Learn How to Become a Licensed Certified Public Accountant In West Virginia
West Virginia, often called the Mountain State, is one of the largest exporter of coal, industrial equipment, and synthetic materials in the US. Despite its prominence in mining, West Virginia’s largest industry is finance
This makes WV a great state for accountants to work and start their careers in public or private accounting in a variety of industries from mining and heavy industry to health care and insurance.
The first hurdle to staring your accounting career in West Virginia is meeting the minimum qualifications. Let’s review the WV CPA requirements that you must meet to take the CPA exam and become a licensed CPA in West Virginia.
Basic Requirements For CPA Certification in West Virginia
To be eligible to take the CPA exam and become a licensed certified public accountant in West Virginia, you will need to meet the following CPA requirements:
- Must be over 18 years old
- Must be a West Virginia resident
- Must have a valid social security number
- Must complete Bachelor’s degree program with 150 semester hours
- US citizenship: not required
The West Virginia CPA requirements a somewhat unique because they don’t require you to be a US citizen. This makes the CPA exam in WV available to international candidates if they have a valid Social Security number and are able to obtain WV residency.
West Virginia CPA Certification Education Requirements
The West Virginia State Board of Accountancy requires candidates to complete a bachelor’s degree with 150 credit hours from an accredited 4-year institution to be eligible for the CPA exam. The bachelor’s degree must also meet specific accounting and general business coursework requirements as well.
The candidate needs to complete 27 semester hours in accounting with a concentration in the following areas.
- Financial systems and auditing
- Intermediate or financial accounting
- Elective accounting courses
- Cost, managerial, government, and non-profit accounting
General Business Coursework
Equally, the candidate must complete 27 credit hours in business-related courses with a focus on:
- Business-related electives
It’s important that you ensure that your degree or accounting program is from an accredited institution. The credits you receive will only count towards the WV education requirements if the candidate has completed education from an institution with accreditation from one of the following agencies.
It’s important to check with the West Virginia Board of Accountancy that your college credits meet the West Virginia CPA requirements before your apply to take the CPA exam.
For candidates with degrees from foreign universities, you should have NASBA International Evaluation services or Foreign Academic Credentials Services Inc. evaluate your transcripts.
West Virginia CPA Exam Requirements
It is important to remember that in West Virginia, you can only sit for the CPA exam after completing an undergraduate program. To apply for the CPA exam, send an application to the WV Board of Accountancy with the necessary documents. The West Virginia CPA exam requires the following application documents:
- A character witness statement from a CPA and two non-relatives
- College transcripts sent directly from the university from your institution
- Filled Intent to Sit form and payment of application and exam fees as per the form
- 2” by 2” sized passport photos
After applying, you should wait for approval from the board. Once they approve your application, they will issue a Notice to Schedule (NTS). With the NTS, you can visit the Prometric site to schedule your exam in either Charleston or Morgantown testing centers.
There are four sections of the CPA exam, which include Financial Reporting and Accounting (FAR), Attestation and Audit (AUD), Regulation (REG), and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC). You’ll need to pass all four sections with a score of at least 75 within 18 months of passing your first section.
WV CPA Exam Costs & Fees
The total cost of the CPA exam in West Virginia is approximately $893.08 with an application fee of $170.
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD): $207.15
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC): $185.10
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR): $207.15
- Regulation (REG): $185.10
- Application Fee: $170
It is advisable not to get ahead of yourself by taking all the four parts at once, although it is acceptable. Since you have six months from the time you receive your NTS, it can be impossible to complete all the sections in that time frame.
If you don’t take the exam within six months of registration, you might be forced to re-register by paying $40.
West Virginia CPA License Requirements
The process of being a licensed CPA can be involved if you are a first-time candidate, but after passing the CPA examination, you are almost done. To become a licensed certified public accountant in West Virginia, the WV Board of Accountancy requires you meet the following:
- Must have 150 credit hours academic requirements
- Pass all the four sections of the CPA exam
- Complete a one-year work experience requirement supervised by an active CPA
- Submit necessary paperwork to the board including, license application, transcripts, and work experience proof
- Pay certification or license fee
Interestingly, West Virginia doe not require you to the AICPA ethics exam in order to become licensed.
If you are from another state and hold a CPA license, you will have to meet WV’s licensing equivalent requirements to get a license. To get a WV license, you should apply for a reciprocal license.
Work Experience Requirements
Before you can become licensed, you will need to complete a standard one-year or 2,000 credit hours experience within four years of passing the CPA exam.
You can obtain your experience in private practices, government, a non-profit organization, public practice, academia, or industry. A licensed CPA should supervise your training and document your work on the experience verification form of your application.
Most importantly, your work experience should include the following concentrations:
- Audit, compilation, and review of statements
- Management advisory
- Preparation of tax returns
- Financial Advisory
- Book and record-keeping
- Tax research
CPA candidates who start a career as a college professor are allowed to use their experience teaching CPA exam review courses to students as part of their qualifying work experience. This type of experience does need to be approved by the board, so check with them before you submit your application.
West Virginia CPA License Application & Renewal
Once your become a licensed CPA in West Virginia, you will need to keep your license active and in good standing by renewing it each year and completing the required continuing education credits.
Licensed CPAs should complete 120 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) to maintain their license. The WV Board of Accountancy recommends one to compete for at least 40 hours of CPE each year, but 20 are necessary at the end of January 31 of every year.
Each year, you will need to complete your license renewal application form and submit your CPE certificates along with your renewal fees in order to renew your CPA license and keep it active.
West Virginia CPA Salary
The average West Virginia CPA salary is $68,421 according to the WV Labor Bureau. This salary range is dependent on location, position, and level of experience.
West Virginia is a great state for certified public accountants to work because it provides a variety of industries and specializations from mining to healthcare industries. The cost of living is also well below the national average.
Additional West Virginia CPA Resources
Here are several resources that illustrate how to take the CPA exam in West Virginia and become a certified public accountant.