CPA Exam Fees 2024: How much does CPA cost?

To become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you must overcome certain roadblocks even after completing your degree with diligence. The CPA Exam is one of the most important of these. If you’re not one of the fortunate few whose employer provides financial assistance, this difficult but worthwhile exam will cost you money.

For the majority of prospective CPAs, there are a few exam costs that must be paid in full before they can finally have the sought-after “certified” title. But hang on! Don’t let this news discourage you. The CPA designation is a highly valuable credential that offers substantial returns throughout your career.

In light of this, use this article as a guide to help you create a budget that accounts for every possible expense related to becoming a CPA!

CPA Exam Cost Breakdown

The CPA exam process involves payments to several important partners who make sure the testing goes smoothly. AICPA, NASBA, your state’s Board of Accountancy, and Prometric testing facilities are examples of institutions that receive different portions of your payments.

Registration Fee

An essential component of the CPA exam procedure is the registration fee. There used to be different costs for each exam section. Fifty-two out of fifty-five jurisdictions now charge a registration fee, although some states do not. 

This is a one-time fee that usually costs between $30 and $150 and is paid to the state board of accountancy. The good news is that it will cost the same whether you take one or multiple exam sections.

Exam Fee

The NASBA suggests charging $344.80 per section for exams. It’s not quite that simple, though. Although this is the standard fee structure for most states, there are some exceptions, with some candidates reporting fees as high as $350.

In fact, $344.80 is the most common fee, which is in line with NASBA’s advice. For the great majority of states, this is true. This fee, which you must pay each time you sign up for a section, goes toward covering the exam’s operational and administrative expenses.

Total Cost Range for the CPA Exam

Using the $344.80 benchmark, the total cost for candidates who intend to take all four sections without retakes is $1,379.20. This emphasizes how crucial careful planning is to prevent unforeseen expenses from having to redo test sections.

Additional CPA Exam Fees

Even though the exam and registration fees cover the base cost, extra costs may add up. These include state-specific requirements and resources to help you prepare for your exam. To obtain a more complete view of the possible expenses, let’s explore these additional factors!

CPA Review Courses

Don’t make the difficult CPA Exam even more difficult by taking it alone. It is highly recommended to get a popular CPA review course such as Becker or Surgent, if you want to pass the test fast. These all-inclusive courses include practice questions, video lectures, and study aids created especially to cover the material on the test.

Even though a review course has an initial cost, it ultimately saves you energy in the long run by raising your passing rate on the first try. There are numerous CPA review courses available, with prices ranging from slightly under $1,000 to significantly over $3,000.

When choosing, take your budget and learning style into account. For less money, self-study courses can provide value that is comparable to that of live courses. Make sure the study materials you receive are the best fit for your needs, even if your employer pays for them.

Accounting Courses

Test-takers must typically have completed 150 credit hours of coursework, according to the majority of state boards. You will need to enroll in additional accounting courses, usually at the undergraduate or graduate level, if you don’t meet this requirement. 

Depending on the school you select, the quantity of credits required, and whether you enroll in full- or part-time courses, the price may change. To fill in any educational gaps, budget anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Background Check and Ethics Exam Fees 

In some states, a background check might be necessary as part of the eligibility process. The candidate is responsible for these checks, which can cost as much as $49. It’s crucial to get direct confirmation of this requirement from the Board of Accountancy in your state.

Additionally, 35 states require passing a CPA ethics exam in order to guarantee that CPAs adhere to ethical standards. The Professional Ethics course offered by the AICPA, which costs $250 for members and $320 for non-members, is used in twenty-six of these states.

How to Minimize CPA Exam Fees?

A few steps can be taken to reduce the cost of your CPA exam. Note that passing each section on your first attempt can save you a lot of money, as the guide mentioned. But there are clever ways to save exam money even before you start buying study materials.

Firstly, there are state boards that give a discount for registering for more than one section at once. So it might be a good idea to do it if you feel confident enough. Only schedule more than one section, though, if you are confident in your ability to prepare yourself. 

Then, pick a CPA test preparation program with a high rate of return on money. Seek out courses that offer customized study plans and access to a large database of practice questions. Even though the initial expense might seem high, you can end up saving money.

Finally, look into the discounts that prep course providers are offering. Some businesses use employer partnerships to provide promo codes or exclusive prices. The cost of a review course can also be more reasonably priced with financing options like monthly payments.

The Takeaway

Although the initial financial commitment may seem overwhelming, it’s crucial to keep in mind that earning the CPA title opens up a wide range of career options. More significantly, you can go into the CPA exam process with a well-thought-out financial strategy if you are aware of the various fee schedules and look into money-saving options.



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