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How to Become a CPA in South Carolina

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Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in South Carolina can be a rewarding and challenging career path for accounting professionals and students. It’s a highly respected credential that can open doors to a wide range of opportunities in the accounting and finance industries. However, the process of becoming a CPA in South Carolina can be complex and time-consuming, involving several steps and requirements that need to be met. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of the steps and requirements necessary to become a CPA in South Carolina. Whether you’re a seasoned accounting professional or a student just starting in the field, this guide will provide you with the information you need to achieve your goal of becoming a licensed CPA in South Carolina.

South Carolina

South Carolina Accounting

You don’t have to be a pro golfer to know that recreation and tourism are the most substantial CPA employers in South Carolina. Retail trade and accommodation and food services are two of the three largest employers in South Carolina. The state’s growth rate is 3rd in the nation, so there is plenty of expansion coming up in the future.

Growth is coming for the accounting and auditing field. O*Net is a U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored resource. It reports a projected job growth rate of 11 percent over the next ten years. This statistic is much faster than the national average compared to other states. There is an expected nearly 2,000 job openings annually. Newly created positions and a turnover in existing roles allow freshly-trained CPAs in South Carolina to join the workforce.

Most of the Palmetto State’s tourism is fed by small businesses. You will discover the greatest number of CPA positions at local accounting firms across the state. There are shops like The Hobbs Group in Columbia to Dixon Hughes Goodman in Spartanburg and Charleston. You can also decide to be Fleetwood Mac and “go your own way” by opening your accounting enterprise after becoming a CPA in South Carolina.

Here are the Steps to Become a CPA in South Carolina:

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

Getting Your Education in South Carolina

Reach out to your favorite South Carolina universities offering accounting programs. Business schools employ experts who can answer your questions effectively when you request information.

Top Business Schools in South Carolina

UniversityBusiness SchoolAccreditationLocationWebsite
Clemson UniversityCollege of BusinessAACSBClemson, South CarolinaWebsite
Coastal Carolina UniversityE. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business AdministrationAACSBConway, South CarolinaWebsite
College of CharlestonSchool of BusinessAACSBCharleston, South CarolinaWebsite
Francis Marion UniversitySchool of BusinessAACSBFlorence, South CarolinaWebsite
The CitadelTommy & Victoria Baker School of BusinessAACSBCharleston, South CarolinaWebsite
University of South CarolinaDarla Moore School of BusinessAACSBColumbia, South CarolinaWebsite
University of South Carolina AikenSchool of Business AdministrationAACSBAiken, South CarolinaWebsite
University of South Carolina UpstateGeorge Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and EconomicsAACSBSpartanburg, South CarolinaWebsite
Winthrop UniversityCollege of Business AdministrationAACSBRock Hill, South CarolinaWebsite

The South Carolina Board of Accountancy has all CPA applicants complete a bachelor’s or higher degree with an additional thirty semester hours of college credit before being able to sit for the CPA exam.

grad student outdoor study

A standard accounting bachelor’s degree includes 120 semester hours. Earning a post-baccalaureate certificate or master’s in the field is the best way to get the 30 additional credits. Many excellent business schools feature online MBA and master’s degrees. Graduate programs like those allow learners to develop skills and knowledge without moving out of state. There are specialized five-year CPA programs that provide a blended bachelor’s and master’s curriculum giving you the 150 semester hours needed to meet CPA requirements in South Carolina.

The 150 credit hours of required college coursework can be earned through undergraduate and graduate courses. They must consist of accounting courses at the junior level or above. Courses taken include managerial accounting, financial accounting, auditing, and taxation. The thirty-six semester hours of business courses include economics, business law, finance, computer science, and management.

Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in South Carolina

You may apply for the state’s Uniform CPA Exam once the coursework is complete. Students register online at CPA Examination Services.

Here are some helpful steps you can take to pass the CPA Exam:

Work to Develop a Study Plan (and Stick to It)

Be realistic as you develop your plan. It is excellent if you have 15 hours a week to study. But maybe you don’t. Instead, it would help if you carved out time whenever you can. Be honest with yourself. It is a crucial step in creating a plan.

Make Sure Family and Friends Understand the Commitment to Exam Prep

Family and friends realize how serious a commitment the Uniform CPA Exam is. Refrain from being tempted by an invitation to go out. Instead of distracting you from your studies, they could offer to make dinner and drop it off so you can study uninterrupted.

Investigate Degree Electives that Prepare You for the South Carolina CPA Exam

Kill two birds with one stone! You can earn three credits while studying for your class and preparing for the CPA exam. An online Master’s in Accounting would allow you to use your time effectively.

Practice Makes Perfect

Find as many practice tests as possible. Answer as many practice questions as you can find. Did you get some questions wrong? Redo the wrong answers until you get them right. Repeat the entire process until you get comfortable with the discomfort.

Don’t Study What You Already Know

Some find it encouraging to answer questions dealing with known content. It can be a confidence boost. But the CPA exam in South Carolina features four sections. These sections cover a lot of ground. Covering known material is a waste of valuable time. There is no need to learn what you already know. Move on to the hard stuff.

You Choose the Order of How You’ll Take the Exams. Choose Wisely.


The test will give you 18 months to prepare for passing the first section. Try taking the most challenging section first. If you finished an auditing class, you could start with that exam while everything is fresh in your mind. Make the test play to your strengths.

Get and Stay Motivated!

Passing South Carolina’s CPA exam is a long and drawn-out process. Build in rewards for yourself. Celebrate when you pass a section. Pride yourself on sticking to your study plan or conquering a struggling topic.

Gaining the Needed Experience in South Carolina

The South Carolina Board of Accountancy has all CPAs fulfill practical work experience prerequisites before they get their licenses.

First, You must pass Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course. This home-study course focuses on professional ethics. You can then continue with the licensure process. You must score 90 or better. Attach a copy of your certificate of completion to your CPA license application.

Next, you must complete twenty-four semester hours of the thirty-six semester hours of accounting courses needed for licensure before satisfying the practical experience requirement. There are Board rules. Applicants can only earn credit for qualifying experience once they have put the time in. Core classes include information on tax, managerial accounting, financial accounting, and auditing at the junior level. Your business school’s career center will assist you in finding qualifying experience.

Here are the two methods to gain qualifying experience:

Method 1

Pursue a year of accounting experience. Fulltime work is 2000 hours. The experience can be in public, private, or governmental employment. Full-time workers can earn up to forty hours of experience weekly. Included competencies in the experience should focus on:

  • Compilations,
  • Reviews,
  • Audits/governmental audits,
  • Taxes,
  • Prospective financial information,
  • Financial statements without reports, and
  • Other services.

Work experience is supervised and reviewed by licensed CPAs. You can download the Certificate of Experience Package. Forms are signed by CPAs who supervise your experience. Include your duties, descriptions of responsibilities, and dates of employment.

Method 2

Acquire five years of experience teaching accounting courses as a full-time instructor at an accredited college or university. Full-time teachers maintain a schedule that includes twelve semester hours annually. Accounting subjects qualify. Courses in finance, economics, business law, personnel management, computer applications, and statistics can be helpful in an accounting career. These topics do not count towards this requirement.

Teaching courses at the fundamental accounting level may not make up more than two years of the five-year requirement. Accounting courses above the fundamental accounting level include cost accounting, advanced accounting, auditing, intermediate accounting, income tax, management accounting, and financial accounting.

Get Your CPA License and Continuing Education in South Carolina

Bachelors in Accounting

It is time to apply for a South Carolina CPA license. Apply via the Licensing Application after completing the exam. Mail applications and supporting documentation to the Board. Once you are an official South Carolina CPA, you must stay current through Continuing Professional Education. All licensed CPAs in South Carolina satisfy the state’s CPE requirement.

Take forty hours of CPE annually to stay in good standing. No CPE is required for the first year of licensure. Twenty hours of CPE is carried over from one year to the next. Make sure to enroll in approved program formats and approved locations.

The South Carolina Association of CPAs, American Institute of CPAs, and NASBA’s National Registry of CPE Sponsors feature approved CPE programs.

Becoming a CPA in South Carolina

Becoming a CPA is a life goal for many accountants in South Carolina. It is a designation synonymous with accounting for many professionals in the field. CPA licenses open industry doors that are closed to accountants needing more credentials. The CPA status is prestigious. Study hard to pass the CPA Exam to receive the designation. 

Pursuing your CPA license in South Carolina is a lengthy process. The benefits of being a CPA will pay for themselves. Most people who pursue the CPA are confident the ROI is worth it. Perks of being a CPA in South Carolina include a bump in salary, a diverse selection of job potential, job security, and other benefits like the chance to travel. Start your career as a South Carolina CPA today.

Related Resources:

Best Online Master’s in Accounting Programs
Highest Paying Accounting Careers
Guide to Online Accounting Degrees

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?