California CPA Requirements



California CPA Requirements

To obtain CPA licensure, you must meet the three Es: Education, Experience, and Exam. Please note there are different accounting and business education requirements for examination and licensure in California. See the sections below for these requirements.



Education Requirements for CPA Examination

  • Degree: Baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited degree-granting educational institution.
  • Accounting Coursework: 24 semester hours in accounting subjects.
  • Business Coursework: 24 semester hours in business subjects.
  • Total Credit Hours: 120 semester hours
  • Additional Exam Information
    • Prior to Sitting for the Uniform CPA Exam: Candidates must have met the degree requirement and accounting and business subject requirements.
    • Application Documents: Application documents found on the board website (opens new window).


Education and Experience Requirements for CPA Licensure

The Bachelor of Science in Accounting (BSAC) program alone does not meet the education requirements to be licensed in California. The combination of the BSAC and the Master of Accounting (MAcc) program meet the total semester hour, accounting, and business requirements for CPA examination and licensure but does not meet the ethics requirement. BSAC and MAcc graduates will need to take 3 credits of accounting specific ethics (not general business ethics). In addition to the requirements listed above, students must complete the following to be licensed.

  • Accounting Coursework: 20 semester hours in accounting study such as accounting, business, ethics, business law or other work relevant to accounting or business.
  • Business Coursework: 24 semester hours in business subjects.
  • Ethics Coursework: Candidates must pass the California Ethics exam (PETH) prior to licensure and complete 10 semester hours in ethics study subjects.

    Note: BSAC and MAcc graduates will need to take 3 credits of accounting specific ethics (not general business ethics). Please see the Educational Requirements for CPA Licensure Tip Sheet from the California Board of Accountancy (opens new window).
  • Total Credit Hours: 150 semester hours
  • Experience Requirements for Licensure
    • Minimum Work Experience: At least one-year of accounting experience plus 500 attest hours.


Additional information can be found on the California Board of Accountancy (opens new window) website.


Note: Completing a WGU degree program does not guarantee employment or licensure in any profession. Requirements for licensure in accounting vary from state to state. For example, some states require a background check that may disqualify you from obtaining a license if you have committed certain actions, crimes, or misdemeanors. Students should contact WGU Business Licensure at prior to contacting their State Board of Accountancy regarding education and experience requirements. The Licensure team is available to students and alumni for all accounting licensure questions and advisement. Although the Licensure team can provide initial guidance, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to continually check with the state licensing board where you intend to seek licensure to confirm all licensing requirements.





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