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Colorado's CPA Requirements

By Bryan Kesler

Colorado's (CO) CPA exam requirements are possibly the most advantageous of all the states. It does not require 150 hours and you don't even have to get work experience prior to becoming licensed. With no requirement to be a US Citizen, a resident of CO, or a certain age, it makes Colorado one of the easiest states to sit for the CPA exam and become licensed. Be sure to follow each caption below to ensure that you are qualified to sit for the exam.

If you are new to the CPA exam process then I highly recommend you use my CPA Exam Resources page to assist you in connecting with all of the right organizations and websites that can assist you in signing up and passing the CPA exam. Click here to review these important CPA exam resources!

Once your education requirements are met, send your application and initial application fee to State Board of Accountancy. Refer to the State Resources tab below.

Your state will process your application and send you your NTS (Notice to Schedule), which will allow you to schedule your exam within the next 6 months. Please note that your NTS does expire after 6 months so plan accordingly. To schedule exams, find the nearest location, reschedule your exam or confirm your exam time, please visit Prometric to find out more.



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Disclosure: Please note that I do my best to keep these requirements up to date but seeing as there are more than 50 states and nations with individual requirements it is difficult for me to keep up with them all. Please verify each requirement with your state board of accountancy to ensure 100% accuracy and then post any errors in the comment box below to assist your fellow CPA'ers and I can update!

Education Requirements

150 Hours Required to sit?
CO does NOT require 150 semester hours to sit for the exam. Only a Bachelors degree is required to sit for the exam.

Effective July 1, 2015: Need 150 hours to be granted certificate, but do not need 150 hours to sit for exam.
Accounting Course Requirements
US Candidates:
CO requires 27 semester hours of accounting, 3 of which are required to cover auditing that covers US GAAS. These courses also cannot be duplicative.

International candidates:
New rules have been enacted to restrict the educational requirements in Colorado:

  • The State Board is no longer accepting Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) certificates as evidence of having met educational requirement.
  • Chartered Accountant (CA) qualifications from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico and New Zealand (part of the U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) MRA agreement) is accepted; but those from other jurisdiction (e.g. India) is no longer accepted.
  • International applicants also need to get 2 credit hours of CO Rules and Regulations CR&R ethics before applying for licensure. US applicants can get this done after applying but within 6 months of licensing.

For more information please visit the CO pre-evaluation service PDF.

Business Course Requirements
CO requires 21 semester hours excluding accounting hours in business related courses with no more than 6 hours for each subject.

Summary from CO Requirements PDF
Business Law Requirements
CO does not have a business law requirement
Ethics Exam
Required to take AICPA Ethics Exam

CPA License Requirements

1) Get licenced by work experience:
-To obtain your CPA license CO requires at least 1 year of public accounting / private / governemental experience (1,800 hours)
-You have to meet this requirement within 5 years preceding the date of apply for your certificate
- Part time work is acceptable as long as you hit your 1,800 hours within 1-3 years
- Must be under supervision of an active CPA or Chartered Accountant from an IQAB MRA country in good standing

OR

2) Get Licensed by Education in lieu of experience:
- Master's degree, Doctoral or a second bachelors with at least 30 additional accounting hours
- 45 total semester hours in accounting which must include 6 in Auditing covering US GAAS
- 36 total general business semester hours with no more than 9 hours in any subject


Need More Credit Hours?

Roger CPA and Wiley CPAexcel offer online credit for taking classes through their programs. If you are going to be 3 to 6 credit hours short of your 150 hour requirement then I highly recommend using a review course to get those hours AND get a head start on studying for the CPA exam. It's a win win situation!

***Link to my blog article with the details***

Age & Residency Requirements

US Citizenship Required? You are NOT Required for Colorado to be US Citizen to sit for the CPA exam, and a SSN is NOT required for those working outside the US, but you will need to fill out a Social Security Affidavit form.
Residency of State Required? Colorado does NOT require you to be a resident, employee, OR have an office in the state for you to take the CPA exam.
Minimum Age to Sit for the CPA Exam Colorado does not have a minimum age requirement to sit for the CPA exam

CPA Exam Fees

Colorado has fairly standard exam fee rates. An advantage to Colorado is that there are no special fees related to retaking the exam.
Initial Application Fee: $150
Audit: $195.35
Financial: $195.35
Regulation: $176.25
Business: $176.25
Total: $893.20
Special Fees: NONE

State Board Contacts Tab

Colorado State Board of Accountancy
1560 Broadway-Suite 1350
Denver, CO 80202
Web: http://www.dora.state.co.us/accountants/
Phone: 303-894-7800
Fax: 303-894-7692
Email: accountancy@dora.state.co.us, cpaes-co@nasba.org


What's Next

Once you have determined you are eligible to sit for the CPA exam then it is time to find the review course that fits how you study. I have been able to identify the target audience for each of the top five CPA review courses. I would recommend you see where you fall in my side-by-side comparison of these five review courses here. I also offer a free CPA exam coaching guide where I walk you through what I experienced while taking the CPA exam. You can sign up for my free guide here.

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