CPA Certification in Virginia


Published June 30, 2023

check mark Edited by
Virginia CPA requirements differ for examination and license candidates. Learn how to become eligible to take the CPA exam and earn licensure in Virginia. 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.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Downtown Richmond, Virginia, overlooking the James River on a beautiful summer day. Credit: Sky Noir Photography by Bill Dickinson / Moment / Getty Images

Virginia, nicknamed the Old Dominion, has a GDP of nearly $500 billion and over 880,000 businesses, according to Ibis World. The Virginia economy includes IT consulting, healthcare, and commercial banking within its top 10 industries.

The state is also home to over 49,000 accountants and auditors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Potential certified public accountants (CPAs) may find Virginia alluring due to the varied and growing economy and the existing accounting organizations within the state.

Prospective CPAs in Virginia need to meet specific requirements to take the CPA exam and obtain a CPA license. The section below describes the various requirements and outlines how to become a CPA in Virginia.

Education Requirements for How to Become a CPA in Virginia

Each state sets educational eligibility requirements to take the Uniform CPA Examination and obtain licensure. In Virginia, exam candidates must have 120 semester hours of education and a bachelor's degree or higher with a concentration in accounting or equivalent. An accredited institution must provide the courses, with the accreditation coming from one of the seven accrediting agencies recognized by the Virginia Board of Accountancy (VBOA).

Virginia CPA licensure requires 150 semester hours of education. A typical bachelor's degree consists of around 120 semester hours, meaning candidates will often require additional courses. Licensure candidates can obtain these additional semester hours through a graduate certificate, master's degree, or an accelerated bachelor's-to-master's program.

Best Accounting Degrees in Virginia

Best Accounting Degrees in Virginia

Best Bachelor's Programs

Best Bachelor's Programs

Best Online Bachelor's Programs

Best Online Bachelor's Programs

Best Master's Programs

Best Master's Programs

Best Online Master's Programs

Best Online Master's Programs

Best Bachelor's-to-Master's Programs

Best Bachelor's-to-Master's Programs

Best Graduate Certificates

Best Graduate Certificates

Concentrations, Credits, and Course Acceptance

Virginia has separate requirements for taking the CPA exam and obtaining CPA licensure. CPA exam candidates need 120 semester hours of education and a bachelor's degree or above in accounting or equivalent. Requirements include:

  • Accounting or equivalent degree, defined as:
    • 24 hours of accounting courses above the introductory level
      • Which include the required core accounting courses of finance, auditing, taxation, and cost
      • Finance courses can include intermediate accounting or financial statement analysis
    • 24 hours of business courses
      • There are no required core business courses
      • A maximum of six semester hours can come from subjects that could also be considered accounting courses

Licensure applicants must meet a higher education requirement of 150 semester hours. However, the VBOA does not have any additional requirements for specific concentrations or courses. The VBOA recommends potential licensees take some graduate-level accounting courses before licensure. Students and candidates can choose an accounting-related bachelor's degree such as in taxation or forensic accounting, or an MBA in accounting to attempt to meet the semester hour and specific course requirements simultaneously.

The VBOA accepts both internship and pass/fail credits, as long as an accredited institution assigns them credit. However, candidates cannot receive credit for exams, experience, or continuing education courses if they do not receive academic credit from an accredited institution.

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Virginia Experience Requirements

The VBOA does not have any work experience requirements for CPA exam candidates, but it does for CPA licensure candidates who have already passed the exam. CPA license candidates are required to have 2,080 hours of experience or an equivalent to one year of full-time work experience. The candidate's experience must come from corporate, academic, or government work that involves accounting, finance, tax, or other relevant skills.

Candidates who submit their work experience under the other relevant skills category will have their experience examined by the VBOA. Licensure candidates cannot submit self-employment work experience. An active CPA from any state must verify a candidate's work experience. The candidate and CPA fill out the same two-page form and email, fax, or mail the form to the VBOA.

CPA Exam Requirements in Virginia

All CPA candidates must pass the Uniform CPA Exam, which is the same in every state. However, the requirements for sitting for the exam vary by state. The section below focuses on how to get a CPA in Virginia.

Eligibility to Take the Exam

Exam candidates must have 120 semester hours of coursework and related requirements completed before they can sit for the exam. Additionally, CPA license candidates must complete the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) professional ethics comprehensive course with a score of 90% or higher.

The VBOA does not have any CPA exam requirements in Virginia regarding the age, citizenship, or residency of candidates. All CPA candidates in Virginia must have a Social Security number or control number from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

International accounting professionals who belong to organizations that have a mutual agreement with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and AICPA can apply for Virginia CPA licensure. Candidates seeking reciprocity from abroad need to pass the International Qualifications Examination (IQEX) and meet the state's experience requirements.

Applying for and Scheduling the Exam

CPA applicants must first register online with the VBOA. Candidates with a VBOA account can then submit their transcripts. The VBOA accepts official transcripts by mail or electronically and will keep transcripts for three years once the application is submitted. Institutions can send the transcripts directly to the VBOA, or students can send official transcripts that have the institution's official seal or signature on the envelope flap.

The VBOA takes 2-3 weeks to process applications, and approvals are transmitted directly to NASBA. Approved candidates can log in to the NASBA portal and find a payment coupon for the sections of the test they registered for. Candidates have six months to pay the fee with the payment coupon. Once a CPA exam candidate pays the fee, they will receive a notice to schedule (NTS).

Candidates with an NTS have 12 months from the issue date to take the exam. CPA examinees can schedule and take the test at a Prometric testing location. Prospective licensees must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam within a rolling 18-month period.

CPA exam candidates must pay both registration and exam fees. The registration fee occurs when you sign up for tests on the VBOA website. First-time applicants pay a registration fee of $120 while re-registering applicants have a $20 fee. Prospective examinees can apply for one or multiple sections simultaneously. NASBA accepts the exam fees directly from applicants, which cost $238.15 per test section.

After Passing the Exam

Virginia CPA license candidates can start their licensure process online through the VBOA website. CPA candidates need to pay a $75 application fee and have six years to submit all corresponding materials. Applicants who take longer than six years will need to resubmit their application and meet any new licensure requirements.

Candidates who pass the exam but still need to finish the necessary work experience and final 30 credits must do so before getting licensed.

Candidates who submit their CPA license application at least one calendar year after passing the CPA exam will also need to complete continuing professional education (CPE). CPA licenses can be verified online for free through the VBOA.

Maintaining Licensure

Virginia CPAs are required to renew their licenses annually by June 30. CPAs can start the renewal process as early as March 1 annually, which costs $60. Licenses expire for individuals who fail to renew by July 1. Accounting professionals with an expired license cannot use the CPA title or provide certain services. Expired license holders must submit a license reinstatement application in addition to a $350 fee.

CPAs in Virginia need to complete at least 20 CPE hours annually, with a minimum of 120 hours over any three-year rolling period. Annually, CPAs must complete at least two hours of ethics courses and eight hours of accounting and auditing courses. License holders only need to submit CPE proof if asked to do so by the VBOA. Licensed CPAs in Virginia should keep documentation relating to CPEs for four years.

Out-of-state CPAs can apply for licensure in the state, as long as NASBA recognizes the other state as substantially equivalent. In Virginia, 51% of the owners and voting shareholders of CPA firms must be CPAs.

Licensed CPAs in Virginia can join the Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA). The VSCPA helps CPAs develop their skills and career through CPE courses, roundtable discussions, and online community.

Questions About Virginia CPA Requirements

How do I get a CPA license in Virginia?

Virginia CPA licensure requires meeting education, experience, and exam criteria. CPAs must have at least a bachelor's degree, 150 semester hours of education, and one year of relevant work experience. They must also pass the Uniform CPA Exam.

How much does a CPA cost in Virginia?

Prospective CPAs in Virginia need to pay registration and examination fees in order to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. First-time applicants must pay a $120 registration fee alongside a $952.60 exam fee. There is also a $75 fee for licensure.

How long does it take to get a CPA license in Virginia?

A candidate's background plays a crucial role in determining how long it takes to receive a CPA license in Virginia. Candidates who already meet the education requirements and quickly finish the CPA exam can complete the licensure requirements within one year.

What are the requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Virginia?

Candidates who wish to sit for the CPA exam in Virginia need to have a bachelor's degree or above in accounting or equivalent. CPA examinees also must have at least 120 semester hours of education including 24 semester hours in accounting and 24 semester hours in business.

How do I register for the CPA exam in Virginia?

CPA examinees in Virginia need to sign up with the VBOA and NASBA. Once examinees register online with the VBOA and confirm their eligibility, they can register for the exam and pay the relevant fees directly to NASBA.

Recommended Reading

Search top-tier programs curated by your interests.

Let us know what type of degree you're looking into, and we'll find a list of the best programs to get you there.