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How to Become a CPA in Colorado

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Becoming a CPA in Colorado can be a lucrative and rewarding career path. It requires dedication to learning the necessary skills and knowledge to pass the CPA exam, as well as meeting the educational requirements set by the Colorado Board of Accountancy.

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Colorado has a lot going for it. The Uravan Mineral Belt has tons of resources, including gold, titanium, and tellurium. Excellent natural resources, a desirable living environment, and beautiful views translate into big money in the Centennial State. Big money means a significant demand for accounting professionals and CPAs. U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*Net estimates a twenty-percent growth rate in accounting jobs from now to 2028. So, let’s talk about becoming a CPA in Colorado.

Becoming a CPA in Colorado

Professionals who commit to becoming CPAs in Colorado set themselves up for the qualifications they need to step into high-paying and satisfying roles. Some future CPAs are looking at local boutique firms like The Adams Group in Denver or Centennial’s Kramer & Jensen. Some professionals aim for positions at a Big Four firm like KPMG, with offices in Boulder and Denver. A CPA credential is the ideal place to start building a resume.

Here are the Steps to Become a CPA in Colorado:

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

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Colorado requires the completion of several steps. This article will provide an overview of the requirements and steps to becoming a CPA in Colorado, including educational requirements, licensing exams, and professional experience.

How Do I Become a CPA in Colorado? First of all, get your education.

How to Get Your Education and Meet CPA Degree Requirements in Colorado

The Colorado State Board of Accountancy requires CPAs to have an undergraduate degree or higher. These students must complete 150-semester-hours of qualifying college credit. Colorado will allow applicants to take the CPA exam after completing their first 120 semester hours. The entire 150-hour requirement must be met between the time testers complete the exam and apply for Colorado State Board of Accountancy certification.


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A standard undergraduate degree in accounting consists of 120-semester-hours. Pursuing a post-baccalaureate certificate or a Master’s in Accounting is the best way to get the 30 additional credits professionals need to become CPAs in Colorado. Many programs are available entirely online through distance learning. 

It’s a great idea to contact Colorado colleges and universities to seek information on the accounting programs they currently feature. Some of the nation’s best business schools offer specialized five-year CPA track programs. These degrees provide a blended undergraduate and graduate curriculum to give students the 150 semester hours needed to meet Colorado’s CPA requirements.


Students earn the qualifying hours through the combination of a bachelor’s degree and other undergraduate or graduate credits. The 150 semester hours may include a minor, a concurrent certificate program, a post-bachelor certificate, or a master’s degree. The 150-credit hours must have thirty-three semester hours of accounting courses. Twenty-seven of the thirty-three credits must be upper-division courses covering accounting-specific topics.

These topics may include:

TaxationAccounting ethics
Tax research and analysisAccounting research and analysis
Internal controls and risk assessmentAccounting information systems
Cost accountingAccounting theory
Financial accounting/reportingManagerial Accounting
Fraud examinationFinancial statement analysis
accounting degrees

Three semester hours of the 150 total are auditing courses that are in step with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS). The three remaining upper-division credit hours may be in other areas. These may include:

  • Another subset of basic auditing,
  • Advanced auditing,
  • Information technology auditing, or
  • Fraud.

CPAs need to take three credits of an accounting ethics course. It is also required that they complete twenty-seven-credit hours in upper-division business administration. Three hours in one of the following areas is required:

  • Accounting communications.
  • Business communications.
  • Technical communications.

The remaining credit hours must be spread among courses like the following, with no more than nine-credit hours in any one area:

  • Business law.
  • Quantitative applications in business.
  • Behavior of organizations, persons, and groups.
  • Business ethics.
  • Statistics.
  • Business communications.
  • Economics.
  • Legal and social environment of business.
  • Finance.
  • Computer information systems.
  • Marketing.
  • Management.

Taking the Uniform CPA Exam to Become a CPA in Colorado

Once you have earned an undergraduate degree and completed the first 120 of the 150 total credit hours, you can take the Uniform CPA Exam.

Here are the steps to taking the test:

1. Go to CPA Exam Services (CPAES) to register online. You may also download application forms.

2. Submit the required documents based on your matriculation status.

  • Students who have completed the educational requirements can ask their college to submit official transcripts directly to the CPAES.
  • Submit a signed Colorado First-Time Application for the Uniform CPA Exam.
  • Submit a signed Affidavit of Eligibility. Provide a copy of your official ID (like a driver’s license or passport).
  • Submit a signed and notarized Attestation Form.
  • Submit required application fees via money order, certified check payable to “CPAES,” or credit card.

Gaining The Needed Experience to Become a CPA in Colorado

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The Colorado State Board of Accountancy needs all certified public accountants to fulfill an experience requirement before getting licensed.

Applicants should ensure they are familiar with professional ethics in accounting before beginning the experience. Candidates must also take and pass the Home Study Course on Professional Ethics. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) features this resource.

All Colorado CPAs must complete one year/1800 hours of supervised work experience under the tutelage of a licensed CPA. Experience can be full or part-time, and internships qualify. All documented experience needs to be gained over at least one year, and it must be completed within three years. All experience should be obtained no more than five years before applying for certification.

An applicant’s experience must include accounting practices that feature standards including:

  • U.S. GAAP and GAAS.
  • AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and other Professional Standards.
  • SSAE, SSARS, and SSTS standards.
  • Other Board-approved standards.

Candidates for a CPA in Colorado must submit a Certificate of Experience from each of their employers. Applicants fill out the first page of the form. They forward it to their supervising CPA to complete and sign. The form is returned to the applicant by a supervisor in a sealed envelope for submission with an application.

Accounting Experience Options

Supervised experience is obtained in one of the following areas. It can include tasks incorporating skills relevant to public accounting, private industry, government, and academia.

Public Accounting (CPA or firm), including the following skills:

  • Attestation.
  • Providing tax advice.
  • Accounting.
  • Preparing tax returns.
  • Issuing reports on financial statements.
  • Consulting.
  • Management advisory.

Private Industry, including the following skills:

  • Internal auditing.
  • Providing tax advice.
  • Installing internal control systems.
  • Preparing tax returns.
  • Preparing financial statements.
  • Management advisory.
  • Consulting.

Government (federal, state, or local), including the following skills:

Tax Director
  • Internal audit.
  • Providing tax advice.
  • External audit.
  • Preparing tax returns.
  • Installing internal control systems.
  • Preparing financial statements.
  • Management advisory.
  • Consulting.


  • Teaching accounting courses at an accredited college or university.
  • Teaching two different upper-division accounting courses.
  • Twelve-credit hours equal one year of experience.

Accounting experience does not include teaching non-accounting courses.

All applicants must submit letters from each college in which they taught. Deans or department heads must sign letters. There must be information on credit hours taught, name, and description of courses delivered.

Recap for Getting a Colorado CPA License

  1. Earn an undergraduate degree with the needed accounting specialization.
  2. Pass the Uniform CPA Exam in Colorado.
  3. Pass the AICPA Ethics Exam.
  4. Satisfy the Colorado Board’s experience requirement through extra credits and/or an advanced degree. You may also work in accounting for at least one year by acquiring the 1800 hours.

If you have an interest in accountancy, pursue it. Colorado specializations include nonprofit accounting, international accounting, finance, auditing, and governmental accounting.

When You are Ready to Apply for your Colorado CPA Certificate

Go to the NASBA’s online Application for Original License website. These are the following steps to take:

  • Complete the application.
  • Obtain the signed Affidavit of Eligibility.
  • Get the signed and sealed Certificates of Experience from all employers verifying experience.
  • Submit a letter of good standing from a Chartered Accountant from a non-U.S. jurisdiction.
  • Seek sealed transcripts from universities. These are submitted with applications.
  • Submit AICPA Ethics Examination Certificate of Completion.
  • Pay the application fee with a credit card, certified check, or money order. The fee is payable to “NASBA Licensing Services.”

Colorado CPAs Must Stay Current Through Continuing Professional Education 


The Colorado State Board of Accountancy requires CPAs to complete ten hours of continuing professional education. These hours are required every full quarter in which CPA certificates are in active status. Only 20% of CPE hours (16 CPE hours) are in Personal Development. Four CPE hours are in ethics. Two of the four CPE hours are in Colorado Rules & Regulations.

Becoming a CPA in Colorado is Rewarding

Through diligence and hard work, you can become a Colorado-licensed CPA. Once you meet the requirements, it is time to consider joining professional organizations. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is where to begin. The organization provides members with development, guidance, advice, and networking opportunities. Members can continue their professional education programs. CPAs can contact their local Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants to learn how to become a member.

It is a great time to become a CPA in Colorado.

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Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?