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As the birthplace of the assembly line, Michigan has a long history of industrial innovation. This tradition continues today, with multiple Fortune 500 companies and major employers basing their operations in the state, allowing Michigan accountants to pursue diverse and stable employment opportunities across industries.
Like other U.S. jurisdictions, Michigan's certified public accountant (CPA) requirements include education and experiential components. You do not need to major in accounting, but your bachelor's degree must cover accounting and business to qualify. Michigan CPA standards also include about one year of full-time employment experience.
If you plan to establish an accounting career in the state, it is important to build a thorough understanding of the requirements. Discover a step-by-step path to becoming a CPA in Michigan with this guide.
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Education Requirements for Becoming a CPA in Michigan
The Michigan CPA exam and licensing process apply different education standards. To qualify for the CPA exam in Michigan, you must have or be close to completing a standard bachelor's degree. Your coursework must include extensive accounting and business education.
To get a CPA license in Michigan, you need at least 150 college credits. CPA candidates have multiple options for earning these additional credits. Graduate course sequences and certificate programs represent two common strategies, while accelerated bachelor's-to-master's accounting programs offer another path.
The following sections explain the examination and licensing educational requirements in further detail.
Concentrations, Credits, and Course Acceptance
To take the Michigan CPA exam, you must complete a bachelor's program covering at least 120 semester hours or the equivalent in quarter hours. You can apply for and take the CPA exam before completing your degree. However, you must satisfy all academic requirements of your program within 60 days of taking your first CPA exam section.
Furthermore, your 120 semester hours must include at least 24 semester hours in accounting and 24 in general business. Michigan CPA standards use a multiplier of 1.5 to determine the quarter-hour equivalent. Thus, 24 semester hours equals 36 quarter hours.
Additional specifics apply to the accounting education requirements, including at least 21 semester hours covering the following:
- Accounting systems and controls
- Accounting theory and financial accounting
- Governmental or fund accounting
- Managerial accounting and cost accounting
You will also need at least three semester hours in auditing. Internal auditing coursework is not accepted.
Your 24 semester hours of business education can cover any general business subject. Examples include but are not limited to economics, finance, and management.
A prospective Michigan CPA must hold 150 semester hours or the quarter-hour equivalent. Though Michigan guidelines do not specify that these additional college credits must cover accounting or business subjects, many aspiring CPAs explore these areas to bridge their exam and licensure requirements.
Michigan CPA exam applicants need a bachelor's degree covering at least 120 semester hours
CPA licensure candidates need at least 150 semester hours of college education
24 semester hours must concentrate on accounting and auditing courses
24 semester hours must concentrate on business subjects
Michigan Experience Requirements
To become a CPA in Michigan, you must accrue work experience and meet requirements for education and examination. Michigan maintains straightforward work experience standards, requiring at least one year of experience covering at least 2,000 hours of employment.
Several qualifying factors apply:
- You must obtain the experience over at least one calendar year.
- You must accrue all 2,000 hours within no more than five calendar years.
- You must obtain the experience through employment, which disqualifies unpaid practical training.
- Academia, government, private industry, and public accounting practice qualify as valid employment venues.
A licensed CPA must supervise and validate all work experience with Michigan's CPA Experience Form. You do not need work experience to sit for the CPA exam in Michigan. You can accrue the experience before or after taking the exam if you acquire all 2,000 hours within five calendar years.
At least one year (2,000 hours) of work experience gained through employment
All experience must be accrued within 1-5 calendar years
Jobs in academia, government, industry, and public accounting practice all qualify
CPA Exam Requirements
Michigan-based candidates must pass the Uniform CPA Examination. All U.S. jurisdictions use the same exam, but eligibility requirements vary among states. The following sections cover CPA examination requirements specific to Michigan.
Eligibility to Take the Exam
You may apply and sit for the Michigan CPA exam after meeting the 120 semester hour requirement. First-time examination and licensure candidates do not need to pass the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) Professional Ethics Examination.
If you have not yet completed all educational requirements, you may still apply for and take the exam. However, you must meet the education standards within 60 days of writing your first exam section. Failing to do so invalidates your exam scores.
Michigan accepts course credit from accredited four-year, two-year, and community colleges. Online courses are recognized if they appear on the applicant's official transcripts. Pass/fail, AP, and CLEP credits also qualify if earned at an accredited postsecondary institution.
Michigan does not impose age, citizenship, Social Security number, or state residency requirements on CPA exam eligibility. Candidates educated outside the United States must have their credentials evaluated by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) International Evaluation Services or a member organization of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.
Applying for and Scheduling the Exam
You can apply for the CPA exam in Michigan directly through the NASBA website. The exam application and scheduling processes differ. When you apply, NASBA will evaluate your credentials. If your credentials meet Michigan's standards, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS) through your NASBA account.
When applying, you must submit official academic transcripts from all educational institutions you have attended. You can have your school(s) send official transcripts electronically if they offer. If not, you must obtain hard copies and send the sealed documents.
If you are still in school, you can apply and sit for the CPA exam provided you will meet all education requirements within 60 days of taking your first test section. These students must also submit completed Certificate of Enrollment forms.
Michigan CPA standards allow examinees to take the Uniform CPA Examination in one or more sections at a time. You will select the sections you wish to take when applying.
As of 2023, the following costs apply:
- Application fee: $170 (for first-time applicants)
- Registration fee: $85 (for re-examination applicants)
- Examination fees: $238.15 per section
As in most other states, Michigan requires examinees to pass all four CPA exam sections within 18 months. Credit for sections you pass remains valid for 18 months.
After Passing the Exam
You will take a major step toward licensure by passing the Uniform CPA Examination. However, several additional qualifiers apply.
First, you must earn at least 150 semester hours or the equivalent, along with meeting the work experience requirement of at least 2,000 hours obtained over 1-5 calendar years. Finally, you must be at least 18 years of age and of what the Michigan Bureau of Professional Licensing describes as "good moral character."
Candidates apply for licensure through the Michigan Professional Licensure User System (MiPlus). Licensees seeking to verify their status to employers, clients, or institutions also submit their requests through MiPlus. The Michigan Board of Accountancy evaluates license verification requests.
Michigan CPA licenses expire biennially on July 31. An exception applies to newly issued licenses active for less than 120 days before the next scheduled expiry date.
Individuals automatically receive renewal notifications by mail at their registered addresses. Renewal notices are usually distributed about 60 days in advance. A $200 renewal fee applies as of 2023.
You can renew your Michigan CPA credentials online. However, you must meet all renewal requirements and submit your renewal application by the license expiration date, or you will lose your ability to legally practice as a CPA. Accountants who continue to practice as CPAs with expired licenses may be subject to disciplinary action.
Continuing professional education (CPE) requirements also apply. Licensed CPAs must complete at least 40 hours of CPE per year. The CPE must include:
- At least eight hours in accounting and auditing
- At least two hours in ethics
- At least one hour specifically in Michigan CPA ethics and standards
Michigan allows non-CPAs to hold membership stakes in CPA firms. However, such firms must be majority-owned by licensees in good standing.
Questions About CPAs in Michigan
How do I become a CPA in Michigan?
Becoming a CPA in Michigan requires education and experience. You must have a bachelor's degree, at least 150 semester hours of college education, and 2,000 hours of work experience. Education requirements include at least 24 semester hours of both accounting and general business courses.
Who can take the CPA licensure exam in Michigan?
Michigan CPA candidates can take the Uniform CPA Examination after completing bachelor's degrees covering at least 120 semester hours. Your education must also include accounting and business coursework requirements. You can take the exam before graduating, but you must meet all education requirements within 60 days of completing the first test section.
How many hours do you need to become a CPA in Michigan?
To get a full CPA license in Michigan, you need at least 150 semester hours of college coursework covering accounting and general business. Your education must culminate in at least a bachelor's degree, and you will also need 2,000 hours of work experience.
Is getting a CPA license in Michigan hard?
Michigan's streamlined licensing standards reflect those found in most other states. It is no harder to become a CPA in Michigan than any other U.S. jurisdiction.
What is the difference between a licensed CPA and a registered CPA in Michigan?
A qualified professional seeking only to use the CPA title requires registered status. CPAs must hold licensure if they wish to use the CPA title and market their accounting services to paying members of the public.
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