How to Become a Licensed CPA in Washington

washington-cpa-requirementsWashington currently requires 150 credit hours to sit for the exam, but they do allow you to take the exam 180 days before you have completed this educational limit.

To get certified in WA, you must also graduate with at least a bachelor’s degree and fulfill their work experience program.

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

Washington CPA Exam Requirements

In order to be eligible to sit for the exam in Washington, 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 WA resident
  • Valid Social Security Number Required
  • WA does participate in the International Examination Program

Educational Requirements to Sit

Washington has adopted the standard 150 credit hour rule that most states are moving to in recent years. You will need to complete all of these hours before you can get licensed in the state, but you can take the exam up to 180 before you finish your education. Here is what you need.

Bachelor’s Degree or higher (at least 180 days from completing 150 semester hours) including:

  • 24 hours of Accounting courses including:
    • 12 credit hours of upper level or graduate courses
  • 24 hours of General business course

All of your education must be completed no later than 180 days after taking your FIRST section.

Exam Fees

The total cost to take the CPA exam in Washington is $884.08 including an initial one-time $155 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


CPA exam 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.

You’ll be required to pay an additional fee and re-register for each exam section that the NTS expired. Re-registration application fees are $75 and varied depending on how many you register for, so only sign up for the exams that you are ready to sit for in the next 6 months.

Registration Fees

Washington fees are slightly higher than other states’ averages. This is another reason why you should only register for what you can take in six months. As you can see, registering more exams at once will save you some money.

  • 1 section $75.00
  • 2 sections $90.00
  • 3 sections $105.00
  • 4 sections $120.00

Make sure you’ve met all of the CPA requirements before you apply to take the CPA exam and pay the registration fees. You don’t want to have missed something that invalidates your NTS.

CPA License Requirements

The CPA exam process is involved and overwhelming for first time applicants. Don’t worry; you can do it! Your application is just the first step in becoming a CPA in Washington. After you pass the exam, you will have to complete a the following steps to become licensed in the state of Washington:

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 CPA work experience qualification.


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

If you took the exam before you finished your 150 hours, you will need to complete them no later than 180 days after taking your first section.

Work Experience Requirements

Washington requires CPA candidates to complete a standard one-year work experience qualification consisting of:

1-year or 2,000 hours of general accounting, auditing, and principles skills in Public Accounting, Private Industry


Academia verified by an active CPA who has been certified for at least 5 years

The unique part about Washington’s CPA work program is that your supervising CPA does not have to directly supervise you. He or she just has to oversee/manage your supervisors. This means your job responsibilities can be pretty flexible.

More Washington CPA Exam Resources

The initial application process is kind of intimidating particularly if you attended more than one school. The Washington 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. Nothing is worse than finding out you overlooked something at the end of the process.

State boards rarely notify you that something is missing. Things can get lost or forgotten. 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.