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Education Requirements

Education requirements in Virginia

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

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

Obtain from one or more accredited institutions or from the National College:

  1. At least 120 semester hours of education
  2. Baccalaureate or higher degree
  3. Accounting concentration or equivalent*. Requirements include:
    1. Minimum of 24 semester hours of accounting courses, to include: courses in auditing, financial accounting, management accounting, and taxation
    2. 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
    *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.

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.

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).

Pre-evaluations

Candidates are encouraged to use the Education Self-Evaluation Worksheet to evaluate the education needed to qualify for the CPA exam. The VBOA provides a pre-evaluation service to candidates, upon request. The pre-evaluation of transcripts (official or unofficial) is provided to the candidate for a fee of $25. Pre-evaluations are advisory in nature and are not a final determination of eligibility. A pre-evaluation allows a candidate to correct academic deficiencies (if so determined) prior to submitting the initial application for the CPA exam. Pre-evaluations are valid only for the current requirements as mandated by the VBOA. Should the requirements change prior to final application and acceptance, the pre-evaluation will be considered null and void. Pre-evaluations are based solely on the information provided by the candidate. Should the information prove to be inaccurate in any way, the pre-evaluation will not be valid. The pre-evaluation service provided by the VBOA may take up to two weeks (10 business days).

Mail the Pre-Evaluation Request to the VBOA, along with the official or unofficial transcripts, and a check for $25 made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia.  Do not email or fax transcripts. The VBOA is not responsible for sensitive information transmitted electronically.