CPA Exam Application Process: CPA Exam Registration Explained

Here is a quick overview of the CPA exam application process, and what to do after your application is approved.

Step 1. Start the CPA Exam Application Process by Selecting a State There are 55 state boards with slightly different CPA exam requirements, and you need to pick one state to apply. Here are two scenarios: In the first scenario, you know where you want to register, because you have been living or working in that state, or you plan to live or work there in the near future. It is best if you can register in your resident state. In the second scenario, you don’t know which state to apply.

Step 2. Select a Credential Evaluation Agency This is a step that applies only to candidates who have taken part or all of their education outside of the US.

Step 3. Send Your Application to the State Board You can fill in the application online or send the form to your state board. Remember to contact your college or university to request a transcript. The transcript has to be sent directly from your school to the state board.

Step 4. Wait for the Result It takes anywhere from 1 week to 12 weeks depending on the state and time of the year. Big states usually take longer.

Step 5. Research on Review Materials It’s now a good time to check out the CPA review books or courses and pick one that suits your background, learning style and budget. Here is a list of pros and cons of major course providers.

Step 6. Double Check Your NTS Once the application is approved, you will receive the Notice To Schedule, also known as NTS, by email or mail. Check very carefully the information on your NTS and make sure that the name matches with at least two sets of your identification. You need to bring these IDs to the testing centre for verification.

Step 7. Schedule Your Exam Your NTS in most states is valid for 6 months, but a few states give you 9-12 months. You can go to the Prometric website, enter your jurisdiction ID and schedule your exam anytime between now and the expiry date. Try scheduling the exam at least 1 month in advance to schedule your preferred date.

Step 8. Create Your Study Plan A good study plan keeps track of your progress and make sure you don’t fall behind. Some online review courses have interactive and customized study planner. My book also discusses extensively on study plans and general CPA exam prep tips.

Step 9. Double and Triple Check Triple-check your IDs for verification on exam day. Make sure they are valid and again, that the name matches with the record on your NTS. You should also pay a visit to the testing centre before the exam day to estimate the travelling time and understand the traffic condition.

Step 10. Sleep Early the Night Before Tell yourself you are ready. Have a good sleep and get all ready for the exam! This video summarizes the CPA exam application process. If you have any questions, please drop me a note in the comment section and I will get back to you as soon as I can. If you are an international candidate, please continue to stream this video. If you obtain any part of your education outside of the US, you’ll need to submit a foreign credential evaluation report. This is necessary because the state boards need a third-party agency to “translate” your transcript into something equivalent to the US system. Once you have chosen a state, which is Step 1 of the application process, check out the list of approved credential evaluation agencies.

You can pick an agency based on price, turnaround time, and customer service