Texas CPA Requirements

Get the information you need to become a CPA in Texas. Learn about the education, exam, and experience requirements, and start your path to becoming a licensed CPA today.

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A certified public accountant (CPA) is a professional who has passed an exam and met other state requirements, such as education and experience, to provide accounting and financial services to people and businesses.

Texas offers many opportunities for CPAs. It has a robust economy, growing industries, and high demand for accounting and financial services.

The state is home to many industries, including oil and gas, healthcare, technology, and real estate, providing opportunities for specialization and growth for CPAs.

Being a CPA in Texas offers various opportunities for career growth and financial success and involves meeting education, exam, and experience requirements set forth by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA).

This often involves earning a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, passing the Uniform CPA Examination, and completing a specified amount of work experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA.

Students must also pass an ethics exam and apply for a CPA license with the state board. The process can take several years, but offers a potentially rewarding career path in the finance and accounting industry.

Education Requirements for Becoming a CPA in Texas

The first of many Texas CPA requirements is a postsecondary degree. You need a bachelor's degree to become a CPA in Texas. However, earning that degree in accounting or a related field, such as finance, business administration, or economics, may help.

The bachelor's degree must be from an accredited institution. Accreditation can be institutional or programmatic, both of which the school should mention on its website.

Additionally, the cost of a bachelor's degree in accounting is often between $20,000 and $60,000 for in-state students and $40,000 - $100,000 for out-of-state students.

Obtaining a master's degree or a graduate certificate in accounting can provide additional benefits, such as career advancement and professional development. Texas requires a certain number of graduate hours to qualify for the Uniform CPA Exam.

An accelerated bachelor's-to-master's program in accounting allows students to complete both a bachelor's and master's degree in accounting in less time.

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Concentrations, Credits, and Course Acceptance

The Texas CPA requirements often include a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. You must complete at least 150 hours of college education, including 24 hours in accounting and business courses, respectively.

Of the 150 hours, you need at least 120 at the undergraduate level. The remaining 30 hours you must earn at the graduate level. The undergraduate courses must include upper-division courses — courses numbered 300 or above.

The following is a general list of the required courses:

  • Accounting courses: Financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, taxation, and other courses in accounting theory and practice
  • Business courses: Principles of marketing, business law, business statistics, economics, and other courses in business administration and management
  • Upper-division courses: 300-level classes or above in accounting, business, or a related field

The following types of credits are often not sufficient to fulfill CPA experience requirements:

  • non-degree credits
  • correspondence or online courses
  • transfer credits
  • life experience credits

Undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor's degree in accounting can choose to specialize by taking courses in one or more concentrations, such as auditing, taxation, financial accounting, and management accounting.

Graduate students who completed a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field may pursue a master's degree in accounting to deepen their knowledge and skills.

Some popular graduate-level concentrations in accounting include forensic accounting, information technology auditing, international accounting, and taxation.

Texas Experience Requirements

You must complete two years of work experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. The experience can be full time or part time, and unpaid experience counts.

You can choose from the following fields:

  • Public accounting
  • Government
  • Private industry
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Academia

Texas accepts teaching experience in accounting or related fields as qualifying experience for CPA licensure. There is no specific time frame for the work experience, and you can get experience before or after taking the CPA exam.

A licensed CPA verifies this experience by completing a form, which the TSBPA may request during the licensing process. The experience must include various accounting activities, such as preparing financial statements, performing audits, preparing tax returns, and providing consulting services.

Texas is a two-tier state, meaning that the state has a two-step process for becoming a CPA. Those steps are certification and licensure.

"Certification" means passing the Uniform CPA Exam, a comprehensive exam that tests your knowledge and skills in accounting, auditing, tax, and business law. "Licensure" means obtaining a license to practice as a CPA in the state of Texas.

Texas CPA Exam Requirements

The Uniform CPA Examination is a crucial step to acquiring a CPA license in Texas. The exam assesses the knowledge and skills of those seeking to become CPAs. Passing the exam is often a requirement for licensure.

The Uniform CPA Examination covers several topics in accounting, including financial accounting and reporting, regulation, and auditing.

Eligibility to Take the Exam

The educational requirements to take the Uniform CPA Examination include a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university, and 150 hours in accounting and business courses.

You need at least two years of work experience in public accounting, private industry, government, or nonprofit organizations.

Candidates must also pass the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) ethics exam and be of good moral character, as determined by the TSBPA.

There are no age or state residency requirements to take the exam. However, you must meet some other eligibility requirements, including the following:

  • A Social Security number to apply for the exam
  • Authorization to work in the United States; Texas does not require citizenship to sit for the CPA exam.

Texas recognizes international reciprocity, honoring when candidates took the Uniform CPA Exam in other states and territories.

Applying for and Scheduling the Exam

Candidates can apply for the CPA exam by visiting the TSBPA's website or contacting them directly.

After applying, candidates will receive instructions on registering for the CPA exam through the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) website. Following registration, candidates can schedule their exam appointment at a Prometric testing center, either online or by phone.

The process for submitting transcripts includes getting an official transcript from each college or university attended and sending it directly to the TSBPA.

If a candidate is currently enrolled, they may be able to apply for the CPA exam before completing the degree. Premature enrollment is an option only if the student is on track to meet the educational requirements by the exam date.

The consequences of not submitting or promptly handing in all the necessary documents can result in processing delays or application denial.

The application cost can vary and may include fees for the initial application and each exam section.

Candidates can apply for and schedule more than one exam section at a time. There is often no limit to the times candidates can take the exam.

It's common to reapply if a candidate does not pass all sections on the first attempt. However, they must pass each section of the CPA exam within a certain period to receive credit.

After Taking the Exam

You have 18 months from the date you pass the first section of the Uniform CPA Exam to pass all four sections as well as the ethics exam. After these 18 months, your passing scores will expire, and you will need to retake the expired sections. Additionally, you have five years from the date you pass the final section of the Uniform CPA Exam to meet all state licensure requirements.

After passing the CPA exam, the steps to obtain a Texas CPA state license include submitting a license application, completing a background check and fingerprinting, obtaining a surety bond, paying the licensing fees, and waiting for approval. The fee for a new CPA license is $200. To verify your CPA license to an employer, you can provide them with a copy of your CPA certificate and license issued by the state board of accountancy.

Retaining Licensure

In Texas A CPA license often expires on Oct. 31 of odd-numbered years. The renewal cycle is biennial, and licensees get the renewal deadline by mail nearly 90 days in advance.

If a licensee cannot meet the renewal deadline, they may be eligible for an extension. If a CPA fails to renew their license, they may be subject to disciplinary action, including fines, suspension, or revocation of their license.

Continuing professional education (CPE) is mandatory for CPAs in Texas. A minimum of 80 hours of CPE is necessary every two-year renewal cycle, including two hours of ethics.

The deadline for completing the CPE is the date of renewal, Oct. 31, of odd-numbered years. Licensees must maintain documentation of their CPE for a minimum of four years and make it available for review by the TSBPA upon request.

There are many opportunities for personal training and development for CPAs, including conferences and seminars, local and state professional organizations, and mentorship programs.

Becoming a CPA in Texas is relatively straightforward. If you are already a licensed CPA in another state, transferring your license to Texas can be simple, although there may be additional requirements or fees.

To own your own firm, you will need to be a licensed Texas CPA.

Questions About CPAs in Texas

  • How do I become a CPA in Texas?

    To become a CPA in Texas, you need a bachelor's degree, to pass the Uniform CPA Exam, at least two years of public accounting experience, and to meet ethics requirements. Then, you can apply for licensure through the TSBPA.

  • What are the requirements for the CPA exam in Texas?

    The requirements for the CPA exam in Texas include a bachelor’s degree or higher with at least 150 semester hours of education, 24 semester hours in accounting courses, 24 semester hours in business courses, good moral character, an application, and payment of fees.

  • How many years does it take to become a CPA in Texas?

    The process typically takes a minimum of four to five years, including completing education and work experience requirements, passing the Uniform CPA Exam, and fulfilling any additional licensing requirements.

  • How hard is the CPA exam in Texas?

    The CPA exam is considered challenging and rigorous. It tests a candidate's knowledge and understanding of accounting, taxation, auditing, and financial management concepts. The exam consists of four sections, each lasting four hours, and each requires a passing score.

  • How do I take the CPA exam in Texas?

    You must apply for the Uniform CPA Exam through the TSBPA and register with the exam provider, NASBA. The exam is computer-based and consists of four sections; you can take it separately or simultaneously.

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