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Education requirements

Education requirements

The following requirements must be met to be eligible to take the CPA exam in Virginia. All requirements are also explained in detail in the VBOA’s Education Handbook.

Pursuant to § 54.1-116, Code of Virginia, all CPA exam applicants must provide a U.S. Social Security number or control number issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Applicants without a U.S. SSN or control number issued by the DMV are not eligible to sit for the CPA exam in Virginia.

Exam candidates must obtain from one or more accredited institutions:

  • At least 120 semester hours of education
  • Baccalaureate or higher degree
  • Accounting concentration or equivalent: Principles or introductory accounting courses cannot be considered in determining whether a person has obtained the 48 minimum number of semester hours required for an accounting concentration or equivalent.

Course requirements include:

  • Minimum of 24 semester hours of accounting courses, to include: courses in auditing, financial accounting, management accounting, and taxation.
Sample accounting courses
Course subject (not a principles or introductory course)
Semester hours
Financial (Intermediate Accounting meets this requirement)*

3
Auditing* 3
 Taxation* 3
 Cost or Managerial* 3
 Other accounting courses** 12
Total semester hours 24

* Required courses.
** Examples (non-principles or introductory courses) may include, but are not limited to: Federal Taxation, Accounting Information Systems, Government/Not For-Profit Accounting, Fund Accounting, Accounting Internship, Accounting Seminar, Forensic Accounting, Accounting Systems and Control, Financial Statement Analysis, Intermediate Accounting I and II, Advanced Accounting, Government Accounting and Reporting, Accounting Theory and Assurance Services.

 

  • Minimum of 24 semester hours of business courses. As many as 6 hours of accounting courses (not included in the 24 hours of accounting courses) may be considered for the business course requirement.
Sample business courses
Course subject Semester hours
 Economics 3
 Finance 3
 Marketing 3
 Statistics 3
 Management 3
 Computer Information Systems 3
 Other business courses * 6
Total semester hours 24

* Examples may include, but are not limited to: Business Law, Commercial Law, Legal Environment of Business, Organizational Behavior, Financial Management, Investments, Insurance, and Personal Financial Planning. No more than 6 semester hours of accounting courses (excluding principles or introductory accounting courses) can be considered business courses toward meeting the 48 minimum number of semester hours required for an accounting concentration or equivalent.

Candidates are encouraged to use the Education Self-Evaluation Worksheet in combination with the Education Handbook to evaluate the education needed to qualify for the CPA exam.

Accredited institutions

The VBOA recognizes institutions accredited by one of the following accrediting agencies (or their successors):

  1. Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  2. New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  3. North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  4. Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  5. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  6. Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  7. Any institution accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or its successor.

The accrediting agency websites should list the accredited institutions. Contact an unlisted institution directly to determine if it is accredited through one of the recognized accrediting agencies. Many institutions list the accreditation on the back of their transcripts.

 

Non-accredited institutions

For the VBOA to consider a degree or coursework earned at a non-accredited institution, the degree or coursework must be evaluated by an education evaluation firm approved by the VBOA.

Read more about accreditation approval for institutions.

 

Education earned outside of the United States

For the VBOA to consider a degree or coursework earned at a non-accredited institution located outside of the United States, the degree or coursework must be evaluated by an education evaluation firm approved by the VBOA.

 

Online institutions

The VBOA recognizes an online institution if it is accredited through one of the recognized accrediting agencies.

 

Transcripts

All required coursework and degree conferral must be shown on official transcripts and must be mailed directly from the institution to the VBOA, or the official transcript must be mailed to the CPA candidate in a sealed envelope with the institution’s official (registrar) signature or seal overlaying the flap of the envelope. The VBOA will not accept any envelope that is opened or appears to have been opened. Prior to requesting an official transcript(s), please confirm with the institution that all required coursework and the degree conferral (if applicable) have been posted to the transcript(s).