CPA Exam Requirements: On the short end of the 150 hour rule? Consider getting licensed in Colorado


Note – if you work in public accounting or plan on holding yourself out to the public as a CPA, then this information doesn't apply to you – you need to meet your state's CPA Exam requirements. This post will benefit those who are short on the 150 hour rule, but are only going to use the CPA designation as a “credential” within the private sector. Make sure you have full understanding on your respective state's rules on holding yourself out as a Certified Public Accountant.

I have a friend who resides and works in a state that requires candidates to meet the 150 hour rule before they can even sit for the CPA Exam. He's 24 and works in SEC Reporting for a Fortune 500 company. After graduation, he sat for and passed the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) Exam. He didn't have 150 hours and his current work load prohibited him from starting on an MBA or other graduate program which would give him his 150 hours, so he sat for and passed the Certified Management Accountant Exam (CMA).

Unbeknown to him previously (and me as well) – the State of Colorado allows out of state candidates who neither work in nor live in Colorado to be licensed as Colorado CPAs. My friend sent in his application, was approved…and is sitting for BEC this week. If he ever wants reciprocity, he will need the 150 hours, but his boss just wants him to pass the Exam – not be eligible to sign tax returns or audit reports.

Most people who work in the private sector let their licenses lapse anyway…the important thing is…did you pass the Exam? If the answer is yes – that's all that they care about.

If you're considering this, be sure to do your due diligence and find out if this is right for you.

The beautiful thing about Prometric offering a uniform exam is that someone in New York can theoretically sit for an exam in New York as a Colorado candidate.

Read more about Colorado's CPA Exam requirements.





15 comments on “CPA Exam Requirements: On the short end of the 150 hour rule? Consider getting licensed in Colorado”

  • Someone to help me?
    Hi, having passed all 4 CPA exams (New Hampshire) I’m now having trouble to get my Certification (no focus currently on license). My WES evaluation was 124.5 in total (bachelor’s degree from Germany), thereof 18.5 accounting/auditing, 90.5 business-related. The certificate was denied by the board due to my missing experience in public accounting. Since my graduation I’ve been working for a huge car & truck manufacturer (NYSE listed) in various Accounting and Reporting functions. Do you see any other chance for me to obtain a license in a different state? Maybe CO? Ricarda

  • Can I use the CPA initials after passing the exams without getting licensed working in non-public accounting (nor do I ever plan to work in public accounting)?

    I am Canadian, have the 150hrs (undergrad in accounting), have an MBA and am a Canadian CMA working in the Cayman Islands.

    It’s like pulling teeth asking the state boards for this information. I’m planning on calling NASBA soon, but thought this may be a good place to start.

    Also, should I get AUD and FAR out of the way before the end of 2010?

  • Lisa – It is so difficult to obtain information from state boards….. I am still unclear on this issue… and what is meant by “practice privilege”.. Can you call yourself a CPA if you do the above in a state that requires 150 hours!…etc… If you have anymore info do share.. and also tell us where you got the info from.

  • This is good news! What I’m trying to grasp now is this: if I get certified in CO then obtain the extra few credit hours to meet the 150-rule, can I then get certified in a state that requires 150 credits to sit for the exam? I just spoke with my home state’s PLA, and they were not helpful. I’m very confused.

  • I am in CA, which allows you to be under 150, but you have to be careful with this rule because if you elect to get your CPA under the lesser pathway, I have heard you cannot be a member of the AICPA if you end up getting your license under that rule.

    If you want to practice in another state, you will have to take the exams again to be licensed there, because CA will only recognize your license, not other states. Could be a problem if you are in Public Accounting and you want to practice in another state.

    Because of this I will be getting the additional credits after I sit. Just do the research and know what you are getting yourself into and the limitations before you jump for the lessor option.

  • Hmmm, so the University of Phoenix Tax class I paid for to qualify for Illinois could have been skirted by applying through New Hampshire if I just wanted the credential? I already had an MBA and plenty of Accounting. Are there any other factors I’m not considering?

  • Jenn you should be fine. If you pass all of the exam parts most states have a large window (five or six years in most cases) to complete ther experience requirement.

  • I graduated from college in May 08 and currently have 8 months work experience. I have passed the REG section and will be sitting for the remaining 3 the first half of this year.

    However, I am at risk of losing my job to do the economy (Liquidation). If it takes me a while to find a new one and I am unable to meet the work experience to apply for my CPA license, after passing all 4 sections, do my credits start to expire?

  • anonymous at 8:45, that’s a really good idea, if your state takes it. unfortunately, texas recently changed their rules, and now you have to have the hours be upper level courses from a university. the state board and i are not on good terms right now.

  • 150hrs isnt that much just take some online classes and be done with it

    I took 3 online classes at community college ovr 10 weeks and got my 9hrs that way and it was cheaper then one class at a university

  • I reside in VA and am sitting NH because of the 150 hour rule. I then found out that NH has an agreement with NY on liscensing and NY has one with VA. So, I can obtain my certification in NH and then through NY obtain one in VA still, without getting the 150 hours required.

  • Several foreign certified candidates such as ACA, CA, and ACCAs who wants to get their CPA as well normally apply in Colorodo for their license because of the rules there. Raza

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