New York CPA Requirements


Published April 12, 2023

CPA licensure in New York requires schooling, testing, and professional experience. Discover exactly what you'll need to qualify for the CPA credential in New York and how you can maintain licensure. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Home to more than 330,000 financial services workers, New York has one of the largest, most advanced financial sectors in the world. The state has the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. and one of the most diverse populations in the country. New York is a national and global hub for business and financial activities, making it a prime destination for aspiring accountants. 

The state's financial sector creates a need for certified public accountants (CPAs). These professionals' advanced training and expertise equip them to navigate New York's complex licensing, regulatory, and international finance requirements. 

To become a CPA, accounting professionals need education, experience, and examination — the three E's. In this guide, we explore the specifics of New York's CPA requirements. Discover more about New York's accounting programs and the examination and licensure process.

Education Requirements for Becoming a CPA in New York

New York's CPA requirements for education have two qualification stages: examination and licensure. To sit for the Uniform CPA Examination, candidates need at least 120 college-level credits. Though the state does not mandate specific majors, completed credits must include required courses in accounting, auditing, and taxation. 

To qualify for state licensure, candidates need at least 150 college-level credits. Acceptable credits come from accounting programs with approval from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) or an accounting master's degree that holds AACSB accreditation. Candidates may also earn an accelerated bachelor's-to-master's program with sufficient accounting and business coursework to reach the 150-credit requirement.

Concentrations, Credits, and Course Acceptance

According to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), NY CPA requirements include 120 credits to qualify for examination and 150 credits to qualify for licensure. For the 120-credit component, candidates must complete at least one course in each of the following areas: upper-level financial accounting, upper-level audit and attestation, taxation, and cost or management accounting.

Along with meeting the above requirements, CPA licensure candidates need at least 36 general business credits within their 150 total credits. Both examination and licensure candidates must complete courses in accounting research, ethics, and business or accounting communications.

CPA candidates need official transcripts from every accredited institution where they earned credits; simply displaying previous transfer credits on the one transcript is not valid for licensure. Students can use up to six internship credits, plus CPA review, correspondence, and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) courses from accredited schools. However, duplicate courses, commercial CPA review courses, professional training, and chartered accountant programs do not qualify. 

For clarity, the following list outlines these same course requirements:

  • 1 course in upper-level financial accounting beyond the introductory level
  • 1 course in upper-level audit and attestation
  • 1 course in cost or management accounting
  • 1 course in taxation
  • 36 credits in general business
  • Business or accounting communications courses
  • Ethics and professional responsibility courses
  • Accounting research courses

New York Experience Requirements

According to NYSED, all CPA candidates need professional accounting experience under the supervision of a U.S.- or New York-certified public accountant

Candidates who have completed the 150-credit requirement need one year of full-time or two years of part-time work experience. Professional accountants with at least 15 years of approved experience may bypass the education requirements. 

After completing the required work, CPA candidates must document their professional experience in their application. Their supervisor must also submit an experience verification form. 

Candidates can complete all of New York's CPA requirements, including experience, before taking the examination. This differs from two-tier states, which require CPA candidates to pass the exam before completing the experience requirements for licensure.

Experience can come from several fields and service areas, including:

  • Public accounting firms
  • Government agencies
  • Private industry
  • Educational institutions 
  • Accounting
  • Attest services
  • Compilation
  • Management or financial advisory
  • Taxation
  • Consulting

NY CPA Requirements for the Exam

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) develops and scores the Uniform CPA Examination. The exam has four sections: 

  • Auditing and attestation
  • Business environment and concepts
  • Financial accounting and reporting
  • Regulation

While the exam features the same content for all test-takers across the country, the process and requirements vary by state. The following sections explore New York-specific details. 

Eligibility to Take the Exam

To sit for the CPA exam, New York candidates must have completed at least 120 college credits. They need transcripts for all credits, including at least one course each in financial accounting, cost or management accounting, auditing, and taxation.

While eligible CPA candidates can take the test at any point after completing 120 credits, the process is set to change on August 1, 2027. To avoid disruptions and complications, aspiring CPAs may want to complete the requirements and exam before that date. 

According to NYSED, in addition to the three E's, New York CPA candidates must have: 

  • Good moral character
  • ID proving they are at least 21 years old

While prospective CPAs from many states need to complete AICPA's ethics exam, New York candidates do not. New York also does not maintain a residency requirement.

Applying for and Scheduling the Exam

The examination application process uses CPA Central, NASBA's online system. Along with a $170 fee for first-time applicants, candidates need to identify which exam section(s) they wish to take. Applications should also include the following:

  • Official transcript from every institution attended (sent directly from the school to the CPA Examination Services)
  • If applicable, international credit evaluation (sent directly from the evaluators to the CPA Examination Services)
  • If applicable, New York State Registered Program Form (sent directly from the school to the CPA Examination Services)
  • If applicable, Testing Accommodations Request Form

Application processing takes about 2-4 weeks once NASBA receives all materials. Incomplete or ineligible applications will result in forfeited application fees. Eligible candidates will then receive a notice to schedule (NTS) for the exam sections they applied for. 

Each exam section costs $238.15 and each NTS has a six-month expiration date. Test-takers have an 18-month window to complete all four sections, so they should be strategic in how they apply for each exam. 

Prospective CPAs that fail an exam may retest, but they will need to repay the $238.15 exam fee in addition to an $85 re-exam registration fee. 

After Passing the Exam

After completing all four parts of the exam, CPA candidates can take their time completing the other New York CPA requirements. Though exam scores do not expire, licensure is not issued until all requirements are complete.

In most cases, exam scores are released a few weeks after the test. Candidates who pass will receive a congratulatory letter with licensure instructions. 

Once candidates have fulfilled all New York CPA requirements, they can apply for licensure through NYSED. Licensure applications must include:

  • $427 fee 
  • Certification of professional education
  • Experience verification
  • Certification of out-of-state licensure or examination (if applicable)

Retaining Licensure

According to the New York State Society of CPAs, New York CPAs need to renew their licenses every three years. As part of their renewal requirements, CPAs must complete the following continuing professional education (CPE):

  • 4 hours of professional ethics every three years
  • 24 hours in one subject area each year or 40 hours in multiple subject areas each year

Approved subject areas include: 

  • Accounting 
  • Advisory services
  • Attestation
  • Auditing
  • Professional ethics
  • Specialized knowledge
  • Taxation

While New York CPAs do not need to officially report their CPEs, they do need to affirm completion of these credits. In case of an audit, licensed professionals should keep all CPE records for at least five years. 

CPAs can renew their license within five months of the renewal date and up to four months after it has lapsed for a $292 fee. 

All practicing CPAs and firm owners in New York must have a state license. New York offers licensure by endorsement applications for out-of-state CPAs. 

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Questions About New York CPA Requirements

  • What are the requirements to be a CPA in New York?

    The New York CPA requirements include 150 postsecondary credits with requisite accounting and business coursework. CPAs also need at least one year of full-time supervised accounting experience and passing scores on the Uniform CPA Examination.

  • Who can take the CPA exam in New York?

    To take the CPA exam in New York, individuals must have completed at least 120 college credits, including courses in financial accounting, taxation, audit and attestation, and cost or management accounting.

  • Do you need an accounting degree to be a CPA in NY?

    While you do not need an accounting degree to meet New York's CPA requirements, completing a program in this field can help make the process more efficient. Accounting degrees often include classes that overlap with the required 150 credits of financial or cost accounting, auditing, taxation, general business, ethics, and accounting research and communications coursework.

  • Do you need a master's to get a CPA in NY?

    No. You do not need a master's degree to get a CPA in New York. However, an AACSB-accredited master's degree will satisfy all the educational requirements for the CPA examination and state licensure. 

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