Learn How to Become a Licensed Certified Public Accountant In Hawaii
Hawaii is a tourism hub thanks to its sandy beaches, some of which come in unusual colors. While tourism is at the heart of the state’s economy, finance, insurance, and real estate sectors are also key contributors state’s Gross State Product.
Similarly, Certified Public Accountants CPAs are always in demand in the various diversified segments of the state’s economy.
Like most states, Hawaii has a unique set of requirements that CPA candidates must complete before they are eligible to become licensed. Let’s review all of the HI CPA requirements, so you can understand how to take the CPA exam and become a licensed CPA in Hawaii.
Basic Requirements For CPA Certification in Hawaii
CPA must meet the following minimum CPA requirements in order to take the CPA exam and become a certified public accountant in Hawaii:
- Being at least 18 years old
- Be a U.S citizen
- Have a social security number
- Partake international programs and exams
- Have a bachelor’s degree or within 120-days of graduation
- Show proof of 2-years work experience
Hawaii CPA Certification Education Requirements
Hawaii requires prospective CPAs to meet certain education requirements before they are eligible to take the exam. The state requires CPA applicants to complete a bachelor’s degree majoring in accountancy including:
- Have a bachelors’ degree or be 120-hours from graduation
- Complete 150 semester hours from an accredited institution
The 150 semester hours must include:
- 24 semester hours in high-level accounting courses
- 24 semester hours in non-accounting business-related courses
The accounting courses must include taxation, auditing attestation, financial reporting cost accounting, and accounting information systems. The business classes must cover business communication, business law, marketing management, and statistics.
Prospective candidates who have achieved at least 120-semester hours, equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, can apply and schedule the Uniform CPA exam a requisite to filling for licensure as a public accountant.
One thing to note is that if you did not go to college in Hawaii, you should check to see if your educational credits are approved by the HI State Board and meet the minimum Hawaii CPA requirements before you apply to take the CPA exam.
If you wait a number of years after you graduate to take the CPA exam, it might be a good idea to take a CPA review refresher course to help you study some CPA exam topics you forgot or didn’t really understand in college.
Hawaii CPA Exam Requirements
The uniform CPA exam is a four-section test that is administered by NASBA. Thus, the exam itself doesn’t change from state to state, but the requirements to take it does.
In order to take the CPA exam in Hawaii, applicants must:
- Have completed at least 18-semester hours of upper-level undergraduate or graduate accounting course
- If you are still in college, you must be within 120-days of graduation
Applicants who earned their education credentials in a learning institution outside the U.S must have their academic credentials evaluated by an approved accrediting agency. Likewise, one should have a letter of acceptance into the graduate degree program from an accredited U.S college.
Once your education is approved, CPA applicants can log into their NASBA account and apply for a NTS. This document allows you to schedule a CPA exam section. Once you have your NTS, you can schedule your CPA exam section testing dates through the Prometric website.
HI CPA Exam Costs & Fees
Once an application is approved, applicants must pay the required exam fees to sit for the Uniform CPA exam. The cost to take the full CPA exam is $743 plus an initial $145 application fee.
- 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: $145
One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to apply for and all of the exam sections at once. Your NTS is only valid for six months. Thus, if you don’t sit for all the sections in that 6-month period, your notice of schedule will expire after six months in Hawaii. You will then have to pay extra fees to reapply and get a new NTS.
While other states require CPA applicants to take and pass the Ethics exam, Hawaii requires candidates only to take four hours of continuing professional education in ethics.
Hawaii CPA License Requirements
Hawaii is a two-tiered state when it comes to CPA license application. What this means is that taking and passing the CPA exam is not an automatic qualification to practice as a certified public accountant.
You must fulfill the following Hawaii CPA license requirements in order to become a licensed CPA:
- Completing 150-semester hours of college education
- Taking and passing the Uniform CPA Exam
- Attaining 2-years work experience
- Paying the required CPA License fees
All the documents must be mailed to the Hawaii Board of Public accountancy and wait to receive notification from the board. The board takes a minimum of 30 days to process an application; successful application is communicated via email.
Work Experience Requirements
Like many other states, Hawaii requires CPA candidates to complete a work experience program before they are eligible for licensure.
There are two options for candidates to complete their work experience: public accounting or government/ private industry.
If you take the public accounting route, Hawaii requires prospective CPAs to complete at least 1,500 hours of auditing experience in a public accounting practice. The work experience should be supervised of a licensed CPA in good standing. This is the preferred method for completing your work experience.
Since many accountants don’t go on to work in public accounting, Hawaii has offered another option for candidates to gain relevant work experience. They can complete two years of work in governmental accounting or teaching supervised by a CPA.
Both of these methods will meet the minimum work experience qualifications for Hawaii.
Hawaii CPA License Application & Renewal
As with most states, Hawaii requires CPA license holders to renew their licenses every two years. The renewal process is quite simple. You can log into your Hawaii State Board account to access the renewal forms and pay the renewal license fees of $150.
Hawaii also requires licensed CPAs to remain current by completing continuing professional education (CPE) requirements. Licensed CPA must complete 80 hours of CPE every two years. These CPE credits must be submitted to the state board with your renewal application.
Hawaii CPA Salary
According to labor statistics, the demand for accountants and auditors in the U.S is poised to increase by 10% between 2016 and 2026. Hawaii is expected to add 8% additional accountants through 2024. Likewise, this would be one of the best states to pursue licensure and certification as a public accountant.
Certified public accountants earn an average of $51,000 in Hawaii. Early career salaries average $40,000, with mid-career salaries rising to more than $68,000.
Licensed CPA’s can pursue various careers with the certificate. In the state, there are fewer than 5,000 accounting positions with about 4,700 jobs already filled.
Additional Hawaii CPA Resources
Here is a list of great resources that you can use to learn how to take the CPA exam in Hawaii and become a certified public accountant.