How to Become a Licensed CPA in Virginia

virginia-cpa-requirementsVirginia only requires you to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and 120 credits in order to sit for the exam. You do, however, have to complete 150 semester hours to be eligible for a CPA license.

These rules are pretty standard among most states today and allow a good deal of flexibility.

Let’s take a look at what you need to do to take the exam and get licensed.

Virginia CPA Exam Requirements

In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in Virginia, candidates must meet the following personal qualifications and educational requirements.

  • No minimum age limit
  • Not Required to be a US citizen
  • Not Required to be a VA resident
  • Valid Social Security Number Required
  • VA does participate in the International Examination Program

Educational Requirements to Sit

Like many states, Virginia allows you to take the exam after you complete an undergraduate degree as long as you have met the 120 semester hour limit. The full 150 credit hours only needs to be met in order to become licensed. Here is what you will need to sit for the exam.

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting (at least 120 semester hours) must include both accounting and general business college coursework.

Accounting Courses

Virginia requires CPA candidates to complete at least 24 credit hours of accounting coursework in the following subjects:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Corporate Taxation
  • Individual Taxation

General Business Courses

Likewise, candidates are also required to complete at least 24 college credit hours of general business courses including:

  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Business Law
  • Business Management

Currently there isn’t a provision to allow students to sit for the CPA exam before graduation. Likewise, Virginia does not let students count CPA exam materials count as college credits unless they are part of an official course from an accredited university.

Exam Fees

The total cost to take the CPA exam in Virginia is $849.08 including an initial one-time $120 application fee. The cost for each section is listed below.


AUD – Audit $192.03
FAR – Financial Accounting and Reporting $192.03
BEC – Business Environment and Concepts $172.51
REG – Regulation $172.51


AUD and FAR exam fees are slightly higher than BEC and REG because they are longer exams.

CPA Tip – I know you are excited to sign up and get started, but don’t try to get ahead of yourself and register for all four sections at once. This will end up costing you more in the long run. Your notice to sit will expire if you don’t take the exam in 6 months.

Thus, you will have to re-register and pay an additional registration fee. Re-registration application fees are $20, so only sign up for the exams that you are ready to sit for in the next 6 months.

CPA License Requirements

The CPA exam process is involved and overwhelming for first time applicants. I know you can do it! Applying for the test is just the first step in becoming a CPA in VA. Trust me. We’ve all have been there. It is a right of passage. Once you pass the exam, here are the things you need to do before you can truly call yourself a Certified Public Accountant.

Pass the Exam

You’ll have to pass all four sections of the exam with a score of at least 75 in an 18-month period.


Submit all the required paperwork to the state board usually includes transcripts, license application, and proof of work experience.


Pay the license/certification fees with your application.

Ethics Exam

Take and pass the AICPA Professional Ethics exam (found on the AICPA website)

Additional Education

After you pass the exam, you will still need to finish the required 150 credit hours of college courses in order to become certified.

Work Experience Requirements

Virginia has a standard 1-year work experience program. You must obtain:

1-year or 2,000 hours of general accounting, auditing, and principles skills in Public Accounting, Private Industry, or Academia supervised and verified by an active CPA

Unfortunately, self employment will not count toward your experience hours. You must work directly under a certified public accountant. The CPA must also fill out the work experience report on your CPA license application as evidence that you completed your CPA work experience qualifications.

More Virginia CPA Exam Resources

The initial application process is kind of intimidating particularly if you attended more than one school. The Virginia state board must have confirmation of all of your education. You will need to mail in transcripts from each college you’ve attended.

That’s the reason why I recommend contacting the state board during the application process. They will let you know what they have on file and what they need before your application can be accepted. Believe me. There is nothing is worse than finding out you overlooked your CPA exam requirements and find out that you have to redo something in your application process to qualify to sit for the CPA.

State boards rarely notify you that something is missing. Things can get lost in the mail. Unfortunately, I know this firsthand. My transcripts actually got lost in the mail. I had to send them twice from one of my colleges! It was a big pain and added two weeks on the process.

Directly contacting the board is the easiest way to confirm that they have everything they need before you get too far along in your application.

Here is the contact info for the state board.