Hawaii CPA Exam and License Requirements

Updated on March 22, 2024
Article byHimani Bhatt
Edited byHimani Bhatt
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Hawaii Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license enables professionals to practice public accounting in the U.S. state of Hawaii. To earn the Hawaii CPA license, you must meet the state-specific education, experience, exam, and other licensing requirements.

Hawaii CPA Exam and License Requirements

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Please note that Hawaii follows a two-tier licensing system. It means that you receive a CPA certificate or license upon passing the exam. In addition, you must fulfill the other education and experience requirements to attain the Permit to Practice.

Therefore, CPAs practicing public accountancy in Hawaii must have both a license and an individual Permit to Practice. Note that the Hawaii Board of Accountancy (BOA) is the license and permit-issuing authority. Also, Hawaii participates in the international administration of the CPA Exam

Now, let’s discuss the Hawaii CPA exam and license requirements.

Table of Contents

Hawaii CPA Exam requirements

Hawaii Licensing requirements

How to Apply for the License?

How to Apply for the Permit to Practice?

How to Sustain CPA License or Permit to Practice?

Hawaii Exam Information and Resources

Hawaii CPA Exam Requirements

The Uniform CPA Exam is a requirement common to all states. It is a set of online tests designed to evaluate your accounting knowledge and skills. You must pass all the four exam sections within a rolling 18-month testing period. 

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) administers the exam in association with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the 55 U.S. jurisdictions. 

Ensure to score at least 75 on a scale of 0-99 in each section of the following sections:

Each section mentioned above includes two question types: multiple-choice question (MCQ) and task-based simulation (TBS). Besides, there is an additional written communication task (WCT) segment in BEC.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Minimum age requirement – 18 years
  2. Minimum education requirements (any one of the following):
    • Bachelor’s degree in accounting, or
    • Bachelor’s degree with a non-accounting major and 18 semester hours of upper-division/graduate level in accounting or auditing subjects, or
    • Bachelor’s degree or its accounting equivalent from a non-U.S. college or university (reported by a board-approved evaluator)

Note that you must meet the education requirements at the time of application or within 120 days following the first exam section. Also, a board-approved college or university must confer the degree.

Required Documents

You must submit the following documents to the CPA Examination Services (CPAES).

Required documentsTo be submitted by
Official transcripts from all schools specified on your applicationYour school
Certificate of Enrollment (if applicable)You or your school
International Evaluation Report (if applicable)You or the evaluation agency
Testing Accommodations Request Form (if applicable)You

Ensure to submit only official and original transcripts. Any photocopies or transfer credits are unofficial and hence unacceptable.

You can also use NASBA Advisory Evaluation to recognize any academic flaws in your education before submitting the documents.

As per the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, testing accommodations are available in Hawaii for qualified applicants. Just download and submit the Testing Accommodations Request Form to CPAES. 

Document Submission Requirements

The documents to be submitted may vary as per your current education status at the time of application. And also on the location of your academic institutions.

  1. If you have completed all the educational requirements at the time of application from
  • a U.S. college or university, you must:
    • submit official transcripts from all schools you have attended
  • an international college or university, you must:
    • avail the online form to request the NASBA International Evaluation Service (NIES)
    • submit the translated copy of each international transcript used for evaluation
    • ensure that CPAES receives the completed original evaluations directly from NIES at the time of application
    • send the evaluation report to NASBA, including a copy of the international transcript for each evaluation from NIES

Note that you must fulfill the education requirements through academic coursework from an accredited institute. Professional training is not accepted.

Also, the U.S. Campus Registrar must issue the official transcripts for candidates who have studied at an internationally-located U.S. school.

2. If you are presently enrolled in college, then you must submit the following documents to CPAES:

  • Official transcripts from all schools attended
  • Certificate of Enrolment (COE) form

Then, on completing the education requirements, you must:

  • send an official transcript to CPAES through your college validating degree conferral and course completion
  • submit the final official transcript to CPAES specifying the degree graduation date and satisfactory course completion

Note that for candidates studying at an international campus of a U.S.-based school, the U.S. Campus Registrar must issue official transcripts.

College-Enrolled applicants must take note of the following points.

ChecklistFailure to do so
Ensure that CPAES receives the transcripts and COE within 45 days of submitting the applicationApplication will be deemed incomplete and not processed further  
Submit ALL the required documentsApplication denial, fee forfeiture, and destruction of the submitted documents
Complete the course or degree requirements as specified on the COEExam score(s) will be voided
Submit the final official transcript to CPAESPermission will be denied to apply for future exams
Ensure CPAES receives your final official transcript
  • The application will be considered incomplete
  • No credit for the attempted CPA Exam section(s)
  • Will have to re-apply as a first-time applicant to take future exams

Course Requirements

Here are the acceptable and unacceptable courses as per the Hawaii BOA.

  • Acceptable courses
    • Correspondence and online courses (from a regionally accredited university)
    • Upper-division courses (junior or senior undergraduate level)
  • Unacceptable courses
    • Commercial CPA Review Courses
    • Courses from a community college or two-year degree-granting institute (unless transferred into a four-year course from a regionally authorized institute)

Fees

First-time applicants

ParticularsAmount
Application fees$170
Exam Section Fees 
AUD$238.15
BEC$238.15
REG$238.15
FAR$238.15
Total fees$238.15

Re-examination candidates

ParticularsAmount
Registration fees$85
Exam Section Fees 
AUD$238.15
BEC$238.15
REG$238.15
FAR$238.15
Total fees$952.6

The total fees may vary in both cases depending on the number of exam sections being applied. Please note that both application and examination fees are non-refundable. Neither can you withdraw from the exam, nor can you request an NTS extension. 

However, in extreme circumstances, you may request a partial refund of exam fees. Just download and submit the Exception to Policy form to NASBA. 

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Exam Application Process

You can apply for the CPA Exam in Hawaii through CPAES. However, as a first-time applicant, you must create a user account on NASBA’s CPA Central before applying for the exam.

Besides, the previous (offline) users may enter the Jurisdiction ID number on the online application tool and import their details. Note that you may submit the required documents separately or include them with your first-time application.

You may apply for multiple CPA Exam sections at once. However, you must take them within the next nine months. 

Kindly wait for 2-4 weeks after submitting your application, transcripts, and fees. You will receive the acknowledgment of the application receipt via email unless specified otherwise. 

Exam Credit

You can take up the CPA Exam sections in any order. However, ensure to pass all four sections within 18 months. Or else, you will lose the credit for the passed section(s) and will have to re-take them. 

Note that the passed section(s) credits are valid only for 18 months. The 18-month period starts from the day you take the first passed section.

You can also transfer your exam credits from another U.S. jurisdiction to Hawaii. For that, you must confirm to have earned them under the same rules as that of Hawaii BOA. 

Also, you may be given conditional credit by the Hawaii State Board upon passing one or more sections under another state. However, you should prove your eligibility as a re-examination candidate in the original state you earned the credits. 

CPA Exam Waiver

Hawaii BOA waives the CPA Exam for applicants who fulfill the below-mentioned conditions:

  • Possess a valid CPA license or certificate from another state
  • Have passed all CPA exam sections from another state but does not have a certificate or license

Hawaii Licensing Requirements

Besides the CPA exam requirements, the license requirements of Hawaii are also different from other states. The following table outlines the Hawaii CPA licensure requirements.

ParticularsRequirements
AgeMinimum 18 years
U.S. CitizenshipRequired
ResidencyNot required
Social Security NumberRequired
EducationBachelor’s Degree with 150 semester hours
Uniform CPA ExamPass all exam sections with a minimum of 75 points
ExperienceTwo years in public accounting or 1500 hours in auditing

Let’s discuss them in detail.

Education Requirements

CPA licensure applicants in Hawaii must complete 150 semesters (225 quarters) hours of college-level education from an accredited educational institution. It must include:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours in courses related to
    • Taxation
    • Managerial Accounting
    • Financial Accounting
    • Auditing

Note that 18 out of these 24 semester hours must be in upper-division or graduate-level accounting course

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours in upper-division or graduate-level accounting/non-accounting business-related course

Remember that of the 150 semester hours, 120 hours are required to sit for the CPA Exam. The 30 additional hours are for licensure. 

Exemption from Educational Requirements

Applicants may get an exemption from the educational requirements if they:

  • have a valid out-of-state CPA license for at least ten years (preceding the date of application), and
  • were actively practicing for the past five of those years (preceding the date of application)

Eligible candidates must submit the completed form (Verification of License/Exam Scores – CPA) with a signed document from the BOA of their licensure jurisdiction. 

International Candidates

Candidates with educational credentials from foreign colleges/varsities must evaluate their transcripts through NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES). Furthermore, they must indicate the upper-division or grad-level courses. 

CPA Exam Requirement

Candidates must be a minimum of 18 years of age and must have passed all the CPA exam sections. They must score at least 75 points in each section to qualify. For more information on the CPA Exam, please check the CPA Exam requirement section above.

Experience Requirements

Hawaii CPA license applicants must gain the following work experience:

  • 1500 chargeable hours in auditing, involving the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and Auditing Standard (GAAP), or
  • Two years (at least 35 hours a week) in public accounting, private, government, industry, or education sectors

Note that they should fulfill the requirements under the supervision of a licensed CPA. Ensure that the verifying CPA holds or has held a valid license in any of the 55 U.S. jurisdictions during the supervision period.

Applicants must submit a signed Certification of Public Accountancy Experience form (CPA-14) from their supervisor. The form must specify the following:

  • Duration of their service
  • Scope of their experience

Applicants can also claim qualifying experience earned several years before submitting the CPA licensure application. Besides, they can work at the same or different organizations throughout the experience period. As long as the U.S. GAAP and Accounting Standards are followed, work experience from a non-U.S.-based firm is acceptable. 

Certificate of Competence

Applicants must submit three Certificate of Competence forms. Three people (unrelated to the applicants) must attest to their competence, trustworthiness, and fairness.

Licensing Fees

The licensing fees charged will depend on whether the year of issue of the license is odd or even.

ParticularsApplication feesLicense feesCompliance Resolution FundHalf-Renewal feesTotal fees
If a license will be issued to you in an ODD-NUMBERED year$25$64$50$139
If a license will be issued to you in an EVEN-NUMBERED year, pay$25$64$100$26$215

All fees must be paid in check (in U.S. dollars) to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The check must be made from a U.S. financial institution.

How to Apply for the License?

To apply for a license, do the following:

  1. Fulfill the CPA Licensure Requirements.
  2. Fill the Application for CPA License form.
  3. Attach the following documents:
  • Certified transcripts
  • Verification of License/Exam Scores form (if applicable)
  • Three Certificates of Competence
  • Signed Certification of Public Accountancy Experience form from the employer
  • Send your application fee, completed application, and other documents to Hawaii BOA.

4. Kindly wait for up to seven business days to view your receipt and status record. Know that application processing takes 45-60 business days from receipt of a completed application.

Moreover, it may get delayed due to an incomplete application, pending board approval, or pending third-party document receipt. You can check the status of your application at DCCA’s Professional & Vocational Licensing Division.

How to Apply for the Permit to Practice?

To apply for a Permit-to-Practice, licensees must:

  • Submit a completed Application for Permit to Practice form (at least 30 days before the permit becomes effective)
  • Attach the applicable fees ($155 for the sole practitioner, partner, or principal of a public accounting firm and $63 for its staff members)
  • Earn the required CPA CPE credits (80 CPE hours)

How to Sustain CPA License or Permit to Practice?

License Renewal

All CPA licenses and Permit to Practice must be renewed by December 31 of each odd-numbered year. You must pay a renewal fee of $152.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

CPA candidates in Hawaii must earn 80 CPE credits biennially to sustain their public accounting license and permit. Licensees unable to fulfill the same are not allowed to practice until the requirements are met. 

You must acquire CPE hours from a sponsor approved by the Hawaii Board, NASBA National Registry, or another state board.

ParticularsDetails
License renewal dateDecember 31 of odd years
CPE reporting periodJan 1 – December 31 (Biennially on odd years)
CPE requirements80 CPE hours
Ethics requirement4 hours

#1 – CPE Credit Limitations

Area of studyNo. of Credit Hours
Teaching or instructionMaximum 40 hours
Published articles/booksMaximum 20 Hours
Practice reviewMaximum 20 Hours
Technical reviewMaximum 20 Hours (per biennium)

#2 – CPE Credit Calculation

Area of studyCPE Credit calculation
Teaching or instructionCredit for presentation time only
Practice review50% per hour of review
University/college credit1 quarter hour = 10 CPE hours
1 semester hour = 15 CPE hours
1 non-credit class participation hour = 1 CPE hour

#3 – CPE Credit for Passing CPA Exam

Applicants may claim the following CPE credit hours for passing the CPA Exam.

Application for permit to practice filed CPE hours
Within 2 years of passing the exam80 hours
Within 3 years of passing the exam40 hours

Furthermore, the Hawaii state board allows up to 40 CPE hours (beyond the required 80 hours) to be carried over to the next renewal period.  

Now that you know Hawaii’s CPA exam and license requirements, you can check your eligibility and acquire the license. Then, with a permit to practice, you can work in any mid-scale or “Big 4” accounting firm. Or, you can also kick-start your entrepreneurial career. 

Furthermore, ensure to keep renewing the license after every two years. Finally, keep yourself updated on any changes in the profession. In a nutshell, make the most of this coveted profession in the Aloha State!

Hawaii CPA Exam information and resources

  1. Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants (https://www.hscpa.org/) 

Hawaii Society of CPAs

P.O. Box 1754, 900 Fort Street Mall, Suite 850,

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. 

Mailing address

Hawaii Society of CPAs

P.O. Box 1754

Honolulu, Hawaii 96806. 

(Office): (808) 537-9475 

(Fax): (808) 537-3520

(Email): [email protected] 

  1. NASBA (https://nasba.org/)

150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700

Nashville, Tennessee 37219-2417

(Telephone): 615-880-4200

(Fax): 615-800-4290

  1. AICPA (https://www.aicpa.org/)

(Email): AICPA, 220 Leigh Farm Road, Durham, NC 27707-8110

(Fax): 800-362-5066

(Telephone): 888-777-7077

  1. Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs Hawaii (DCCA)(http://cca.hawaii.gov/)

Board of Public Accountancy

DCCA, Professional and Vocational Licensing Branch

P.O. Box No. 3469

Honolulu, Hawaii 96801

(Email): [email protected] 

(Telephone): 888-777-7077

This article is a guide to Hawaii CPA Exam and License Requirements. We discuss the Hawaii CPA requirements, licensing, and permit-to-practice requirements. You may also have a look at the below CPA articles to learn more about the exam: –

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