CPA Course in USA - All You Need to Know


Global enterprises are now a reality and have expanded into every industry and field, including finance, agriculture, and many other fields. Businesses have long sought to operate on a competitive edge while working toward the improvement of the industry they work in. Professional accountants who can serve as financial consultants and keep track of all the monetary funds are urgently needed due to the emergence of new enterprises and an increase in the distribution of resources. Since then, there has been a huge need for trained accounting experts to meet this need.
A US CPA course is the first step in realizing your ambitions if you're interested in a profitable career in commerce and accounting and want to be a renowned professional worldwide. This blog will give you a glimpse into every aspect of the CPA course in USA and its examination. Let's start from the basics.

What is US CPA?

US Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a worldwide recognized qualification representing the highest accounting expertise level. The AICPA (American Institute of CPA) administers the US CPA test in the United States (AICPA). The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) includes the 50 state boards of accountancy and four districts that decide candidates' exam eligibility. 
The US CPA course in USA covers a wide range of subjects, including accounting as well as law, analytics, auditing, taxation, evaluation, regulatory frameworks and processes, ethics, and money management. The CPA course certifies you as a specialist in accounting and opens you to a world of possibilities. The possibilities are unlimited, whether you work for a corporation, practice accounting, or work for individuals.
After understanding the definition of CPA now, the next question that would come to your mind is if you are eligible for a US CPA course in USA or not. Let's discuss the US CPA course eligibility in detail.

Eligibility Criteria

Understanding the CPA prerequisites by the state is an important part of your CPA exam preparation. Every license-granting jurisdiction (the 50 states, including Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the Mariana Islands) has its own CPA licensing criteria, which you must complete for the jurisdiction in which you seek to be licensed. 
  • Educational Requirements - All 50 states demand a bachelor's degree with at least 150 credit hours of training. Some states will allow you to take the CPA Exam after just 120 hours of study, but you must still finish 150 hours before applying for a license. Minnesota, for example, enables you to take the test with provisional clearance if you have at least 120 credit hours or are within 90 days of fulfilling this requirement. The states also outline how many hours of accounting-specific study you must complete as part of your CPA Exam preparation. Illinois, for example, requires 30 hours of accounting-related coursework, including auditing, financial accounting, managerial accounting, and taxation.
  • Age Requirements - There are no minimum age restrictions for taking the CPA Course Exam in most states and territories in the USA. Although New York and Missouri require applicants to be 21 years old before they are eligible for a CPA license, the minimum age is commonly 18 in the jurisdictions that do.
CPA course in the USA
  • Residency Requirement - Even though the majority of states let nonresidents sit the CPA Exam, a few require that you have lived in the state for at least six months. This requirement can be met by having a physical abode, a permanent place of business, or regular employment there.
  • Ethics Requirements - As part of the criteria for obtaining a CPA license, the majority of states mandate that applicants pass an ethics test covering material from the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. Self-study is encouraged in this open-book CPE course. The ethics test must typically be passed within a year or two of taking the CPA Exam, and you must have a passing score of at least 90%. Although many states merely demand the AICPA's ethics test for a CPA course in USA, others also impose a localized ethics exam requirement. As an illustration, Virginia's CPA licensing requirements include the completion of an annual state-specific ethics course. In Ohio, CPAs must pass a board-approved course on professional standards and responsibilities (PSR) that strongly emphasizes Ohio accountancy law and board regulations. Pennsylvania, Georgia, Kentucky, and Michigan are among the states that do not need an ethics exam as part of the CPA licensing process.
After learning all the aspects of eligibility for the US CPA course in USA, we will understand the fee structure.

US CPA Certification Fees:

The additional costs for the CPA exam will be in the range of $3,000; for your reference, the breakdown is as follows:
Regulation (REG)$ 250
Auditing and Attestation (AUD)$ 250
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)$ 250
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)$ 250
  • Paper Fees are paid in the amount of $1,000 USD for four CPA papers.
  • Only students writing examinations outside of the United States are charged the International Testing Fee of $1500 USD for four CPA papers.
  • You must pay a CPA application fee of $250 USD when you apply for examinations.
  • NASBA gets paid 225 USD for evaluation.

Syllabus for CPA course in USA

The US CPA program is renowned for its extensive range of information. The test also makes sure that a candidate has a solid understanding of all the principles needed for an accountant to function in challenging real-world situations. There are four sections in total in the CPA curriculum. These topics further divide the CPA into four tests, which are:
BEC- Business Environment Concepts
  • Operations Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Financial Management
  • Economic Concepts and Analysis
  • Information Technology
AUD- Auditing and Attestation
  • Forming Conclusions and Reporting
  • Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response 
  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, & General Principles
  • Performing Further Procedures & Obtaining Evidence
FAR- Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting & Financial Reporting
  • Select Financial Statement Accounts  
  • Select Transactions
  • State and Local Governments
REG- Regulations
  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, & Federal Tax Procedures
  • Business Law
  • Federal Taxation of Property Transactions  
  • Federal Taxation of Individuals 
  • Federal Taxation of Entities 
The CPA USA exam validates a candidate's comprehensive grasp of professional obligations and ethics. It primarily assesses professional competence in auditing, business ideas, business law, taxation, and accounting. It does, however, examine associated business skills to assess a candidate's knowledge and ability to use such information successfully.
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Exam Structure of CPA Course in USA:

Each question begins with a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) and then moves on to a Task-Based Simulation. Task-based simulations (TBS) are a series of problems that allow you to use your knowledge and demonstrate that you comprehend the test themes. They are structured differently in every exam section. Each section also has one research question that needs you to conduct a study in the authorized literature and quote the code covering the current issue. 
  • The CPA USA exam is taken four times a year as a computer-based exam. Registration for the test is accessible throughout the year. 
  • The entire exam of the CPA USA is subdivided into four parts (AUD, REG, BEC, and FAR).
  • Candidates are allotted 4 hours for every exam part that contains the MCQs, TBS, and other written communication questions. 
  • After passing the first test, applicants have 18 months to complete the other three parts.
  • The minimum score required to clear each section is 75.

US CPA Job Opportunities:

US CPAs are in high demand across all industries. CPAs are responsible for maintaining and examining financial accounts for the public and commercial sectors and individual customers. CPAs are permitted to assume positions of responsibility in financial sectors ranging from start-up companies to global corporations. Among the notable organizations that hire certified accounting professionals (US CPAs) are Philips, Deloitte, Accenture, Cognizant, and others.
CPAs can specialize in the following areas:
Financial Controller - The financial controller's job is to keep a check on the company's accounting and finance-related operations. A financial controller aids businesses with various operations, initiatives, and processes. 
Financial Planner - The financial manager's responsibility is to budget, predict, and evaluate financial decisions for the benefit of the organization. These managers assist the business in meeting short & long-term objectives and tracking project progress.
Internal Auditing Manager -Internal Audit Managers are in charge of performing internal audits within the organization. On a monthly basis, this is done for numerous procedures within the company. These managers examine possible risks, ensuring that choices are made in accordance with state, municipal, and federal legislation.
Academia - A CPA may easily become an accounting professor at many colleges or universities. CPA educators research to increase the body of accounting knowledge in addition to teaching, and they create books and papers on accounting theory.
Chief Financial Officer - A Chief Financial Officer oversees the company's financial operations. He or she monitors the firm's cash flow and examines its financial strengths and shortcomings. CFO is one of the highest-paying CPA professions, and it may enhance a person's career and financial stability.

Salary After CPA Course in USA:

The need for US CPAs extends to several businesses and industries. CPAs and auditors are often required by most organizations. In addition, the majority of US CPAs are tax experts and business advisors. Their proficiency in accounting and finance enables them to earn significant wages. The average starting wage for freshers CPAs in the US is $66,000 per year, according to the AICPA study. A CPA in the US makes an average income of $119,000 a year, but with 20 years of experience, one might expect to earn more than $160,000.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

1. Can an Indian CPA work in the USA?

If you want to work in the United States after completing a US CPA course, you must apply for a Work Visa, often known as an H-1B Visa. For further information, go to the official website of the US Embassy. Another option is to begin working for one of the Big 4 accounting firms or any US business with a presence in India and travel onsite to showcase your potential for relocation to the US.

2. How can I become a CPA in the USA?

To complete a CPA course in USA, you will have to start by fulfilling the educational requirement. Once done with this, apply to take the exam. Choose the right preparation classes for you and start studying. The CPA Exam consists of four examinations, all of which must be passed within 18 months. The timer begins with your first passing mark. After fulfilling your work requirements, apply for the license.

3. How much does it cost to study CPA in USA?

Usually, the total cost of the four portions of the US CPA test is roughly USD 1,200. According to the number of sections you attempt on the CPA exam and the venue, it could, however, differ significantly. With different exam costs and licensing fees included, the average cost of a CPA course in USA is about USD 1,500.

4. How long does it take to become a CPA in USA?

The time required to finish the CPA course in USA varies from person to person, but 12 to 15 months are often sufficient to complete all four papers. Each paper has a pass rate of about 50%. It is not difficult to accomplish this qualification in 12 to 15 months with the correct tools and timetable, and in 18 months, you may have your license and begin practising in any nation of your preference.

5. Is CPA a good career in the USA?

Yes, being a CPA is a smart career choice since it offers people a variety of employment options. A candidate who completes this internationally recognized course is qualified to work anywhere in the world. The CPA course in USA opens you to a world of employment possibilities with some of the most renowned organizations worldwide.

6. What is eligibility for the US CPA exam?

One can begin test preparation for the CPA course in USA after passing the 12th grade with a state board diploma while also pursuing a UG degree at a college. For all semesters together, the student must have earned 150 credits. The student can complete a master's degree after three years of UG, helping him to earn a total of 150 credits. He is then qualified to take the CPA test. He needs to fill out the documents and apply for the license. Every year, the CPA tests are given in June and September.

7. Which is better, CPA or CMA?

If a candidate is interested in reporting, audits, taxes, and regulations. Then they should seek a CPA degree, but someone who is more engaged in management, strategic analysis, and decision-making should choose the CMA. The average pay for a CPA throughout their career is around $120,000, compared to roughly $100,000 for a CMA in the US. So, if you are interested in number crunching, auditing, and taxation, then opt for a CPA course in USA.

8. What is the duration of the CPA course in USA?

US CPA course Duration is almost 12- 18 months, depending on the candidate's level of preparation. Within 18 months, applicants must complete the four papers for the CPA course. It is a very short course that can be finished quickly while adding significant value and weight to your Resume.


US CPA certification provides professionals with excellent job prospects. It will offer work security, financial stability, monetary advantages, desired career growth, and fulfillment. As a professional degree, it ensures a fruitful future for every candidate. 
Also, if you are searching for a CPA course in USA to assist you in the preparation, you can count on NorthStar Academy (NSA). The CPA USA certification course offered by NSA can help you with every aspect of the exam with a complete roadmap. With sample tests, pre-recorded lessons, and special study material, one can undoubtedly prepare well and pass the US CPA exam in one sitting. It's time to go forward, become a certified CPA, gain independence, and realize your full potential with the best CPA Coaching in the USA.
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