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South Carolina CPA Exam Requirements
If you want to become a CPA in South Carolina, we’ve summarized the South Carolina CPA exam requirements below to know the exact steps and needs to be a licensed CPA in The Palmetto State.
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Summary of South Carolina CPA Requirements
|Credit Hours to sit for the CPA Exam||120|
|Credit Hours in Upper-level Accounting course to sit for the CPA Exam||24|
|Credit Hours in Business course to sit for the CPA Exam||24|
|Bachelor’s Required to sit for the CPA Exam?||No|
|Credit Hours to receive a CPA License||150|
|Credit Hours in Accounting course to receive a CPA License||36|
|Credit Hours in Business course to receive a CPA License||36|
|Ethics Exam Required?||Yes|
|Work Experience Required||1 – 5 Years|
|Required CPE Hours Every Year||40|
South Carolina has two academic preparation requirements: one to take the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and another to practice.
For Examination – One hundred twenty semester hours of college course credit, including a baccalaureate or higher degree with an emphasis in accounting. Specific courses are as follows:
- At least 24 semester hours of accounting in courses which includes the following mandatory courses, each of which must be taken at 300+ level:
- Financial Accounting
- Managerial Accounting
- U.S. Taxation
- At least 24 semester hours of business courses which may include:
- Business Law
- Computer Science
- Marketing, and Accounting hours not counted in item (1).
For Permit to Practice – One hundred fifty semester hours of college course credit, including a baccalaureate or higher degree with an emphasis in accounting.
Credit Requirements for South Carolina CPA License
According to the board, South Carolina CPA (Certified Public Accountant) candidates must have completed 150 semester education hours, including at least a bachelor’s degree. A major in accounting is also necessary, with at least 36 semester hours in accounting courses encompassing 24 hours in financial accounting, taxation, and auditing at the junior level or higher. The remaining 12 semester hours must be applicable to a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. One Business Law course can be used toward the 36-semester hour Accounting requirement.
In addition, candidates must have at least 36 non-duplicative semester hours in business courses which may include Macro and Micro Economics, Finance, Business Law, Management, Computer Science, Marketing and Accounting hours not counted above.
Accepted Educational Institutions
When you begin your accounting studies, ensure that your college is completely accredited and meets the board’s standards. Every state, including South Carolina, needs your institution to be accredited. The South Carolina Board of Accountancy will recognize college credits and degrees from schools that have essential institutional accreditation from one of the following agencies:
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Higher Learning Commission
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business
Meet the CPA degree and curriculum requirements in South Carolina. The 150 semester hours of college credit necessary can be acquired through a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses and must include the following:
36 semester hours of accounting courses, 24 of which are at the junior level or higher, covering:
- Managerial Accounting
- Financial Accounting
Business courses totaling 36 semester hours, including:
- Business Law
- Corporate Finance
- Computer Science
If you attended a school outside of the United States, you must have your educational credits evaluated by NASBA International Evaluation Services.
Age and Residency Requirements
Before taking the CPA exam in South Carolina, the applicant must be at least 18 years old. To take the CPA exam in South Carolina, you do not need to be a resident, employee, or have an office in the state. To sit for the CPA exam in South Carolina, you do not need to be a US citizen, but you must have an SSN or a green card.
South Carolina Uniform CPA Examination
Applying for the CPA Exam
Keep in mind that you can take the CPA test after completing 120 semester hours and earning a baccalaureate degree. However, because the exam is one of the most challenging professional examinations, you may choose to postpone taking it until you have completed the additional 30 hours of post-graduate work.
Studying for the CPA Exam
You will receive a Notice to Schedule once your application has been accepted and processed. This means you’ll have six months to plan and sit for one of the four parts of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA’s) CPA Examination. You can take the sections in any order you like. If you need to retake a part, you must provide a 60-day gap between retakes. The four parts of the test are as follows:
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)–Covers financial reporting frameworks from several industry experts. Candidates are asked to compare statements that reflect different reporting standards.
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD)–A test of your knowledge of the International Standards of Auditing and U.S. standards.
- Regulation (REG)–Your professional and legal responsibilities are covered in this test.
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)–This portion covers general business concepts and international business. Written skills will determine your passing much of the test.
Choose a CPA Review Course
Now that you’ve begun the CPA application process, the next step is to choose a CPA review course that fits your budget, learning style, and schedule. It can take several weeks for your application to be processed. However, the following are the most frequently recommended review courses:
- Becker CPA Review
- Surgent CPA Review
- Gleim CPA Review
- UWorld Roger CPA Review
- Wiley CPAexcel
Signing Up for the CPA Exam
Prometric’s website allows you to schedule your exam. Locations for testing in South Carolina include:
- Rock Hill
Taking the Uniform CPA Examination
Arrive on examination day on time and prepare to take the exam on exam day. You must bring a few different pieces of identification information with you on exam day.
a. Register online at CPA Examination Services (CPAES). Applications and supporting documents must be mailed to CPA Examination Services – SC, PO Box 198469, Nashville, TN 37219.
b. Send the following documentation to support your Uniform CPA Exam application:
- Official college transcript(s) sent directly from your school to CPAES (if your school offers official electronic transcripts, they may be emailed from your school to email@example.com)
- Any disability testing accommodations needed (call CPAES at the above number to arrange)
- Application and examination fees (payable by credit card or check, or money order to CPA Examination Services)
c. Wait to Receive your NTS. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) will determine your eligibility to test and issue your Notice to Schedule (NTS) for the Uniform CPA Exam by the method you chose when you applied to take the exam (mail, email, or fax).
South Carolina CPA Exam Fees
Exam fees in South Carolina are similar to all other exam fees except for the application and registration fees. If you need to retake a part, you will have to pay a varied re-application cost.
|Auditing and Attestation (AUD)||$226.15|
|Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)||$226.15|
|Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)||$226.15|
Special Fees: Re-exam registration fee (varying amounts based on number of parts)
|4 examination sections||$105.00|
|3 examination sections||$90.00|
|2 examination sections||$75.00|
|1 examination section||$60.00|
If you do not take the exam within 6 months, your Notice To Sit will expire. This means you’ll need to re-register and pay a new registration fee. The re-registration application price is $65 and varies depending on how many examinations you apply for, so only sign up for exams that you are ready to take within the next 6 months.
Passing the CPA Exam
CPAs in all 50 states must first pass the AICPA’s Uniform CPA Exam to become licensed. The exam is now administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) in South Carolina.
After completing 120 semester hours of education, including 24 hours in accounting and business, a candidate may apply for the exam via the NASBA website. To obtain credit for passing the exam, all four portions must be given within an 18-month rolling period with a score of at least 75.
South Carolina Experience Requirements for the CPA License
You can either work for a year in public accounting, government, or private sector, logging 2,000 hours, or obtain five years of experience teaching accounting at authorized colleges and universities in South Carolina.
Before beginning satisfying the experience requirement, complete at least 24 semester hours of the 36 semester hours of accounting courses required for licensure; according to South Carolina Board policy, you cannot receive credit for qualifying experience until you have completed these credits (which must include basic classes in tax, auditing, managerial accounting, and cover financial accounting at the 300 (Junior) level or higher). The career department at your college will assist you in locating appropriate experience. There are two options for satisfying the experience requirement:
- Earn at least one year of accounting experience (equivalent to 2000 hours of part-time work).
- This experience may be in public, governmental, or private employment (industry)
- This experience may be full- or part-time.
- You may not earn more than 40 hours of experience per week.
- Competencies to be included in the experience should focus on:
- Audits/governmental audits
- Prospective financial information
- Financial statements without reports
- Other services
- Obtain at least five years of experience teaching accounting courses in regionally accredited college or university on a full-time basis
- Your schedule must include at least 12 semester hours per year in qualifying as a full-time teacher.
- Only accounting subjects qualify. Teaching courses in finance, business law, personnel management, computer applications, statistics, and economics do not count toward this requirement.
- If you teach accounting principles courses or courses at the fundamental accounting level, that teaching experience may not make up more than two years of your five-year requirement
- Accounting courses consider. Ed to be above the fundamental accounting level includes (but is not limited to) advanced accounting, intermediate accounting, income tax, auditing, management accounting, and cost accounting.
- Document this experience on Board Form 2102T (not available on the Board’s website). Call (803) 896-4770 to request one.
These standards are somewhat lax. Use them to your advantage and get this qualification out of the way. You can even use an internship to credit toward your total hours while still in college.
A licensed CPA must supervise and review this experience. If your verifying/supervising CPA is licensed in a state other than South Carolina, fill out the Out of State Employer’s Licensure Verification (included within the Certificate of Experience package) and ship it to their licensing jurisdiction to complete it. Download the Certificate of Encounter Package, which will serve as your documentation for this experience. Each CPA who oversaw your encounter must sign it. Include your job dates, duties, and responsibilities descriptions.
AICPA Ethics Course and Exam
Candidates for South Carolina CPA must pass an ethics exam recognized by the Board. To meet this criterion, the board now employs the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Professional Ethics course and exam: the AICPA’s Comprehensive Course course and exam. The materials for the course are purely self-study and can be obtained on the AICPA website. The system and ethics exams must be passed with a grade of 90% or above to qualify.
Apply for Your South Carolina CPA License
A candidate may apply for a license once all of the prerequisites for licensure have been met. Candidates must complete the online electronic CPA licensing application and submit it to the Board together with all required paperwork and payments.
Receiving Your South Carolina CPA License
After the Board has examined all application materials, a CPA license to practice in South Carolina will be issued. Applicants can check the status of their application using the Board’s website once it has been filed and print their license once published.
CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information
Every licensed CPA in South Carolina must satisfy the state’s continuing professional education (CPE) requirement.
a. Take 40 hours of CPE each year
- No CPE is required for your first year of licensure.
- 20 hours of CPE may be carried over from one year to the next
b. Enroll in only approved program formats, through approved locations such as:
- Learning portions of committee or staff programs or meetings
- Professional development programs of state, local and national accounting organizations
- Technical sessions at meetings of state, local, and national accounting organizations
- University and colleges (credit or non-credit courses)
- In-firm organized formal educational programs.
- Educational programs offered by another professional, industrial, or commercial firms, proprietary schools, or government bodies
- Self-study (must be registered as NASBA approved Quality Assurance Service (QAS) programs)
- Publishing articles or books
You can find approved CPE programs through:
- South Carolina Association of CPAs
- American Institute of CPAs
- NASBA’s National Registry of CPE Sponsors
- South Carolina colleges and universities
c. Know the correct conversion formulas for CPE credit:
- Self-study may only account for 20 hours of CPE each year.
- Self-study CPE hours may not carry over to the following year’s
- Lecturing or teaching a program may only account for 20 hours of CPE each year.
- Publishing articles or books may only account for 10 of 40 CPE hours each year.
- One semester hour of college credit courses equals 15 hours of CPE.
- One semester hour of college non-credit courses equals one hour of CPE.
- Three semester hours of teaching college credit courses equal 10 hours of CPE.
- No credit will be given for teaching introductory or basic accounting courses.
- CPE hours from self-study cannot be carried over to the next year
- Only 10 hours of CPE can be earned in a calendar day
d. Enroll in the proper subjects
- CPE subjects must relate directly to a CPA’s professional competency
- You may only derive 8 of your 40 annual CPE hours from personal development subjects, including (but not limited to):
- Communication skills
- Interviewing skills
- Managing others
- Career planning
e. Maintain documentation of your CPE for at least five years. Records should include:
- Name and address of organization sponsoring the course
- Location of course
- Course title and description
- Dates of attendance
- Number of hours claimed
- The QAS registration number (if a self-study course)
- Any certificates of completion
f. Report your CPE hours annually
- This must be done on the state’s CPE Reporting Form.
- This is to b.e submitted at the time of your license renewal (along with the Individual License Renewal form)
Interstate Reciprocal License
Do you currently have a CPA license or certificate from another state, yet wish to legally work as a CPA in South Carolina? If so, you may apply for a reciprocal license provided you meet the following criteria:
- Hold a license from a state deemed by NASBA to have requirements that are substantially equivalent to those of South Carolina, which now includes every single state and jurisdiction
- Have at least four years of professional CPA experience in another state within the past ten years
- Can prove completion of 80 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) within the past two years
- Filed an Interstate Exchange of Information form to verify your educational credits and license or certificate in another jurisdiction
- Filed the South Carolina Reciprocity Application
- Mail the application, along with all applicable fees, to the South Carolina Board of Accountancy at P.O. Box 11329; Columbia, SC 29211-1369
International Reciprocal License
Do you currently hold a CPA license in another country? You may be eligible for a South Carolina CPA license. You must be licensed in one of the following jurisdictions:
- ICAA (Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia)
- CICA (Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants)
- IMCP (Instituto Mexicano De Contadores Públicos)
- CAI (Chartered Accountants Ireland)
- HKICPA (Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants)
- NZICA (New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants)
Even in this day and age, there is a high demand for excellent accountants. Businesses require audits, the government requires tax professionals, and people must learn how to preserve and build their money. If you think this is the field for you, you should think about getting your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. Because each state has different standards for CPAs, it is critical to research how to move toward licensing. Continue reading to find out how to become a CPA in South Carolina.
South Carolina CPA Exam F.A.Q.s
Here are some commonly asked questions regarding South Carolina’s CPA exam and CPA licensure requirements.
Do CPA scores expire in South Carolina?
If all four CPA Examination test parts are not passed within the eighteen-month timeframe, credit for any test portion outside the eighteen months expires and must be retaken.
What are the requirements to sit for the CPA exam in South Carolina?
South Carolina CPA candidates who have completed at least 120 semester hours of credit, including 24 semester hours of accounting courses and 24 semester hours of business courses, are eligible to take the CPA Exam.
How do I register to take the CPA exam in South Carolina?
CPA Examination Services allows you to register online (CPAES). Applications and supporting documentation must be sent through the mail. Wait for your NTS to arrive. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) will confirm your eligibility to test and send you your Notice to Schedule (NTS) for the Uniform CPA Exam using the method you selected when you applied to take the exam (mail, email, or fax). Prometric’s website is where you may schedule your exam.
How many accounting credits do you need to sit for the CPA license in South Carolina?
Candidates must complete 150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours in various course disciplines to meet the CPA Exam requirements in South Carolina, including 24 semester hours in upper-level accounting courses, which must include: Financial accounting—accounting for managers.
Does South Carolina require an ethics exam for the CPA?
To meet the South Carolina CPA ethics requirements, applicants must pass a professional ethics examination recognized by the board.
How much is the CPA exam in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, the cost of taking all four sections of the CPA test is $743, plus a $135 application fee. The registration price for the re-examination varies according to the amount of sections you sign up for.