CPA (Certified Public Accountant)


The CPA is the respected mark of excellence for public accountants.

Educational Requirements:

Requirements for the CPA are set by each state board of accountancy. The requirements include completing a program of accounting study at a college or university, passing the Uniform CPA Exam, and meeting experience requirements. Most states require at least a bachelor’s degree to become a CPA.


Specific amounts of professional work experience in public accounting are required but vary by state licensing jurisdiction. Most states require at least two years of public accountancy experience.


CPAs must adhere to the AICPA code of conduct. You can view that code at:


The Uniform CPA Exam helps ensure that only qualified individuals become licensed as Certified Public Accountants, but passing the exam alone is not sufficient for licensure. Experience and educational requirements, which vary by state, must also be met.

Continuing Education:

All AICPA members must complete 120 hours of CPE (continuing professional education) every three years to maintain their membership. State CE requirements vary by jurisdiction.


Non-compliant CPAs may be disciplined by the Professional Ethics Division of the AICPA through confidential disciplinary actions, suspension or revocation of membership rights, or referral to a panel of the Trial Board Division for a hearing, any guilty finding of which is published. State and territorial CPA societies participate in joint enforcement programs with the AIPCA. Only state regulatory agencies (Boards of Accountancy) issue practice licenses to CPAs, and only those agencies can remove those licenses. Disciplinary actions taken by the AICPA may be viewed here:


None, although educational requirements are met through accredited colleges and universities.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

Consumers may file complaints by contacting the AICPA at (888) 777-7077 or by sending a letter of complaint to:

220 Leigh Farm Road
Durham, NC 27707
Attn: Professional Ethics Division

Issuing Institution:

The Board of Accountancy in each state issues CPA licenses to those who have passed all appropriate requirements for use of the mark, and each state has different regulations in this regard. AICPA, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) seeks the highest level of uniform certification and licensing standards among the various states while promoting and protecting the CPA designation. AICPA is the world's largest association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 370,000 members in 128 countries.

Note: The American College is providing this information as a public service. It is correct to the best of our knowledge, but we neither guarantee its accuracy nor endorse any credentials for which we are not responsible as a credentialing organization.

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