How to Become a CPA in Ohio

Ready to start your journey?

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Ohio is a challenging and rewarding process that offers many career opportunities. Ohio is home to many top-ranked accounting firms and employers, making it a popular destination for accountants. However, becoming a CPA in Ohio requires passing the Uniform CPA Exam, which is known for its difficulty. Additionally, candidates must meet education, experience, and ethics requirements set by the Ohio Board of Accountancy. Let’s explore the steps required to become a CPA in Ohio, including education requirements, application requirements, and the benefits of holding a CPA license.

Cincinnati Ohio

Becoming a CPA

Careers in accounting can be truly rewarding. The job market for this field is often robust, and as an accountant, you can choose your clients and set your work schedules. Even better, when you help people to plan and organize their financial lives, you are helping them to thrive both personally and professionally.

CPAs are an elite type of account that holds a special license with the state that they practice in. CPAs typically earn higher incomes than other accountants and are eligible for more competitive positions. The CPA title is also a powerful tool to build a resume for potential employers.

If you are interested in becoming a CPA in Ohio, it is important to review the state’s licensing process. Each state has separate regulations regarding licensure; you will need to be up to date with Ohio’s specifications. Then, once you know all the requirements and steps involved, you can start planning your educational journey and working toward your dream career!

Here are the Steps to Become a CPA in Ohio:

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

The Accountancy Board of Ohio is the regulating body for CPAs in the Buckeye State. This board grants CPA licensure to candidates who can prove they have the knowledge, education, and ethical background for such a high professional standard.

Becoming a CPA in Ohio takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication. For one thing, you will need a certain number of college credits and will have to take certain courses. You will also be required to pass four parts of a complex and difficult exam called the Uniform CPA Exam.

Let’s take a look at each of these steps in more detail.


The educational requirements for Ohio CPA licensure are clear and specific. First, to be eligible for the CPA exam, you must earn a minimum of 120 semester college credits or 180 quarter credits in various academic subjects. You don’t have to major in accounting or in business to earn your CPA licensure. While an accounting major would certainly help prepare you for the CPA exam and throughout your career, you are free to major in any subject you like.


In addition, CPA candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university. To accumulate the required 150 semester credits, students often need to get a master’s degree. Accountants can find these types of degrees on campus and online. Online coursework allows professionals to start work and still pursue their required credits needed to become a CPA.

Be aware that you can still take the CPA exam in Ohio even if you still need to get 120 semester credits. In order to bypass this requirement, you will have to earn a score of at least 670 on the GMAT. It is important to note that if you take the CPA exam through the GMAT exemption, you might not be eligible for a CPA license in a different state if you relocate.


Students must take at least some accounting and business classes during their college career. To be precise, students need 24-semester college credits or 36-quarter credits in accounting and 24-semester college credits or 36-quarter credits in business.

Furthermore, when it comes to accounting classes, at least one course in each of these topics must be completed:

Financial accountingManagement accounting
TaxationAuditing, including generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS)

To earn your certification, 150-semester college credits, including 30 semester credits in accounting and 24 semester credits in business, must be completed. 

To become a CPA, you will need to choose your college courses carefully from the beginning of freshman year to your senior year and beyond. As you go through your educational journey, it will benefit you to remember those requirements every time you register for new classes. 

If that feels overwhelming, remember that your academic advisor can help you stay on track and assist you in getting admitted into the classes you need. 

The Exam

The Uniform CPA Exam is given to CPA candidates in all 50 states and several U.S. territories. This comprehensive test has been around for almost a century. Once a paper test, it became computerized in 2004. 

Prometric Testing, which is based in Baltimore, is the company that manages and oversees the Uniform CPA exam. 

Prometric operates a number of exam sites throughout the state, making it convenient to register and take the exam when you are ready.

The Test Format

Each of this exam’s sections takes up to four hours to complete for a total of 16 hours for all portions. You can take different sections of the test weeks or even months apart. You just have to take your last segment within 18 months of taking the first test.

The Four CPA Exam Sections

Auditing and attestationBusiness environment and concepts
Financial accounting and reportingRegulation

Many questions are multiple-choice, but essay questions are mixed in as well. Other portions of the test present realistic accounting scenarios, allowing you to use your knowledge and flexible thinking to arrive at the most effective solutions possible.

A Real Challenge

study for exam

In all of this, the Uniform CPA Exam is a very difficult test. Only about half the people who take it, pass. That is a low rate when you consider that everyone who takes this exam has studied accounting extensively.  

Retaking one or more sections of this test is a common occurrence. It does not hurt your chances of earning your state license if you repeat a section, and there is no reason to feel bad about it.  

Remember that you do not have to prepare for this test alone. Your college might have study groups where students can help each other prepare. And your academic adviser or one of your accounting professors can provide you with special exam prep materials. 

Not to mention, the internet is full of sample questions and helpful tips for those who are about to take the CPA exam.

The Application

To take the Ohio CPA exam and ultimately get your license, you must fill out the online application form here

When applying, you will choose which sections to take according to your availability. Prometric advises scheduling an exam section within six months of your application. 

When you apply, you will create a digital user account. That account will store your personal data and contact information. Professionals can use it to track their application status and eventually view their exam scores. 

The first time you apply, there is an exam and application fee. Then, each time you sign up to take another section of the test, you will pay a registration fee along with the exam fee. You may be wondering about the total costs to complete the CPA exam in Ohio currently:

  • The application fee is $180.
  • The registration fee is $100.
  • Each of the exam’s four sections costs about $240 to take.

Those fees, of course, are subject to change.


One stop on the road to becoming a CPA in Ohio is to fulfill the experience requirements. Based upon Ohio law, accountants must accrue one year in academia, government, business, or a public accounting firm. This accounting experience can be performed in Ohio or beyond, but it must be verified by a CPA, a comparably qualified accountant, or include a notarized statement from three large customers if the accountant is self-employed. The Record of Experience Form can be found here.

Suppose you qualified for the CPA exam due to your GMAT score and without having the requisite 150 college credits. In that case, accountants would need at least four years of professional accounting experience to be eligible for certification.



Once you have fulfilled your educational, exam, and experience requirements, you will almost be ready to become a CPA in Ohio. 

But first, you will have to pass two background checks: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) checks. Your fingerprints will be digitally recorded and sent to both organizations. 

The state of Ohio also has ethics requirements, which means that within a year of getting your license, you must complete a three-hour course in Professional Standards and Responsibilities from a board-approved educational institution or program. 


Once you finally complete your CPA license, you are not finished with the state licensing board. You will have to renew your license once every three years, sometime between early October and the end of December. 

To be eligible for license renewal, CPAs in Ohio must demonstrate a commitment to continuing professional education (CPE). Meaning that you must earn at least 120 hours of credits from an accredited accounting program within the three calendar years before you apply for renewal. Those who have received their Ohio CPA license for the first time must also earn at least 40 CPE credits within two years.

Becoming a CPA in Ohio

As you can see, if you would like to become a CPA in Ohio, you must be prepared to spend years studying, building your skills, and practicing your craft. After you have earned this prestigious license, you will also need to continue your studies and remain committed to ethical behavior and excellent work.

Is the Ohio CPA license worth all of this time and effort? The answer is almost certainly yes. After all, being a CPA means you will be an accountant of the highest order; among the best the industry has to offer. And for that reason, clients and companies across Ohio will realize that you are worthy of their business and trust.

Related Resources:

Ultimate Guide for Accountants
Best Online Bachelor’s in Accounting
Best Online Master’s in Accounting Programs

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?