Virginia CPA Exam & License Requirements 2020
This document will show how to become a CPA in Virginia.
There are few professional designations higher than that of the state-issued Certified Public Accountant’s license. Not only must licensees go through a rigorous education, but then they must sit for one of the most difficult professional licensing examinations in the nation. After that, every professional must continue to take courses on top of a difficult workload. However, CPAs are always in high demand and with a few years of experience, some command salaries and bonuses that exceed other accountant specializations. Each state has its own requirements for its CPA licensees. This document will show how to become a CPA in Virginia.
Virginia is like many other states in how it approaches CPA licensure. The state has high standard for education, the CPA exam, an ethics test and a supervised experience portion, too. The state has no requirements for in-state residency, U.S. citizenship or even age. However, you will need a Social Security number and at least a bachelor’s degree with adequate coursework in accountancy and business. It is vital to study the specifics of the state’s requirements so that you are sure to pass the rigorous process with no snags or delays.
One of the first things to check regarding your academic work is your school’s accreditation. If your credits come from a school that the Virginia Board of Accountancy can recognize, then you will have a lot of backtracking to do. Upon enrolling in an accounting program, discuss accreditation with your admissions counselor or your academic advisor. If you are in a Virginia institution, your advisor should be aware of the board’s standards. The accreditation agencies that Virginia recognizes are:
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
If all or part of your total credits were taken overseas, you will need to have your transcripts evaluated by a state-approved agency before you can sit for the CPA exam. Have one of the following agencies evaluate your work and then submit their findings to the board:
- Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.
- Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.
- Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
- International Consultants of Delaware, Inc.
- World Education Services
- Foreign Academic Credentials Service, Inc.
- International Education Research Foundation, Inc.
- NASBA International Evaluation Services
As you work through your accounting program, strive to take as many upper level courses as you can. To satisfy the board requirements to sit for the CPA exam, make sure your baccalaureate transcripts include:
24 semester hours of accounting courses that cover these subjects:
- Cost Accounting
- Financial Accounting
24 semester hours of business courses not to exceed six in accounting. Courses may include the following:
- Business Law
- Corporate Finance
Introductory accounting courses may not count towards the Board’s requirements
Though the board only requires 120 semester hours to sit for the exam, it is not terribly specific as to the requirements for your remaining 30 hours for licensure. The board does recommend that you take at least some courses at the master’s level. Given that the job market increasingly values graduate degrees, this is a very good idea. However, make sure that you take a significant proportion of your coursework in accounting, even if you are in an MBA program. When you enroll for a graduate course, you might discuss your desire to sit for the CPA exam and determine which courses will best serve your application.
At some point after matriculating with your bachelor’s degree, you will want to submit an application to the board so that you can sit for your first portion of the CPA examination. You must have your official transcripts, a copy of your driver’s license, exam and application fees and any documentation for testing accommodations sent to the following address:
Virginia Board of Accountancy
9960 Mayland Drive
Henrico, Virginia 23233
Upon receipt and acceptance of your application, the board will notify the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, who will then remit to you a Notice to Schedule. You will then have up to six months to schedule and sit for at least one part of the exam. You can schedule the exam with a Prometric testing center in one of the following towns:
- Glen Allen
- Newport News
Make sure that you arrive to the testing center an hour prior to the scheduled time of your test so that you can fill out any paperwork.
Once you have passed the Uniform CPA Examination, you will have one more test to pass. The American Institute for Certified Public Accountants’ Ethics Exam can be ordered through their website. They will send you a CD-ROM that includes the 11-hour self-study course and test. The test is open-book, and is not very difficult, but it must be passed with a score of 90 or better.
The final portion of your CPA application is the experience portion. Virginia asks that you work for one year under a licensed CPA in either a public firm, private industry, government or academia. The work must be a mentorship and you should document your experience, making sure to demonstrate competency in these areas:
- Accounting skills
- Financial skills
- Tax skills
- Other accounting-related skill sets, as appropriate
Your mentor should complete and sign an Experience Verification Form, then seal and sign the back of an envelope, which should be sent to the Board.
Accountancy is one of the oldest professions and your career as a CPA is bound to be rewarding. To keep up to date with Virginia’s rules and regulations regarding accountancy, visit the board’s website: Virginia Board of Accountancy.
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