Home2023 CPA Requirements by StateNorth Carolina


The CPA is a state-issued license bestowed on hard-working accountants who pass a stringent set of qualifications.

North Carolina

Accountants can work in a wide range of environments, from law enforcement to Wall Street. In fact, there are a number of certifications an accountant can pick from to steer his or her career in the direction in which they are interested. None of those paths are quite as prestigious as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. The CPA is a state-issued license bestowed on hard-working accountants who pass a stringent set of qualifications, from academia to work experience. The CPA exam is one of the most difficult professional tests in the country and is one that many accounting students need to retake. If you wish to become a CPA in North Carolina you’ll need to meet the state’s standards. Keep reading to discover their requirements for certified public accountancy.

General Standards

North Carolina’s general protocols for CPA licensure are fairly straightforward. Applicants for the license must pass protocol with outstanding academic results, excellent examination scores and requisite practical experience. The state only requires that applicants be 18 years of age, U.S. Citizens and that they have a Social Security number for starters. For education, you must complete 120 semester hours and a bachelor’s degree program though you’ll need 150 hours for the license. When you take the CPA exam, you need to pass each portion with a minimum score of 75. Your work experience must be equivalent to one year of full-time employment with a public accountancy firm or four years in academia, a self-employed setting or in the general field of accounting. The state also requires a state-specific ethics exam.

Academic Standards

North Carolina has many excellent colleges for accountancy, including public and private schools. If you are educated in the state, your advisor will surely be familiar with the requirements set forth by the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners. First of all, make certain that your degree is from an institution with the proper accreditation credentials. The board recognizes programs accredited by the following agencies:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Council on Occupational Education
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges

For full licensure, you will need 150 semester hours and have at least matriculated with a bachelor’s degree. There are two sets of requirements for the Board:

Requirement 1

Your accounting concentration must meet one of the following rubrics:

  • Concentration 1–30 hours of undergraduate accounting courses including a maximum of six hours in accounting principles and a maximum of three hours in business law
  • Concentration 2–20 semester hours of graduate accounting courses
  • Concentration 3–A combination of undergraduate and graduate courses, including a maximum of four graduate hours of income tax courses for any of the concentrations

Requirement 2

24 credit hours with three credits in eight of the following:

  • Computer technology
  • Communications
  • Ethics
  • Economics
  • Social science/humanities
  • Finance
  • Law
  • International environment
  • Statistics
  • Management

Or a master’s degree or higher in one of the following fields:

  • Tax law
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics
  • Business administration
  • Law degree

CPA Examination

After you have your bachelor’s degree program, you may sit for the CPA exam, a 4-part examination that is considered one of the most difficult tests in the nation. Submit your official sealed transcripts, a passport-style photo (two copies), application fees, three references attesting to your moral character, and any court records related to past or pending charges, to the board at the following address:

Exam Application
North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners
P.O. Box 12827
Raleigh, NC 27605-2827

Once the board accepts your work and approves you to sit for the test, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) will also receive notification and you will be allowed to begin the examination process. Contact Prometric and schedule a time to take one or more of the test parts. There are six Prometric locations in North Carolina:

  • Asheville
  • Greensboro
  • Raleigh
  • Greenville
  • Charlotte
  • Wilmington

The four parts of the CPA examination are:

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting–This test covers financial reporting frameworks from several industry experts. Candidates are asked to compare statements that reflect different reporting standards.
  • Auditing and Attestation–You’ll be tested on your knowledge of the International Standards of Auditing as well as U.S. standards.
  • Regulation–Professional, ethical and legal responsibilities as a CPA are covered in this test.
  • Business Environment and Concepts–This portion covers general business concepts and international business. Good written communication skills are vital to complete much of this test.

Ethics Examination

Once you have passed the CPA examination, you will have one more test to pass—an ethics test covering the North Carolina Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct. One year prior to applying for full certification, you will take an 8-hour course on the North Carolina Accountancy Statutes and Rules. You can complete this with a, one day in-person group study course or through an online self-study course.


To complete the experience portion of the process, you will need to work for one full year under a CPA whose license is held by any U.S. state or the District of Columbia. The state counts one full year as 52 weeks of full-time work, not including any vacation or time off. Alternately, you can work for four years in the field of accounting, teaching accounting at the college level, or as a self-employed accountant to satisfy the requirement.

For more information on becoming a CPA in North Carolina, please visit the board website: North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners.