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ARIZONA CPA EXAM & LICENSE REQUIREMENTS 2021
Learn all about CPA exam requirements in the state of Arizona.
Every state has its own requirement for becoming a CPA, including Arizona. To achieve what is considered the pinnacle of accountancy, you will need extensive education, experience, and passing scores on a 4-part CPA exam as well as completing an Ethics Exam. The process is rigorous and comes with financial expense, but it will pay off in your professional life. The CPA credential is highly regarded by everyone in the business community and the field of accountancy continues to grow and diversify. Now, there are even CPAs who audit computer systems rather than balance sheets.
Becoming a CPA in Arizona
In Arizona, you do not need to be a U.S. Citizen to become a CPA and you don’t even need to have state residency—a fact that is helpful to students who may have permanent residency in other states. The minimum age for applicants is 18, which should not be much of a problem for most students and graduates.
Arizona’s educational requirements for CPA candidates makes allowances for those who have not yet completed their bachelor’s degree, but who wish to exit college ready to nab the best jobs the business world has to offer. When you are within 18 semester hours of graduation, you become eligible to apply to the Arizona Board of Accountancy for your CPA exam. The full educational requirements for licensure are as follows:
- 36 semester hours in accounting (or the quarter-system equivalent)
- 30 hours of accounting coursework in upper-level (non-intro) courses
- 120 total hours of university coursework culminating in a bachelor’s degree
Note that you must include transcripts from all of the schools you attended and provide transcripts in sealed envelopes. Original copies must be submitted.
The CPA exam is created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), a professional organization that can help you find a job, develop your professional knowledge, and even attend their conferences where you can further expand your professional life. When you are prepared to sit for the CPA exam, be aware that there are four parts to the exam:
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
- Auditing and Attestation
- Business Environment and Concepts
Since each portion of the test is handled individually, you must pay for them as you take them. None of the tests should cost more than $200 and, as of January, 2016, cost $734.10 for all four sections. Once your payment has been accepted, you will have six months to take and pass at least one section. From the time of your passing the first section, you will have 18 months to complete the remaining parts. If you do not pass the remainder of the test within the allotted time, your previous passing will expire.
The test items are either multiple choice, simulations or written communication. The simulations will require test-takers to apply knowledge given a set of circumstances, spreadsheets and literature for them to analyze. The questions reflect contemporary problems and concepts, as they are created by CPAs who volunteer their time in order to create test items that will challenge candidates in new ways.
Each of the core areas must be passed with a minimum score of 75. The test is very difficult and many people do not pass any given part on the first attempt. In fact, pass rates vary from around 44 percent for the Auditing and Attestation portion to close to 60 percent for the Business Environment and Concepts portion. Therefore it is vital to make sure that you prepare diligently prior to sitting for your first attempt at the test.
On top of the four parts of the CPA exam, there is another exam called the Ethics Exam. This test is also created by the AICPA, but is not considered to be as rigorous as the CPA. You will likely receive a self-study CD-ROM that includes 11 hours’ worth of ethics instruction, and a 40-item multiple choice test to help you prepare. When you sit for the exam, you will be allowed to bring materials with you. While the test may not be as rigorous, it still must be passed with a minimum score of 90 so make sure that you take the time to prepare and consider each question on the test with care.
The Arizona Board of Accountancy also requires that potential CPAs have significant work experience. The state requires at least one year of experience in a public accountancy firm. Your supervisor needs to be an Arizona-licensed CPA. However, if he or she is licensed by another state, then you need a Supervisor Verification Form from their state licensing board. In the event that your supervisor is not a CPA at all, your experience will also be valid. You will need your supervisor to provide their resume and a comprehensive job description to prove that they have the requisite knowledge and experience to oversee a CPA candidate.
For more information, including test schedules and applications, please visit the website of the Arizona Board of Accountancy.