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Since Nebraska has a growing economy, it has the potential to provide jobs to CPAs. CPAs, unlike many other careers, are needed across sectors and industries. Many of the largest corporations in Nebraska, including Walmart and Berkshire Hathaway, have an inherent need for CPAs.
Becoming a CPA in Nebraska requires multiple steps. Potential CPAs have to meet specific education, experience, and residency requirements to obtain a CPA license. Nebraska, a two-tier state, has different requirements for certification and licensure. This page focuses on the pathway toward CPA licensure in Nebraska and attempts to simplify the process.
Education Requirements for Becoming a CPA in Nebraska
Prospective CPA examinees must meet specific educational CPA requirements in Nebraska before sitting for the Uniform CPA Exam. Each state has its own education requirements. According to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), Nebraska requires CPA candidates to complete a bachelor's degree and at least 150 semester hours of courses.
An average bachelor's degree program will have 120 semester hours of courses. Candidates have multiple options for fulfilling the remaining course requirements, including enrolling in a graduate certificate program, master's program, or accelerated bachelor's-to-master's program.
Concentrations, Credits, and Course Acceptance
CPA candidates must complete a bachelor's degree, 150 semester hours of credit, and specific coursework in order to apply for the Nebraska CPA exam. Students must complete all coursework by the time of application.
- Bachelor's degree
- 150 semester hours of education, including:
- 30 semester hours of accounting above the introductory level in courses like taxation, auditing, and accounting theory
- 30 semester hours of general business subjects such as macroeconomics, business law, and finance
Students can only use courses from two-year institutions toward their CPA education requirements if a four-year institution accepts these credits and applies them toward the student's degree. The Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy (NBPA) may accept credits from CPA review courses, but not from commercial review courses.
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Nebraska Experience Requirements
Nebraska, a two-tier state, requires people complete two steps to become an active CPA. Prospective CPAs who pass the exam and related requirements are awarded a certificate. This is the first step toward licensure.
Certificate holders can prove they passed the exams, but cannot practice public accountancy in the state. Individuals must possess a permit to practice to become a CPA in Nebraska. Only candidates who complete the certificate and Nebraska CPA experience requirements can apply for licensure in the state. Professionals can choose one of three categories for their work experience.
- 4,000 hours of public accounting experience in at least two years
- 4,000 hours of experience earned in at least two years at the Nebraska Department of Revenue or Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts
- 6,000 hours of business government, or academic experience earned in at least three years
An active CPA must supervise the applicant throughout their working experience and sign a document attesting to their work. An applicant can work in multiple fields, but doing so requires three years of overall experience. Prospective CPAs can only submit working history from the last 10 years.
CPA Exam Requirements
Becoming a CPA is a multi-step process that includes taking the Uniform CPA Exam. While applicants take the same exam nationwide, the requirements to sit for the exam and obtain licensure vary by state. The following sections focus on Nebraska CPA requirements for certification and licensure.
Eligibility to Take the Exam
Applicants need 150 semester hours of study to apply for the CPA exam in Nebraska, but no additional education requirements are necessary for licensure. Examinees must also take the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Professional Ethics Exam and the NBPA Ethics Exam. The AICPA can send a certification of completion directly to the NBPA. The NBPA exam can be found online and attached to the CPA certification application.
Nebraska does not have age or citizenship requirements for prospective CPAs. However, candidates need to possess an SSN and have a connection with Nebraska. A candidate's relationship to Nebraska can be through residency, regular employment in the state, or having a place of business there.
International CPA holders can apply for reciprocity in Nebraska. International reciprocity seekers must either pass the CPA examination or the International Qualification Exam (IQEX), which is only available to specific international accountants.
Applying for and Scheduling the Exam
Nebraska CPA examinees can apply online to schedule their tests. To apply, candidates must request their university to submit official transcripts, which can be sent electronically or via post. A candidate's earned degree must be posted on the transcripts. The university can send the transcripts directly to the NASBA CPA Examination Services (CPAES).
Current students who wish to apply for the CPA exam must include a certificate of enrollment form. The enrollment form provides evidence that a student is currently enrolled and will meet all educational requirements within 120 days of the exam. The CPAES will keep transcripts on file for one year if they are submitted before the completed CPA application.
Once a person has met all the requirements, they can apply as first-time applicants. A first-time applicant must pay a first-time application fee and examination fee of $185 and $238.15 respectively. Non-first-time applicants must pay a $85 registration fee in addition to exam fees. CPA candidates can apply for multiple exams at the same time, but it is recommended to only pay for exams that can be taken within six months.
After an applicant submits all the required documentation and fees, they will receive a notice to schedule (NTS). CPA examinees have six months to take the test from the time they receive the NTS. Candidates who fail to take the test within six months will have to reapply for an NTS and pay the exam fees again.
Examinees can take the four parts of the CPA exam in any order, but all four sections must be passed within a rolling 18-month period. The CPA exam considers the date the first exam was passed as the beginning of the 18-month period. If a candidate fails a test, they can reapply to take it 72 hours after receiving a failing score.
After Passing the Exam
Once a prospective CPA passes the CPA exam, ethics exams, and meets Nebraska's additional requirements, they can apply for a CPA certificate. After a candidate also meets the experience requirement, they can apply for licensure.
Prospective CPAs applying for a certificate are required to mail in a form to the NBPA. Licensure applicants must contact the NBPA for the current licensure form. Active CPAs can verify their license by using the free online search tool.
CPAs in Nebraska must renew their licenses every two years. A CPA who fails to renew their license may be classified as an inactive member. An inactive CPA must complete 120 hours of CPE within three years, submit a form, and pay a $200 fee to return to active status.
Active CPAs who renew their licenses must have 80 hours of CPE, including four hours of ethics, completed in the two years before renewal. Renewing CPAs must finish their CPE credits by December 31 of the year before their renewal. Afterward, CPAs must submit a form with their CPE details to the NBPA by January 31 of their renewal year. The NBPA will randomly select individuals to provide evidence regarding their CPE.
Nebraska CPAs can join the Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants (NESCPA), which has almost 100 courses and conferences per year. NESCPA also offers networking opportunities, relevant news, and the assistance of professional staff who can help CPAs develop their careers.
CPA firm owners can also take advantage of the networking opportunities in Nebraska. Nebraska is one of the 49 jurisdictions that allow non-CPA holders to own a portion of a CPA firm. CPA firms must be majority held by active CPAs.
CPAs with licensure in another state can apply for reciprocity in Nebraska. Reciprocity candidates must meet the state's CPA residency requirements, have their CPA exam scores verified, and fulfill the educational requirements. CPAs without 150 semester hours of courses can substitute four years of public accounting experience, as long as the experience was completed within the last 10 years.
Questions About CPAs in Nebraska
How do I become a CPA in Nebraska?
Prospective CPAs in Nebraska must meet specific education, experience, and exam requirements to earn a license.
Who can take the CPA licensure exam in Nebraska?
Anyone with residency, employment, or a place of business in Nebraska, while meeting the education requirements, can take the CPA licensure exam. Candidates will also need to take two ethics tests alongside the CPA exam.
How long does it take in Nebraska to become a CPA?
An individual can become a CPA in Nebraska in as few as two years. However, it often takes more time for prospective CPAs to meet all the requirements.
Is getting a CPA license in Nebraska hard?
Nebraska, one of the few two-tier states, requires candidates to obtain CPA certification and licensure separately. Although the state may require an additional step on the way to licensure, it is not more difficult than obtaining a license in another state.
How many credits do you need to become a CPA in Nebraska?
All CPA candidates in Nebraska must have a bachelor's degree and 150 semester hours of education. Candidates' coursework must include 30 semester hours in accounting and 30 hours in business.
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