CPA Ethics Exam: Facts To Know

Passing the CPA examination is not enough to gain entry into the professional public accounting field. One must also successfully pass a CPA Ethics Exam. Learning more about what this exam entails is crucial for the overall professional development and competency of any candidate. Read further for more insight.

What Is It?

Every CPA candidate must study ethics as part of the educational curriculum. It is heavily tested on the CPA exam. It is important to note that entry into the CPA profession also requires passing a separate, professionally developed test. Candidates are tested on the AICPA Code of Conduct expected of qualified professionals.

The purpose of the test is to ensure that practicing professionals exhibit behavior that promotes and facilitates public confidence in the accounting profession.

Timing Matters

Each state has a different set of protocol for applying for, and taking, the Ethics Exam. Some states, like Washington State, require candidates to pass the entire CPA exam before taking the Ethics exam. Other states allow individuals to take the ethics test whenever convenient. Therefore, it is important to understand what your individual state requires.

Know Your Developer

Save yourself time, money, and hassles by making certain you are complying with your state's developer recommendations. The AICPA has a version available, that some states require candidates successfully complete and pass. Other State CPA Society's develop their own test. Be sure you study the one required by your State's Board of Accountancy.

It is a Self Study Course

This required exam involves a self-study course that you can complete at your own pace. It is similar to an open book test. That does not make it easy, however. You must read the questions carefully to clearly comprehend what is being asked. Most states require you pass the exam within two years of applying for the CPA exam.

Where To Buy

The AICPA operates a website that serves as an online store, search for the Professional Ethics: The AICPA's Comprehensive Course. Receive more insight by visiting

Different State Board of Accountancy websites also have links to the examination materials. Some State Society of CPA sites do the same. For information on the Oregon exam, for instance, click here.

Comes In Different Formats

As with most CPA exam materials, this test is available for purchase in different formats. You can buy it in CD, printed, or digital format. Choose a convenient version that works best for your lifestyle.

Online Convenience

The exam can be taken online. When doing so, you can receive instantaneous grading results. You can print out your completion certificate immediately. It just does not get much more convenient than that! If you choose to mail in your test, the results can take up to 3-4 weeks.

Limited Attempts

Even though it is a self-study course, there is a limit on the amount of times you can take the exam. Each state has its own set of requirements. So, once again, check with your State Board of Accountancy for more details.

Costs Vary

Depending on who the developer is, plan on paying around $100 – $160 for the exam and course materials. The AICPA version averages $131. California State, for example, charges between $125 – $160, depending on whether you choose the printed or digital version. Cost varies according to whether the purchaser is a member or nonmember.
For information on the California exam, visit:

Avoid professional and personal development surprises by learning as much as possible about the CPA Ethics Exam now. You will only become a better informed student and consumer. Start differentiating yourself from the pack today.