The road to your CPA license is not an easy one. Since the CPA licensure is one of the most difficult to attain, you will want to be diligent with the process from start to finish. Every state has unique requirements for its CPA applicants, and it's not easy to maintain your license, either. If you think that A CPA license is for you, please bookmark this page to ensure that you are up-to-date on the application process.
CPA Education Requirements in New Jersey
Your academic career is a huge and necessary part of your CPA license application. You should make high marks on every assignment and strive to take the most challenging and informative courses available. Further, you need to satisfy the full academic requirements of the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy. To become a certified accountant, you should to start with an Associate's Degree.
New Jersey has stringent requirements for its licensure. They also have high standards when you apply to sit for the CPA examination. The Board asks that you complete your 120 semester hour baccalaureate degree and then 30 more semester hours, for a total of 150 semester hours before you can either apply for the exam or your license. Note that this is a new requirement that took effect July 1, 2017.
Your transcripts should reflect certain coursework, as well. If your college or university was a Level 2 AACSB- or ACBSP accredited institution, New Jersey's Board requires a minimum of 24 hours in accounting and another 24 in general business courses. If your academic institution was a Level 1 AACSB- or ACBSP accredited institution, the Board requires a minimum of 30 hours in accounting and 24 semester hours in business courses. Your accounting courses can include, but are not limited to:
- Management accounting
- Financial accounting
Your general business coursework can include, but is not limited to:
- Business law
- Business organization
- Computer science
- Business ethics
- Business communication
The Board is not only interested in the quantity of your coursework, but also its quality. Your college or university should be fully accredited to ensure that you receive an education that is acknowledged by the Board, as well as elsewhere in the professional community. The New Jersey Board recognizes academic credits that are accredited by the following agencies:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools--Higher Learning Commission
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges--Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges--Commission for Senior Colleges
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools--Commission on Colleges
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
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CPA Examination Requirements
In New Jersey, you must have completed 150 semester hours of college coursework from an accredited institution prior to applying to sit for the CPA examination. To verify your academic work for the Board, you must send them official transcripts, not copies. You can send official copies yourself, but they must be in sealed envelops from your college. Alternately, you can have your academic institution send the records directly, which is often a more efficient method. You can have all official transcripts sent to:
New Jersey Coordinator
P.O. Box 198469
You must then remit your application, including all applicable fees, to CPA Examination Services (CPAES) in Nashville, TN. Once you have been approved, NASBA will send you a Notice to Schedule. Their notice will come to you in the format you sent your application. If you applied via email, the notice will be emailed, etc.
With your notice in hand, you will then contact a New Jersey Prometric center. There are sites in:
- Laurel Spring
Please consult the Prometric website for an updated list.
Four exam sections
There are four parts to the CPA exam. You must pass all four. Since each is a thorough exam, you will want to prepare for them separately. The four parts are: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG).
You will have four hours to complete each section of the test. The parts are comprised of between 66 and 76 multiple choice questions, 4-8 task-based questions, and the BEC portion includes 3 written communications. The breakdown is:
- Auditing and Attestation: 72 multiple-choice questions and 8 task-based simulations
- Financial Accounting and Reporting: 66 multiple-choice questions and 8 simulations
- Business Environment and Concept: 62 multiple-choice questions, 4 simulations, and 3 written items
- Regulation: 76 multiple-choice questions and 8 task-based simulations
Make sure you study hard for each portion. The test is very difficult and the pass/fail rate is nearly 50/50. Consider these passing rates from 2017:
- Auditing and Attestation
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
New Jersey CPA Experience Requirement
The next aspect of your road to the CPA license is an experience portion. Since the exam is quite difficult for many to pass on the first try, you might start working under a licensed CPA while you study for the exam. Your college or university may be able to help you find an appropriate mentor so that your experience is focused on licensure. Many accounting firms will be happy to provide this service, as it benefits the profession, but also because you might continue working for them as a newly licensed professional.
New Jersey requires that you complete one full year of experience practicing public accounting under the supervision of a licensed CPA. During that year you must work 1,750 hours to satisfy the requirement. If, however, you are working part-time you still must complete the hours requirement but within a minimum two years.
There are three general areas in which you will work: public accountancy, government, and private industry. Under each, there are specific skills you must exercise. Make sure you log your time performing each sort of duty so that your supervisor can sign off on it later. Your experience might include, but not be limited to:
- Auditing and Accountancy
- Management services
- General accounting
- Apply audit procedures
- Field audits – for state tax returns
- Internal Revenue Service – field agent
- Internal audits
- Prepare financial statements
- Budgets, plans, or projections
- Prepare trial balances
- Evaluate inventories
- Maintain ledgers
Once you have completed the time necessary to satisfy the Board, you must prepare a document that describes your experience. Have your supervisor sign and notarize this document, on company letterhead, and mail it to the Board for inclusion in your application packet. Mail the letter to:
New Jersey State Board of Accountancy
124 Halsey St.
Newark, NJ 07102
Prior to beginning the experiential portion of your CPA licensure process, you might consider taking the state-required Ethics exam. Potential employers will appreciate your proactive approach and you'll have taken care of one more part of the licensure process. To learn more and to register for a class, NJCPA is a Board approved sponsor.
Obtaining a CPA license in New Jersey involves education, experience, examination(s), and an ethics exam. You must complete 150 semester hours from an accredited college or university, one year of work experience with a licensed CPA, and also pass an ethics exam.
Along the way, you must also pay any applicable fees. Taking the CPA examinations carries fees for every testing session, and simply applying to take the test is not free.
Continuing Professional Education for CPAs
Once you have attained your CPA license, you will have a lifetime of learning still ahead of you. New Jersey requires its CPAs to renew their licenses every three years. To keep your license current, you will need to complete 120 hours of CPE credit every triennial period. This period must also include an ethics course from an approved CPE provider. Note that New Jersey has a specific breakdown for your coursework.
The state requires that you take 72 CPE hours in profession-specific courses, such as:
- Regulatory practices
- Computer science
The balance of your coursework should be in related subjects that enhance your professional life. A few examples are:
- Public speaking
- Human resources
- Organizational psychology
- Business communications
New Jersey offers the option for you to take courses in-person or online. Courses are offered by professional organizations, at industry conferences, and through local colleges and universities. The New Jersey Society of Public Accountants, for instance, is an association the Board has approved to administer your Ethics exam. You might find some other professional association to join, as well. The AICPA, for instance, will offer CPE opportunities, and there are always regional and national conferences that feature seminars that will count towards the CPE requirement.