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Initial CPA license

Virginia applicants: Login to exam record and select Initial Application

Applicants not from Virginia: Create an online account and enter last name, NEW and birth date.

In order to become a licensed CPA in Virginia, an applicant must first meet the 3 E’s of education, exam
and experience.

Education

Pursuant to § 54.1-4409.2 of the Code of Virginia, to be considered for a Virginia CPA license an individual seeking licensure must provide documentation from one or more accredited institutions:

  • At least 150 semester hours of education
  • A baccalaureate or higher degree
  • An accounting concentration or equivalent, in accordance with Board regulation 18VAC5-22-70

The VBOA recommends applicants to incorporate at least some graduate-level study of accounting in meeting the 150 semester hour requirement. 

Exam

Information on the CPA exam, to include background information, education requirements, exam fees and taking the CPA exam, can be found on our website at www.boa.virginia.gov/CPAExam/index.shtml.

Passed CPA exam in another state or jurisdiction

If the applicant has passed the CPA exam in another state or jurisdiction, the applicant must request the respective state board of accountancy to transfer their CPA exam scores to the VBOA.

Experience

The experience requirement includes being employed in academia, a firm, government, or industry involving the substantial use of accounting, financial, tax, or other skills that are relevant, as determined by the VBOA. The applicant must complete at least 2,080 work hours, or equivalent to one year of full-time employment. Whether other skills are relevant shall be determined by the VBOA on a case-by-case basis. Self-employment does not meet the definition of experience in accordance with § 54.1-4400 of the Code of Virginia.

During the licensure application process, applicants will be required to complete an Experience Verification Form to verify experience qualifications. 

Due to a statutory change beginning July 1, 2017, all VBOA Experience Verification Forms must be signed and verified by an active, licensed CPA (from any jurisdiction) to meet the experience requirements for individual CPA licensure. The CPA no longer needs to be a direct supervisor of the applicant.

This is a change from previous submissions when a supervisor, who may or may not have been a CPA, could attest to the applicants work experience.

If you have any questions, please contact the VBOA at boa@boa.virginia.gov.

Applying for initial license

In order to use the CPA title in Virginia, an individual must be licensed in Virginia or a substantially equivalent state or jurisdiction. An individual must hold a CPA license in Virginia if providing services to the public and the principal place of business in which those services are provided is in Virginia.

Pursuant to § 54.1-116 of the Code of Virginia, all CPA license applicants must provide a U.S. Social Security number or control number issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Applicants without a U.S. SSN or control number issued by the Virginia DMV are not eligible for a Virginia CPA license.

Steps to apply for an initial CPA license in Virginia:

  1. Pass all four sections of the CPA exam within an 18-month time period
  2. Create an online account to apply for an initial CPA license
  3. Complete a one-time professional ethics course offered by the AICPA
  4. The VBOA requires a non-refundable application fee of $75 upon submission of the online application.

After completing the online application, the applicant will be notified to submit supporting documentation regarding education requirements, experience qualifications and continuing professional education, including the annual Virginia-Specific Ethics Course.

Professional Ethics Course

Complete the AICPA self-study Professional Ethics: AICPA's Comprehensive Course (For Licensure) with a score of 90% or better. The applicant may mail, fax or email a copy of the course certificate, with the score, to the VBOA.

Questions about the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct may be directed to the AICPA Professional Ethics Division at ethics@aicpa.org or by calling the Ethics Hotline at 888-777-7077.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

CPE requirements for licensure include:

  • No CPE is required for initial licensure if application is submitted within the same calendar-year in which the applicant passed the CPA exam.
  • If the applicant has not held a CPA license in any other state and applies for a Virginia license after the end of the calendar-year in which the applicant passed the CPA exam, CPE must be obtained prior to applying for a Virginia license. CPE includes the annual Virginia-Specific Ethics Course.
  • A copy of the certificate(s) of completion from the CPE sponsor(s) that include the sponsor(s) name, applicant’s name, course/content name, date taken and CPE hours earned must be submitted to the VBOA.
  • The minimum required number of hours of CPE to obtain a Virginia CPA license shall be:
    • 40 hours if the applicant applies for licensure by the end of the first calendar-year after the calendar-year in which the applicant passed the CPA exam.
    • 80 hours if the applicant applies for licensure by the end of the second calendar-year after the calendar-year in which the applicant passed the CPA exam.
    • 120 hours if the applicant applies for licensure more than two calendar-years after the calendar-year in which the applicant passed the CPA exam.

Please review all CPE requirements and frequently asked questions regarding CPE.

Virginia-Specific Ethics Course

The two-hour Virginia-Specific Ethics Course is a separate and distinct annual requirement from the one-time eight-hour AICPA ethics course needed for initial licensure. The VBOA has contracted with the Virginia Society of CPAs as the only provider of content/material for the Virginia-Specific Ethics Course.

Use of the CPA title is not permitted until approval of the license (shown as Active) is posted on the VBOA’s Licensee Search and, therefore, made available for public confirmation.