How to Become a Licensed CPA in Wisconsin

wisconsin-cpa-requirementsWisconsin does require 150 credit hours to obtain a CPA license, but WI allows students to take their first exam section 60 days before fulfilling all of the educational requirements.

This is a great opportunity to get your application process and first section done before you even graduate! WI also doesn’t require a social security number, which makes it attractive for foreign applicants.

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

Wisconsin CPA Exam Requirements

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

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Not Required to be a US citizen
  • Not Required to be a WI resident
  • Not Required to have Valid Social Security Number
  • WI does participate in the International Examination Program

Educational Requirements to Sit

Even though Wisconsin requires 150 credits to sit for the exam, students can take a section up to 60 days before graduation. In order to take the CPA exam in Wisconsin, you will need to meet the following educational requirements:

Bachelor’s Degree (60 days from 150 semester hours) including:

  • 24 hours of Accounting courses
  • 24 hours of General business courses


Master’s Degree (60 days from 150 semester hours) including:

  • 15 hours of graduate level Accounting courses
  • 24 hours of General business courses

I know your last year of college is a pretty crazy time. Trust me; your first year of employment will be even worse. Try to take the exam as early as you can. You won’t regret it!

Check with your college and the state board to see if your degree program meets the basic CPA exam requirements, so you can take a CPA exam section while you are still a college student.

Exam Fees

The total cost to take the CPA exam in Wisconsin is $974.08 including an initial one-time $245 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 section fees are set based on the time length of the exam section. Thus, AUD and FAR are the most expensive exam sections.

CPA exam tip – I know you are excited to sign up, but don’t register for all four sections at once. This will end up costing you more in the long run because your notice to sit will expire in 6 months if you don’t take the exam.

This means you will have to re-register and pay an additional registration fee. WI has an intricate fee schedule depending on how many sections and what sections you sign up for. Look at the fee schedule before you go ahead and sign up for multiple sections.

CPA License Requirements

The CPA exam process is involved especially for first time applicants. Don’t get discouraged; you can do it! Your application is just the first step in becoming a CPA in WI. It will be over soon.

We’ve all have been there; It’s kind of a right of passage. After you pass the exam, here are the things you need to do before you can legally 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

You must pass the Wisconsin Ethics Exam. The AICPA exam does not meet the minimum CPA license requirements.

Additional Education

As long as you completed your 150 semester hours before you took the exam, you are all set on your educational requirements.

Work Experience Requirements

Wisconsin has a few unique characteristics for their work experience qualifications. Here are the details.

1-year or 2,000 hours of general accounting, auditing, and principles skills in Public Accounting or equivalent verified by an active CPA.

WI requires that all 2,000 be completed after your education is complete. Wisconsin also allows part time work hours to count toward the total.

More Wisconsin CPA Exam Resources

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

This is the main reason why I recommend getting a hold of 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. Sometimes mail gets lost. Unfortunately, I know this firsthand. One of my college transcripts got lost in the mail. I had to send them twice! It was a huge pain. Not to mention, it added two weeks on the process.

Directly contacting the board is the best way to make sure they have everything they need before you get too far along in your application.

Here is the contact info for the state board.