CPEs for CPA

What is CPE credits for CPAs?

As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you need to acquire Continuing Professional Education or CPE credits for sustaining your license. This ensures that you are actively involved in improving your know-how of the profession by engaging in learning activities. The CPE requirements for CPAs in the US states of Texas, California, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, and North Carolina have been discussed here.

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Need for CPEs

The CPE credits required and the period of collecting these credits vary as per the regulations of the AICPA, State Boards of Accountancy, and other professional organizations involved. You must fulfill the CPE requirement to:

  • Continue your AICPA membership
  • Renew your license

Qualified Fields of Study for CPE 

To ensure the validity of their license and continuity of their AICPA membership, CPAs must undertake specific learning programs. Learning programs include being a part of interactive events, web conferences, or webinars. These programs may be in the technical or non-technical areas of study.

Technical areas include auditing, accounting, taxation, information technology, government accounting, etc. On the other hand, non-technical ones comprise personal development, behavioral ethics, production, communications and marketing, etc. 

CPE Programs by AICPA and NASBA

Through AICPA membership, you can be a part of its free as well as paid self-study and on-demand courses, certification programs, webcasts, etc. These programs would assist you in attaining your CPE credit requirement.

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) started the National Registry of CPE Sponsors for recognizing CPE program sponsors. You can take any of the CPE programs offered by these registered sponsors to earn your credits. Most of the State Boards of Accountancy approve them. 

CPA CPE Requirements for AICPA Members

Regular AICPA Members must obtain 120 credit hours (or equivalent) of CPE every three years to retain their AICPA membership. This includes taking in-house training courses, university classes, trade association conferences, etc.

The general rule for calculating CPE credit is:

CPE Programs Program Credit CPE Hours
University or college programs 1 college credit (quarter system) 10 CPE credits
1 college credit (semester system) 15 CPE credits
Other programs 50 minutes 1 CPE credit

CPA CPE Requirements by State

#1 -California

CPA License Renewal Deadline

Last day of your birth month (in odd/even year corresponding to your birth year)

CPE Completion Reporting Deadline

Once in two years on the last day of your birth month (in odd/even year corresponding to your birth year)

CPE General requirements

CPAs must acquire 80 CPE hours every two years (20 hours annually) with a minimum of 40 hours (12 hours annually) in technical subjects. Other subject area requirements include:

  • Ethics: 4 hours
  • Regulatory Review Course (California-Board approved): 2 hours (every 6 years)

Besides the 80-hour requirement, CPAs working in specific areas need to get extra hours in some additional subjects.

Particulars Additional Subjects
Government accounting Accounting and auditing Preparation engagements Fraud
CPAs working in Governmental Accounting Minimum 24 hours
CPAs working in Accounting & Auditing   Minimum 24 hour –  
CPAs working in Accounting & Auditing (with preparation engagement as the highest level of service) Minimum 24 hour Minimum 8 hours
CPAs working in Fraud Detection or Reporting Minimum 24 hour Minimum 4 hours

CPE Credit limitations

The California Board places some limitations on the courses taken and the number of credit hours allowed. The following table outlines them.

ParticularsCourse limitationCredit hour limitation
EthicsAt least one hour in length
InstructionMaximum 40 hours allowed
Technical subjectsMinimum 40 hours allowed
Non-technical subjectsMaximum 40 hours allowed
Published materialPublisher not controlled by the licenseeMaximum 20 hours allowed
Self-studyCourses must use an interactive delivery methodRegulatory review self-study course must have a final examination (passing score of 90 or more)
Fields of studyCheck with the Board for limitations on subject areas
Technical reviewerHour-for-hour basis credit allowance to review instructional materials for CPE programs

CPE Credit Hour Calculation

Programs CE Hours
Instruction Actual presentation hours along with two hours preparation time for each hour instructed
University or college programs 1 hour (quarter system) = 10 CE hours
1 hour (semester system) = 15 CE hours
1 non-credit classroom presentation = 1 CE hour

Please note that half credits (after the first hour) are also acceptable while calculating CE hours.

Other State Policies

  • Learning/teaching accounting software uses are allowed as general CPE credits for technical subjects but not for accounting or/and auditing. 
  • California doesn’t accept CE in subjects like self-realization, personal growth, personal health and/or fitness, spirituality, foreign languages and cultures, sports and recreation etc. 
  • The California Board approves CPE programs of National Registry Sponsors. 

#2 – Florida

CPA License Renewal Deadline

December 31 (Biennially)

CPE Completion Reporting Deadline

July 1 – June 30 (Biennially)

CPE General requirements

CPAs require 80 CPE hours every two years. Other subject area requirements include:

  • Ethics (Florida-Board approved): 4 hours
  • Government Auditing (required if involved in conducting government auditing): 24 hours
  • Accounting and/or Auditing: 8 hours

Kindly note that the ethics program must include Florida Statutes, the administrative rules, and a review of Chapters 455 and 473. Moreover, you cannot take the ethics program with different providers to obtain the necessary CPE credits.

CPE Credit limitations

The Florida Board places some limitations on the programs taken and the number of credit hours allowed. The following table outlines them.

ParticularsCourse limitationCredit hour limitation
Mathematics/AccountingBasic mathematics or elementary accounting is not accepted
Behavioural subjectsMaximum 20 credit hours
MeetingBusiness meetings, committee service, or social functions not accepted
Published materialNot accepted
Self-StudyPrograms approved by NASBA’s Quality Assurance Service (QAS)
Field of studyCheck with the Board for limitations on subject areas

CPE Credit Hour Calculation

Programs CE Hours
Instruction 2 x Presentation time (for first presentation) Presentation time (for second presentation) No credit for successive presentations
University or college programs 1 hour (quarter system) = 10 CPE hours
1 hour (semester system) = 15 CPE hours
Non-credit courses 1 classroom hour = 1 CPE hour

Other State Policies

On failure to meet the CPA reporting deadline (June 30), Florida-certified CPAs get an automatic extension. They can report their CPEs until September 15 or December 31, provided that they complete extra 8 hours or 16 hours in Accounting and Auditing subjects, respectively. 

#3 – Illinois

CPA License Renewal Deadline

September 30 (Triennially)

CPE Reporting Period Deadline

October 1 – September 30 (Triennially)

CPE General Requirements

CPAs require 120 CPE hours every three years. Other subject area requirements include:

  • Ethics: 4 hours
  • Sexual Harassment Prevention Training: 1 hour

CPE Credit limitations

The Illinois Board places some limitations on the courses taken and the number of credit hours allowed. The following table outlines them.

Particulars Course limitation Credit hour limitation
Instructions Maximum 60 hours
Non-Verifiable CPE Programs without an approved sponsor Maximum 60 hours
Expert consultations or new research areas Maximum 10 hours of the 60 hours
Technical and Committee Meetings Maximum 10 hours of the 60 hours
Published Materials reading Maximum 10 hours of the 60 hours
Personal Development Maximum 24 hours
Published material Maximum 30 hours
Self-Study Interactive Maximum 80 hours
Non-interactive Maximum 60 hours

CPE Credit Hour Calculation

Programs CPE Hours
Instruction Presentation + Preparation time (can’t be more than two times of presentation)
University or college programs 1 hour (quarter system) = 10 CPE hours
1 hour (semester system) = 15 CPE hours
Self-study (non-interactive) 1 classroom hour = Half CPE hour

Please note that half credits after the first hour are allowed for CPE calculation. Also, preparation time for repeat instruction is permitted if the instruction material is relevantly modified.

Other State Policies

  • CPE programs must be offered by NASBA’s National Registry Sponsors, Board-approved, or part of the Special Board Category for automatic approval. 
  • Licensees having an address of record outside the boundaries of Illinois should comply with that state’s CPE requirements.

#4 – Texas

CPA License Renewal Deadline

Last day of your birth month (annually)

CPE Completion Reporting Deadline

It ends on the last day of your birth month (Triennially)

CPE General Requirements

CPAs must obtain 120 CPE hours (minimum 20 annually) every three years.

Ethics Requirement

Ethics (Texas-board approved): 4 hours (every two years)

CPE Credit limitations

The Texas Board places some limitations on the courses taken and the number of credit hours allowed. The following table outlines them.

ParticularsLimitationCredit hour limitation
InstructionsIntroductory level college course instruction not acceptedMaximum 20 hours
Nano-learningPassing score – 100%Maximum 60 hours (in 3 years)
Non-technical coursesMaximum 60 hours (in 3 years)
Other certificationsMaximum 60 hours (in 3 years)
Published MaterialsMaximum 10 hours (per year)
Field of studyCheck with the Board regarding new study areas
CPE program providers (including NASBA sponsors)Register with the Texas State Board
Non-registered sponsorsCredit earned must be submitted in an appropriate form with reasons and benefits of the claiming of creditsMaximum 60 hours (in 3 years)

CPE Credit Hour Calculation

Programs CPE Hours
Instruction 3 x Presentation time
University or college programs 1 hour (quarter system) = 10 CPE hours
1 hour (semester system) = 15 CPE hours
Live & blended learning programs 50 minutes = 1 CPE credit (initially) Thereafter, 10 minutes = one-fifth credit 25 minutes = one-half credit
Self-study 25 minutes = one-half credit (initially) After 1 full CPE credit (50 minutes), 10 minutes = one-fifth credit 25 minutes = one-half credit
Nano-learning 10 minutes = one-fifth credit

Kindly note that you can repeat the instruction of the same course only on the grounds of relevantly modified material.

Other State policies

For meeting the Texas CPE requirements, the non-resident licensees should meet the CPE requirements of their principal business location. If there are no requirements for the latter, then they should meet the ones for Texas.  

#5 – New Jersey

CPA License Renewal Deadline

December 31 (Triennially)

CPA License Renewal Fees

Fees – $135

CPE Reporting Period Deadline

January 1 – December 31 (Triennially)

CPE General Requirements

CPAs require 120 CPE hours (minimum 20 annually) every three years. Other subject area requirements include:

  •  4 hours
  • 60 hours
  • 24 hours

CPE Credit limitations

The New Jersey Board places some limitations on the courses taken and the number of credit hours allowed. The following table outlines them.

ParticularsCourse limitationCredit hour limitation
Blended learningMust be offered by NASBA-registered sponsors
InstructionFull-time instructor not allowedMaximum 60 hours
MarketingMarketing of services or improving licensee’s practice is not permitted
Nano-learningMust be offered by NASBA registered sponsors
Published materialsMaximum 30 hours
ReviewerTechnical review or peer review program committee Maximum 60 hours
Self-studyMust be offered by NASBA registered sponsors
University/CollegeCredit received for only technical subject areas
Fields of studyCheck with the Board for limitations on subject areas and credits allowed

CPE Credit Hour Calculation

Particulars Course limitation Credit hour limitation
Blended learning Must be offered by NASBA registered sponsors
Instruction Full-time instructor not allowed Maximum 60 hours
Marketing Marketing of services or improving licensee’s practice is not allowed
Nano-learning Must be offered by NASBA registered sponsors
Published materials Maximum 30 hours
Reviewer Technical review or peer review program committee Maximum 60 hours
Self-study Must be offered by NASBA registered sponsors
University/College Credit received for only technical subject areas
Fields of study Check with the Board for limitations on subject areas and credits allowed

Kindly note that you cannot take instruction repeated in the same year for credit calculation. After one year, you may receive credit for presentation time only if the material is substantially altered. Also, the Board accepts half credits only after the first hour.

Other State Policies

  • For meeting the New Jersey CPE requirements, the non-resident licensees should meet the CPE requirements of their principal business location. If there are no requirements for the latter, then they should meet the ones for New Jersey. 
  • Apart from the ones mentioned below, every program sponsor should register with the New Jersey Board:
    • Authorized universities/colleges
    • National & State professional organizations
    • State & Federal Government agencies
    • Sponsors already registered with NASBA

#6 – North Carolina

CPA License Renewal Deadline

June 30 (annually)

CPE Completion Reporting Period Deadline

January 1 – December 31 (annually)

CPE General Requirements

CPAs require 2000 CPE minutes every year.

Ethics requirement

Ethics (NASBA-registered sponsor program): 50 minutes

CPE Credit limitations

The North Carolina Board places some limitations on the courses taken and the number of credit hours allowed. The following table outlines them.

ParticularsCourse limitationCredit minutes
InstructionInstruction course must be above the level of accounting principles
No credit for repeat instruction
Maximum 1000 minutes
Published materialsMaximum 500 minutes
Self-studyBased on course minutes (determined by the course sponsor)
University/college courseNo credits for an audited course

CPE Credit Calculation

Programs CPE minutes
Instruction Presentation + Preparation time
University or college programs 1 hour (quarter system) = 500 CPE minutes
1 hour (semester system) = 750 CPE minutes

Please note that the Board accepts partial credits in any amount.

Other State Policies

  • The licensees can carry a maximum of 1000 minutes of carryover credits from one reporting period to the next. However, they can’t use carryover credits for meeting the ethics requirement.
  • The jurisdiction accepts credits for National Registry Sponsored programs. 
  • The non-resident licensees should meet their current business location’s CPE requirements to meet the North Carolina CPE requirements. If there are no requirements, then they should meet the ones for North Carolina. 
  • The non-resident licensees with their primary office in North Carolina should meet the state’s ethics requirement. All the other non-resident licensees must fulfil the ethics requirements of the licensed or resident jurisdiction. If it does not have any ethics requirements, they have to meet the requirements of North Carolina. 

This has been a guide to CPEs for CPA. Here we discuss the CPE reporting and credit hour requirements for CPAs in the US states of Texas, Florida, California, Illinois, etc. You may also have a look at the below articles to compare CPA with other examinations –

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