Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Utah can be a smart career move for both experienced accountants and accounting students. Not only does it demonstrate a commitment to the accounting profession and a dedication to upholding high ethical standards, but it can also lead to a variety of career opportunities and competitive salaries. However, the process of becoming a CPA in Utah can be complex and confusing, especially for those who are new to the field. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide to becoming a CPA in Utah, including the education and experience requirements, the examination process, and the benefits of becoming a CPA in Utah.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over one million accountants and auditors currently practicing in the United States. The number of CPAs and accountants is projected to grow by 6% by 2031. This makes it a truly in-demand career that can allow you to find fast employment. With an average annual salary for certified public accountants in Utah being around $77,339, you can make a quick return on your educational investment. Let’s look at what you will need to do to obtain your CPA license.
Here are the Steps to Become a CPA in Utah:
- Getting Your CPA Education in Utah.
- Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in Utah.
- Gaining the Needed Experience in Utah.
- Getting Your CPA License and Continuing Education in Utah.
How to Become a CPA in Utah
First and foremost, you must complete an educational degree in business or accounting. Those who earn a graduate degree from an appropriately certified program are considered to have met the academic requirements and can continue taking the necessary steps to obtain their CPA license. Candidates who only receive a master’s or a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business will be required to take additional courses in accounting at the graduate or upper division level to complete the necessary academic requirements to be eligible for licensing.
Once all academic requirements are met, you must take three examinations to qualify for a certified public accountant license. These include the uniform CPA exam, the AICPA ethics exam, and the Utah Laws and Rules Assessment. You must receive a passing score on all three of these tests to meet the examination requirements for your license. It is important to note that the uniform CPA test includes four parts and is time sensitive. All components must be completed with a passing score of 75 or higher within an 18-month period.
Another necessary step on the path to obtaining your Utah CPA license is to undergo 2,000 hours of experience in the field. You must complete work experience for over one year under a licensed CPA’s direct supervision. Most internships and part-time jobs can be counted towards work experience hours.
You can apply online to obtain your CPA license once you meet all the educational, examination, and work experience requirements. You will do this conveniently through Utah’s DOPL website and must provide supporting documentation as proof that you met all the necessary requirements. You’ll typically receive communication via email within a day or two notating your CPA licensing approval or the need for further supporting documentation.
Let’s dig into these steps a little more.
To be eligible to receive your certified public accountant license, you will need to complete 150 semester hours of college-level coursework. You must complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the field of accounting, business, or auditing to be considered for Utah licensing. All semester hours must be obtained from a program accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) or the ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs).
Top Utah Business Schools
|Brigham Young University
|Marriott School of Business
|Southern Utah University
|Dixie L. Leavitt School of Business
|Cedar City, Utah
|University of Utah
|David Eccles School of Business
|Salt Lake City, Utah
|Utah State University
|Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
|Utah Valley University
|Woodbury School of Business
|Weber State University
|Goddard School of Business & Economics
It is important to note that your school degree level will impact whether or not additional semester course hours are required in graduate-level or upper-division accounting courses. Candidates who obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business must have undergone at least 24 semester hours of graduate-level or upper-division accounting courses. These individuals must have also taken at least one course each in auditing, taxation, financial accounting, and management accounting. Additionally, they will need to complete 30 hours of upper-division or graduate-level accounting or business courses to be eligible for Utah CPA licensing.
Individuals who obtain a bachelor’s degree that is not from an ACBSP or AACSB accredited program may become eligible for licensing if they complete additional educational requirements. The first option includes taking at least 24 hours of non-accounting business courses. These hours must consist of at least two semester hours in the following subjects:
- Business Administration.
- Written and Oral Business Communications.
- Business Statistics and Quantitative Methods.
- Business Ethics.
- Business Law.
Additionally, these individuals must complete at least 24 semester hours of graduate-level or upper-division accounting courses. This must include a minimum of two semester hours in the course subject areas of:
- Cost or Managerial Accounting.
CPA license applicants that have obtained a master’s degree from an ACBSP or AACSB-certified educational program must also undergo at least 24 semester hours of graduate-level or upper-division accounting courses. These must include the topics of taxation, auditing, management accounting, and financial accounting. Courses and full degrees are available online. Applicants who currently possess a graduate degree from an ACBSP or AACSB-accredited business educational program are not required to take any additional educational courses to receive their licensing.
To be eligible for your CPA license in the state of Utah, you must pass three different examinations. The first is the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) professional ethics course and examination. This is a self-study course that you can do at your own pace. You must order your course materials and exam directly from the AICPA website. This professional ethics exam will cost $170, and you will have up to nine months to complete it. All exam answers are submitted conveniently online.
Laws & Rules
The Utah CPA Law and Rules examination is the second test candidates must take. You can register for this test online and take it at one of the many Provexam testing centers throughout the state. In some cases, you can opt for online proctoring and take the exam at home. This timed, open-book examination requires you to receive at least 75% or higher to pass. It costs $75 to register for this particular examination.
Uniform CPA Exam
The third and final test is the uniform CPA examination. You must apply through the NASBA website. All 50 states require this specific examination to receive an active CPA license. It includes four main sections that are taken separately. All sections must be completed within 18 months, and a score of at least 75% must be earned.
The four parts of this test include Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). You will be responsible for paying a $145 application fee, four registration fees that total $110, and varying examination fees. These are currently set at $225 per individual examination part. That is a total of $900 for all four test parts. Once you apply with the NASBA, you can expect to receive a Notice to Schedule for each part of the examination. At this point, you should contact Prometric to schedule your test at one of their professional examination centers.
Before applicants can be eligible to receive their CPA license, they must undergo supervised training. This training must be done under the direct supervision of a currently licensed CPA. It must last for one year, which is considered to be at least 2,000 working hours. All of this work experience must be done following the generally accepted skills in accounting and auditing required by licensed CPA practices.
Many applicants will find that their part-time work and internships count towards their 2,000-hour work experience requirement. This accounting experience can be achieved at any point before or after you complete the required educational requirements for your accountant license. Remember to have your supervising CPA in Utah sign the required paperwork to ensure that you have proof of qualified work experience to submit alongside your CPA license application.
You can apply for your Utah CPA license once you complete all the educational and examination requirements above. You can file your application online through the DOPL (Division of Professional Licensing) website. When filling out your application, ensure that you include all the required supporting documents, such as your supervisor’s verification of your work experience, to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in processing your application. There is an $85 application fee to be considered for your CPA licensing.
Most applicants will receive licensing approval within one to two days and will be notified by email of approval. The email will include your new license number, certificate of licensure, and wallet cards. Once you have received this email, you can start practicing as a licensed CPA in the great state of Utah.
Utah CPA licenses last for two years. Each renewal will begin on January 1st of the odd-numbered year and end on December 1st. During your first initial renewal, there are no additional educational requirements. However, for every renewal after that, you will need to complete a total of 80 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) courses. These courses must include at least three hours of ethics and at least one hour on the topic of Utah regulations on accountancy.
Becoming a CPA in Utah
Becoming a CPA in Utah is a great way to position yourself into a lifelong career that is in high demand. Fortunately, obtaining your CPA license is relatively quick after you get your initial educational degree. Within just one year, you can complete all the academic, examination, and work experience requirements to make yourself eligible to apply for licensing. With licensing approvals in as little as one day, you can start practicing as a licensed CPA in Utah in no time.