150 semester hours requirement for licensure

This topic contains 23 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Nickname 5 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
  • Author
  • #182588


    Hello everyone, I was wondering if there was any other way to fulfill your 150 semester hour requirement for the licensure of most states in the US other than getting a masters degree or some graduate studies?


    You can get a double major for your bachelor's degree…


    Study Monk

    You can take community college level courses and California also accepts units for CPA review courses that offer credits through accredited universities.



    You can take any additional undergrad credits that meet your state's requirements. Like I know that CA is getting some weird ones (no offense guys 😉 ) and I don't know the details, but if you can fulfill the subject requirements, you can all 150 as undergrad, at least in most states and from my understanding still in CA as well. Community college courses are an option if you want a face-to-face course or if they have good online rates. If you're happy to study on your own and looking for alternatives to face-to-face classes, here's a couple sources that I've used:

    CLEP tests: If you take something like College Math, it's 6 credits that you probably don't need to study for at all…and if your first math class was Algebra in college, then College Math isn't duplicating anything. There's also various literature options which are 6 credits and often don't duplicate anything taken previously, and some sciences if someone has a solid grounding in science. Personally, I avoid the Lit classes at all costs. 😛 Even if you study for these exams, the REA guides are usually all you need to pass, and are 100-150 pages at most, but the books are just like 9″x5″. Compared to the CPA exams, it's nothing! You could study in a day and take the test the next day and probably come out fine. CLEP test are $99 each, but the expensive part is getting credit. If your college will accept the test for credit and put it on your transcript, you're all set. If not, you will have to get somewhere else to give you credit for it. Thomas Edison State College has a credit banking service but it costs $532 (unless you're military – if you are, it's $270): http://www.tesc.edu/documents/NondegreeServiceApp.pdf Also DSST tests, same idea, administered by Prometric, but more business-related and a different company: http://getcollegecredit.com

    FEMA: These classes are the real weird one. FEMA has various classes that they offer related to emergency preparation, each 1 credit. I took about 12 of these, and didn't spend more than an hour on any of them…and the one I spent an hour on was before I knew how easy they really were. The “final exam” is available at the same time as the material (many times you download the material and the final exam, then after answering the questions, you enter the answers online), so all you really have to do is look for the answers. And if you fail, you can retake it immediately. Taking these classes is free (so failing doesn't cost you anything), but to get college credit for them, you have to transfer them to a college. Here's the FEMA site: https://training.fema.gov/IS/crslist.aspx If you click the “College Credits” link on the right (near the bottom), it will take you to a site to register with the college that they work with to give credit for these exams. It costs $79/credit. But, TESC (the one I recommended for the CLEP tests) also gives credit for many FEMA courses, so if you're doing more than 6 credits, you can use TESC's service for $532 instead of this other one that's $79/credit. Like I said, I did about 12 of these to finish up my 150 credits. I was actually a student at TESC, so didn't have to pay for the credit banking, but even if I had, it would've worked out to $44.33/credit, which is not bad at all! Note that not all of those classes are accepted for credit by TESC. Here's a list of accepted ones from their website: http://www.tesc.edu/degree-completion/documents/FEMA_Independent_Study_course_review.pdf but before actually doing them, I'd just double-check that this list is up-to-date. Or you could do them, and if needed, go back and do a couple again – would just be a couple hours difference either way!

    So, to get 6 credits, either of these options will cost approx $500-600 (unless your college will accept CLEP – doubt you'll find one that will directly accept FEMA), which isn't cheap. But…being able to be done with the credits in a day or less isn't a bad deal at all!

    For meeting specific subject requirements online, I'd recommend Louisiana State University: https://is.lsu.edu/courselist.asp?cat=Accounting&nid=102&pg= Fully accredited, I used them for all of my accounting classes, and they transferred seamlessly to KY CPA board. Their classes through their online format are at least 8 weeks in length, but you can do the everything except for the final exam whenever you want to, so if you were wanting it more accelerated (like 4 weeks), you could register for 2, do one (except final) in 4 weeks, do the other in the last 4 weeks, and then take the finals in the 8th week. Their “web enabled” courses don't have a specific length, but only allow you to submit 3 homework assignments per 7 days, so for say the “Fraud Auditing and Forensic Accounting”, you could do 14 lessons in about 5 weeks…but they don't send the final till they receive the last homework assignment, and the “web enabled” have paper exams, so you'd have to wait a couple more weeks before you'd have taken the final and have a final grade (the “online” ones have web-based finals, so instant grade). $505 per 3-credit course.


    Study Monk


    Make sure you know what courses you need because California requires very specific type courses now:




    • Minimum 6 semester units in accounting subjects (see above)

    • Maximum 14 semester units in business-related subjects (see above)

    • Maximum 9 semester units in other academic work relevant to business and accounting (THERE IS MORE SPECIFICS ON WHAT QUALIFIES ON ORIGINAL)


    Maximum 10 semester or 15 quarter units in courses containing any of the following terms in the course title:

    o Auditing o Business Leadership o Corporate Governance o Ethics o Human Resources Management o Management of Organizations o Organizational Behavior

    o Business, Government & Society o Business Law o Corporate Social Responsibility o Fraud

    o Legal Environment of Business o Morals o Professional Responsibilities

    Maximum 3 semester or 4 quarter units in courses from the following disciplines:

    o Philosophy o Religion o Theology

    o Course title must contain one of the following words or terms, or the sole name in the course title is the name of the discipline.

     Introduction  General  Fundamentals of  Survey of  Introductory  Principles of  Foundations of

    Maximum of one semester unit in a course devoted solely to financial statement auditing.



    Thank you all for your inquiries, I was just wondering in general, because I once heard some people talking, they said if you don't fulfill the 150 semester hour requirement within some reasonable time (2-3 years what I heard) you will have to retake the whole CPA examination, I told myself no way man, I suffered enough to get to this level I'm at, I ain't gonna take it again! so I thought I would need some other way to fulfill it and get licensed as soon as possible then think about admitting for graduate studies.



    Don't forget about online extension programs. UCLA Extension. for example, has decent classes and you can also work towards a certificate in Accounting.



    I don't know about elsewhere but here in MN almost all of the programs are tailored to the 150 hr requirements at the undergraduate level.



    alfred_dark – For those taking CPA exam with California – once you take the CPA exam they never expire! So that gives you the flexibility to then obtain the necessary credits to get licensed.

    So it depends on which state you doing your CPA exams.

    Also for California – you do not have to get a masters to met the 150 hour requirement. As Study monk said above, you just have to make sure your met the specific courses which is 24 credits in Accounting. 24 in Business, then 20 in advanced accounting and you can do 10 which is Ethics. The balance can be in unrelated topics but valid credits. So you can do the unrelated credits through a community college.

    The 10 Ethic is not mandatory until Jan 2017.



    @insi – I'm confused by your statement that the 10 Ethics is not mandatory until Jan 2017. Where can I find additional information on this? Since I already have the 24 Accounting and 24 Business semester units (which were required to sit for the exams), I need to get a better idea if I need an additional 20 or 30 semester units now that I am subject to the 2014 additional educational requirements.

    Also, does anyone know if there is a way to have our units reviewed so that we know exactly how many units we really need?



    Note this is what it says for the 2014 Requirement — it states you can get a maximum of this but not a minimum of.. meaning you can do it but not a must:-


    • Maximum 10 semester or 15 quarter units in courses containing any of the following terms in the course title:


    Note this is what it says for the 2017 Requirement – its states you need a minimum of – meaning you must have at least 3 semester hours …… This is when this part becomes mandatory.


    • Minimum 3 semester or 4 quarter units in accounting ethics or accountants’ professional responsibilities.


    How many units of financial statement auditing qualify for ethics study?

    Presently, you may satisfy all 10 semester units of ethics study in financial statement auditing courses, if the course title contains the word “auditing.” However, this will be reduced to 7 semester units on January 1, 2017, when the minimum of 3 semester or 4 quarter units in accounting ethics or accountants' professional responsibilities becomes effective.




    Thanks Insi! That was very helpful!




    I just got of the phone with the California Board of Accountancy and they gave me some different information than what you posted.

    To clarify,

    In order to sit for the exam you need what is highlighted in blue on that sheet. The 24 accounting and business related subject units – we know this.

    In order for LICENSURE, you will need an ADDITIONAL 20 units of accounting study (what is in green) AND 10 units from Ethics courses (in red). She said this is not optional, but a requirement for licensure.

    Just wanted to clarify what I was told. Let me know if there's anything out there that may contradict this. I am a current CA candidate and want to make sure I have a good understanding of these changes as well.



    To add to my previous post, you will of course need 150 semester units in the aggregate.


    Study Monk

    My understanding is that the 10 unit ethical requirement is required starting in 2014. The 2017 changes will make the ethical requirements more specific and REQUIRE a three unit ethics class. The reason for the delay is they want to give time to universities to add the required ethics classes to their accounting programs. Until then us Californians have the “luxury” of meeting the new ethical requirement with all audit classes if we like.

    I am 99.95% positive that everyone in Cali will need the 10 ethical units after January 1st 2014. Sorry to ruin everyone's day:(



    Ok _ thats good to know. I agree with Study Monk.

    I have so many courses in auditing and Business that for the 2014 requirement for the Ethic portion is more or less covered by what I have. So I don't need to do courses in the other topics they have listed

    Same with the additional 20 Credits for Accounting I am sure I already have that 🙂

    Where I have a GAP in I intend to take courses at this Community College. They have so many courses that fit the CBA requirements for 2014. So if you are in the Bay Area CA and want to add some credits but not do a full blown Masters then look them up 🙂






    Funny you mention that Insi because that's where I am taking my classes, along with additional courses at Santa Monica College (online).

    Nice and cheap and you get the credits you need for licensure.



    Yes Sir – I would rather go Cheap and get the credits for the licensure 🙂 I think I am at the stage in Life where I don't want to be studying anymore so undertaking a masters for me isn't the right course.

    Not saying its not the right choice for someone else but for me its too much. All I want is to get my CPA license and call it a day with studying !



    Does anyone know if the CA Board can validate the courses that you have taken? I completed the CBA educational requirements worksheet and it looks like I have met most requirements, but some courses were iffy and I'd really like to know for sure. Also, do credits earned by examination count towards the total 150 units?



    @rayhcpa I'm not a CA candidate, but in general credits by exam count if they are transferred in to a college. So, if, say, you went to UCLA and took 135 credits through them, and also took 5 CLEP tests (credit-by-exam, usually 3 credits each) and transferred those to UCLA, then your UCLA transcript would show all 150 (135 from UCLA + 15 from CLEP transferred to UCLA) credits. However, if you didn't transfer the CLEP credits to UCLA, then they wouldn't count, because I'm not aware of any boards that will accept the CLEP directly. (Note: If it is an exam offered for credit by the college, it should automatically be added to your transcript…say UCLA offers MAN-101 as a class and MAN-101 as an exam, they should automatically put that on your transcripts. It's just if it's an outside entity – like CollegeBoard's CLEPs, or the Dantes DSSTs, that it would need to be transferred in.)

    If you haven't transferred your credit-by-exam credits to anywhere, I know of a couple ways to do that (though it will cost some $$). Let me know if you haven't and how many credits you have by exam and I'll share some ideas of how to get them put on a transcript.



    @Lilla Thank you for the information, this is very helpful. The credits for examination do show on my degree transcript so that is great news!



    OK, then I can't promise for CA since I haven't worked with them, but they *should* count!



    Sorry for bumping this thread, but I was looking for some advice.

    Back story: I interviewed with a top tier firm earlier this week and felt good walking out of the interview. I received a call this morning (right before work, nonetheless) saying that all of the interviewers liked me a lot, but wished I was closer to the 150 California requirement. I believe I graduated with around 126 units, so I'm 8 far classes away from applying (if I pass FAR). Now I'm motivated more than ever and have confidence that I can succeed at a big firm. I was planning on getting my Masters (and will probably take one class a semester anyways once I pass), but I work full time and want to apply for my license ASAP, so I need credits right away.

    Question 1 – Regarding @Lilla's post above, does anyone know if California accepts FEMA credits? I'm a little confused how everything works. I have to register for a school that accepts these credits, correct? Is there a list of schools that accepts these credits? This school does not need to be in California, right?

    Question 2 – I believe I just need one accounting class and one ethics class, so I was planning on taking community college classes for those, if possible. Can anywhere share some online classes they took (as in class titles) and specific colleges?

    Question 3 – Say I get credits from FEMA at one school and the online courses for accounting/ethics at another school. Then also my transcript they already have on file from the university I graduated from. I can send the board three different transcripts from three different schools?

    I'm very confused, as you can tell. Agh, I'm sorry!

    Thanks for your help.



    Anonymous – I have BS and MBA, but require approx 24 hours of accounting credits. Would like to test out of the majority of the credit requirements through CLEP exams and then transfer the complete 24 credit package to the CA Board of Accountancy to sit for the exam. thoughts?

Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Would You Hate It If I Gave You $162.12 Of Free CPA Review Material That Will Help You…

1) Study Less

2) Avoid Common CPA Candidate Mistakes

3) Get Higher Scores

4) Spend More Time with Friends and Family

5) Finally Pass and Get On With Your Life?