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Become a CPA

Plan for an exciting career after graduation! The accounting profession is thriving, and you are a big part of why. CPAs represent some of the most respected and trusted business professionals, and are widely known for high ethical standards, dedication to lifelong learning, business acumen, and leadership. All of these and more are why the CPA license is one of the most highly sought-after professional certifications.

1. Plan Your Accounting School College Experience
Find an accredited accounting school program that is a good fit for you, work toward your college education and earn your baccalaureate degree in accounting! Keep in mind two different considerations:

  1. To sit for the CPA exam, you will need to have at least 120 semester hours, including a minimum of 24 semester hours in accounting, as well as a minimum of 24 semester hours of general business courses. These courses will help prepare you for the CPA exam.
  2. To become a licensed CPA, you will need to complete a total of 150 hours with at least 6 additional hours in accounting and 6 additional hours of general business courses. 
 AccountingGeneral BusinessTotal Credit HoursNotes:
CPA Exam Eligibility2424120Must be at least 18 years of age
CPA Licensure3030150Up to 9 Accounting credit hours in Internships or Independent Study; Must hold a baccalaureate degree

2. Tackle the CPA Exam
The CPA exam consists of four sections. The first three are: accounting, tax, and auditing. For the fourth section, the candidate can choose from one of three discipline areas: tax compliance and planning; business analysis and reporting; or information systems and controls. Because the CPA exam is ever-evolving, be sure to review the CPA Candidates Bulletin: Roadmap to Success, published by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

The exam application process involves getting college transcripts approved and submitting an application to NASBA’s CPAESapplying to sit for the CPA exam in Missouri, and obtaining your Notice to Schedule (NTS) for the exam sections you are ready to take.

The exam is now offered year-round, and you can take the exam sections in any order, so you can plan your own learning schedule. To prepare, select CPA exam review materials to begin studying, and use MOCPA's complimentary mock CPA exam sessions to take practice tests in a realistic simulation. Schedule and arrive for success at your selected Prometric testing center.

While awaiting your scores (please allow a few weeks), it’s time to study for your next section, and (if needed) apply for another NTS. Passing the exam means getting a score of 75 or higher on all four sections within a rolling 30-month period. You can do it!

3. Complete the Ethics and Experience Requirements
At any time during the CPA exam process, you can knock out your open-book, multiple choice AICPA ethics exam requirement for licensure. You can order the ethics exam through MOCPA. MOCPA is here to support all Missouri CPAs (even future CPAs)!

Next, it's time to get to work! You will need to complete required profession hours, but how many hours do you need?

Candidates will need 2,000 hours (one year) of accounting-specific work experience, unless you are dreaming of a career in auditing. For future auditors, the requirement is 4,000 hours (two years), including 2,000 hours (one year) in an auditing-specific role. Keep in mind, your work experience must be affirmed by a licensed CPA as part of your licensure application.

4. Apply for CPA Licensure
After completing the previous requirements, you’re ready to become a CPA! Next it’s time to fill out your CPA license application form (select "Initial Application") and await your CPA certificate!

Got More Questions? We're Here to Help!
Click here for answers to additional questions. Click here to learn how to maintain and renew your CPA license. To learn more about the CPA licensing process, please contact the Missouri State Board of Accountancy (MOSBA) at (573) 751-0012 or For more information about MOCPA membership or resources for CPA candidates, please contact Liz Schaetzel at (800) 264-7966 or

This information was compiled as a resource for CPA candidates, but please check with the Missouri State Board of Accountancy to obtain the latest candidate information or to confirm specific requirements.