Application process

Make sure you meet the minimum exam requirements to sit the CPA Exam prior to starting the CPA Exam application. The exam requirements are state-specific and can be reviewed at CPA Exam Requirements (By State). Even if you do not qualify to sit the exam through a state of first choice, you may apply and sit the exam through another state. The CPA Exam is administered at Prometric Centers. Therefore, you may sit the exam at a Prometric Center in your state. International candidates should register with a state that allows non-citizens and non-residents to take the exam. Generally, a prospective CPA Exam candidate should follow the summarized steps below:

Application steps outlined

STEP 1 Apply to take the examination
STEP 2 Receive your notice to schedule
STEP 3 Schedule your examination
STEP 4 Take your examination

Application steps explained

Further information about CPA Exam application steps are as follows:

STEP 1 – Apply to take the exam:

Your application can be submitted at any time during the year. The application must be submitted online to either the NASBA’s CPA Examination Online Application System or the State Board of Accountancy. This is determined based on your state of registration.

You must instruct the colleges/universities you attended to send an official transcript to NASBA or the State Board of Accountancy. This is required to support your application and provide evidence that you met the minimum education requirements. The minimum required varies by state; however, this could be 120 or 150 credit hours.

Also, in most cases you must send the correct application and examination fees along with your application. Once you application have been evaluated (4-6 weeks process), you will be contacted by your State Board of Accountancy or its designated agent.

STEP 2 – Receive your notice to schedule:

A Notice to Schedule (NTS) is provided once your application is evaluated, approved, and your fees are paid.

CPA Exam candidates must check the accuracy of the information on the NTS. In accurate information will impact your ability to take the exams on exam day. The Prometric Center uses the NTS to assist in identifying you as the candidate. If there are any inaccuracies, please contact NASBA and have the NTS corrected.

Your NTS includes a “Launch Code” which is your password to login at the Prometric Center. Generally, an NTS is valid for 6 months. Some states are 9 and 12 months, while Texas is 90 days. If you do not sit the exam within this timeframe, the NTS will expire. Also, the fees paid will be forfeited. Consequently, you will have to submit a new application and fees to sit the examination. Therefore, make sure you will be ready to take the exam when applying.

STEP 3 – Schedule your examination:

You should schedule to take the exam with a Prometric Center as soon as you receive you NTS. If you are unable to take your exam on the scheduled date, you can reschedule; however, there is a reschedule fee. You must schedule your exam appointment at least 5 days before you take the exam. To ensure that you receive your first choice of date, time and location, you should schedule early. The AICPA suggests 65 days before sitting the exam.

STEP 4 – Take your examination:

Arrive at the Prometric Center at least 30 minutes before the schedule time to take the exam. If you are unable to make the appointment, the fees for the respective section will be forfeited. If you arrive after your scheduled appointment time, you may not be allowed to take the exam and your fees will also be forfeited. Arriving early allows for time to sign-in, undergo scanning, have your photograph and fingerprints taken, review the security and test center policies, and be seated at the work station.

For more information including questions and answers about applying for the CPA Exam, please read the CPA Exam candidate bulletin at the AICPA website at

Contact CPA EXAM COACH to learn more about our solutions for passing the CPA Exam. Register with CPA EXAM COACH and lets work together to get you passed.

You may also email us at to have your questions and concerns about the CPA Exam answered.