Education and Work Experience Requirements

The Pennsylvania CPA Law was signed into law on July 10, 2008. The hallmark of this legislation, now Act 73 of 2008, is increased CPA mobility to practice across state lines. To achieve this, the law brings Pennsylvania up to the national education standard of 150 credit hours and one year of public accounting experience in addition to the successful completion of the CPA Exam before granting a CPA license.

Candidates need to have graduated with a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree and completed at least 150 credit hours, with 36 semester-credits in accounting subjects acceptable to the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy (SBOA) to become certified. These credits must include 24 semester hours in accounting and auditing, business law, finance, or tax subjects to sit for the CPA exam. An additional 12 semester credits in accounting, auditing, and tax subjects are required for licensure. NOTE: The 24 semester hours must include a minimum of three semester hours in accounting AND three semester hours in either: auditing, business law, finance, or tax subject. Accounting-related credits can be accomplished through undergraduate, graduate, or a combination of both levels of study.

In addition to passing the CPA Exam, CPA candidates need to satisfy work experience requirements to become licensed. Candidates will have to complete one year (1,600 hours) of experience, including 400 hours of attest activity, to qualify for the CPA certificate. (CPA candidates must complete their one-year work experience requirement within five years (60 months) of the date of application.) Work experience must be in the following areas:

  • In public accounting, or as an internal auditor if the internal audit function reports to an independent board or similar body, or an auditor with a unit of federal, state, or local government.
  • Supervised by an individual who is currently licensed to practice public accounting as a CPA in Pennsylvania or another state.

Requirements to Sit for the CPA Exam

Candidates may sit for the CPA Exam after they have completed a bachelor’s or higher degree with a minimum of 120 credit hours, including 24 semester credit hours in accounting subjects approved by SBOA. Candidates, however, will be required to obtain 150 credit hours of education, including 36 semester credit hours in accounting subjects before a license is granted.

Congratulations Successful CPA Candidates in Pennsylvania

Once you have passed the Uniform CPA Exam and met the education and experience requirements you may apply to the SBOA for a CPA certificate and license.

For more information about the Pennsylvania CPA Exam in Pennsylvania – please visit

In response to the 2012 change in legislation regarding the requirements for an individual to become a licensed CPA in Pennsylvania, the Department of Accounting in the Fox School of Business offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program. Accounting majors can meet the requirements by completing a bachelor’s degree, e.g. the current accounting major in the Fox School’s BBA, and the Fox School’s MAcc.  Some students may opt to take additional  undergraduate credits to meet the 150 hour requirement. It is suggested that students opting to complete their 150 credits at the undergraduate level select courses, a double major, or minor(s) relevant to their future career.  Students enrolled in the Fox School’s undergraduate accounting program are eligible to apply for the MAcc after completing 90 semester-hour credits or at the completion of their junior year.

The CPA Exam Education & Experience Requirements in States Surrounding Pennsylvania

New Jersey
For information regarding the education and experience requirements to sit for the CPA exam and become certified in New Jersey please refer to:

New York
For information regarding the education and experience requirements to sit for the CPA exam and become certified in New York please refer to:

For information regarding the education and experience requirements to sit for the CPA exam and become certified in Maryland please refer to:

General CPA Exam Information Links