Before you start studying to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), it’s important to know how much it costs to take the Uniform CPA Examination and to become a CPA. The cost of the CPA Exam and licensure vary by state, but knowing each of the fees involved is an important step in the process towards becoming a CPA.
Has COVID thrown a wrench in things for your CPA plans? You may be eligible for a steep discount – find out more about our CPA financial hardship program here
Average Total CPA Exam Cost Breakdown
|CPA Exam Fees||CPA Licensing Fees|
|Application Fee||$130||Professional Ethics Exam Fee||$169|
|Registration Fee||$300||Licensing Fee||$175|
|Examination Fee||$833.60||Continuing Professional Education Credits||$1,000/year|
|CPA Review Course||$2,000|
|Approximate Total Cost||$4,700|
Applying to Sit for the CPA Exam
The CPA Exam has three main fees:
First-time CPA candidates are required to pay a CPA Exam application fee to the state board of accountancy as part of the application process for the CPA Exam. Application fees range from $10 to $200, depending on the state where you apply to take the exam. Most states have an application fee between $100 and $200, with an average around $130.
This fee is paid when you apply to take a section of the CPA Exam. Registration fees vary by state, just like the application fee. Some states offer different pricing depending on the number of CPA Exam sections you sign up for at one time. For instance, Massachusetts uses a tiered system where pricing is like this:
- One section: $117
- Two sections: $137
- Three sections: $157
- Four sections: $177
Due to this pricing model, the registration fee varies significantly by state and by candidate. On average, most candidates will spend about $300 on total registration fees.
Along with the registration fee, there is a Notice To Schedule (NTS) that is only valid for a certain amount of time after you register (often six months). When paying the registration fee, be sure that you know how many sections of the exam you would like to sit for and the amount of time it will take for you to study for each section to successfully pass. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) only offers NTS extensions or partial refunds on a very limited basis. If you reapply to take a section of the CPA Exam, you will need to repay the registration fee, as well.
The CPA examination fee must be paid each time a candidate applies for any of the four exam sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). That means, if you don’t pass an exam section on the first try, you will be required to repay the examination fee if you wish to sit for that section again. Examination fees are set by NASBA at $208.40 per exam section; however accounting state boards are not required to charge this fee. It is recommended that you check with your state board to budget appropriately.
After Passing the CPA Exam
Once you successfully pass the CPA Exam, there are still a few more steps – and fees – before you can become a fully licensed CPA.
CPA Exam Ethics Fee
After completing the CPA Exam, many states require that you pass a Professional Ethics Exam to become a licensed CPA. Check with your accounting state board to find out if you will be required to take the Professional Ethics Exam. If so, note that the AICPA offers a discount for members, $149 as opposed to the $189 cost for non-members.
CPA Licensing Fee
Once you have successfully passed all four sections of the CPA Exam (and the Professional Ethics Exam, where applicable), you must pay the CPA licensing fees to your state board. These costs also vary by state, and range from $50 to $300.
After becoming a fully licensed CPA, you will need to complete a certain number of continuing education hours per year to maintain your license. Most states require a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education credit hours, which can cost anywhere from under $10 to more than $100 per hour. Surgent offers hundreds of continuing professional education (CPE) courses in a variety of formats, as well as CPE packages that provide unlimited yearly access for one low price. Learn more about Surgent CPE.
Additional Costs and Fees
CPA Exam Review Course Cost
In addition to the fees for taking the CPA Exam, it is highly recommended that you study with a CPA Exam review course. Surgent CPA Review offers review courses at several price points to help students through the CPA Exam review process as quickly as possible. Every Surgent review course has adaptive learning technology to help you through your exam review process as quickly and efficiently as possible. Try Surgent CPA Review for free today!
The majority of CPA Exam candidates do not pass every CPA Exam section on the first try. This means candidates must reapply to retake the CPA Exam section, resulting in repayment of the registration and examination fees. Some states offer special discounts on reapplication fees, so be sure to check with your state board before paying the full registration fee again.
If you choose to reschedule your exam date within 30 days of your chosen date, there are fees for rescheduling. If the test date you chose is between five and 30 days away, the fee to reschedule is $35. Within four dates, the full exam fee must be paid to reschedule, and within 24 hours, you are not able to reschedule your exam date. Rescheduling your exam date can be done online through the Prometric website.
International Candidate Credential Costs
If you plan to sit for the CPA Exam in an international location, such as Guam or Europe, there are additional registration fees per exam section of $356.55. In addition to larger registration fees, international candidates must also have their transcripts evaluated by an agency to ensure they comply with the educational requirements for the CPA certification. The credential evaluation services cost anywhere from $100 to $300, depending on the agency providing the evaluation.
Worried about CPA Exam Costs?
At Surgent, we understand that the costs and fees for becoming a CPA can start adding up quickly. That’s why we partnered with Affirm to split your CPA Exam review course purchase into monthly payments. To get started, simply select “Affirm” under Payment Details at Checkout.