Bachelors in Accounting

How to Become a CPA in Arizona

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There are several reasons why becoming a CPA in Arizona can be a wise career choice. The demand for accountants and auditors in Arizona is expected to grow in the coming years. And you become a CPA, you may have access to a wide range of career opportunities. CPAs often earn higher salaries than non-licensed accountants. In Arizona, the average annual salary for accountants and auditors is above the national average.


Obtaining a CPA license can increase your credibility and enhance your professional reputation. Employers, clients, and colleagues may view you as a more trustworthy and competent accountant. As a CPA, you may have the flexibility to work in a variety of roles and industries, including public accounting, government, nonprofit organizations, and more. This flexibility can provide you with opportunities for career advancement and personal growth.

Becoming a CPA in Arizona can offer numerous benefits, including career opportunities, competitive salaries, professional development, increased credibility, and career flexibility.

Becoming a CPA in Arizona

Arizona has demographic trends that bring in new wealth and additional residents. The southwestern state has been a top retirement destination for years. This attribute has ramped up further in recent years. According to the Census Bureau, Arizona is one of the nation’s fastest-growing states.

The Bureau reports that nearly twenty percent of Arizona’s population is over 65. Retirees tend to have more wealth and require more accounting and related services than other demographics. This fact represents a gold mine of retirement, investment advisory services, and estate planning for CPAs in Arizona.

U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net projects a solid 15 percent growth rate in the profession from now until 2030. The high-end firm Wallace Please + Dreher recently made the Forbes list of Best Tax and Accounting Firms. Arizona also hosts substantial international consultancies like KPMG. Many successful CPAs serve businesses and wealthy families in the Grand Canyon State.

Here are the Steps to Become a CPA in Arizona:

  1. Getting Your CPA Education in Arizona.
  2. Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in Arizona.
  3. Gaining the Needed Experience in Arizona.
  4. Getting Your CPA License and Continuing Education in Arizona.

Getting your Education in Arizona

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Meeting CPA requirements in Arizona begins by requesting information from Arizona schools that offer accounting programs. The Arizona State Board of Accountancy (ASBA) requires CPA applicants to hold an undergraduate or higher degree. The typical undergraduate degree in accounting consists of 120 semester hours. However, in order to become a CPA in Arizona, aspiring professionals must obtain a total of 150 credit hours of education. This can be achieved through various routes.

Many individuals pursuing a career in accounting opt to pursue a master’s degree in accounting or a post-baccalaureate certificate program to fulfill the additional 30 credit hours required. Fortunately, a multitude of qualifying programs are available online, which eliminates the need for travel.

In addition to these options, specialized five-year CPA track programs are also available for individuals who wish to obtain both an undergraduate and graduate degree, ultimately fulfilling the 150 credit hours required for Arizona CPA licensure. These programs offer a blended curriculum that enables students to achieve their educational goals and meet the state’s CPA requirements.

The Arizona Board recognizes credits and degrees earned through colleges and universities that hold essential institution-level accreditation from one of the U.S. Department of Education-recognized regional accreditation entities.


Arizona Board rules state people are eligible to take the Uniform CPA exam after they earn their bachelor’s degree. The program must consist of at least twenty-four semester hours of accounting courses. The coursework consists of twelve semester hours of upper-level courses. Eighteen semester hours in business courses must include the following:

Advanced verbal communicationAdvanced written communicationAdvanced mathematics or college-level algebra
Business AdministrationComputer scienceBusiness law
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The Arizona State Board of Accountancy requires 150 credit hours of coursework completion. Future CPAs must earn thirty credits through a Master’s in Accounting or a post-bachelor certificate beyond the 120 included in a bachelor’s between the time they take the exam and submit license applications.

Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in Arizona

First, students satisfy the education requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA exam. These CPA candidates are then ready for the exam process. The Board reviews applications and transcripts and then recommends if candidates should be allowed to take the CPA exam. Once the Board approves applications, it sends the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) an electronic Authorization to Test (ATT) notification. CPA Exam takers wait to receive the Notice to Schedule (NTS). 

Exams are available in the first two months of every quarter. Arizona Prometric test centers are in the following cities:

  • Tempe.
  • Tucson.
  • Flagstaff.
  • Goodyear.
  • Phoenix.


Preparing for the CPA exam in Arizona requires a significant amount of dedication and effort. Let’s explore how to study for the CPA exam:

  • Understand the exam format. The CPA exam in Arizona consists of four parts: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). Each part of the CPA exam has its own time limit and number of questions. It’s important to understand the format and content of each section before you begin studying.
  • Create a study schedule. Set up a study plan that covers all four parts of the exam. Allocate enough time for each section and aim to complete a certain number of study hours each week.
  • Use CPA study materials. There are various study materials available for the CPA exam, including review courses, textbooks, and practice exams. Use a variety of materials to enhance your understanding of the exam content.
  • Take practice exams. Practice CPA exams can help you gauge your level of understanding and identify areas where you need to improve. Use practice exams to simulate the real exam environment and get a feel for the timing and difficulty of the questions.
  • Seek support. Joining a study group or hiring a tutor can provide valuable support and motivation. You can also seek guidance from experienced CPAs and ask for their advice and tips on how to study for the exam.
  • Stay focused and disciplined. Studying for the CPA exam requires discipline and focus. Stay motivated and committed to your study plan, and avoid procrastination and distractions.

Once students take the test sections, they wait for the exam results. NASBA sends the scores to ASBA. ASBA reviews and mails or emails the scores to test takers based on their chosen method.

Remember that preparing for the CPA exam takes time and effort. But with dedication and hard work, you can achieve success and become a licensed CPA in Arizona.

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Gaining the Needed Experience in Arizona

Future Arizona CPAs must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam in a rolling 18-month period. Once completed, they are only a few steps from obtaining their Arizona CPA certificate.

Obtaining the required experience includes the following:

  • All experience must be gained through employment in a CPA or public accountant office within industry or government.
  • Work experience includes at least 2000 hours of volunteer or paid experience before or after passing the Uniform CPA Exam.

Qualifying experience must involve the following:

  • Recording and processing financial transactions.
  • Analyzing and translating financial information.
  • Examining, revisiting, and reporting financial statements.
  • Reporting financial data to employers, clients, or other parties. This can include providing tax, attestation, and management advisory services to employers, clients, and other parties.

CPA candidates in Arizona can download the Certificate of Experience form for employers through which they gained experience. 

Ethics Course

All candidates complete the American Institute of CPAs ethics course. The AICPA administers the exam. The Arizona Society of CPAs oversees it.

Obtaining your Arizona CPA License and Continuing Education

This is the stage where candidates are ready to apply for their Arizona State CPA certificate and practice license. Arizona is not a two-tier state. Certification automatically grants a practice license. 

Arizona CPA certificates renew every two years. All Arizona CPAs must complete eighty hours of continuing professional education within registration renewal periods. 

The eighty hours of CPE include the following requirements:

  • A minimum of sixteen hours of CPE must be classroom or interactive/live webinar hours.
  • A minimum of forty hours must be in business law, accounting, auditing, taxation, or management advisory services.
  • A minimum of sixteen hours of the forty hours must be in accounting, auditing, or taxation subjects.
  • CPAs must complete four hours of Arizona-specific ethics coursework, including an hour each of the following: Ethics related to accounting, including the AICPA Professional Code of Conduct and ASBA statutes and administrative rules.

Are you going to be the next CPA in Arizona?


Earning a CPA license requires a significant amount of education and experience, which can help you develop valuable skills and knowledge that can benefit your career. Additionally, maintaining your CPA license requires ongoing continuing education, ensuring that you stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments.

Becoming a CPA in Arizona is a prestigious accomplishment. Public accounting professionals in Arizona have a lot to be proud of. They may benefit from joining organizations that promote the accounting profession. By joining a national group, CPAs can gain quality professional development, CPE, and networking opportunities. 

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is one of the largest national organizations for accountants. An excellent state-level organization is the Arizona Society of CPAs. Practicing CPAs can count on the state organization for advice and guidance. Professionals interested in exploring careers in accounting will thrive when becoming a CPA in Arizona.

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Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?