Once you become a licensed CPA, you, as a licensee, will need to take continuing professional education (CPE) courses for renewal of your CPA licence every 1-3 years in order to maintain your professional competence.
CPA CPE Requirements on Credit Hours
As part of the ongoing requirements to maintain the CPA designation, you must meet all the regulations set by the state you are registered in. You must complete at least 120 hours of CPE for each three-year reporting period, according to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Check here for more details.
Qualified CPE Courses
Almost all state boards no longer possess a list of pre-approved CPE providers. Instead, they now rely on NASBA’s “approval system”. Those on the approved list will be given an ID that can be easily tracked on this site. It is NASBA’s mission to improve the effectiveness of state accounting boards and advance the common interests of their members.
Technical vs Non-Technical Subjects
Most state boards have their own credit limitations and other subject area requirements. Some state boards have a few guidelines regarding the minimum number of technical courses, such as accounting/auditing, and the maximum number of soft courses, like the behavioural and personal development courses.
Since 2011 and 2012, a lot of state boards have begun including ethics as mandatory CPA CPE requirements. The number of hours required varies from state to state, but in general, you are asked to take four hours of ethics every 120 hours.
Some states only recognize an ethics course that is approved by their own state board. Make sure you read the instructions from your state board carefully. If not sure, you can always obtain the information online, or you can contact them by email.
Some states have a limitation on the kind of self-study classes you must take or have a restrictive definition; for example, the self-study course must be graded in order to get accepted. The definition is slightly different across states. Please go through the Board Administrative Rule carefully or get in touch with your CPE course provider.
As opposed to self-study courses, live webinars are generally fully acceptable for CPE hours because they are truly interactive in nature.
Obtaining CPE Credits as an Author, Speaker or Presenter
In most states, you can also get CPE credits by writing an article or a book, or by being a lecturer, speaker, or presenter on CPA-relevant subjects in your field.
In most cases, there are also restrictions regarding this rule. You may either claim the credit up to a certain number of hours, or the credit is discounted, that is, if you have a 2-hour lecture, only one hour of CPE credit can be counted.
Converting College Credits to CPE Credits
Rule of thumb:
- 1 quarter credit = 10 CPE credits.
- 1 semester credit = 15 CPE credits.
How to Report CPE Courses
Generally, the State Boards ask licensees to submit and report their CPE credits for each renewal cycle, but a rising number of state boards are asking licensees to keep the documentation without the need to report the credits. You must keep all supporting documents in file for at least 4-5 years (or as specified by your state board) for possible audit.
Information Required on Your Certificate
The certificate is your proof of attendance. All necessary information should be present there if you take the course from a reputable CPE provider. If not, make sure that the following information is included:
- Name of the program
- Participant’s name (Your name)
- The dates and hours of attendance
- Specific subject(s) included in the program
- Number of hours awarded
- Date of completion
- Signature of an authorized representative of the CPE program provider
This article is about the CPA CPE requirements and credit hours. Hope that the above article is helpful to you. If you have any queries, feel free to comment in the section below. Happy Learning!
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