

Certificate Application

Complete the Application for Original Ohio Certificate of Certified Public Account. Send it along with all documents shown above; as well as documents showing education, exam, and experience requirements have been met to:

Accountancy Board of Ohio
77 South High Street, 18th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

The board will check all submitted documents and once approved certification will be given. Certification alone does not allow permission to practice and requires no fees or CPE obligations.

Criminal Background Check

Ohio CPA candidates are required to get their criminal background checked. It is required to use WebCheck, Ohio’s electronic fingerprint system, to send the fingerprints to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification (BCI).

This background check will also include an FBI criminal records check. Candidates will need to find a BCI and FBI vendor that participates in National WebCheck and send the fees and fingerprints to the vendor (not to the Accountancy Board of Ohio). It is then the responsibility of the candidate to have the results of the background check sent to the board. Instructions for pursuing this background check are located here.

Apply for CPA Licensure/Permit to Practice

When the Accountancy Board of Ohio receives the application for certification packet and reviews a candidate’s file, if they find that some documents are incomplete, the candidate will be notified by email of anything that may be missing.

When all necessary documents are in the hands of the ABO, candidates will be sent a letter of certification that includes a tear-off portion for applying for the initial two-year license/permit to practice.

Remit with a check for $100.00 made payable to Treasurer-State of Ohio. The letter will also explain the CPE requirements for the first two-year permit period.

Continuing Professional Education in Ohio

As an Ohio CPA, they will need to comply with the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements of Ohio as given below:

  1. CPE Requirements for the First Renewal
    • The CPE requirement for new CPA license holders is the completion of 40 credits for the first two years including 3 credits for Professional Standards and Responsibilities (PSR). The list of acceptable PSR courses is available here.
  2. CPE Requirements for Subsequent Renewals
    • The requirement for subsequent renewals is the completion of 120 CPE credits every three years including 3 credits for PSR. The credits are due upon the date of license renewal. The CPE reporting period is between January 1 and December 31.

The PSR credits can be claimed for approved and documented courses in:

  • The Ohio accountancy law and rules
  • The accountancy law and rules of another state
  • Professional Ethics for CPAs
  • Ethical Philosophy

If candidates meet the following criteria, they must earn 24 of the 120 CPE credits in accounting or auditing for each reporting period:

  • CPAs or Public Accountants (PAs) who work on financial reporting engagements.
  • CPAs or PAs who perform financial reporting work outside public accounting while using the CPA designation.

Additionally, if candidates meet the following criteria, they must earn 24 of the 120 CPE credits in taxation for each CPE reporting period:

  • CPAs or PAs who work on taxation engagements or provide tax advice to clients
  • CPAs or PAs who perform tax work outside public accounting while using the CPA designation

Continuing education may be earned in any field that contributes to a licensee’s professional competence. Registered CPE sponsors agree to conform to the NASBA/AICPA CPE Standards, and this includes keeping appropriate documentation for CPE verification purposes. Courses must also be specifically approved by the Executive Director of the Accountancy Board of Ohio.

There should be adequate support for completion and CPE credit claimed. The Accountancy Board of Ohio’s CPE report form can be found here.

Ohio CPA License Renewal

Ohio CPAs must renew their license every three years.

The license renewal period begins in early October and ends on December 31 each year. Reminder notices are emailed in October to all licensees scheduled to renew licenses at the end of the year. To check the CPA license status, please go to the Accountancy Board of Ohio homepage and click on License Look-Up.

Licensees can also contact Accountancy Board of Ohio for general licensing and CPE information.


With all the requirements, education and processes, it is no wonder why CPAs are considered one of the well-respected individuals in the industry. As challenging as it might be to become one, it’s well worth considering the benefits of achieving this title after.

It is a career that offers stability, growth, flexibility, advancement, and not to mention that the earning potential is favorable. Adding this title to one’s name is a professional satisfaction but it’s down to each one to take the initiative to make their CPA career everything they want it to be.

Ohio CPA Exam F.A.Q.s

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

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

To meet the Ohio CPA exam requirements, applicants be 18 years of age or older and be of good moral character. Applicant’s education must complete 120 semester hours and receive a bachelor’s degree or higher or earn a minimum score of 670 on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

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

Ohio applicants shall need to have 24 semester hours in business subjects and 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level or 18 semester hours of graduate credit in accounting. For GMAT takers, applicants should complete 24 semester hours in business subjects and 30 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level. Completing 18-semester hours of graduate credit in accounting will qualify as meeting the requirement.

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

To be able to take the CPA exam, fulfill first the education requirements for Ohio State. 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 Ohio?

During the application for the exam, first-time applicants are required to pay the education evaluation application fee of $90 and an examination fee of $349.80 for each section. There are four (4) exam sections and would total $1,399.20 for first-time applicants.

Does Ohio require an ethics exam for the CPA?

Ohio Board of Accountancy does require an ethics exam upon obtaining your initial license. It should be a board-approved course in professional standards and responsibilities (PSR) and must emphasize Ohio accountancy law and board rules. Applicants have to score 90% or better on the exam.

Do CPA exam scores expire in Ohio?

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 Ohio.

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

Applicants can take the CPA exam with only 120 semester hours. However, with the required credit of 150 semester hours to apply for a license, that’s already around 5 years for education alone. Another year would be for taking and passing the exams. After passing the exam, two more years are required for the mandatory experience in order to be eligible to apply for the license. That’s roughly 7 to 8 years to acquire the license and be a Certified Public Accountant in Ohio.

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