The biggest obstacle to becoming a certified public accountant is passing the Uniform CPA Examination. But first, candidates must complete a thorough CPA Exam application process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for the CPA Exam.
1.) Apply through NASBA’s CPA Exam online application system
NASBA is the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Candidates from 32 jurisdictions must apply for the CPA Exam through the NASBA website.
Visit cpacentral.nasba.org to begin your online application, or visit your state’s Board of Accountancy site.
Make sure the name you put on your application is the same as the name on your identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.).
Each exam section will have its respective fee, and there will be a separate application fee anytime you apply to sit for a section. Make sure to only apply to the exam section you can reasonably prepare for beforeyour Notice to Schedule (NTS) expires (expiration differs for each jurisdiction).
2.) Obtain necessary documentation
At the time of your application, you must submit an official transcript from each school you attended to prove you have completed your education requirements.
Transcripts must come from your school’s registrar’s office and include the registrar’s official seal. A paper copy may be mailed, or an electronic version can be sent from the registrar’s office to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NASBA will not accept photocopies. Once you submit your CPA Exam application, you have a deadline to send your transcript(s) or your application will be denied, and you will forfeit all fees paid. The deadline varies by jurisdiction, so check NASBA or your State Board of Accountancy.
3.) Receive your Notice to Schedule (NTS)
Once NASBA has determined you are eligible to take the CPA Exam, you will receive your NTS. It can take up to six weeks to process your application and determine your eligibility, but candidates usually receive notification sooner, especially if they have previously applied for the exam.
When you receive your NTS, verify that the information listed is correct. If any of that information does not match your personal identification, contact NASBA immediately.
Take notice of your section ID number. This number is used to identify you and the section for which you are sitting. You will need this number to schedule your exam date and time, begin your exam on your test date, and retrieve your score once the AICPA releases it on the NASBA website.
4.) Schedule your exam date
The CPA Exam is administered at Prometric Testing Center, which has locations all over the world.
However, not all exams are offered at all locations, so you’ll need to wait for your NTS to find the one nearest you.
There are no blackout windows for administering the exam, meaning candidates can take it year-round (aside from when there are major exam changes). You can take the exam sections in any order whenever you’d like.
To schedule your exam, make sure you have your NTS handy and visit prometric.com/cpa.
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6.) Exam day tips
On your exam date, make sure to bring valid identification and DO NOT FORGET YOUR NTS — you will not be allowed to sit for your exam without it!
Arrive at Prometric 15 minutes before your appointment time.
7.) Additional international considerations
To qualify to take the exam outside the U.S., you must establish your eligibility through one of the following participating jurisdictions for the international administration of the exam:
- South Korea
- The United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
To test in an international location, you must first select a participating U.S. jurisdiction, contact the Board of Accountancy (or its designee) in that jurisdiction to obtain application materials and submit a completed application and required fees as instructed.
After receiving the Notice to Schedule (NTS), you may then use the NTS to apply to take the exam in an international location.