How to Become a CPA in Florida

Every state in the country requires individuals who want to work as Certified Public Accountants to obtain official credentials, and each state’s licensing board sets different educational requirements for this process. Students in Florida who wish to work as a CPA will need to satisfy eligibility requirements for the exam and then pass a test administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy to obtain a license.

Education Requirements for the Exam

A CPA working in Florida must obtain a bachelor’s degree from a university that offers an accredited curriculum in accounting. There are 23 learning institutions in the state that offer accounting programs for future CPAs and those colleges include Barry University, Flagler College, and Florida A&M University, among many other learning institutions.

To qualify for the test, a student must have taken at least 120 semester credits (which equal 160 quarter units) along with advanced accounting classes totaling at least 24 semester units. The classes required in these upper level classes include study of the following:

1. Accounting info systems
2. Auditing
3. Cost/Managerial
4. Financial
5. Taxation

In certain circumstances, a student who has not completed a degree program in an accredited learning institution may still qualify to take the test if he or she has alternative education in business. A number of advanced business education credits are required including classes in business law, computers, microeconomics, and macroeconomics.

Taking the Uniform CPA Exam

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) administers the nationwide Uniform CPA Exam, and candidates for the exam in Florida will need to sit for four different exam parts although a successful initial exam requires passing only two parts. The test taker will need to pass any parts initially failed within 18 months of the first test grading date. A grade of at least 75 percent must be obtained to pass each test section.

Becoming a Licensed Florida CPA

Upon receipt of a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a successful CPA examination, candidates for state licensing must also work in the accounting industry. This experience may also be obtained before the official test is taken. In most cases, the work experience must be completed within a timeframe of two years, which means working at least 20 hours a week in accounting.

Out-of-state applicants may also become a licensed CPA in Florida through the state’s transfer-credit option. The state’s licensing board will also accept test results taken out-of-state as long as a passing grade of 75 percent was obtained on two parts of the exam.