Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
The CPA credential is a license issued by one of the 55 states or territories of the U.S. that authorizes the holder to practice as a CPA in that jurisdiction. Licensing of CPAs helps to protect the public interest because only those individuals who have met prescribed requirements are permitted to identify themselves to the public as CPAs. One component of the licensing requirement designed to ensure only qualified individuals become licensed as CPAs is the uniform CPA Examination.
The Examination is one of the "Three Es" - Education, Examination, and Experience - that are required for licensure as a CPA. Consequently, passing the Examination is not, in itself, sufficient to meet requirements for licensure.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) develops, maintains and scores the Examination. The AICPA is part of an Examination partnership with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), which manages the National Candidate Database, and Prometric, the company that delivers the Examination at its authorized test centers. The Examination is provided on behalf of the Boards of Accountancy, which have ultimate licensing authority.
Once candidates pass one Examination section, most boards allow 18 months for passing the remaining three sections. The entire Examination is 16 hours. A candidate has four hours to complete each Examination section.
CPA testing windows are:
  • 1st Quarter: January to March 10
  • 2nd Quarter: April 1 to June 10
  • 3rd Quarter: July 1 to September 10
  • 4th Quarter: October 1 to December 10
The last remaining days in each quarter are Blackout Periods – No exams held.
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