Home2023 CPA Requirements by StateNorth Dakota


The North Dakota State Board of Accountancy will want you to meet standards for academics, examinations, ethics and experience.

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A career in accountancy is a true calling. It requires knowledge and skills that are as ancient as mathematics itself, and is more immediately applicable to everyday life. In fact, nearly every business relies on an accountant to provide financial advisement, tax consultation and audits of its systems and books. Individuals also need accountants to help them through tax season and to learn how to manage and acquire wealth. When you feel the call to the accountancy trade, aspire to its highest level, that of the Certified Public Accountant. Your preferred state is bound to have unique requirements for its CPAs. Keep reading to learn how to become a CPA in North Dakota.

General Standards

The North Dakota State Board of Accountancy, like many state boards, will want you to meet standards for academics, examinations, ethics and experience. In general, you will need to have a Social Security Number, 150 semester hours of university education, must pass each part of the CPA exam with a minimum score of 75, have one year of experience and pass an ethics exam. When you dig a bit deeper into the requirements, you will find that the story is more complex.

Academic Standards

Academics are one of the most important parts of becoming a CPA, no matter what state you are applying for. North Dakota’s standards require a total of 150 semesters hours of college credit that include a bachelor’s degree. When you embark on an accounting bachelor’s degree, discuss your aspirations with your advisor. You can work together to ensure that you stay on track so that you satisfy the North Dakota Board’s standards. In particular you will need:

24 hours of accounting coursework at the upper level. Consider courses such as these:

  • Auditing
  • Financial Reporting
  • Cost Accounting
  • Theories of Accounting
  • Up to three hours of Business Law
  • Attestation
  • Taxation

24 hours of business courses, such as:

  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Business Communications
  • Up to three hours of Economics
  • Finance
  • Real Estate

Keep in mind that your program must be fully accredited and listed in the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited programs. If, however, you were educated outside of the United States, or even have credits from a foreign institution, you will need to have your work evaluated by a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.

You will need to be within six months of completing the full 150 credit hours before you can apply to sit for the CPA exam. With that in mind, consider moving on to a graduate program once you have completed your bachelor’s degree. Nowadays, employers are preferring a masters-level education, and even if you only complete a certificate program in accounting, you will have a record of accomplishment to put on your resume. If you decide to pursue a Master of Business Administration, make sure that the program will help you qualify for a CPA license in North Dakota, or your preferred state.

CPA Examination

Once you are within six months of completing North Dakota’s academic standards for the CPA license, you may apply to sit for the CPA exam. You must send your original sealed transcripts to:

North Dakota State Board of Accountancy
2701 S. Columbia Rd.
Grand Forks, ND 58201-6029

Once you apply, make sure that you will be ready to sit for at least one part of the 4-part exam within six months of your application. That is, once your application is accepted, you will be issued a Notice to Schedule that expires in six months. After you sit for the first part of the exam, you will have 18 months to complete all four parts.

You may elect to schedule any one of the four parts of the exam. If you do not score a minimum 75 on any examination part, you can reschedule to take that part, but you must wait 60 days to do so. Note that up to half of all test takers must retake all or part of the full CPA exam. It is one of the most difficult professional examinations and thus those that pass are bestowed tremendous status and esteem in the business community.

The four parts of the exam are:

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting–This part covers financial reporting frameworks from several industry experts. Candidates are asked to compare statements that reflect different reporting standards.
  • Auditing and Attestation–This section is a test of your knowledge of the International Standards of Auditing as well as U.S. standards.
  • Regulation–Your professional and legal responsibilities are covered in this section.
  • Business Environment and Concepts–This portion covers general business concepts and international business. Written communication skills are vital to complete much of this test.

After the rigors of the CPA exam are passed, you will have to pass one more test: the Ethics exam. Both the CPA test and the Ethics exam are authored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). You will need to order the AICPA’s CD-ROM that has all of the materials for the self-study course on ethics. It includes practice questions to prime you for the final test. Once you are ready, you will take the open-book test. Make sure you are prepared, as you must pass with a score of 90 or better.

The final step towards becoming a CPA in North Dakota is amassing the necessary experience in the field of Accounting. The state requires one year of experience that totals 2,000 hours in which you demonstrate experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Attestation
  • Accounting
  • Consultation
  • Taxation
  • Financial Advisory

Your experience must be documented and signed off on by a licensed CPA. Once that is complete, and your application is accepted by the Board, you will officially be a CPA.