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Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that Alaska accountants earn an average wage that exceeds the national median wage for this career: 2021 data shows the average annual wage of Alaska accountants and auditors was $80,020 per year, compared to the national median of $77,250. Projections Central projects 8.1% job growth for these professionals in Alaska, demonstrating continued demand for workers with accounting skills.
Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) can help accountants further their careers, including qualifying for advanced roles and increasing their potential.
Aspiring CPAs can earn an accounting degree in Alaska or qualify for licensure after completing their education in another state. The CPA licensing process also includes work experience and other technical details, all of which are explained in this guide.
Education Requirements for Becoming a CPA in Alaska
Alaska CPA requirements include a bachelor's degree in accounting or its equivalent as the state's Board of Public Accountancy deems acceptable. Though a typical bachelor's degree only requires 120 credits, CPA candidates need at least 150 credit hours to qualify for licensure.
Some Alaska bachelor's accounting programs include 150 credits to help enrollees meet this minimum. Students may also pursue a master's degree in accounting to fulfill the 150-credit requirement. Some schools offer accelerated bachelor's-to-master's programs in accounting, which can also help students meet the credit minimum.
Degrees should come from accredited institutions. Otherwise, Alaska's Board of Public Accountancy may not recognize their educational credentials.
Concentrations, Credits, and Course Acceptance
The Alaska Board of Public Accountancy states that a prospective CPA's bachelor's degree must have an "accounting concentration or its equivalent." This includes at least 24 semester credit hours or 36 quarter credit hours in accounting and nine semester credits or 15 quarter credits in business law, economics, and math.
Alaska allows candidates to take the CPA exam before they graduate from college. However, test-takers must complete at least 15 semester hours or 22 quarter hours of college-level accounting credits and be within 18 semester hours or 27 quarter hours of degree completion.
Though aspiring CPAs can sit for the CPA exam before completing the 150-credit education requirement, the state's Board of Public Accountancy will only formally issue CPA licensure after completion of all 150 credits.
Alaska Experience Requirements
Alaska's Board of Public Accountancy mandates that all CPA candidates need at least two years of professional experience before they can apply for licensure. Aspiring CPAs do not need to complete this experience prior to taking the CPA exam.
To meet this experiential requirement, prospective CPAs must work in a role that involves the provision of services or advice related to:
Attestation (verifying financial data in keeping with specific procedures)
Compilation (generating financial statements or reports from raw, unaudited financial data)
Management or financial advisory services
Tax-related services or consulting
At least one year of work experience must consist of paid employment (part-time or full-time)
The paid employment must cover a minimum of 2,000 work hours
Candidates must complete their paid employment hours in no less than one calendar year and no more than four calendar years
All work experience must have supervision and verification from a licensed CPA. The supervising CPA must complete a work experience verification form on behalf of the applicant.
CPA Exam Requirements
In Alaska, CPA candidates take the Uniform CPA Examination, which the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) develops and scores. Because details vary by state, the following subsections cover eligibility information specific to Alaska.
Eligibility to Take the Exam
In Alaska, a person can sit for the Uniform CPA Examination if they have:
A bachelor's degree with an accounting concentration, or
An in-progress bachelor's degree with an accounting concentration where the student has completed at least 15 semester hours or 22 quarter hours of accounting credits and is within 18 semester hours or 27 quarter hours of completion
At least one year of work experience completed under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA
Beyond these requirements, Alaska is flexible with regard to its eligibility standards: According to AICPA's This Way to CPA guide, Alaska maintains no minimum age requirements. Licensure candidates do not need to be U.S. citizens or Alaska residents, and they also do not need a Social Security number (SSN).
Alaska CPA requirements also stipulate that licensure applicants must be of "good moral character." Candidates must pass the AICPA's Professional Ethics Exam to receive their initial license in Alaska.
Applying for and Scheduling the Exam
The Uniform CPA Examination consists of four parts:
Auditing and attestation
Business environments and concepts
Financial accounting and reporting
In Alaska, test-takers can apply for all four sections of the exam in any combination of one or more parts. However, NASBA advises candidates that they should be prepared to complete every section they apply for within six months.
Note that applying to take the Uniform CPA Examination in Alaska and scheduling the exam are two different steps. Applying relates specifically to seeking formal permission to take the exam. Scheduling involves choosing a date, time, and place to sit for one or more exam sections.
First-time applicants pay an application fee and examination fees for each section of the test they plan to take. According to NASBA, as of April 2023, the application fee is $185. Each section of the Uniform CPA Examination costs $238.15.
NASBA urges candidates to apply for exam sections early in the quarterly testing windows. Early applicants tend to receive the greatest amount of choice with regard to examination dates, times, and locations.
After Passing the Exam
In Alaska, CPA candidates must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination within 18 months. This 18-month period begins on the date the candidate passed their first section. Exam credit remains valid for 18 months and expires on a section-by-section basis.
Candidates can formally apply for their CPA license upon passing the Uniform CPA Examination and meeting all other education and experience requirements. This process is administered through Alaska's Board of Public Accountancy and involves:
Submitting an application, academic transcripts, experience verification, and exam scores
Verification that the candidate has passed the ethics exam, submitted directly from AICPA
A nonrefundable application fee of $200 and an initial CPA licensing fee of $300
Alaska CPAs can verify their licensure status to employers and other agencies by submitting a written request to the state's Board of Public Accountancy. License verification carries a $20 fee.
In Alaska, CPA licenses expire on December 31 of odd-numbered years. Licensees scheduled to receive their first license within 90 days of an expiration date automatically receive a license valid until the end of the following two-year cycle.
Alaska CPAs will receive mailed notifications of upcoming renewal requirements at least 30 days before expiry. CPAs must notify the Board of Public Accountancy of any address changes in writing.
To renew their license, CPAs must earn continuing education (CE) credits. Alaska CPA requirements mandate that these professionals must earn a minimum of 20 hours of CE each year, with a total of at least 80 hours during each two-year licensing cycle.
Alaska's Board of Public Accountancy conducts random audits of licensees' continuing education. CPAs selected for a random audit are notified in writing and have 30 days to submit their CE documentation to the board.
If a CPA allows their license to lapse, they can apply for reinstatement at least one year after it lapses and no more than three years after it lapses. CPAs seeking reinstatement must undertake at least 120 hours of CE. These credits must be completed within 36 months of the date of their reinstatement application.
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Questions About Alaska CPA Requirements
How do I get my CPA license in Alaska?
Core Alaska CPA requirements include a bachelor's degree with an accounting concentration and two years of work experience. Candidates must also pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination within an 18-month window.
Who can take the CPA licensure exam in Alaska?
A CPA candidate can sit for the Uniform CPA Examination in Alaska if they have a bachelor's degree with an accounting concentration. The state also allows candidates to take the CPA exam if they have completed at least 15 semester hours of accounting credits and are within 18 semester hours of completing their bachelor's degree. Candidates need at least one year of CPA-supervised work experience.
Does Alaska require the ethics exam for CPAs?
Yes. First-time CPA licensure applicants must submit proof that they have passed AICPA's Professional Ethics Exam.
Is getting a CPA license in Alaska hard?
Alaska does not require CPAs to meet age, citizenship, residency, or SSN requirements. However, its work experience requirements cover two years. At least one of those years (2,000 hours) must consist of paid employment.
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