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Education and Experience Requirements
to Become a CPA


Below is an overview of the education and experience requirements to become a certified public accountant in New Jersey. For an overview of requirements in other states, click here.
NOTE: Please read our Update on CPA Exam Requirements in New Jersey as a result of the October 20, 2011, meeting of the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy.

Education Requirements

Taking the CPA Exam with a Bachelor's Degree

If you completed your education BEFORE July 1, 2000:

In order to be eligible under the “old rules,” ALL of the following requirements must have been completed prior to July 1, 2000:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 24 semester hours in Accounting
  • 6 semester hours in Business Law
  • 6 semester hours in Finance
  • 6 semester hours in Economics
  • 18 semester hours in business-related subjects
  • 60 semester hours in liberal arts courses

If you completed your education AFTER July 1, 2000:

Under section 13:29-1A.3(b)1 of New Jersey’s accountancy regulations, recipients of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university may take the CPA exam prior to earning the full 150 credit hours if they satisfy the following educational requirements:

  • a minimum of 60 semester hours selected from courses in English, history, foreign languages, mathematics, general psychology, science, geography, fine arts and music

  • a minimum of 60 semester hours in professional courses including at least 24 semester hours in accounting including municipal and government accounting; at least 6 semester hours in business law; at least 6 semester hours in finance; at least 6 semester hours in economics; and at least 18 semester hours in related business subjects.

Taking the CPA Exam with 150 Credits Hours

Under the 150-hour regulation, a candidate will be deemed to have met the requirement for earning their CPA if the candidate has met any one of the following four conditions:

  1. Earned a graduate degree from an accounting program or department which is accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (ACBSP) or any other national accreditation agency recognized by the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy

  2. Earned a graduate degree from a business school or college of business which is accredited by the AACSB, ACBSP or other accrediting agency recognized by the State Board of Accountancy and completed at least 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level; or 15 semester hours at the graduate level, or an equivalent combination including courses covering the subjects of financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting. An applicant may complete an equivalent combination of undergraduate and graduate level course work based upon a 3:2 ratio level so that three credit hours at the undergraduate level are equivalent to two credit hours at the graduate level.

  3. Earned a baccalaureate degree from a business school or college of business which is accredited by AACSB, ACBSP or other accrediting agency recognized by the State Board of Accountancy and completed the following:

    1. at least 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate or graduate level, including courses covering the subjects of financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting;

    2. at least 24 semester hours of business courses or substantially equivalent (other than accounting) courses at the undergraduate or graduate level.

  4. Earned a baccalaureate or higher degree from an educational institution which is accredited by the Middle States Association, Commission on Higher Education or other accrediting agency recognized by the Board and completed the following:

    1. at least 30 semester hours of accounting, including courses covering the subjects of financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting; and

    2. at least 24 semester hours in business courses or substantially equivalent (other than accounting courses) at the undergraduate or graduate level.


Experience Requirements

An applicant for certification, having passed the examination, must provide satisfactory evidence of:

  • One year of experience in the practice of public accounting or its equivalent, under the direction of a licensee; and
  • The experience includes evidence of intensive and diversified experience in auditing or accounting as determined by regulation of the board.

Individuals working in government, industry or education, whose experience is obtained without the direct supervision of a licensed public accountant or certified public accountant, are granted some special exemptions to the experience requirements outlined above. If an individual obtains not less than four years of experience prior to the effective date of the Accountancy Act (April 8, 1998), the Board will accept that experience until April 8, 2004. If the individual was working in government, industry, or education, without the supervision of a licensee, at the time of the effective date of the Accountancy Act (April 8, 1998) and after, four years of experience will be accepted by the Board until April 8, 2002. This experience may be combined with public accounting experience on a pro-rata basis.

Candidates for certification must produce Statements of Experience for ALL employment following acquisition of a baccalaureate degree. Failure to comply with this requirement will delay consideration of your application.




Tax Experience

Individuals who work in Public Accounting, who are working toward meeting the New Jersey experience requirement, and who are employed in the tax department of their firm/company should consider the following:

In order to meet N.J.’s experience requirement, 25 percent of your time must be spent in Auditing & Accounting (Item A. Auditing & Accounting.). Therefore, when filling out the N.J. Statement of Experience form, do not indicate that 100 percent of your time is spent in “Tax Services” (Item B under I. Public Accounting Experience).

Working in the tax department, you will spend significant time on the following Auditing & Accounting activities:

  • Testing, prepaid, intangible and deferred charges
  • Review and verification of accounts payable and accruals
  • Application of analytical review procedures
  • Review of significant subsequent events
  • Review of pertinent legal documents
  • Review of financial statements
  • Drafting of financial statement
Indicate on the form which of the above activities you have participated in, making sure that the numbers in “percent of time” under Auditing & Accounting total 25 percent. The remaining 75 percent should be listed under Tax Services.

See the Statement of Experience Form.