How To Become a CPA in New York: Step By Step Guide
New York, often called the Empire State, is the business hub of the United States. New York has proven itself to be a center for finance and accounting with Wall Street, the NYSE, and the NASDAQ all located in NYC.
New York is a great state to start your accounting career. With numerous big banks, insurance companies, and the Big 4 accounting firms, demand for certified public accountants is always high.
To start your accounting career in New York, you will first need to achieve the minimum qualifications. Let’s review the NY CPA requirements to sit for the CPA exam and become a licensed CPA in New York State.
Minimum New York CPA Requirements for Certification
Aspiring future CPAs will need to complete the following minimum CPA requirements to take the CPA exam and become a licensed certified public accountant in New York:
- Must at least 21 years old
- Must have a valid Social security number
- Must have a Bachelor’s Degree with at least 150 semester hours
- US Citizenship: not required
- New York Residency: not required
New York is the only state to require CPA candidates to be at least 21 years old to take the CPA exam. This requirements is not only strict, but it is also unusual.
It ultimately shouldn’t be a problem for most candidates, as they don’t finish their education requirements before the age of 21 anyway.
New York CPA Education Requirements
CPA candidates must complete a undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting consisting of at least 150 credit hours to be eligible to take the CPA exam in the state of New York.
New York offers candidates a few different pathways to complete this 150 credit hour requirement including:
Pathway #1 – Registered 150 program approved by NYSED
Completing a graduate degree from a registered program by the State Department of Accountancy is the most direct way of meeting the 150 semester hour academic requirement. These programs are designed to fulfill the requirements and will guarantee your eligibility.
Pathway #2 – Master’s degree with a major in accounting
Candidates can also fulfill their education requirements by completing a master’s accounting degree from an accredited AACSB accounting program.
Pathway #3 – Bachelor’s or higher degree and a minimum of 150 semester
Alternatively, you can meet the minimum education requirements with a bachelor’s degree (150 credit hours) that includes complete 33 semester education hours of the following courses:
- Cost/managerial accounting
- Financial reporting
- Attestation services and auditing
- Accounting ethics
- Risk assessment and internal controls
- Accounting information systems
- Business communication
In addition, your bachelor’s degree must include 36 semester hours in general business courses.
The good news is that most undergraduate accounting programs are designed to meet this criterion. Although, it’s important to check with the state board that your college courses are accepted.
For candidates that completed their higher education outside the US and didn’t complete an AACSB program or the New York State Licensure Qualifying Program, they will need to have their education credentials reviewed to ascertain whether they meet the New York CPA requirements.
Most importantly, the NASBA’s International Education Service doesn’t have the authority to approve candidates who earned their education outside the US. Therefore, the candidate should submit an Application for Licensure to the Department and have a professional Education Certification completed by their college.
In some cases, New York has counted candidates’ CPA exam study prep course as educational credits towards their overall requirement. This is fairly rare in that the courses need to be completed through an accredited university or college, but some colleges do offer exam prep courses in their CPA degree curriculum.
New York CPA Exam Requirements
New York allows CPA candidates to apply to take the CPA exam when they have 120 credit hours of college courses. This means that you do not have to complete the full 150 credit hour requirement before you are eligible to sit for the CPA exam.
You do, however, have to complete courses in the following before you can apply:
- Financial accounting
- Cost or management accounting
- Audit and attestation
Once you’ve met the CPA education requirements, you will qualify to sit for the exam. Simply fill out the CPA exam application on the New York Board of Examiners website and submit the following documents with your application:
- Complete College Transcripts
- Official Government ID
- Social Security Number
- Application fees
After the Board reviews and approves your application, they will issue you a Notice to Schedule document that allows you to schedule your CPA exam section with a Prometric testing center.
NY CPA Exam Costs & Fees
The cost of the CPA exam in New York is $983.60, not including re-registration fees. Here is a breakdown of each CPA exam section fee in New York:
- 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: $100
In New York, the application fee is $150, and each section will cost around $208.40 to complete. However, if you want to retake only a section of the exam, the board will adjust the amount you will pay to reflect the part you are taking.
Candidates must pass the entire CPA exam within an 18-month window. If you fail a section, you will not be allowed to retake it in the same testing window, as you can only sit for each section once every calendar quarter.
New York CPA License Requirements
After you pass the CPA exam, you will need to apply for a CPA license. To be eligible for a CPA license and become a licensed Certified Public Accountant in NY, you’ll need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Complete an approved undergraduate degree program (150-credit hours)
- Pass the CPA exam
- Pass the AICPA Ethics Exam
- Complete a 1-year work experience program
- Pay the NY CPA licensure fees
The New York Board reviews and approved license applications each month, so you shouldn’t have to wait long to get your application reviewed. If you meet all of the CPA qualifications, the Board will approve your application and issue you a license number soon after.
AICPA Ethics Exam
Before you can apply for licensure, you will need to pass the AICPA Ethics exam. This at-home exam is administered by the AICPA through their website. You can take it on your schedule, but you will need to pass with a score of at least 90%.
The test is open-book, but you do need to apply yourself, as you only get 3 chances to pass it.
Work Experience Requirements
In addition to the education and examination requirements, New York requires CPA candidates to complete a one year employment experience program.
The work program should include relevant experience from the following fields:
- Public Accounting
- Private Industry
- Educational Institution
- Government Agency
Most importantly, you have to gain experience under the direct supervision of a licensed, certified public accountant. Your supervisor must document your experience and submit a report to the NY Board upon your completion.
New York CPA License Application & Renewal
The New York State Board of Public Accountancy regulates the licensing process in the state. The NY Board requires all certified public accountants to renew their CPA licenses at the end of each year.
Additionally, you are required to complete at least 40 CPE hours annually and report these hours to the State Board in your renewal application.
The CPA license renewal process can be completed through the New York State website each year.
New York CPA Salary
The average New York CPA salary is $84,492 per year according to the NY Board of Examiners. This average is greatly swayed by New York City where the average salary is $104,155 per year. Upstate New York has much lower salaries in comparison.
The averages also depend on the position, level of experience, and industry the CPA is operating in.
Additional New York CPA Resources
Here is a list of several resources that show how to take the CPA exam in New York and become a certified public accountant.