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Oklahoma's favorable economic outlook makes the state an appealing destination for emerging financial services professionals. A 2023 report by the American Legislative Exchange Council ranked Oklahoma's economic outlook as fifth in the United States.
Projections Central anticipates job growth of 11.9% for accountants and auditors in Oklahoma from 2020-2030, which far outpaces the national growth projection of 6.9% for these professionals in the same period. Oklahoma businesses of all sizes need accountants to help maintain their financial health and ensure compliance with legal and taxation standards.
The certified public accountant (CPA) designation remains popular and in demand in Oklahoma. To become an Oklahoma CPA, you must complete a bachelor's degree with a significant amount of accounting coursework and obtain at least one year of experience.
Several other details apply to the process of obtaining a CPA license in Oklahoma. This guide explains key points in complete detail.
Education Requirements for Becoming a CPA in Oklahoma
To become a CPA in Oklahoma City or anywhere else in the Sooner State, you must first meet the education requirements. Standards include:
- A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
- Coursework credits totaling at least 150 semester hours or the equivalent
- Significant accounting and auditing coursework
Oklahoma's CPA requirements mandate that candidates fulfill these conditions before taking the Uniform CPA Examination. These requirements make accelerated bachelor's-to-master's accounting programs particularly relevant in Oklahoma.
Most standard bachelor's programs only cover about 120 semester hours. Accelerated bachelor's-to-master's programs meet Oklahoma's 150-credit requirement.
Concentrations, Credits, and Course Acceptance
Many states allow a candidate to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination with only 120 semester hours of coursework and a bachelor's degree. Some also permit students to take the exam during the late stages of their schooling before they have officially graduated.
Oklahoma applies different standards. In the Sooner State, you must have 150 semester hours of college education and a bachelor's degree before you sit for the Uniform CPA Examination.
Furthermore, your education must include:
- At least 76 upper-division semester hours of coursework
- At least 30 semester hours in accounting coursework
- At least nine semester hours of upper-division business courses
- At least one course in auditing or assurance
Auditing or assurance coursework should focus on external auditing. It must also specifically cover Statements on Auditing Standards (SAS) principles. Business coursework may cover one or more of:
- Business communications, law, or management
- Financial information systems
Your general business coursework may include introductory-level classes. However, all qualifying accounting coursework must occur at the intermediate level or higher.
- Bachelor's degree
- At least 150 semester hours of college coursework
- At least 76 semester hours of upper-division coursework
- At least 30 semester hours in accounting coursework, including at least one course in external auditing or assurance
- At least nine semester hours of business-related coursework
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Oklahoma Experience Requirements
Oklahoma is a two-tier state. In two-tier states, candidates become certified before qualifying for CPA licensure. You gain certification by passing the Uniform CPA Examination and acquiring at least one year of work experience.
Oklahoma defines one year of work experience as covering at least 1,800 hours over the course of at least one calendar year. You must also accrue all work experience within no more than four years of the date you apply for Oklahoma CPA certification.
Qualifying experience includes paid employment in academia, government, private industry, or with a public accounting firm. Furthermore, your job duties must substantially cover one or more of:
- Accounting, attestation, or compilation
- Financial or management advising or consulting
A certified or licensed CPA must supervise and verify work experience. State standards also allow another qualified professional approved by the Oklahoma Accountancy Board to supervise and verify your experience.
You or your employer can obtain the form required for documenting Oklahoma accounting experience from the Oklahoma Accountancy Board.
- At least one year (1,800 hours) of work experience supervised by a certified accountant or licensed CPA
- Duties must cover accounting, advisory services, attestation, compilation, management or financial consulting, and/or taxation
CPA Exam Requirements
CPA candidates across the United States take the standardized Uniform CPA Examination. While exam content does not vary from state to state, eligibility requirements and other technical details sometimes differ.
The following subsections detail the state-specific standards and processes that apply to the CPA exam in Oklahoma.
Eligibility to Take the Exam
Many U.S. states apply different eligibility standards for examination and licensure. Some jurisdictions allow students or recent graduates to take the CPA exam with a 120-credit bachelor's degree that covers accounting subjects.
Oklahoma applies the same guidelines for examination and licensure. All candidates must meet the same conditions:
- A bachelor's degree covering at least 150 semester hours
- 76 semester hours or more of upper-division coursework
- 30 semester hours or more of accounting-specific coursework
- Nine semester hours or more of additional business courses
Age and U.S. citizenship requirements do not apply to CPA candidates in Oklahoma. However, to become an Oklahoma CPA, you must be an Oklahoma resident and possess a valid Social Security number. You must also meet Oklahoma's "good moral character" standards and disclose any criminal record when you apply for the CPA exam.
Applying for and Scheduling the Exam
You can apply for the Oklahoma CPA exam through the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website. The application process involves two primary steps: approval and scheduling.
NASBA forwards your application to the Oklahoma Accountancy Board for review. The board usually processes applications in 5-7 business days. At this stage, board officials will ensure your credentials meet the state's qualification standards.
In addition to official academic transcripts from each institution you attended, your application must include:
- One recent passport photo (2 inches x 2 inches)
- Affidavit of Lawful Presence in the United States
- Application fee ($50 as of Dec. 2022)
If your application is approved, NASBA will send you a Notice to Schedule (NTS). Use your NTS to select an exam location, date, and time from a list of available options.
Oklahoma allows candidates to take each of the Uniform CPA Examination's four sections individually. You may also take multiple sections in any combination, including all four sections at once. An exam fee of $226.15 applies to each section as of 2023.
To obtain credit on a section, you need a score of at least 75. Section-based credit remains valid for 18 months. Thus, you must pass all sections within 18 months of the date you passed your first section for all four scores to remain valid for licensing purposes.
After Passing the Exam
Upon passing the CPA exam in Oklahoma, you must gain one year (1,800 hours) of employment experience for certification. You can obtain an application for certification from the Oklahoma Accountancy Board after the board reviews and approves your experience documentation.
Certified CPAs qualify for full licensure upon passing a professional ethics exam. The American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) administers this exam. Oklahoma requires licensure applicants to complete the AICPA's Professional Ethics: A Comprehensive Course and score at least 90% on the associated exam.
The Oklahoma CPA license is formally known as a "permit to practice." In addition to passing the AICPA's ethics exam, you must also complete at least 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) to obtain your initial permit.
Employers and clients may ask to verify your Oklahoma CPA status. You may obtain verifications through the Oklahoma Accountancy Board's licensing division or NASBA's CPA Verify service.
Oklahoma CPA licenses (permits to practice) expire annually. You must renew your permit by the final day of your birth month. Otherwise, your license will lapse, causing you to lose your full CPA standing.
The main renewal requirement covers CPE. You must complete at least 120 hours of CPE each rolling three-year period, including at least 20 hours in each of the three years. Furthermore, you must complete at least four hours of CPE in professional ethics every three-year period.
Oklahoma CPAs document and report their CPE. The Oklahoma Accountancy Board requires CPAs to maintain these documentation records for at least five years.
Additional Oklahoma CPA requirements extend to firm registration. Use Oklahoma Accountancy Board Form R005 to document your firm with the board after registering with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
You must register your firm if it provides and promotes itself as providing public accounting services. Owner-operated sole proprietorships must also register.
Oklahoma also supports two paths for CPA license equivalency for professionals seeking to move between jurisdictions. The first path covers CPAs already licensed in other states, and the second pathway relates to candidates who qualify for but have not yet received initial licensure. You can access complete details through NASBA.
Questions About CPAs in Oklahoma
How do I become a CPA in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma is a two-tier state. To obtain a CPA permit to practice (license), you must first become certified. To qualify for certification, you must have a bachelor's degree with at least 150 semester hours of coursework, along with 1,800 hours of work experience over at least one calendar year.
Who can take the CPA licensure exam in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma CPA requirements mandate that you must have at least 150 semester hours of college education and a bachelor's degree to take the CPA exam. Your coursework must include extensive upper-level coverage of accounting topics. You must also be of "good moral character," as determined by the Oklahoma Accountancy Board.
How long does it take in Oklahoma to become a CPA?
Full-time students can complete Oklahoma's academic requirements for CPA licensure in about five years. Oklahoma also requires 1,800 hours of professional experience. These factors place the typical timeline at about six or more years.
How much does it cost to take the CPA exam in Oklahoma?
As of 2023, it costs $226.15 per section to take the CPA exam in Oklahoma. The exam consists of four sections. Thus, Oklahoma candidates pay exam fees totaling $904.60.
How do I get my CPA license in Oklahoma?
First, you must become certified by meeting the state's education and experience requirements. After earning certification, you must pass the AICPA's ethics exam and complete at least 40 hours of CPE. Upon meeting these requirements, you become eligible for a CPA license, known in Oklahoma as a permit to practice.
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