Learn How to Become a Licensed Certified Public Accountant In Colorado
Colorado has one of the best economies in the US, strengthened by friendly tax policies. High employment rates coupled with low healthcare costs and fiscal stability, are some of the factors that make CO stand out as a great state to work for CPAs.
According to the Colorado Department of Professions and Occupations, accounting and other financial service jobs are expected to grow by 10% between now and 2026. Needless to say, Colorado is a great place to start your career as a CPA.
Getting licensed in Colorado is much easier than other states because they have lax educational requirements; although, they do require candidates to finish 150 credit hours of college courses as of 2015. Let’s examine the CO CPA requirements and what you’ll need to do to take the CPA exam in Colorado and become a licensed CPA in Colorado.
Basic Requirements For CPA Certification in Colorado
While Colorado is less strict when it comes to their CPA certification qualifications, candidates do have to meet the following minimum CPA requirements in Colorado to become a certified public accountant:
- Have a social security number
- Have a bachelor’s degree
- Prove 1-year experience in accountancy from one or more employers
- No age requirement
- US citizenship not required
- Colorado residency not required
Colorado CPA Certification Education Requirements
Colorado shares almost all the same attributes as other states regarding education requirements to become a certified public accountant. Prospective candidates are only required to have completed a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree must include:
- Upper-level accounting classes 27 credits
- Accounting and professional ethics
- Auditing 6 credits
- General business classes 21 credits
- Economics Management and marketing
The 150 credit hours required for certification can include 120- hours of bachelor’s degree and 30 hours of upper-level coursework. Keep in mind that your college level credit hours must be part of a CPA exam program in order to qualify.
Prospective CPA candidates who attended school outside the US must ensure their education credentials are submitted and evaluated by a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services Inc.
If your education does not meet the Colorado CPA requirements, you will not be able to sit for the exam.
Colorado CPA Exam Requirements
After you have completed your education requirements, you are set to sign up for the exam. The next step to becoming a CPA in Colorado is to register for the exam on the CPA Examination Services (CPAES) Website.
You will need to do the following during the application process:
- Ensure official college transcripts are submitted directly to CPAES
- Submit a signed First Time Application for the Uniform CPA Exam
- Provide a copy of identification, i.e., passport or driver’s license
- Submit a signed and notarized Attestation form
CO CPA Exam Costs & Fees
Once your applications are finished, you will just have to pay the CPA exam fees. Candidates are required to pay exam fees for sections they intend to do within six months. The cost to take all the CPA sections is $743 plus an additional $150 application fee.
Here is a list of the CPA exam fees for each section in Colorado.
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD): $195.35
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC): $176.25
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR): $ 195.35
- Regulation (REG): $176.25
- Application Fee: $150
Colorado CPA License Requirements
After you complete the education requirements and pass the CPA exam in Colorado, you will need to take a few more steps in order to become a licensed CPA. Here is a list of requirements you must fulfill before you are eligible to become licensed:
- Earned a bachelor’s degree with the necessary accounting concentration
- Have passed the Uniform CPA Exam
- Have Passed the AICPA Ethics Exam
- Satisfy the board experience requirement
The first two steps are taking the AICPA ethics exam and completing the work experience requirements.
AICPA Ethics Exam
Before applying for a CPA license in Colorado, candidates must pass the ethics exam as administered AICPA as one of the requirements. Candidates must pass the exam with a score of 90% or more within two years of applying or applying for a CPA license.
Work Experience Requirements
Accounting experience is crucial to obtaining a CPA license in Colorado. Unlike other states, Colorado offers two options for CPA candidates to fulfill their work experience requirements.
Education without Work Experience
Candidates with the proper amount of education can waiver their experience requirements. Yes, that’s right. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 150 semester hours, made up of 45 hours in accounting coursework and 36 hours in business administration coursework can waive their work experience requirement and simply apply for a CPA license.
Education with Work Experience
If you do not have 150 credit hours, you will need to prove 1800 hours of supervised work in the accounting field to be considered for a CPA license. The board does consider internships.
Colorado CPA Licensure Process
If you have met all of these requirements, you can apply for your Certified Public Accountant license in Colorado by simply creating an account on the NASBA website and submitting the following:
- Affidavit of Eligibility
- Sealed certificates of work experience
- AICPA Ethics Exam Certificate of Completion
- Application Fee usually $110
Colorado CPA License Application & Renewal
After you complete your CPA journey and become a CPA in Colorado, you will need to maintain your license on a bi-annual basis. Your license if valid for two years and expires on November 30 of every odd-numbered year.
You must renew your license before November 30, or it will expire. Colorado offers a 120-day grace period in case you forget to renew your license on time, but isn’t required to offer you any extra time after that. If you let it expire beyond the 120-day grace period, you will have to re-apply to get your license reinstated.
Renewing your license is pretty easy. Simply, log on to your Colorado DORA account and click renew license. Then follow the steps to upload your annual CPE requirements and pay the renewal fees.
The bi-annual CPA license fee is $77 for all active CPA license holders.
Colorado CPA Salary
In Colorado, the average salary for a certified public accountant is $74,000 per year, depending on your experience.
There almost no limit to the work that a licensed CPA can do in Colorado. You can pursue a career in forensic accounting tasked with taking criminals down through investigative analytics and auditing skills. You can also work as a tax accountant helping individuals’ portions and nonprofits file tax returns. CPA license holders can also work as Sports auditor or an environmental accountant.
The opportunities to grow as a professional are limitless in Colorado.
Additional Colorado CPA Resources
Here are several resources you can use to learn how to take the CPA exam in Colorado and become a certified public accountant.