Initial License

Who Should Apply for an Initial License? | General Requirements | Fees | Partial Refunds | Education Requirements | Examination Requirements | Experience Requirements

Who Should Apply for an Initial License?

  • Any applicant who has never been licensed as a CPA in another U.S. state or by a foreign licensing jurisdiction that has a Mutual Recognition Agreement with (MRA) with the National Association of State Board for Accountancy (NASBA);
  • Any applicant who is licensed as a CPA in another U.S. state that is determined by the New York State Board of Regents to have licensure requirements that are not significantly comparable to New York State' licensure requirements;
  • Any applicant who has been licensed for less than 4 years as either a CPA in another U.S. state that the New York State Board of Regents has determined to have licensure requirements that are significantly comparable to New York State' licensure requirements; or by a foreign licensing jurisdiction that has an MRA with NASBA

General Requirements

To be licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in New York State you must:

  • be of good moral character;
  • be at least 21 years of age;
  • meet education requirements;
  • meet examination requirements; and
  • meet experience requirements.

You must submit an Application for Licensure and First Registration (Form 1) and any other forms indicated, along with the $377 fee to the Office of the Professions at the address at the end of the form. It is your responsibility to follow up with anyone you have asked to submit materials.

The specific requirements for licensure are contained in Title 8, Article 149, Section 7404 of New York's Education Law and Part 70 of the Commissioner's Regulations.

You should also read the general licensing information applicable for all professions.


Fees

The fee for licensure is $377.

Fees are subject to change. The fee due is the one in law when your application is received (unless fees are increased retroactively). You will be billed for the difference if fees have been increased.

  • Do not send cash.
  • Make your personal check or money order payable to the New York State Education Department. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
  • Mail your application and fee to:

    New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions
    PO Box 22063
    Albany, NY 12201

NOTE: Payment submitted from outside the United States should be made by check or draft on a United States bank and in United States currency; payments submitted in any other form will not be accepted and will be returned.


Partial Refunds

Individuals who withdraw their license application may be entitled to a partial refund.

  • For the procedure to withdraw your application, contact the Public Accountancy Unit at opunit3@mail.nysed.gov or by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 270 or by fax at 518-402-5354.
  • The State Education Department is not responsible for any fees paid to an outside testing or credentials verification agency.

If you withdraw your application, obtain a refund, and then decide to seek New York State licensure at a later date, you will be considered a new applicant, and you will be required to pay the licensure and registration fees and meet the licensure requirements in place at the time you reapply.


Education Requirements

To fulfill the education requirement for licensure, you must complete:

  • an accounting program registered by the Department as licensure-qualifying, or
  • an accounting program that is accredited by an accrediting body accepted by the Department. Currently the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is accepted. Receipt of a Master's degree in accounting from such a program will be deemed as meeting New York's 150 semester hour education requirements, or
  • a program determined by the Department, after review of your official transcripts, to be equivalent to a registered program, or
  • 15 years of public accounting experience acceptable to the State Board for Public Accountancy.

For a listing of currently registered licensure qualifying programs see the NYS Education Department's Inventory of Registered Programs. Please Note: if your program is not listed, contact your school to determine if it is a NYS licensure qualifying program.

Option 1

A bachelor's or higher degree from a program that is registered by the Department as meeting New York's 150 semester hour education requirements; or a Masters degree in accounting from an AACSB accredited accounting program; or a bachelors or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university and completion of 150 semester hours in the following content areas, including the following:

  • 33 semester hours in accounting with at least one course in each of the following areas:
    • financial accounting and reporting
    • cost or managerial accounting
    • taxation
    • auditing and attestation services
  • 36 semester hours in general business electives and
  • The curriculum must also include, either as stand alone courses or integrated into other courses, the study of business or accounting communications, ethics and professional responsibility, and accounting research.

(Acceptable course work is detailed further in the 150 semester hour course content table.)

Option 2

Fifteen years of experience acceptable to the State Board for Public Accountancy may be substituted for education for admission to the examination and licensure. This experience must be earned under the direct supervision of a U.S. certified public accountant (CPA) or a New York State public accountant (PA),


Examination Requirements

New York State recognizes the Uniform CPA Examination, prepared and graded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). In New York, the examination is administered by CPA Examination Services, a division of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

The examination is a computerized examination consisting of four parts:

  • Auditing & Attestation
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Regulation
  • Business Environment and Concepts

The passing score for each of the four examination parts is 75. You must successfully pass all parts of the examination within a (rolling) eighteen (18) month window. You may sit parts individually, once during each calendar quarter.

If you passed part of the Uniform CPA Examination in another jurisdiction, contact CPA Examination Services for an Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Examination Information once you have submitted your application for licensure to the Department.

Admission Requirements

Effective August 1, 2009, New York will allow applicants who are required to meet the 150 semester hour education requirements for licensure to sit for the exam when they have completed 120 semester hours of course work, including one course in each of the four required accounting content areas: financial accounting and reporting; cost or management accounting, taxation; and auditing. The license, however, will not be issued until the applicant has met New York's 150 semester hour requirements.

Alternatively, a candidate may document that they have 15 years of experience acceptable to the State Board for Accountancy and be approved to sit for the examination based on this experience.

Admission to the Exam

If you intend to take all or part of the CPA examination in New York, you must:

  • Apply to CPA Examination Services to sit for the examination by submitting the First-Time Application for the Uniform CPA Examination and the application fee to CPA Examination Services.
  • Provide CPA Examination Services with appropriate documentation so that they can review your education to sit for the examination. If you attended a New York registered program or an AACSB accredited accounting program give your school registrar a copy of CPA Examination Services’ Registered Program Form. They will complete the form and return it to CPA Examination Services. If you did not attend a New York registered program or an AACSB accredited accounting program, have your college or university submit copies of your official transcript directly to CPA Examination Services on your behalf. Upon receipt, CPA Examination Services will evaluate your education to sit for the exam.
  • For copies of the First-Time Application for the Uniform CPA Examination, CPA Examination Services’ Registered Program Form or other information, please go to CPA Examination Services’ web site, or call them at 1-800-CPA EXAM (1-800-272-3926).
    • Approval of the 150 semester hours of college education for licensure will be processed as follows: Candidates who completed all of their college education in the U.S. ONLY: Upon successful completion of the examination or completion of 150 semester hours of education, candidates who received all of their college education in the United States must have their college or university submit final transcripts to CPA Examination Services for evaluation of the 150 semester hours of education required for licensure. Once CPA Examination Services has approved the candidate’s education for licensure, the candidate should apply to NYS Education Department for licensure by submitting the Application for Licensure and First Registration (NYS Form 1), application fee and appropriate documentation of licensure-qualifying experience.
    • Candidates who completed any of their college education outside of the U.S.: Candidates who completed any of their post-secondary (college) education outside of the United States must apply to NYS Education Department for licensure by submitting the Application for Licensure and First Registration (NYS Form 1) and application fee and have a Certification of Professional Education (NYS Form 2) completed by their school(s). The school(s) must mail the Form 2, along with official copies of the candidate’s transcripts or mark sheets, directly to the New York State Education Department for review. Staff in the Department’s Comparative Education unit will review those original transcripts or mark sheets to New York State’s 150 semester hour education requirements for licensure.
  • If you are applying for admission to the examination based on 15 years of acceptable experience in lieu of meeting the education requirements, you do not need to submit transcripts to CPA Examination Services or the New York State Education Department. Instead, apply to NYS Education Department for licensure by submitting the Application for Licensure and First Registration (NYS Form 1) and fee. Complete and submit the Applicant Experience Record (NYS Form 4) and have the US licensed CPA who supervised your 15 years of acceptable experience complete and submit a Certification of Employer (NYS Form 4B) to the New York State Education Department.
  • If you are applying for admission to the examination based on 15 years of acceptable experience in lieu of meeting the education requirements, you do not need to submit transcripts to CPA Examination Services or the New York State Education Department. Instead, have the US licensed CPA who supervised your 15 years of acceptable experience complete and submit a form 4B- Certification of Employer to the New York State Education Department.

If you passed part of the Uniform CPA Examination in another jurisdiction, contact CPA Examination Services for an Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Examination Information.

Reasonable Testing Accommodations

Applicants with disabilities requesting reasonable accommodations for an examination need to contact CPA Examination Services and provide several types of documentation.


Experience Requirements

An applicant who meets New York's 150 semester hour education requirements for licensure must present evidence, satisfactory to the State Board for Accountancy, of one year of full-time experience (or the part-time equivalent) providing accounting services or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills under the supervision of a certified public accountant licensed in one of the U.S. jurisdictions or a public accountant licensed in New York State. Acceptable experience may be earned in a public accounting firm, government, private industry or an educational institution.

An applicant for licensure who met the eligibility requirements for grand-parenting under New York's 120 semester hour education requirements must document at least two years of full time experience (or the part-time equivalent), as described in the paragraph above. An applicant who is eligible for grand-parenting may choose to take the additional course work required to meet the 150 semester hour requirements and thereby qualify for a one year reduction in the experience requirement. Such an applicant must have his/her schools submit official transcripts documenting the additional course work to the Education Department for review when he/she submits documentation experience documentation (Forms 4 and 4B)

An applicant who was approved to sit for the examination based on 15 years of experience acceptable to the State Board for Accountancy in lieu of meeting the education requirements does not need to document any additional experience.

Full-time employment is considered to be a 5-day, 35-40 hour week, excluding overtime. Acceptable part-time (no less than 20 hours per week) experience will be considered on the basis of one week of experience for every two weeks worked.

See the instructions for Employer Form 4B for further detail on qualifying experience.

Last Updated: April 7, 2014