Becoming a CPA in Texas requires a combination of education, experience, and testing. It is a rewarding career choice that requires hard work and commitment. CPAs in Texas work with businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and accounting firms. With preparation and dedication, you can become a CPA in Texas and join the ranks of other professionals helping to ensure financial integrity.
CPAs in Texas
Texas is a powerhouse. There are big-league players in the energy sector statewide. ERCOT is the innovative Texas power grid. It has drawn praise for encouraging competition in the electrical utility market. The combination of so many players in that game and the minimal regulation Texas is known for makes accounting a big deal.
Some accounting professionals take care of the accounting needs of substantial corporate clients. Other accounting experts work with small businesses and families in their communities. It takes natural talent to be successful in the accounting field. Your first steps to developing the expertise and the CPA license needed to put it to work start with the steps featured in this article.
CPAs in Texas model solid problem-solving, communication, and technology skills. The first step they take is to prepare with a well-rounded education. Besides accounting and business courses, these professionals take additional finance, management, science, marketing, computer science, communications, and economics courses.
Here are the Steps to Become a CPA in Texas:
- Getting Your CPA Education in Texas.
- Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in Texas.
- Gaining the Needed Experience in Texas.
- Getting Your CPA License and Continuing Education in Texas.
Information on Applying for the CPA Exam
Candidates for the CPA exam must complete the following education requirements to apply for the exam:
- Undergraduate or graduate degree conferred by an accredited college or university recognized by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.
- Complete courses recognized by the Board showing no fewer than 150-credit-semester-hours.
- Complete at least 30-credit-semester-hours of accounting coursework past the first two semesters of elementary accounting. (There must be at least 20-semester-hours in core accounting subjects defined by TX Board rule.)
- Complete at least 20-semester-hours of business courses defined by TX Board rule.
How Do I Become a Licensed CPA in Texas?
All applicants in Texas must:
- Complete and pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
- Apply for a CPA certificate.
- Confirm good moral character as revealed by a lack of previous dishonest or felonious acts.
- Meet the education requirements, including 150 hours or more of college credit.
- Meet the work experience requirement of one year experience under the supervision of a CPA.
- Pass a test on the Rules of Professional Conduct provided by the Board rule.
- Take an oath of office to uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States, Texas, and rules provided by the Board.
- Pay a fee for certification and a licensing fee.
What Should I Know about Texas Regulation?
The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy is public accounting’s regulatory agency in Texas. Professionals with questions regarding CPA licensing and examination should contact the agency.
Becoming a CPA in Texas Includes Getting Your Education
Start by contacting your favorite Texas colleges and universities. Compile information on the accounting programs they feature. The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy requires all certified public accountants to complete 150-semester-hours of college credit. They must also hold an undergraduate or higher degree.
The standard accounting undergraduate degree consists of 120-semester-hours. Earning a graduate degree in accounting or a post-baccalaureate certificate is how most students acquire the 30 additional credits. Many of these programs in Texas are available entirely online. You can find specialized five-year CPA programs that offer a bachelor’s and master’s curriculum designed to give learners the 150-semester-hours they need to meet Texas CPA requirements.
The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy recognizes all relevant credits and degrees earned from schools accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. CPAs can earn their degrees in other parts of the country. The Board will most likely recognize it.
Any business school with an accounting program anywhere in the nation accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International meets the standards for TX Board recognition. If your business school does not meet these accreditation requirements, you may appeal to the Board to have your degree validated.
The TX Board does not recognize degrees or credits earned through:
- Community college. (Austin Community College, Mountain View Community College, Lone Star College, and Houston Community College are the exceptions.)
- Technical or vocational schools.
- Two-year colleges.
- Continuing education coursework.
- CPA review coursework.
- Correspondence or extension programs and schools.
Students who attended school outside of the United States will have credits evaluated. The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy partners with an evaluator at the UT at Austin-Graduate and International Admissions Center to provide the service.
All students must meet Texas-specific CPA degree and coursework requirements. Through a combination of a bachelor’s degree and any additional credits earned through a concurrent certificate or graduate work, 150-semester-hours of college credit need to include the following:
- Three-credit-hours of traditional classroom-style ethics training. The coursework should cover ethical theory and AICPA, SEC, and Texas Board accountancy rules. There are teachings on core values, independence, objectivity, integrity, and moral reasoning.
- Thirty-credit-hours of upper–division accounting courses. Managerial/cost accounting is an included topic.
- Financial accounting, including up to nine-semester-hours of intermediate accounting, accounting theory, and advanced accounting.
- Financial statement analysis.
- Internal accounting control and risk assessment.
- Auditing and attestation services.
- Accounting research and analysis.
- Accounting information systems.
- Financial accounting/reporting for government/nonprofit organizations.
- International accounting and financial reporting.
- Fraud examination.
Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in Texas
After completing 150-semester-hours of credit and earning at least a bachelor’s degree, it is time to take the Uniform CPA Exam.
Start by completing the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy Application of Intent. This helps the Board evaluate your credits and moral character. The Board will determine that you are prepared for the Uniform CPA Exam. Documentation sent with this application includes:
- A completed Application of Intent.
- Official transcripts from all colleges attended.
- A small headshot.
- A certified and notarized copy of your government-issued identification. (A driver’s license or passport is acceptable.)
- A certified, notarized copy of your social security card.
- A notarized authorization and release form for a background check.
- An official certificate of good moral character.
- An ADA accommodations request, if needed.
- A $50 application fee.
Pursuing the Needed Experience in Texas
All applicants must fulfill the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy’s work experience requirements before Texas issues them CPA certificates.
The TSBPA requires all CPA applicants to complete at least one year/2000 hours of paid or volunteer work experience under the supervision of a CPA. The work can be full or part-time. Most students utilize their business school’s career center can help them find relevant work experience.
Experience can be in one of the following areas:
|Client public accountancy practice
|Internship (This field is subject to evaluation by the TX Board)
All work experience must demonstrate diversified, non-routing accounting proficiency offering services or advice in specific areas, including:
- Financial advisory.
- Any other services the TX Board recognizes as appropriate for accountants.
All applicants must have their supervising CPAs complete the Work Experience Form. This form verifies their accounting work experience.
Getting Your CPA License in Texas
First, you complete the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy’s education requirements. Next, you pass the Uniform CPA Exam and fulfill the Board’s experience requirement. Now, you may apply for a Texas CPA license. Texas is not a two-tier state. The terms “certificate” and “license” are used interchangeably. “Certificate” generally refers to the licensing document.
Staying Current Through CPA Continuing Professional Education in Texas
CPA certificate holders in Texas must complete continuing professional education (CPE) hours to maintain their CPA certificate.
Professionals holding the CPA distinction must complete 120 hours of CPE every three years. There must be at least twenty hours of CPE annually.
- There is no CPE requirement for the first 12-month licensing period.
- CPAs must report at least 20 CPE hours to take a year before the license period for the second 12-month licensing period.
- CPAs must report at least 60 CPE hours accrued in the 24 months before the license period for the third 12-month licensing period.
- CPAs must report at least 100 CPE hours accrued in the three years before the license period for their fourth 12-month licensing period.
- CPAs must report at least 120 CPE hours accrued in the three years before the license period for the fifth and subsequent one-year licensing period.
Professionals who have worked hard and earned a Texas CPA license should be proud. They should also consider becoming members of professional organizations that will make their lives easier and help them get established in the profession. The American Institute of CPAs and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants offer members continuing education programs. CPAs can also network and enjoy development opportunities.
Future CPAs interested in a particular industry will find their niche in Texas. The energy industry offers more opportunities than found across all industry sectors in other states. Do yourself a favor and become a CPA in Texas.