In order to become a licensed CPA in Virginia, an applicant must first meet the 3 E’s: education, exam and experience.
An applicant seeking licensure must provide documentation from one or more accredited institutions:
- At least 150 semester hours of education
- A baccalaureate or higher degree with an accounting concentration or equivalent. This is comprised of:
- 24 semester hours of accounting courses above the introductory/foundational level: including courses in auditing, financial accounting, managerial/cost accounting and taxation
- 24 semester hours of business courses: no more than six semester hours of what could be considered upper-level accounting courses
The VBOA recommends applicants to incorporate at least some graduate-level study of accounting in meeting the 150-semester hour requirement.
An applicant must pass the CPA exam with a score of 75 or higher on each section, within an 18-month period, prior to applying for licensure.
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.
During the licensure application process, applicants are required to complete an Experience Verification Form. The experience must be verified by an actively licensed U.S. CPA from any jurisdiction.
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 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.
All applicants must:
- Pass all four sections of the CPA exam within an 18-month time period.
- Candidates who have passed the CPA exam in Virginia already have an online account. To apply for initial licensure, please login to the existing CPA exam record, begin a new application and pay the non-refundable application fee of $75.
- Applicants who passed the CPA exam in a state other than Virginia, create a new online account to apply for an initial license and pay the non-refundable application fee of $75 upon submission of the online application.
- 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 may be directed to the AICPA at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (888) 777-7077 (option 3) Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Complete the CPE Requirements Certification Form.
- Complete the Experience Verification Form.
Applicants who passed the CPA exam in another state or jurisdiction other than Virginia will also need to provide official college transcripts and CPA exam scores transferred to the VBOA.
If applying in a calendar year after passing the CPA exam, in addition to the above you will need to submit official college transcripts, if applicable, submit the required continuing professional education of 40 hours per year and the current year’s VBOA-approved ethics course.
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 VBOA-approved ethics course.
The VBOA is not responsible for maintaining a licensee’s education, experience or CPE documentation. It is the responsibility of the licensee.
All CPA license applications 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.
Please note: All applications for a CPA license in Virginia will expire six years from the original application date, and a new application with the corresponding fees and requirements will need to be submitted, per VBOA regulation 18VAC5-22-20.
Continuing Professional Education (CPE)
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 VBOA-approved ethics course.