CPA course in USA- How to pursue CPA in USA?


When deciding on career prospects for your future, many aspects have to be considered while choosing a professional certification course. These factors can be the field of expertise, professional course recognition, duration of professional degree or credential, eligibility criteria, course fees, etc. 
If you are fixated on becoming an Accountant and pursuing a professional certification with global recognition, a CPA course in USA is just the answer for you. Certified Public Accountant or CPA is a professional certification in Finance and Accountancy for individuals willing to pursue a career in Accounting to acquire an in-depth understanding of underlying concepts and develop knowledge and applicable skills in the relevant fields of expertise.
This article focuses on the CPA course in USA and how you can acquire it, and how you can benefit from it. So, lets start from the basics.

What is US CPA?

The Certified Professional Accountant (US CPA) is a professional credential offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to individuals validating their knowledge and expertise in the field of Accountancy. AICPA administers the certification exam for becoming a US CPA, called the Uniform CPA exam. Individuals certified by the AICPA as US CPAs are hired by top multinational companies, businesses, nonprofits, and private and government organizations to help them meet their financial and accounting requirements and needs.
Certified professional US CPAs are in high demand for their expertise and bag many high-paying job roles in companies and organizations requiring financial and accounting services. Individuals can practice as US CPA professionals with the help of the CPA License issued by the AICPA after clearing the Uniform CPA exam. You can prepare yourself for the Uniform CPA with the help of a CPA course in USA.

US CPA Career Opportunities and Salary

The US CPA credentials make you eligible for some of the most lucrative career opportunities with incredible salary prospects and offer a steadily flourishing career growth curve. After obtaining the US CPA License with the help of the best US CPA course in USA, you can start your career in Accounting and Finance as a licensed CPA. 
As a certified US CPA, you can make a career in the following industries:
  • Accounting & Auditing Firm
  • Investment banking
  • Research firm
  • Hedge Funds
  • Commercial banks
  • Private equity firms
  • Mutual funds
  • Merger & Acquisition
  • Insurance firms
  • Credit agencies
  • Central banks
  • Asset management firms, and many more.
The CPA License makes you eligible for a prosperous career in your desired job role within the best MNCs in the world requiring financial and Accountancy services. A CPA course in USA prepares you for the Uniform CPA exam and enriches you with complete knowledge of Accounting and Finance. 
Some of the best job roles available to licensed CPA professionals include the following:
  • Public Accountant
  • Budget analyst
  • Tax examiner
  • Business systems analyst
  • Staff-Financial Accounting & Reporting
  • Staff-Tax Accounting
  • Staff-Internal Audit
  • Internal audit
  • Controller
  • Financial Advisor
  • Forensic Accounting, etc.
Another great aspect of pursuing CPA as a career is the salary benefits for licensed professionals. The average annual US CPA salary in India is INR 7-9 LPA. With increasing experience in the field, licensed CPA professionals will have a prosperous career within their company.
Licensed CPA professionals are hired by some of the top MNCs in the world, requiring financial and accounting assistance in their organizations. MNCs like EY, KPMG, BKD, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, etc., are among the top employers of licensed US CPA professionals.
The US CPA certification can be obtained by clearing the Uniform CPA exam conducted by the Accounting body, AICPA. NASBA is the evaluating body of the Uniform CPA exam. They issue the CPA License to successful candidates upon clearing the Uniform CPA exam. The Uniform CPA exam can be completed with the help of a US CPA course in USA.
Before we get into the US CPA course details, let us discuss the eligibility criteria requirements in order to apply for the Uniform CPA exam.

Who is Eligible for US CPA?

Candidates willing to take the Uniform CPA exam need to fulfill certain eligibility prerequisites as specified by the AICPA. The US CPA course eligibility requirements to be fulfilled before taking the Uniform CPA exam are as follows.
  • Candidates must possess a Master's degree in any Discipline from a recognized University or institution.
  • Candidates should possess at least 1-2 years of work experience under a licensed US CPA.
  • After graduation, candidates must acquire 150 credits to apply for the US CPA exam. (30 credit hours equals one year of university or college education)
Now that you know the US CPA exam eligibility requirements let's discuss the exam syllabus, exam pattern, US CPA course duration, and the CPA course fees in the USA.

US CPA Certification Exam Syllabus

Knowing the exam syllabus is extremely important as it gives you an insight into what you will study in the CPA course in USA and what you are required to study in order to pass the Uniform CPA exam. The syllabus for a Certified Public Accountant course in USA will be tailored as per the syllabus of the US CPA exam. 
So knowing about the exam syllabus beforehand will help you be well aware when choosing a good US CPA course in USA. Let us take a look at the Uniform CPA exam syllabus.
The Uniform CPA exam syllabus consists of four sections:
  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Regulation (REG)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
Let us now check the sub-topics and weightage allocation to understand where you should focus more.
Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • I: Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, & General Principles (15 25%)
  • II: Assessing Risk & Developing a Planned Response (25 35%)
  • III: Performing Further Procedures & Obtaining Evidence (30 40%)
  • IV: Forming Conclusions and Reporting (10 20%)
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
  • I: Enterprise Risk Management, Internal Controls, and Business Processes (20 30%)
  • II: Economics (15 25%)
  • III: Financial Management (10 20%)
  • IV: Information Technology (15 25%)
  • V: Operations Management (15 25%)
Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)
  • I: Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting, & Financial Reporting (25 35%)
  • II: Select Financial Statement Accounts (30 40%)
  • III: Select Transactions (20 30%)
  • IV: State and Local Governments (5 15%)
Regulation (REG)
  • I: Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, & Federal Tax Procedures (10 20%)
  • II: Business Law (10 20%)
  • III: Federal Taxation of Property Transactions (12 22%)
  • IV: Federal Taxation of Individuals (15 25%)
  • V: Federal Taxation of Entities (28 38%)

US CPA Certification Exam Pattern

The Uniform CPA exam is held in three parts: multiple choice questions (MCQs), task-based simulations (TBS), and written communication tasks. As a whole, they are collectively called testlets. 
Candidates are to be tested based on their skills and analytical knowledge of the concepts included in the syllabus.
The weightage given to each section of the Uniform CPA exam is below.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)50%50%50%50%
Task-Based Simulations (TBSs)50%35%50%50%
Now let us take a look at the time allotted and the number of questions for each section of the US CPA exam.
Time Allotted4 hours3 hours4 hours3 hours
Type & Number of Questions90 questions and seven task-based simulations72 questions and three written communications tasks90 questions and three task-based simulations72 questions and six task-based simulations
To clear the US CPA certification exam, candidates need to secure 75% marks in the exam.

US CPA Course Duration

When you enroll in a US CPA course in USA, you need to be well aware of the complete duration within which you are required to complete your course of study for the US CPA exam. 
The Certified Professional Accountant or CPA course in USA for international students must be completed within 18 months, that is, one and a half years from the time of registration. However, with the help of the best CPA coaching, you can complete the CPA course in USA within 12 months only. That means you are left with ample time for self-studying and further doubt-clearing before the exam. Moreover, 

US CPA Fee Structure

If you enroll yourself in a CPA course in USA, you need to be well acquainted with the various US CPA fees.
The AICPA charges a number of fees for the US CPA certification exam, which include the Application Fee, Examination Fee, Registration Fee, Ethics Fee, US CPA Licensing Fee, and Continuing Professional Education (CPE). The fee break-up in each case has been summarized below for your reference.
  1. Application Fees 
Depending upon the state, the Application Fee in India ranges from approx. Rs. 3,600 to Rs. 14,500.
  1. Examination Fee 
The Examination Fee is taken separately for each section of the exam. The Examination Fee for each section is $250, which is approximately Rs. 14,100 in Indian currency. Apart from that, international students taking the Uniform CPA exam outside of the USA need to pay $1500 as International Testing Fee to NASBA.
  1. Registration Fee
There are different options for paying the Registration Fee. If someone decides to take one exam at a time, he has to pay a Registration Fee for each section of the exam. If someone decides to club one or more exams at a time, they are eligible for some discounts on the Registration Fee. However, in such cases, an NTS (Notice to Schedule) is issued, which is valid for six months, within which the candidates have to complete the exams that they have selected; otherwise, NTS will not be valid.
The options available to pay the Registration Fee are given as follows:
  • One exam at a time: Rs. 4,600/-
  • Two exams at a time: Rs. 5,900/-
  • Three exams at a time: Rs. 7,200/-
  • All exams clubbed together: Rs. 12,900/-
  1. Ethics Fee
It is an optional fee that is required to be paid depending on the state and is around Rs. 11,000- Rs. 15,000.
  1. US CPA Licensing Fee
The US CPA Licensing Fee is to be paid to maintain the US CPA License every year. The US CPA Licensing Fee is approximately $50-$500, depending on the state of practice.
  1. Continuing Professional Education (CPE) for US CPA Exam
This is also an optional fee for candidates who demand an extra 40 hours of updated education every year so as to stay updated according to industry norms. This fee can range from $800-$5000.
However, when you enroll in a CPA course in USA, you become eligible to get bundle discounts on the exam fee. 
Now that everything has been summed up for you, you have to make a plan and take the right steps toward making a successful career as a US CPA professional.

1.Can Indian CPA work in the USA?

Indian CPA candidates need to apply for US credentials in order to work in any part of the USA, as each state tends to have a different accounting body.

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

You need to take the Uniform CPA exam for which you need to be eligible. After passing the Uniform CPA exam, you will need to apply for the CPA License to work as a US CPA.

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

The total cost of studying CPA in the USA will be around $1500. If you are an international student (outside of the USA), you will need to pay an extra $1500 as International Testing Fee.

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

The Uniform CPA exam has to be completed within 18 months after registration. But with the help of a CPA course in USA, you can complete your preparation within 12 months and then take the Uniform CPA exam according to your preference and comfort.

5. Is CPA a good career in the USA?

Licensed CPA professionals are in great demand in the USA due to their knowledge and expertise in financial and accounting aspects. They are hired by the best MNCs around the world and are offered higher salary packages than their non-certified counterparts.

6. What is the eligibility for the CPA exam?

The eligibility requirements for taking the Uniform CPA exam are:
Master's degree in any Discipline from a recognized University or institution.
At least 1-2 years of work experience under a licensed US CPA.
One hundred fifty credits in educational qualification.

7. Which is better, CPA or CMA?

If your niche is the strategic analysis and business management, CMA is the right path for you. If you are more interested in taxation, auditing, reporting, and regulations, CPA is the right choice for you.


CPA course in USA is the best course for candidates willing to become an Accountant in the USA or even anywhere in the world. You can become a Licensed CPA USA professional, which requires quite some time and dedicated effort. However, you can easily manage the US CPA exam with expert guidance from the best CPA coaching in the USA, NorthStar Academy (NSA)
You can get expert guidance and thorough support to prepare for the US CPA certification exam at NSA. They provide a streamlined CPA course in USA for candidates aspiring to make careers in Accountancy. You will benefit from expert guidance from mentors like Mr. M. Irfat to clear the Uniform CPA exam and become a licensed accounting professional.
If you enroll in NSAs US CPA course, you can avail yourself of the Bundle discounts on the US CPA Exam fee. To aid in your preparation, NSA provides thoroughly researched, well-written, detailed study material and international study materials such as Becker for CPA Materials and Mocktests.
Join NorthStar Academy today and start your preparation for making a career as a successful US CPA!
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