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Virginia CPA Exam Requirements
Financial professionals are essential in numerous industries and provide high-level skillsets for their employers. An accountant is one such profession, most especially a licensed one. If you’ve ever considered becoming a Certified Public Accountant, we’ve provided an outline in this article. Each jurisdiction varies and below is the Virginia CPA Exam Requirements.
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Summary of Virginia CPA Requirements
|Credit Hours to sit for the CPA Exam
|Credit Hours in above the Introductory/Foundational Level Accounting course to sit for the CPA Exam
|Credit Hours in Business course to sit for the CPA Exam
|Bachelors with an accounting concentration or equivalent required to sit for the CPA Exam?
|Credit Hours to receive a CPA License
|Required CPE Hours Every Three Years
Before you may sit for the CPA Licensure exam, you will have to meet several prerequisites. The first step is the Virginia CPA education requirements, you must obtain one or more of these in accredited institutions:
- For education, at least 150 semester hours are required.
- Baccalaureate or higher degree with an accounting concentration or equivalent.
An accounting concentration or equivalent comprises:
- 24 semester hours of accounting courses above the introductory/foundational level including courses in Auditing, Financial Accounting, Managerial/Cost Accounting and Taxation.
- 24 semester hours of business courses with no more than six semester hours of what could be considered upper-level accounting courses.
While 120 semester hours is the standard hours of education, to be eligible to take the CPA examination, you must meet 150 semester hours with a minimum number of semester hours in accounting courses and business courses. It is recommended that students prepare and choose their courses wisely. Virginia’s board of accounting recommends applicants to incorporate at least some graduate-level study in accounting.
Core Accounting Courses
The Virginia Board of Accountancy requires core course subjects such as Auditing, Taxation, Cost or Managerial and Financial Courses that meet this requirement include but are not limited to Intermediate Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis, Intermediate Accounting I and II. Each core course must consist of 3 semester hours.
Other accounting courses can be accepted and can be used to make up the 12 semester hour accounting requirement. These include but are not limited to:
- Federal Taxation
- Accounting Information Systems
- Government/Not For-Profit Accounting
- Fund Accounting
- Accounting Internship
- Accounting Seminar
- Forensic Accounting
- Government Accounting and Reporting
- Accounting Systems and Control
- Accounting Theory
- Assurance Services
- Accounting Analytics
- Information Systems Assurance and Advisory
There are also business courses accepted for the business requirement, namely:
- Business Information Systems
Alternative courses accepted toward the business requirement include, but are not limited to:
- Business Law
- Commercial Law
- Legal Environment of Business
- Organizational Behavior
- Financial Management
- Personal Financial Planning
Virginia board encourages candidates to use the Education Handbook to evaluate the education needed to qualify for the CPA exam.
Accredited Institutions and Universities
The Virginia board recognizes accredited organizations and institutions and these are:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) – Any institution accredited by its recognized accrediting organization or its successor.
If your institution isn’t included above, the Virginia Board of Accountancy may approve organizations provided that their accreditation process and standards are considered equivalent to the accreditation process and standards of the above major regional accrediting organizations.
It is best to contact an unlisted institution directly to determine if it is accredited through one of the recognized accrediting agencies. Most institutions have their list of accreditations on the back of their transcripts.
International Education Eligibility
The board can consider a degree or coursework earned at a non-accredited institution located outside of the United States, once the degree or coursework is evaluated by an education evaluation firm.
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.
Processing the Virginia CPA Exam Requirements
Once you meet the educational requirements, you can now move forward with applying for the CPA exam otherwise known as the Uniform CPA Examination. The exam process is a partnership between the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and Prometric.
To apply, candidates have to create an online account first and then submit an application along with sending official transcripts.
For first-time candidates, use FT when applying. This is only used during the original application process prior to being deemed eligible to sit for any exam.
- U.S. Social Security Number or Control Number. If a control number is used, there will be an additional $67.50 fee charged by NASBA for each payment coupon received.
- Transcripts. All required coursework and degree conferral must be shown on official transcripts. These can be mailed directly from the institution to the VBOA or mailed to the CPA candidate in a sealed envelope with the institution’s official signature or seal overlaying the flap of the envelope.
Electronic transcripts are accepted and sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org by the institution or their elected transcript provider service.
Steps to Applying for the CPA Exam
After completing all required documents, candidates applying for the Uniform CPA Examination will have to accomplish these step-by-step process:
- Create and register an account on the Virginia Board of Accountancy (VBOA) website. Log in and submit your initial application. The initial application is $120 and non-refundable.
- After applying, send official transcripts to the VBOA at 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 402, Henrico, VA 23233.
- Processing takes approximately two to three weeks from the date the transcripts are received. Once the processing is completed, you then receive a determination of eligibility sent via email.
- When you’re deemed eligible, candidates will receive the first payment coupon in the online NASBA Candidate portal within three to five business days. Candidates must login to their NASBA account to view the payment coupon. The payment coupon is only valid for six months.
- The candidate can view the Notice to Schedule (NTS) once the payment has been submitted via the NASBA Candidate portal. The NTS will be valid for 12 months.
- Upon accessing the NTS, the candidate will contact a Prometric Testing Facility to schedule the date to sit for the exam section. Visit the Prometric website and the online seat availability tool. This will allow candidates to view seat availability for exam sections based on a preferred location without having a section ID.
Candidates Re-applying for the CPA Exam
Candidates who have previously sat for the exam or have previously submitted a request to sit for any section/s of the exam are considered re-exam candidates (RE).
Re-exam candidates are instructed to login to VBOA’s website and select “Apply for Re-exam”. Do remember that “RE” will be used for every request. Make sure to use the current day’s date for the Application Date and that the appropriate exam section box is checked.
Key Points to Consider in Applying
It is important to note the following points when applying to take the exam:
- Candidates do not need to apply for all four exam sections of the exam at the same time. You may apply for each exam section individually or at different times.
- When submitting an online request, candidates are not scheduling the actual date they will sit for the exam sections.
- The selection of date/s can only be made by the candidate after receipt of the Notice to Schedule (NTS).
- For sections requested on the same day, including during different login requests, these will be issued on a single payment coupon.
- A payment coupon may not be separated into several payments.
- For separate payment coupons, requests for sections must be made and paid for on different calendar days.
Virginia CPA Exam Cost Breakdown
The Virginia CPA exam cost consists of four main fees: the initial exam application fee of $120, the $254.80 per CPA exam section totaling $1,019.20 for all four sections, the CPA initial license fee of $75, and the renewal fee of $60.
First-time candidates and re-exam candidates are required to pay certain fees for the application and the exam fees. A non-refundable application fee of $120 is required upon submission of the online application. Each of the section’s costs are seen below. These fees are paid directly to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
|Exam Application Fee
|Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
|Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
|Disciplines (ISC, TCP, or BAR)
|Total for all 4 CPA Exam Sections
|CPA Exam Score Transfer
|Verification of Licensure
|CPA Initial License Fee
|Annual Renewal Fee
|Annual Renewal Fee (Payment made through check)
For a re-exam application, there is a fee of $20 for every re-exam request submitted. This is each time a candidate applies for one or multiple CPA exam sections.
As for CPA exam score transfers, there is a fee of $25 for candidates requesting an exam score to be transferred from Virginia to another state. Complete the CPA Exam Score Transfer Form and submit it to the VBOA along with the fee. Note that this fee is non-refundable.
The Candidate Bulletin is given by the board as an official handbook. This handbook will serve as a preparation for the candidates as it outlines a candidate’s responsibilities and how the examination process works.
CPA License Requirements
After acquiring the required education and you are considered eligible to sit, taking the Uniform CPA Exam is the next step to obtaining your CPA license. For candidates to have their initial license, they must pass the exam with a score of 75 or higher on each section within an 18-month period.
If an applicant has an existing CPA exam record in another state or jurisdiction, the applicant must request the respective state board of accountancy to transfer their exam scores to the VBOA.
After passing the CPA exam in Virginia, it is time to apply for an initial licensure. Login to the existing CPA exam record, create a new application and pay the non-refundable application fee of $75.
As for applicants who passed the exam in a state other than Virginia, you must create a new online account to apply for an initial license and pay the non-refundable application fee of $75 upon submission of the online application.
All applicants must also accomplish the following:
1. Virginia CPA Ethics Exam Requirements
To meet the Virginia CPA ethics exam requirements, a candidate must complete the self-study course and exam open book exam from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) titled Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course (For Licensure). The candidates will need to have a score of 90% or higher to qualify for a license.
2. Virginia CPA Experience Requirements
To meet the Virginia CPA experience requirements, candidates are required at least 2,080 work hours, or equivalent to one year of full-time employment. The experience requirement includes being employed in academia, a firm, government, or industry involving the substantial use of accounting, financial, tax, or other skills that are relevant.
Complete the Experience Verification Form.
If an applicant passed the CPA exam in another state or jurisdiction other than Virginia they will also need to provide official college transcripts and exam scores transferred to the VBOA.
Applicants who apply a year after passing the exam, aside from the above mentioned, will need to submit official college transcripts, if applicable, submit the required Continuing Professional Education of 40 hours per year and the current year’s VBOA-approved ethics course.
Complete the CPE Requirements Certification Form.
Licensure application from a substantially equivalent state will have to do the following:
- Create an online account.
- Complete the Professional Ethics: AICPA’s Comprehensive Course scoring 90% or higher.
- Request a Verification of Licensure from a substantially equivalent state.
As for applicants from a non-substantially equivalent state, do as follows with some additional document submissions:
- Create an online account.
- Complete the Professional Ethics: AICPA’s Comprehensive Course scoring 90% or higher.
- Request a Verification of Licensure from a substantially equivalent state.
- Submit college transcripts.
- Submit the required CPE.
- Submit an Experience Verification Form.
After completing the online application, applicants will be notified to submit supporting documents regarding education requirements, experience qualifications and continuing professional education, including the annual VBOA-approved ethics course.
CPE is not required for initial licensure if an application is submitted within the same year in which the applicant passed the exam. Applicants who have not held a CPA license in any other state but applies for a Virginia license a year after passing the exam must obtain CPE prior to applying for a license.
Continuing Professional Education for Virginia
Individuals who apply for an initial license, is holding a Virginia individual CPA license or applying to have their license reinstated is required to obtain Continuing Professional Education (CPE).
Completion of the following is required:
- Active CPAs should complete the required 120 CPE hours over a rolling three-year period, with a minimum of 20 hours annually.
- Completing a two-hour VBOA-approved ethics course annually and eight hours of A&A courses, if applicable.
- The minimum hours needed is 40 hours for applicants who apply for licensure by the end of the first year after the year in which the CPA exam is passed.
Further hour requirements for the Virginia CPA license will be on the VBOAs website.
CPE must be acceptable and should be instructed, developed or reviewed by subject matter experts. These are individuals or teams having expertise in the subject matter. Varieties of acceptable CPEs includes:
- Attending a seminar or educational conference.
- Earning course credit at an accredited college or university.
- Completing a course through nano-learning or incremental CPE.
- Completing a self-study course.
- Making a presentation.
- Published articles, books, or CPE programs.
Approved Virginia Specific Ethics Course
Virginia CPA aspirants are able to take a variety of different courses and topics to meet the annual CPE ethics requirement, as long as it is taken from a VBOA-approved provider.
Every licensee, excluding those approved for the Inactive status, will complete a VBOA-approved ethics course of at least two hours that complies with VBOA regulation 18VAC5-22-90.
CPAs can have a choice of the ethics course they prefer or one that is specific to their line of work. Every ethics course must be pre-approved by the VBOA and include the 2022 VBOA Segment, a 13-minute video, added to all approved ethics courses.
It must be noted that VBOA does not require Virginia licensees to gain CPE from NASBA-approved providers; however, it is encouraged that all providers follow and be aware of NASBA CPE provider standards.
CPE Documentation Requirements
Documentation is required for the CPEs and can be satisfied by providing the following:
- Certificates of Completion from the CPE Sponsor. Must include the sponsor name, participant’s name, course/content name, date taken and hours of CPE earned.
- Official transcript of an accredited college or university earning course credits.
- Official syllabus/agenda and signed statement which indicates the length of the presentation when making a presentation.
- Certifying statement indicating the licensee’s first time preparing and teaching the section and a letter from the Department Head or Chair confirming that information.
- Statement/s from the writer supporting the number of CPE hours claimed. Information such as the name and contact of the independent reviewer/s or publisher. A copy of the published article, book or written material or proof of publication. Or in the case of a CPE program, the final course documentation. Copies of materials must list the name of the licensee as author or contributor.
Virginia License Renewal
Active or Inactive Virginia CPAs must renew their individual license annually by June 30. An individual CPA license expires on June 30 and an individual license may be renewed beginning March 1.
A non-refundable renewal fee of $60 is charged and an additional processing fee of $25 will be added if renewing by check.
As the financial industry continues to evolve, exceptional accounting professionals are always in high demand. With all the time and process, a certified public accountant license requires extensive education, training and commitment and is without a doubt not a small feat. Fortunately, as you further your profession, the depths of knowledge and skills that CPAs possess make them invaluable to companies of all sizes.
Every day is an evolving field for a CPA. One that can be both challenging and exciting. Each day is different from the one before and provides refreshing opportunities.
Virginia CPA Exam F.A.Q.s
Below are the commonly asked questions about the Virginia CPA exam and CPA license requirements:
What are the requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Virginia?
To meet the Virginia CPA exam requirements, applicants must have a U.S. Social Security number or control number issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle and a baccalaureate or higher degree with an accounting concentration.
How many accounting credits do you need to sit for the CPA license in Virginia?
Nevada applicants need to obtain 150 semester hours of education with 24-semester credits in accounting courses and 24-semester credits in business courses.
How do I register to take the CPA exam in Virginia?
To be able to take the CPA exam, fulfill first the education requirements for Virginia. Apply and submit your application to the Virginia Board of Accountancy website and send transcripts to the board’s address. Once your complete application is approved, the board will inform NASBA and they 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 Virginia?
During the application for the exam, first-time applicants are required to pay an application fee of $120 and an examination fee of $238.15 for each section. There are four (4) exam sections and would total to $1,072.60 for first-time applicants. Applicants can re-apply for the exam and re-examination applicants will need to pay a re-examination registration fee of $20 along with the exam section they wish to re-take.
Does Virginia require an ethics exam for the CPA?
Virginia does require an ethics exam upon obtaining your initial license. The ethics exam is an 8-hour comprehensive course and an examination covering the Professional Ethics: AICPA’s Comprehensive Course that is For Licensure. Applicants have to score 90% or better on the exam.
Do CPA exam scores expire in Virginia?
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 Virginia.
How long does it take to become a CPA in Virginia?
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, 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.