Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the industry standard for those who aspire to high-level accountancy positions. As the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) puts it:
“The CPA credential is highly regarded. To a potential employer it means high ethical standards as well as measurable experience, education, and skills.”
The process you must go through to become a CPA varies somewhat state by state. Acquiring your CPA certificate in Texas involves meeting specific requirements such as educational attainment, passing national and state exams and work experience. The online Master of Accountancy program offered by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) can help Texas accountants meet upper-level CPA education requirements.
Plus, the online design of this program allows students to continue working while earning their degree. Coursework is accelerated, allowing students to finish the degree program in 12 to 20 months. This means students can conveniently complete their CPA education requirements and necessary work experience at the same time.
What Steps Are Involved in Becoming a CPA in Texas?
The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA) website lists the requirements for CPA certification in Texas, along with further details and resources for each component. Here are the basic components:
- Complete and submit all forms and materials included in the Application of Intent package.
- Complete the fingerprinting and background check process.
- Meet all education requirements.
- Complete a board-approved ethics course.
- Once you have met all requirements and your Application of Intent is approved, you may submit your Eligibility Application. Approval of this application is necessary in order to pay for, schedule and take your Uniform CPA examination. The Eligibility Application and approval process involves TSBPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
- Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
- Prove you have acquired the required one year of work experience under a certified CPA.
- Pass TSBPA’s exam on the board’s Rules of Professional Conduct.
- Take an Oath of Office.
- Request (from TSBPA) and submit an Application for Issuance of the CPA Certificate.
- Pay all associated fees (which exist for most steps outlined above).
What Are the Education Requirements in Texas?
Every state and jurisdiction require Uniform CPA Exam applicants to have completed at least a bachelor’s degree totaling no fewer than 120 credit hours. Texas’ education requirements go a bit further, requiring applicants to have completed 150 credit hours prior to taking the exam, including a significant amount of specified coursework in both high-level accounting and business subjects.
Coursework in TAMU-CC’s online Master of Accountancy degree program can be applied to meet these educational requirements. In fact, the first example TSBPA gives for meeting educational requirements is for applicants to “complete a master’s degree or higher degree conferred by a university that is recognized by the Board.”
Applicants must also have completed a TSBPA-approved ethics course before approval of their Application of Intent. TSBPA’s approved courses may be found here.
What Is the Uniform CPA Exam?
The Uniform CPA Exam is the national standard exam for CPA applicants. The exam is designed and scored by AICPA and administered by NASBA in conjunction with state accountancy boards and Prometric. The exam covers four main areas integral to accounting and business knowledge, skills and ethics. The component sections may be taken at different times, allowing applicants to focus on each individually. These four sections are:
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
- Regulation (REG)
But, importantly, AICPA and NASBA are advancing what’s known as the CPA Evolution initiative, transforming CPA licensure and the exam to reflect changes in the profession, advancing technologies and skills needed by accountants in specialized roles.
Beginning in 2024, the exam will consist of three Core exam sections — AUD, FAR and REG (which now stands for Taxation and Regulation) — and three new Discipline sections: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC) and Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP). Once this new exam is rolled out, CPA candidates will choose one Discipline to focus on and will be scored on the three Core sections as well as their chosen Discipline. TSBPA will be also be changing accounting course subject matter requirements for CPA licensure in Texas to reflect the new Uniform CPA Exam Blueprint, effective January 1, 2024.
Detailed information on processes, fees and scheduling involved with taking the Uniform CPA exam in Texas can be found in TSBPA’s informational publication “Completing the Eligibility Application: The Four Steps.”
Clearly, becoming a CPA in Texas is a somewhat lengthy process. Yet, the steps involved are straightforward and clearly laid out. Understanding this state-specific process is critical if you wish to pursue CPA certification in Texas. Earning your online Master of Accountancy from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi can provide much of the education, knowledge and experience necessary to obtain this essential accounting credential.
Learn more about TAMU-CC’s online Master of Accountancy program.