How To Become a CPA in New Jersey: Step By Step Guide
New Jersey, sometimes called the Garden State, is home to beautiful beaches, great food, and diverse cultures. It is also home to a strong economy with one of the highest GDPs.
Ranked #1 in education, New Jersey is a great state to start your accounting career. There are numerous opportunities in the pharmaceutical and life science industries as well as financial services and advanced manufacturing.
To begin your accounting career in New Jersey, you’ll need to fulfill the minimum qualifications. Let’s review the NJ CPA requirements to see what you need to do to take the CPA exam and become a licensed CPA in New Jersey.
Minimum New Jersey CPA Requirements for Certification
Aspiring future CPAs must meet the following minimum CPA requirements to take the CPA exam and become a licensed certified public accountant in New Jersey:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must have a social security number
- Must have a bachelor’s degree (120-semester hours)
- Completed 1-year of accounting work experience
- US Citizenship: not required
- New Jersey Residency: not required
Like many other states, New Jersey does not require CPA candidates to be a resident of the state in order to sit for the CPA exam. This is great for New Jersey students from other states.
If you graduate from a college outside of New Jersey and then get hired in the state, you will have no problem taking the exam.
New Jersey CPA Certification Education Requirements
The New Jersey accountancy board has specific education requirements that aspiring CPAs must fulfill before sitting the Uniform CPA exam. The board requires candidates to complete 120 credit hours of college or university education, leading to a bachelor’s degree. However, to become a licensed CPA, candidates must complete 150 semester hours of credit.
There are four academic options in the Garden State that candidates must fulfill at least one to sit for the CPA exam.
In this case, candidates can earn a bachelor’s degree in a business from an accredited college with
- 24-semester hours in undergraduate or graduate-level accounting courses
- 24-semester hours in undergraduate level business courses (other than accounting)
Earn a bachelors degree from an accredited institution with 30 semester hours in undergraduate or graduate-level accounting courses, including
- Management accounting
- Financial accounting,
Earn a graduate degree with a concentration in accounting
Earn a graduate degree from an accredited institution with one of the following requirements
- 24 semester hours in undergraduate-level accounting courses
- 15 semester hours in graduate-level accounting courses, including:
- Management accounting
- Financial accounting
It’s important to check with the NJ State Board to see if your educational qualification meet the minimum New Jersey CPA requirements before you apply to take the exam. This could save you some application fees and expenses in the long fun.
New Jersey CPA Exam Requirements
Aspiring CPAs who have earned at least 120 semester hours of credit and bachelor’s degree can apply to sit the New Jersey CPA exam.
The application process begins with registering online on the CPA Examination Services portal. In the portal, you will be instructed on the documentation to attach as part of the application process.
CPA Exam in New Jersey
The Uniform CPA exam includes
Financial accounting and Reporting: Examines candidate’s knowledge of various financial reporting frameworks and the ability to compare statements from different reporting standards.
Auditing and Attestation: the section examines a candidate’s grasp of auditing and auditing processes’ international standards.
Regulation: The section examines the candidate’s knowledge of ethical, professional, and legal responsibilities.
Business Environment and Concepts. The fourth portion covers general business concepts and international business.
Once the board accepts your CPA qualifications and application, you can apply and schedule the CPA exam.
CPA candidates must pay the required CPA exam fees to sit any CPA exam portion.
NJ CPA Exam Costs & Fees
CPA candidates planning to do the uniform CPA exam must pay $743 plus an initial $225 application fee. Here’s a breakdown of the CPA exam fees in NJ:
- 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: $225
On the other hand, the re-examination fee varies depending on the number of sections one is taking.
New Jersey CPA License Requirements
After you have completed your education requirements and passed the CPA exam, you are ready to apply for the New Jersey CPA license.
Before you qualify to become a licensed Certified Public Accountant in NJ, you’ll need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Completed 150 semester hours of college education
- Pass the Uniform CPA Exam
- Pass the New Jersey Ethics exam
- Complete at least one year of accounting work experience
Candidates who meet the above requirements can apply for licensure through the board by filing the Application for Licensure form.
NJ Ethics Exam
New Jersey also requires aspiring CPAs to take the NJ Ethics exam as part of the licensure process, in addition to taking the uniform CPA exam.
Of note, the Ethics exam in New Jersey is unique from the AICPA exam that many other states require. This exam is written by the NJ State Board and has several different unique features.
Work Experience Requirements
To satisfy the board requirements for CPA licensure, candidates must also complete at least one year of accounting work experience. The work experience can be completed in the private or public sector or academia or government institution.
As part of the work experience, candidates must demonstrate competencies in
- Auditing and Accounting
- Tax Services
- Management Services
- Book Keeping services
New Jersey is one of a few states that allows CPA candidates to count their time CPA tutoring towards their work experience requirements. This means if you work in an approved academic setting, you may be able to fulfill the experience qualification without working at a public CPA firm.
New Jersey CPA License Application & Renewal
Once you’ve completed all of the CPA requirements, you will qualify to apply for a CPA license. The CPA license application is simple and can be completed on the State Board website.
You will also need to renew your NJ CPA license every three years. The New Jersey CPA renewal process is the same as you initial application. Log on to the State Board website to fill out the necessary application and submit your CPE credits along with your renewal fees.
Continuing Professional Education
Once the New Jersey CPA license is attained, it is important to remain current by taking at least 72 hours of continued professional education
Fulfilling CPE education is crucial as it is a requirement for CPA license renewal every three years.
New Jersey CPA Salary
New Jersey certified public accountants are some of the country’s highest-paid with an average New Jersey CPA salary of $92,000 per year. This earnings average depends largely on location, experience, and industry.
Licensed certified public accountants can practice in various fields across the vast Garden State. For instance, there are work opportunities for forensic accountants tasked with helping law enforcement curb financial fraud.
You can also an accounting career as a management accountant or tax accountant working with individuals and businesses in preparing quarterly and annual filings.
Steps to Become a CPA in New Jersey
Aspiring CPAs only have to:
- Gain education in the state
- Take and pass the uniform CPA exam
- Take and pass the Ethics exam
- Gain the necessary Work experience
- Apply for the New Jersey CPA license
- Continue with CPE education
Additional New Jersey CPA Resources
Here are a few resources to learn how to take the CPA exam in New Jersey and become a certified public accountant.