How Much Does Becoming a CPA Cost?

Costs main cover image
$ Application Fees: $30-$200 $ $ Exam Fees: $800-$1,000 $ $ $ Exam Review Courses: $70-$4,000

The acronym CPA stays for a certified public accountant who is licensed by the state.

An individual seeking CPA licensure should possess a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is expected to have worked in public accounting.

The candidate must first study and pass a CPA exam, and then meet the additional requirements of the state for certification before receiving a CPA license.

Typical Costs

The typical application fees for CPA license candidates are $30-$200.

The first-time applicants in Ohio, for example, pay $140 for the application fee, which is separate from any examination fees.

Then come the CPA exam fees, which are approx. $800-$1,000.

For example, the fees in Alabama are $850 for all four parts.

The ethics exam fees are in the range of $75-$130.

In addition to the CPA exam, the ethics exam is a self-administered course and exam required by most states.

In Minnesota, for example, the ethics exam is called Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course and its fee is $105 for members of the American Institute of CPAs and $130 for non-members.

This fee includes a self-study course for the exam, which can be done online.

California CPA candidates can take the Professional Ethics for CPAs (PETH) course and attend an exam for $125 for members or $150 for non-members.

As a rule, the review courses for the CPA exam cost $70-$200 for a self-study book or software course.

The self-study or interactive college courses may cost $1,000-$4,000.

The CPA Ready software by Bisk, for example, costs $100, while the self-study Becker CPA Review Course costs $3,245 for the four parts of the exam.

The licensing fees for the CPA certificate are typical $30-$400 required after an applicant has passed the exams.

In most states, the accountants can still work in the profession without possessing this license.

However, they will not be able to use the term certified public accountant, which will limit their advancement in the field.

In New York, the fee for a CPA license is $377, while the Connecticut CPA applicants can expect to pay $75 for a one-year license and the equivalent license in Florida costs $50.

What Is Included

  • Becoming a CPA is associated with various requirements that are different for each state of the application.
  • Based on the American Institute of CPAs, most states require a bachelor’s degree as well as two years of public accounting experience.
  • The other requirements vary, even though all states use the same Uniform CPA Exam.
  • CPAs in California, for example, must have a bachelor’s degree with 24 semesters credits in accounting and business-related subjects, and a total of 150-semester credits.
  • Other requirements include successful Uniform CPA Exam, and an ethics course, plus one year of general accounting job experience supervised by a licensed CPA.
  • The Uniform CPA Exam consists of four sections: Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG).
  • These four sections require 14 total hours of testing, but there is no need for them to be taken all at once.

Additional Costs

  • The CPA licenses are usually renewed annually for approx. $100-$400.
  • For example, in Connecticut, the license renewal costs $450, while in Florida, the annual renewal costs $105.
  • A bachelor’s degree in accounting is needed to become a CPA.
  • The average cost of attending a four-year public college is $7,605 per year (in-state) or $11,990 (out-of-state) for tuition and fees, according to the non-profit organization College Board.
  • At a private college this cost is approx. $27,293 per year for tuition and fees.


Professional accounting associations members are usually eligible for discounts on CPA review courses.

The members of the West Virginia Society for Certified Public Accountants, for example, may receive discounts of about 30% on study guides and other books.

Shopping For Summer School

  • Details concerning the state fees and requirements for CPA licensure are provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
  • Those who want to study course material on their own rather than take a class, can use the CPA exam review software.
  • Monster reviews nine brands of CPA software, including their prices.
  • Tips for passing the CPA exam are offered by The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants.
  • Application to sit for the exam is recommended as soon as possible after graduation.
  • The states that require work experience in public accounting before taking the exam, the minimum time range that the candidates should do is usually six months to 2 years of field experience.

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