Learn How to Become a Licensed Certified Public Accountant In South Carolina
South Carolina, often called the Palmetto State, is known for its family friendly tourism hotspots and white sandy beaches. In addition to tourism, SC also boasts a thriving manufacturing and business services economy.
South Carolina is a perfect state to start your accounting career. With warm weather and emphasis on tourism, golf courses, and entertainment SD is experiencing an increased demand for accountants.
To start your accounting career in South Carolina, you first need to complete the minimum qualifications. Let’s look at the SC CPA requirements and what you need to do to take the CPA exam and become a licensed CPA in South Carolina.
Minimum South Carolina CPA Requirements for Certification
The SC Board of Accountancy requires aspiring CPA candidates to satisfy the following CPA requirements to take the CPA exam and become a licensed certified public accountant in South Carolina:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must have valid social security number
- Must have a Bachelor’s degree with 150 credit hours
- US Citizenship: not required
- South Carolina Residency: not required
Like many other states, South Carolina does require CPA candidates to have a social security number. Thus, international candidates looking to complete their exam process in SC will have to apply for an SS number if they want to complete the qualifications.
South Carolina CPA Certification Education Requirements
The South Carolina Board of Accountancy allows CPA candidates to take the CPA exam with 120 credit hours of college coursework, but candidates will need to complete at least 150 credit hours to become licensed in South Carolina.
CPA Candidates are required to complete a bachelors degree program with at least 120 the following minimum education requirements to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam in SC.
Your bachelor’s degree program (120-semester credits) must include 36 accounting coursework hours in:
- Cost or Managerial accounting
- Financial accounting
General Business Coursework
Equally, candidates must complete at least 30 hours in the business-related courses including:
- Business law
- Corporate finance
- Computer Science
Candidates should note that the board doesn’t count principles and introductory classes as upper level courses. However, the board accepts online/correspondence courses if the candidate transferred theme to a four-year institution.
For those who graduated from foreign/international institutions, the board requires NASBA International Evaluation Services to evaluate that part or all of your education.
It’s important to have your degree program approved before you submit your CPA application to make sure it meets the minimum South Carolina CPA requirements. If your doesn’t meet the minimum CPA qualifications, you might have to pay an additional application fee.
South Carolina CPA Exam Requirements
After you complete your baccalaureate degree program and have at least 120 semester hours, you are qualified to sit the CPA exam. Keep in mind, you will still need to complete another 30 accounting hours after graduating to make the 150 credit hours necessary to be licensed in South Carolina.
You CPA exam application can be submitted through the NASBA website. Once your application is submitted and accepted, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS) to schedule the exam.
You can schedule your exam through Prometric to any of the centers indicated. In South Carolina, CPA examination testing occurs in fives centers, including:
- Rock hill
Although you can take all four sections at once, it is not advisable. This is because the NTS can expire within six months, and you will have to re-register by paying a re-registration fee of $65, depending on the parts you are registering for.
You have 18 months from the time you sit the first part to complete the four sections.
SC CPA Exam Costs & Fees
The total cost of taking the CPA exam in South Carolina is $864.08, including an application fee of $135.
- 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: $135
Besides the application and exam fee, you might be required to pay the following CPA exam registration fees when retaking the exam.
- 1 section – $60
- 2 sections – $75.00
- 3 sections – $90.00
- 4 sections – $105.00
South Carolina CPA License Requirements
After you pass the CPA exam, you will need to complete the following license requirements, established by the SC State Board of Accountancy, to be eligible to become a licensed certified public accountant in South Carolina:
- Complete a Bachelor’s Degree program with at least 150 credit hours
- Pass the CPA exam within 18 months
- Pass the AICPA Professional Ethics exam
- Complete 2,000 hours of work experience
- Submit all the necessary paperwork to the SC Board of Accountancy
- Pay certification/license fees
Once you’ve completed all of the CPA requirements, you can send in your application to the State Board through their website. Once the Board approves your application, you will be notified of your acceptance and issued a license number.
AICPA Ethics Exam
Like most states, South Carolina requires CPA candidates to take the AICPA ethics exam before they qualify for licensure. This exam is open book and is relatively easy. You won’t need to study and can complete it online. You will need to take it seriously, however. You are only given 3 attempts to pass it online.
Work Experience Requirements
South Carolina offers two different pathways to complete your CPA work experience: work experience and teaching experience.
1-Year Work Experience
Candidates can undergo 2,000 hours of experience in a year working in private industry public accounting. Although you can work part-time or full-time, you should not work in accounting for over 40 hours per week. Most importantly, your experience should be under the supervision of a licensed CPA.
5-Year Teaching Experience
Alternatively, you can gain experience for five years, comprising teaching accounting in an accredited university or college in South Carolina. Interestingly, only accounting courses will count towards your experience, not finance or business-related courses.
However, you can’t teach fundamental accounting for over two years, and courses beyond fundamental accounting include:
- Intermediate accounting
- Advanced accounting
- Financial accounting
- Management and cost accounting
South Carolina CPA License Application & Renewal
Certified Public Accountants are required to renew their licenses once each year in order to keep their active status. Likewise, they are also required to complete at least 40 hours of continuing education each year.
South Carolina has a few pretty strict CPE rules. CPAs must complete 40 hours of CPE each year including 6 hours of ethics within a three year period with at least 2 hours being in South Carolina Rules and Regulations. They also limit self-study courses to only 20 hours per year.
You must report your CPE with each CPA license renewal application on form 3101.
South Carolina CPA Salary
The average South Carolina CPA salary is $76,434 per year according to the SD State Board of Accountancy. This average is based on several factors including: location, experience, industry, and position.
South Carolina is a great place for CPAs to work. With an abundance of career opportunities in industries like tourism, financial services, and manufacturing, licensed CPAs don’t have to look too hard for work.
Additional South Carolina CPA Resources
Here are several resources you can use to learn how to take the CPA exam in South Carolina and become a certified public accountant.