Becoming a CPA in Kentucky requires a lot of hard work and dedication but is achievable within a few years of receiving a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Unlike many states, Kentucky requires CPA candidates to work with its state board of accountancy to determine eligibility for taking the Uniform CPA Examination, rather than applying through the national state board association.

Education Requirements

In Kentucky, future CPAs must complete 150 semester hours from an accredited college and obtain a bachelor’s degree. These must include 39 hours of business courses, of which 27 hours are specifically for accounting. Courses in the following subjects may make up 12 hours or more:

  • Business
  • Computers
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Statistics

If you attended a foreign college or university, a member credentialing agency of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, Inc. (NACES) must evaluate your academic credits. Contact NACES directly to arrange an evaluation. The results are sent to the Kentucky State Board of Accountancy (KSBA)

Exam Requirements in Kentucky


Individuals who have completed at least 120 semester hours of college and have earned a bachelor’s degree are eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination. Visit the KSBA website to apply for the exam. Once you receive the application packet, fill out the forms and send in official transcripts from your school, along with the applicable fees. These fees include an initial examination fee, and fees for each of the four sections of the exam, along with other fees detailed in the application. Take the application to a notary before signing, and after notarization, send the package to:

Kentucky State Board of Accountancy
332 W. Broadway, #310
Louisville, KY 40202

Once the KSBA approves your application, it sends an “Authorization to Test” to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). You will receive an invoice from NASBA, which is payable within 90 days. Once NASBA receives the funds, you will receive a Notice to Schedule the Uniform CPA Examination. You receive this notice via the method chosen in your application, either via email, fax or regular mail.


The Uniform CPA Examination

The Uniform CPA Examination consists of four separate components: Financial accounting and reporting; Business environment and concepts; Regulation and Auditing and Attestation. The test for each component lasts four hours, for a total of 16 hours of testing. You can take each exam on separate dates or take the entire exam in one 16-hour sitting. All components of the exam must be completed within 18 months of passing the initial component.


Exam scheduling

The Uniform CPA Examination is held in three Kentucky cities: Florence, Lexington and Louisville. Visit the Prometric website to schedule your exam. On the day of the testing, arrive at the test site at least 30 minutes before the time the test is set to begin. You will need official identification to take the test, such as a driver’s license or some other form of identification including your photograph. After you complete the exam, your scores are mailed to you.

The Uniform CPA Examination consists of four separate components.

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Experience Needed


After passing the Uniform CPA Examination, you can begin to gain the necessary experience qualifying you for Kentucky CPA licensing. Kentucky requires CPA candidates to complete 2,000 hours of practical experience over one year. You must complete the experience portion within five years of passing the Uniform CPA Examination. Experience is overseen and verified by a licensed CPA, but Kentucky does not require that CPA to hold Kentucky licensure.

You may gain experience working in academia, government, industry or public practice accounting or auditing. You may work for more than one employer to gain the required number of hours.

The verifying CPA must complete a Certificate of Experience for you, which is included when you apply for your licensure. Information on the certificate includes:

  • Employer’s name and address
  • Employment dates
  • Total hours worked
  • Professional titles held
  • Description of work duties

If you gained your experience in academia, you must include all courses you taught, and the course titles and dates and number of semester hours.

Getting Your CPA License in Kentucky


After completing your experience and having the certified CPA verify it, you may apply for licensure. Download the Application for an Initial License as Kentucky Certified Public Accountant. When sending in the application, include a 2” x 2” photo of yourself. Along with the Certificate of Experience, send along your official college transcripts and an application fee with a check made out to the KSBA. You must complete and sign the application in the presence of a notary public. Mail the completed and notarized application to the KSBA.


Reciprocal licensing

If you already hold a license in any U.S. state or territory other than the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, you may apply for a reciprocal license. Fill out the application for Initial License as a Kentucky Certified Public Account by Reciprocity. You must also send an Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Information form to the board of the state in which you passed the Uniform CPA Examination. If that is not the same state in which your license is held, you must send the authorization form to that state. Attach a 2” x 2” photograph of yourself to the application. The application must include one of the following:

  • Verification of one year of experience by a certified CPA
  • Certified copies of experience forms filed with another state accountancy board
  • Copies of your firm’s license application
  • Schedule C of your personal income tax return
  • Letter from a CPA or lawyer familiar with your practice
  • Public accounting omissions and errors insurance

You must also send the applicable fees in a check made payable to the KSBA. Have the application’s certificate and acknowledgement page notarized and send the entire package to the KSBA.

Continuing Professional Education Requirements


Kentucky’s Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements vary depending on your job. If the previous two years of your work took place in a public accounting firm and you worked 3,000 hours or more, you must complete 80 CPE hours every two years. All other licensed CPAs must complete 60 CPE hours every two years.

You will receive CPE credits by the KSBA for classes in the following subjects:

  • Auditing and accounting
  • Business law
  • Communication arts
  • Economics
  • Ethics
  • Finance
  • Information systems
  • Management services
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Taxation

You may also receive CPE credit for administrative procedures dealing with attest services and courses in specialized areas of the industry. Such specialization include financial analysis, cost accounting, management consulting, academia and government accounting.

Certain CPA programs count for CPE credit. These include:

  • In-house educational programs
  • Credited college and university courses
  • Non-credit college and university courses
  • Formal independent study courses, including those online
  • Professional accounting organization’s professional development courses

Article and book publishing may account for up to 25 percent of your CPE credits. Lecturing, speaking or leading discussions may account for up to 60 percent of your CPE credits.

Once you have completed your CPE credits, hold on to the documentation for at least five years. This documentation includes the titles and descriptions of courses, the dates attended, the sponsor and how many CPE hours you are claiming for each course.

Accountant Career Salaries in Kentucky by Occupation

In Kentucky, the accountancy sector is slated for above-average growth. Between 2012 and 2022, the Workforce Development Cabinet projects a 10.21% growth rate. That means 402 jobs per year. Salaries have been on the rise, as well. In 2014, the median salary for accountants was $54,849 and the BLS reports an annual mean wage of $65,840 in 2017. However, if you have a practice that focuses on forensics, you can make between $65,780 and $102,580 in Louisville. For those who work towards a C-level job, CFOs in Kentucky are reported to have earned as much as $248,875 a year in 2015. Given an upwards growth trend, Kentucky is a fantastic state for accountants.

CityAnnual Median Wage
East Kentucky – non-metropolitan area$54610
West Kentucky – non-metropolitan area$61,570
Annual Mean Wage10th Percentile25th percentile50th percentile75th percentile90th percentile

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