Certified Public Accountant

certified public accountant logo
CPAs provide audit, accounting, and tax services for clients. While non-CPAs may provide accounting and tax services, only CPAs can provide audit services.  CPAs must follow a code of ethics, and they must engage in Continuing Professional Education (CPE) to maintain their licenses. Many organizations cite that average CPA salaries are 10% – 15% more than non-CPA salaries.

To become a CPA, you must pass a four-part exam that covers financial accounting (FAR), tax (REG), auditing (AUD), and an advanced version of one of the three previous sections (Discipline).  Candidates must pass all four parts within 30 months of passing the first exam.  Pass rates on parts vary each quarter, but typically fall in the 40% – 50% range.  The CPA Exam is administered by the AIPCA, and many different companies offer review materials for purchase. Students can get a discount on many different CPA review programs by joining the Georgia Society of CPAs as a student member.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), circa 1887, is the group that represents the CPA profession. Locally, you can participate in the Georgia Society of CPAs (GSCPA) by becoming a student member. Student membership is a one-time fee of $25 and offers opportunities to network at monthly meetings and earn discounts on CPA review materials.

CPA Requirements

Requirements to sit for the CPA Exam in GA:

  1. Undergraduate Degree from an accredited university,
  2. At least 20 hours of upper level accounting (beyond ACCT 2101 & 2102).

Requirements for CPA licensure in GA:

  1. Undergraduate Degree from an accredited university,
  2. At least 30 hours of upper level accounting (beyond ACCT 2101 & 2102),
  3. At least 24 general business hours,
  4. At least 150 semester hours earned on transcript (no CLEP courses accepted, AP course work ok, other than 30 accounting hours specified, other hours can be anything),
  5. At least 1 year (> 2,000 hours) of professional work experience up to the date of application (in most cases a licensed CPA will have to sign your license application and provide an active Georgia CPA license number).

CPA Preparation Course for KSU Students

If you participate in our Master of Accounting (MAcc) program you will prepare for and take all four parts of the CPA Exam with your cohort as part of the two-semester program.  The MAcc program will provide preparation materials and resources for the CPA Exam, and your tuition covers all CPA Exam-related fees.

If you already meet the 150 hours required for licensure, KSU has contracted with Becker to provide review materials at a discounted rate. For more information, please see Becker Discount.

You can become a student member of the Georgia Society of CPAs (GSCPA). The GSCPA provides discounts on CPA review materials. In addition, you can attend monthly chapter meetings and network with professionals.


Frequently asked questions about the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. 

  • You should plan to take the exam as soon as you complete your undergraduate accounting degree at KSU. The exam is largely a “book” exam, so you want to take it while the material is still fresh in your mind. 
  • Yes, the requirements are different. To “sit” for the exam, you need only a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and 20 semester hours of accounting (beyond the ACCT 2101 & 2102). Thus, you qualify to “sit” for the exam as soon as you complete your accounting degree at KSU.

    To be licensed in GA, you will need to pass the exam, complete a total of 30 semester hours of accounting (beyond 2101 & 2102), complete 24 general business hours, complete a total of 150 semester hours of college courses, and complete one year of continuous, full-time experience (2000+ hours) immediately preceding the date of application for the license.

  • Georgia does not specify the courses necessary to fulfill the 150 hour requirement. You may take any courses from an accredited institution to meet the requirement (once the accounting and general business requirements are met). Many KSU students have unused courses listed in DegreeWorks that qualify as part of the 150 hours. Some students will go on and take Master of Accounting (MAcc) courses.

    Georgia does not require a MAcc though. Thus, you may take whatever additional courses you find interesting or rewarding.  The only stipulations related to the 150 hours are:

    1. The hours cannot be attained through CLEP courses.
    2. The hours cannot come from courses that were repeated (i.e., same course name/content taken twice).
  • Yes, AP credits can be accepted toward the 150 hour requirement, as long as the following criteria are met: (1) the AP credit was accepted by an accredited 4-year institution, and (2) you can provide an official transcript from that institution showing the AP credit as “earned credit” or “earned hours.”

    Thus, as long as the credit is accepted and reflected on an official transcript, the credit can by accepted toward the 150 hours.

  • KSU students with a catalog year of 2015 or later will complete 27 accounting hours for their degree. This course work includes content from a large portion of the CPA.  However, the exam content is very diverse, so you likely will need some type of review course to supplement your KSU courses.

    In addition, only 18 hours of the 27 hours are required courses. In determining what additional courses to take as electives, you may want to consider the areas of tax (ACCT 4250), advanced financial (ACCT 4100), and governmental/not-for-profit (ACCT 4600). You may also want to consider using a business elective for business law (BLAW 4100).

  • In 2017, the licensing board notified KSU of a change to accounting credit being offered for internships. Georgia will grant 3 accounting hours (of the 30 required accounting hours) for an internship.

    Thus, if you are on the KSU catalog year of 2015 or later, then you can fulfill the required 30 accounting hours (for a CPA license in GA) by completing the accounting undergraduate degree and doing an internship (27 accounting hours of accounting courses + 3 accounting hours of internship).

  • Yes, currently all of the internship hours you earn in a semester can be applied to the 150 hours (however, this is being reviewed and is subject to change in the future).  Thus, if you complete an internship this semester and are awarded 12 hours of credit, all 12 hours will be applied to the 150 hours requirement, and 3 of those 12 will be considered “accounting” hours that meet the necessary 30 hours of upper level accounting.
  • Yes, you should plan to enroll in some sort of review course. The exam is incredibly comprehensive and the format is not likely something with which you are familiar.  Completing a review course will help to ensure you get good coverage in your review.  Many review courses offer guarantees where you can repeat the review if you do not pass a particular exam section. In addition, the Georgia Society of CPAs (GSCPA) offers discounts on CPA review courses.

    You can join the GSCPA as a student for $25 (which should be offset by the review course savings). Many review courses offer two-week trials. You may want to “test-drive” a few courses and see which one is a good fit for your learning style.

    KSU offers a discount for Becker CPA and CMA preparation courses.  You can access the discount by completing the form.

  • No. Georgia requires one year of continuous, full-time experience (2000+ hours) immediately preceding the date of application for the license or within a reasonable time prior to the date of application. Thus, you cannot work for a year, take additional classes to qualify to sit for the exam, take the exam, and apply for the license.

    In most cases, a CPA licensed in GA must sign off on your qualifying experience. Be sure to check the license application for your type of qualifying experience (e.g., public, corporate, governmental, etc.) to ensure you will meet the requirements for that qualifying experience. 

  • Yes, the CPA Exam is a national exam (and your scores do not expire). However, CPA licenses are issued by each state.  Some states have additional requirements beyond those in GA. You will need to check with the state board in another state to determine what additional steps you may need to take to be licensed there.
  • In order to take upper level accounting courses at KSU, you must apply as a degree-seeking student and be accepted into the Coles College of Business (after being accepted at KSU). The Coles College has a separate admission requirement (3.0 GPA based on a series of 7 “gate” courses and BUSA 2150).

    Even though you may not wish to earn a degree at KSU, in order to be able to enroll in upper level courses in Coles, you must be accepted to Coles. To be admitted to Coles, you will need to apply as a degree-seeking student.

  • If you have recently graduated from KSU with a business degree, you may be able to simply register the following semester for whatever accounting courses you choose. If you do register, you will need to change your major to another business major. You can also re-apply to KSU as a non-degree-seeking student. You will be able to register for business courses since you have already met the admission requirements and completed a BBA from Coles College. 

    If you are no longer receiving a registration “time ticket” in OwlExpress, you may need to re-apply to KSU. As long as you have not been away from KSU long, you likely will be re-admitted to Coles College of Business without any additional course work requirements. If it has been a number of years, you may need to complete some additional courses.

  • Yes, you want to go to the NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) website, email NASBA or call them directly (galicense@nasba.org or 866-350-0017).

    The NASBA personnel help administer Georgia’s program, so they can provide you with the most accurate information. The NASBA website has the actual application for licensure in Georgia.