Learn How to Become a Licensed Certified Public Accountant In Virginia
Virginia, often called Old Dominion, is home to one of the most diverse economies in the U.S. From shipbuilding to farming, the state is also known for seafood along the Atlantic coast and rivers. It is also known for its wineries and technology companies spread across the countryside.
Virginia’s diverse economy gives certified public accountants numerous opportunities for employment and career growth. It’s an ideal place to start your accounting career.
The first step to beginning your accounting career in Virginia is to meet the minimum qualifications. Let’s look at the VA CPA requirements to take the CPA exam and become a licensed CPA in Virginia.
Basic Requirements For CPA Certification in Virginia
To qualify to take the CPA exam and become a licensed certified public accountant in Virginia, you will need to meet the following CPA requirements:
- Have a Social Security Number
- Complete 120 semester hours with an accounting concentration
- US Citizenship: not required
- Virginia Residency: not required
- Minimum Age: not required
In Virginia, CPA candidates do not have to be U.S citizens or state residents in order to take the CPA exam and pursue a career as a certified public accountant. Similarly, there is no minimum age requirement.
These relatively loose requirements makes Virginia a suitable state for international CPA candidates as long as they are able to obtain a Social Security number.
Virginia CPA Certification Education Requirements
The Virginia Board of accountancy requires CPA candidates to complete a bachelor’s degree with an accounting concentration with at least 120 semester hours to sit for the CPA exam. For licensure, however, you must complete a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 150-semester credit hours.
The bachelor’s degree program must include at least 120 credit hours made up of both the required accounting and general business coursework to qualify.
The 24-semester hours of upper-level accounting coursework must include:
- Cost Accounting
- Financial accounting
General Business Coursework
Candidates must also complete 24-semester hours in business courses such as:
- Business law
- Corporate finance
The board requires all the academic credentials to be completed in an accredited institution. International students must have their academic credentials evaluated by an accrediting agency before making any submission.
It’s always a good idea to check your college credits with the Virginia State board to ensure it meets the minimum Virginia CPA requirements before you apply to take the exam. This way you won’t have any surprised down the road.
Virginia CPA Exam Requirements
Candidates who meet Virginia education requirements can apply to sit for the uniform CPA examination.
The Virginia Board of Accountancy requires candidates to submit the following CPA exam application documents:
- College transcripts from all Universities attended
- Government Issued ID
- Social Security Number
- Application fees
Once your application is approved, the board will forward an authorization to test to NASBA, which is the body that gives the green light to apply and schedule a CPA test. NASBA will issue your NTS (Notification to Schedule) that you will use to schedule your exam dates and pay the necessary examination fees.
The four sections of the CPA exam include:
Financial Accounting Reporting, a test that examines candidates mastering of various financial reporting frameworks. Candidates are also examined on their ability to compare statements from different reporting standards.
Auditing And Attestation, a test that examines knowledge of auditing processes and auditing standards. The section involves lots of calculations.
Regulation: a portion of the CPA exam focuses on the professional and legal responsibilities of public accountants.
Business Environment and concepts: The section covers all the general business concepts and international business.
In order to schedule each of these exam sections, you will need to pay the appropriate fees.
VA CPA Exam Costs & Fees
The cost of taking all four sections of the CPA examination in Virginia is $743, not including initial $120 application fee. The re-examination fee varies depending on the number of sections one is taking.
- 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: $120
If you fail a section and need to retake it, you will need to pay the section fee again along with a re-application fee.
Virginia CPA License Requirements
The CPA licensure process in Virginia can be confusing to many new CPA candidates. To become a licensed certified public accountant in the state of Virginia, the VA Board of Accountancy requires you meet the following requirements:
- Complete a bachelor’s degree program with 150 semester hours
- Pass the Uniform CPA Exam
- Pass the Ethics Test
- Complete 1-year work experience
Aspiring CPAs who meet the above requirements can apply for the Virginia CPA license through the board’s website. The board reviews everything and issues licenses to those who meet the basic CPA requirements.
AICPA Ethics Exam
Taking and passing the AICPA Ethics test is required for candidates who wish to become licensed CPAs in Virginia. The open book test is not as difficult as the CPA exam. However, candidates must score more than 90% for a pass.
The cost of taking the test is $140 and $119 for AICPA members and you can purchase it directly from the AICPA.
Work Experience Requirements
In addition to taking and passing the CPA and Ethics exams, aspiring CPAs in Virginia must complete a one-year of work experience program for licensure. The work experience can be obtained in a government department or academia and the public or private sector.
Some of the competencies to be covered as part of the work experience include:
Similarly, the work experience should be completed under the supervision of a licensed CPA in Virginia. The verifying CPA must also complete an Experience Verification form that must be submitted with the CPA license application.
Virginia CPA License Application & Renewal
CPA License holders are required to renew their CPA licenses each year as well as complete 120 hours of CPE education every three years with at least 20 hours of CPE completed every calendar year.
The CPA renewal process is convenient in Virginia, as they let you fill out the forms online and submit your CPE certificates online with your renewal forms. You can also pay the renewal fees online with you application as well.
To renew your CPA license, simply log on to your VA State Board account and fill out the renewal forms.
Virginia CPA Salary
The average Virginia CPA salary is $84,740 per year with the top earners make as much as $129,000 per year, according to the Virginia State Labor Bureau. These averages depend on a variety of factors including experience, position, and location.
Virginia is a great place for CPAs to work. Initial estimates indicate that accounting jobs will increase by as much as 15% through 2024. New accountants are expected to earn much more than the annual median.
Being home to one of the most diverse economies in the U.S, licensed CPAs can work in diversified fields in Virginia. There are plenty of forensic accounting jobs for licensed CPAs looking to participate in curbing financial fraud, for starters.
Environmental accountants are also in high demand as businesses and companies looking to establish the environmental cost of doing business and various activities’ costs. Licensed CPAs can also pursue careers as management accountants as well as financial analysts and consultants.
Steps to Become a Licensed CPA in Virginia
Here is a list of steps that aspiring CPAs must complete to become a CPA in Virginia:
- Complete a Bachelor’s Degree with 150 credit hours
- Take and pass the uniform CPA Exam
- Pass the AICPA Ethics Exam
- Complete 1-year Work Experience Program
- Apply for the Virginia CPA license
- Complete Annual CPE Requirements
Additional Virginia CPA Resources
Here are several resources that will help you learn how to take the CPA exam in Virginia and become a certified public accountant.