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CPA Exam

CPA Exam

Effective July 1, 2013, The Illinois Board of Examiners changed its education requirements to sit for the CPA exam. 

Students who have a masters degree in accounting do not need to follow the requirements below.  The masters in accounting will automatically qualify candidates to sit for the exam.  For students who have a bachelors degree in any field, or for students who have a masters degree in a field other than accounting, see the requirements below:

Candidates who do not have a masters in accounting must have the following:

  • A bachelors degree in any field (this does not need to be in accounting)
  • 150 semester hours of college credit
  • 30 hours of accounting credit (as part of the 150 total hours)
  • 24 hours of business courses other than accounting (as part of the 150 total hours)
  • Within the 30 accounting hours, there must be 2 hours of accounting research. 
    • At Oakton, we have embedded these 2 credit hours in the Intermediate accounting courses.  Students who take ACC 241 Intermediate I and ACC 242 Intermediate II in Fall 2011 or later will achieve this 2 hour research requirement.
    • Students who took the intermediate accounting courses before Fall 2011 or at another instituition can take ACC 243 Accounting Research as a stand-alone research class for 2 credit hours.  This will satisfy the new requirement.  ACC 243 focuses primarily on the FASB Codification Database.
  • Within the 24 business hours, there must be 2 hours of business communication and 3 hours of business ethics. 
    • At Oakton, the business communications requirement can be satisfied by taking MGT 118 Effective Mangement Communications.
    • The ethics requirement can be satisfied by taking either BUS 107 Business Ethics or MGT 276 Corporate Social Responsibility. 
    • BUS 107 is rooted in the philosophical background of ethics and MGT 276 is based more in business cases.

It is highly recommended that CPA-track students submit their transcripts to the Illinois Board of Examiners at least one year before thay plan to sit for the exam.  The Board will inform students whether previous coursework and degrees will count toward the education requirements.  Then, when the final courses are completed, students can submit the final transcripts and sit for the exam.  The early application will help students avoid any last-minute surprises in the credentialing process. 

To submit an application, go to  Once the application is submitted, the candidate has 3 years to complete their education on that application.  After 3 years, the candidate would need to pay for the credentialing fee again.  This is $175 for students with domestic credentials and $250 for students with some foreign credentials.

There are a couple of multipliers to consider.  For students who took courses at an institution that are in the quarter system, quarter hours need to be multiplied by 2/3 to translate back to semester hours.  For students who took graduate courses, those hours need to be multiplied by 8/5 to translate to undgraduate semester hours.

The list of classes that students should take can be found at the CPA Preparation Certificate requirements.

For students with foreign credentials, see the frequently asked questions.

There are separate requirements for candidates with graduate degrees in accounting or business.

There are two main resources to find out more about the CPA Exam.

Board of Examiners:
Please visit This site has information about the education requirements for the exam, credentials evaluation, and the the exam itself.  See their most recent bulletin here.

Illinois CPA Society:
Please visit their site for the most recent information about CPA exam as well as careers in accounting.  They also put together a great presentation entitled "Ins and Outs of CPA Exam".

The National Association of State Boards of Examiners put together some information about the exam.  See Roadmap to Success.

If you have additional questions about the CPA exam, please visit our frequently asked questions page or contact Leslie Van Wolvelear, Student Advisor, at 847.376.7135, or

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