The Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination (Examination) is the examination that an individual must pass to qualify for licensure as a CPA in any US jurisdiction (the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa). The Examination is one of the “Three Es” – Education, Examination, and Experience – that constitute the requirements for CPA licensure. Of these three requirements, only the Examination is uniform (i.e., it is the only examination that is accepted for CPA licensure by all US jurisdictions). In contrast, education and experience requirements may vary from one jurisdiction to another. Candidates for CPA licensure must meet all three requirements. The AICPA website and NASBA’s Exam resources page are excellent resources for learning more about the Examination and the path to licensure.
The Examinations Section of the Board is responsible for processing Uniform CPA Examination applications and maintaining each candidate’s file until they successfully pass the Examination.
Contacting the Examinations Staff
Phyllis Elliott, Specialist (919) 733-4224
NC State Board of CPA Examiners
PO Box 12827
Raleigh, NC 27605-2827
Eligibility & Requirements
In North Carolina, a person is eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination if they
- are a citizen of the United States (or has declared the intention of becoming a citizen);
- are a resident alien or is a citizen of a foreign jurisdiction which extends to citizens of this State like or similar privileges to be examined;
- are18 years of age or over;
- are of good moral character; and
- meet the education requirements.
The educational requirement to sit for the Examination is a bachelor’s degree (120 hours) from a college or university accredited by one of the regionally accredited associations in any subject that includes, or is supplemented by, a concentration in accounting.
21 NCAC 08A .0309, Concentration in Accounting, states:
(a) A concentration in accounting includes:
(1) at least 30 semester hours, or the equivalent in quarter hours, of undergraduate accountancy courses which shall include no more than six semester hours of accounting principles and no more than three semester hours of business law; or
(2) at least 20 semester hours or the equivalent in quarter hours, of graduate accounting courses that are open exclusively to graduate students; or
(3) a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses which would be equivalent to Subparagraph (1) or (2).
(b) In recognition of differences in the level of graduate and undergraduate courses, one semester (or quarter) hour of graduate study in accounting is considered the equivalent of one and one-half semester (or quarter) hours of undergraduate study in accounting.
(c) Up to four semester hours, or the equivalent in quarter hours, of graduate income tax courses completed in law schools may count toward the semester hour requirement of Paragraph (a) of this Rule.
(d) Where, in the Board’s determination, an accounting course duplicates another course previously taken, only the semester (or quarter) hours of one of the courses shall be counted in determining if the applicant has a concentration in accounting.
(e) Accounting courses include such courses as principles courses at the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels; managerial accounting; business law; cost accounting; fund accounting; auditing; and taxation. There are many college courses offered that would be helpful in the practice of accountancy, but are not included in the definition of a concentration in accounting. Such courses include business finance, business management, computer science, economics, writing skills, accounting internships, and CPA exam review.
The Board may approve an application to take the Examination before the receipt of a bachelor’s degree if the concentration in accounting is already complete or is reasonably expected to be completed by the end of the school term within which the Examination falls, and an applicant reasonably expects to receive the bachelor’s degree within 120 days after the application is received by the Board. However, if the applicant fails to receive the degree within the specified time, the Examination grades will not be released.
The Board accepts degrees from the following Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)-recognized accrediting associations:
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC) (formerly New England Association of Schools and Colleges)
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges
The Board also accepts degrees from the following US Department of Education (USDE)-recognized accrediting associations:
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)
Under 21 NCAC 08F .0111, a person may not be eligible to take the Examination if the Board determines that the person has engaged in conduct that would constitute a violation of NCGS 93 or the Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct. All Examination applicants are subject to a background check by the Board [21 NCAC 08F .0103].
Applications for the Uniform CPA Examination
An individual sitting for the Uniform CPA Examination for the first time is an “initial applicant” and must complete an initial Examination application. An individual who has already applied for at least one section of the Examination is a “re-Exam applicant” and must complete a re-Examination application. All Examination applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Board’s statutes and rules regarding the Examination before applying to take the Examination as a North Carolina candidate. If you have questions about any portion of the Examination application, please contact Phyllis Elliott.
You are not required to take the Examination sections in any particular order; you must determine which section you will sit for first, second, etc. You are not required to pass one section of the Examination before applying to take another section of the Examination. 21 NCAC 08F .0105 states that a candidate must pass all sections of the Examination with a grade of 75 or higher on each section within 18 months.
Please save the application to your computer/tablet/etc. and then complete it and print it. If you handwrite your answers on the application, please print (no cursive writing) in ALL CAPS and use blue or black ink only. Keep a copy of the completed application and all of the documents submitted with the application.
It is essential to include all necessary documentation and attachments plus payment when submitting the application. The Board conducts a background check of applicants [21 NCAC 08F .0103(f)], so include all court records and any current or previous charges (including probation) with the application. Under North Carolina law, traffic violations–even something like an expired registration–are reported as criminal offenses on a background check. If the Board contacts you about the results of a background check, please respond promptly and thoroughly.
|Uniform CPA Exam Administrative and Section Fees Effective 08/06/2022|
|Administrative Fee Initial Exam Application||$230.00|
|Administrative Fee Re-Exam Application||$75.00|
|AUD Section Fee||$238.15|
|BEC Section Fee||$238.15|
|FAR Section Fee||$238.15|
|REG Section Fee||$238.15|
If you require testing accommodations under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), please review the Board’s policy on Requests for Reasonable Accommodation of Uniform CPA Exam Applicants with Disabilities and submit the necessary ADA forms with your application. If you have questions, please contact Phyllis Elliott.
Approval & Processing of Applications
It takes about 10 business days for the Board to approve and process an initial Exam application and about 5 business days for the Board to approve and process a re-Examination application. You may check the status of your application online. If it has been more than 15 business days for your initial application to be approved, or more than 10 business days for your re-Exam application to be approved, please contact Phyllis Elliott. If there is a problem with your application (transcript, payment, background check, etc.), the Board will contact you; please respond promptly to the Board’s inquiry.
Notice to Schedule
After your initial Exam application has been approved and processed, you will receive an email from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) that includes instructions for setting up your NASBA Application Dashboard account. Initial candidates usually receive the NASBA notification within 10 business days of the approval of your application; check your spam/junk email folder for the email. If you are approved for special accommodations, please allow extra time for NASBA to generate your Notice to Schedule (NTS). If you do not set up your Application Dashboard account, you won’t have access to your Notices to Schedule, score reports, etc. Re-Exam candidates usually receive the NASBA notification within 5 business days of the approval of your application. If you are approved for special accommodations, please allow extra time for NASBA to generate your NTS.
If you are unable to set you up your NASBA account or cannot access your account, please contact NASBA at 800-CPA-EXAM (800-272-3926) or email@example.com. The Call Center is open as follows: Sunday: 3:00 pm – 11:00 pm (Central); Monday-Thursday: 8:00 am – 11:00 pm (Central); and Friday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Central). The Call Center is closed on Saturdays.
When you receive the NTS, make sure that the name on the NTS is the name on the identification documents that you will use during check-in at the Prometric testing center. If the information is not correct or the names on the NTS and your identification documents do not match exactly, immediately contact the Board to request a corrected NTS. The middle initial can be substituted for the middle name (e.g., your NTS reads Michael A. Smith, but the name on your driver’s license reads Michael Albert Smith), or vice versa.
You must take your NTS to the Prometric test center; without it, you will not be admitted to the test center. The Board recommends that you print at least two copies of each NTS (put one copy in your car and another copy in your wallet, billfold, etc.). You should also save/download your NTS to your phone; Prometric will accept that version of your NTS. Each NTS includes the Examination section identification number for each approved section of the Exam. This number is the “Launch Code” (password) you will enter as part of the login process.
In North Carolina, an NTS is valid for six months only. During those six months, you must schedule and take the Examination section(s) shown on the NTS. After the six-month period ends, the NTS will expire, and all fees will be forfeited. If you do not take all sections for which you registered before the NTS expires, you will not be able to extend the NTS or receive a refund of any of the fees paid.
Scheduling an Appointment to Take the Examination
National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) recommends that you schedule at least six (6) weeks in advance of your desired test date(s) to increase the likelihood that you will receive your first choice of date, time, and location. You must schedule your appointment at least five (5) days in advance of the test date. It is your responsibility to schedule the sections of the Examination you have yet to pass so you do not lose credit for previously passed sections.
You must take each section within the period for which an NTS is valid (before it expires). You are allowed to take the Examination at any authorized Prometric test centers, whether or not the test center is in the jurisdiction where you reside. There are six (6) Prometric test centers in North Carolina: Asheville, Charlotte, Greenville, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington.
Effective January 4, 2023, the AICPA will require acceptance of a Uniform CPA Examination Conduct and Non-Disclosure Agreement as part of the Exam scheduling process through Prometric. This agreement outlines a code of conduct for maintaining the secrecy and confidentiality of the Exam Content. A link to the full text of the Uniform CPA Examination Conduct and Non-Disclosure Agreement is available in NASBA’s Candidate Bulletin. Watch this video for an in-depth explanation of Exam security and the non-disclosure agreement.
Prometric’s ProScheduler is the best way to schedule an Examination appointment (as well as reschedule and cancel an appointment). Using the scheduler provides you 24-hour access to scheduling and avoids any “on hold” waiting time, and you instantly receive a detailed confirmation of your appointment (on-screen and via email). Before you make your appointments, you must have an NTS. Additionally, be ready to identify the dates, times, and locations where you want to take each section. It is not necessary to make all appointments at one time. If you prefer, you may make one appointment at a time. If you do schedule more than one section on the same day, please be aware that the online appointment system does not warn you of overlapping appointment times. It is your responsibility to ensure you have not scheduled overlapping times and have allowed enough time between sections for the check-in process.
After you have made an appointment for a section, you may need to change or cancel an appointment. Depending on when you notify Prometric of the change or cancellation, you may be required to pay a rescheduling fee. There is no fee for canceling or rescheduling an appointment at least 30 days in advance. If you are unable to keep your appointment, you must cancel or reschedule or you will be marked as a “no-show,” and you will forfeit all the Examination fees you paid. If you cancel an appointment, you must reschedule before the NTS expiration date or you will forfeit the Examination fees you paid.
If you cancel or reschedule between five and 30 days before your appointment, you must pay a fee directly to Prometric. If you reschedule within five days of your appointment, you will be required to pay the full Prometric testing fee for the section you are rescheduling. See the Candidate Bulletin for additional information regarding these fees.
Because of COVID-19, candidates who have their appointments canceled or rescheduled as a result of continued site closures or regional restrictions will not be penalized in this circumstance and are entitled to one free reschedule for their exam. Additionally, candidates who are unable to test due to COVID-19 illness or impact should follow Prometric’s escalation procedure by utilizing the Test Taker “Contact Us” form and choose “Request a Refund.”
Tutorial & Sample Tests
Candidates are encouraged to visit the AICPA’s website and complete the tutorial and sample tests. The tutorial is a guided tour of the Examination. It demonstrates the functionality of question types, tools, resources, and navigation found in the Examination. The tutorial is not available at test centers and does not contain actual Examination content. The sample tests provide candidates with a preview of the Examination experience. It is a functional replica of the Examination and provides candidates with an opportunity to become familiar with the Examination’s format, in an interactive environment. Candidates should familiarize themselves with the functionality demonstrated in the tutorial before reviewing the sample tests. The sample test software allows candidates to answer test questions that represent the question types found on the Examination: multiple choice, written communication, and simulation. The sample tests provide answers to sample questions but are not study materials for the Examination.
On Test Day
The staff at each Prometric test center is trained in the procedures specific to the CPA Exam. Center personnel will guide you through the steps that have been developed by the boards of accountancy, NASBA, and the AICPA. Review the Prometric Test Center Regulations prior to arriving at the test center. Plan to arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment. If you arrive after your scheduled appointment time, you may forfeit your appointment and Examination fees. Make sure you have the correct NTS and the required identification. You will not be admitted to the Examination without the correct NTS and required identification. The Board suggests that you download the NTS to your phone and also print two copies: one for your wallet and a “back-up” copy to keep in your car. Prometric will provide you with a calculator upon request. If you encounter ANY computer problem, report it immediately to test center staff. Keep the “Confirmation of Attendance” form you receive after the Examination as it provides valuable contact information. As directed on that form, report any examination incidents/concerns in writing to the addresses/fax numbers provided.
Online Score Retrieval & Score Reporting
After the Examination, candidate responses are forwarded to the AICPA for scoring. The AICPA provides an overview of the Exam scoring process on its website. The responses are identified by Exam Section ID only. When advisory scores and performance information become available, the AICPA sends them to NASBA for processing where the scores and performance information is matched to individual candidates. NASBA uses Twitter to notify candidates when scores will be available. Check the AICPA’s website for the official target score release dates.
North Carolina Exam candidates use the NASBA Application Dashboard to retrieve their scores. Because there is a lag time between NASBA posting the scores online and the Board receiving the scores, letters to successful candidates are not immediately available. If you do not receive a passing score on a section, you must submit a re-Exam application for that section to receive a new NTS for that section.
If you fail a section, you receive a performance report. The performance report helps you identify areas in which you should improve in order to pass. Your performance is compared to other candidates who have “just passed” (those who scored between a 75 and 80). The report’s relative performance scale (stronger, comparable, weaker) is derived from the range between one-half of one standard deviation above and below the average score of candidates who earn between a 75 and 80. Performance within the range is considered “comparable,” below the range “weaker,” and above the range “stronger.” While you may feel the need to study only the areas in which you are weaker, you should study all areas before retaking the Exam. If you only study your weaker areas, you might do better on those, but worse on others when you retest.
21 NCAC 08F .0105 states that a candidate must pass all sections of the Examination with a grade of 75 or higher on each section. A candidate is subject to the following conditioning requirements:
(1) a candidate shall obtain a passing grade on all sections of the examination within an 18-month period;
(2) a candidate may sit for any section of the Examination individually;
(3) a candidate may retake the same section of the examination as many times during a one-year period as determined by the examination vendor(s); and
(4) credit awarded by the Board for passage of a section of the examination is valid for an 18-month period beginning on the date the section is taken.
A candidate who is on active military service will not have the time on active military service counted against the 18 months unless the candidate applies to take the Examination during the active military service, in which case each month a candidate sits shall be counted toward the 18-month period.
The Board may grant candidates credit for passing other parts of the Examination in another jurisdiction. To be considered for credit, the passing grades must meet the Board’s conditioning requirements. Please contact Phyllis Elliott for information about applying for transfer of credit with the Board before sitting as a North Carolina candidate.
Successful Examination Candidates
An individual who passes all sections of the Exam within the 18-month period is considered a successful Examination candidate and may begin the process of applying for licensure as a North Carolina CPA. A successful Examination candidate’s Examination scores do not expire. If you pass the Exam and do not receive a “successful candidate” letter within 30 days of passing the Exam, please contact Phyllis Elliott.
Without current contact information (mailing address, phone number, and email address) for each Examination candidate, the Board is unable to contact you regarding the Examination (application, Notices to Schedule, score notices, fee changes, etc.) or other important issues. Address changes must be in writing; Board staff cannot accept an oral change of address. Please submit a Change of Address by mail, fax, or email to:
NC State Board of CPA Examiners
ATTN.: Address Change
PO Box 12827
Raleigh, NC 27605-2827
Fax: (919) 733-4209
If your name has legally changed and is different from the name on any transcript or other document supplied to the Board, you must furnish copies of the document (marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order, etc.) that legally authorize the name change. Please contact Phyllis Elliott or Vanessia Willett for additional information.
Score Review & Appeal Processes
The score review process involves making certain that the approved answer keys were used and applied correctly in determining a candidate’s score and is not an opportunity to have alternate responses considered. It is simply an additional independent verification of your Exam score. Please keep in mind that all scores undergo thorough quality control checks before they are released. Given all the quality control reviews already completed, it is highly unlikely that your score will change due to a score review.
The option to apply for a score review is available only for a short period of time after your score has been reported to you. It may take up to eight weeks for the score review to be processed and released. After NASBA submits your request to the AICPA, the AICPA reviews your score and reports the result through NASBA to the Board. The Board will then transmit the result to you. For additional information and to request a score review, please call 1-800-CPA-EXAM. The candidate is responsible for all fees associated with a score review
The appeal process provides you with the opportunity to appeal a failing score. The appeal option enables you to view the multiple-choice test questions or objective simulation problems that you answered incorrectly together with their responses and to submit comments online. The appeal does not include written communication tasks. You should consider requesting an appeal only if you want to review your incorrect responses because you believe that there is a question or simulation problem that you would like to challenge.
When you review the questions or simulation problems that you have answered incorrectly, you may decide to challenge the validity of one or more items. If you decide to do so, you must be prepared to present a cogent, vigorous, and compelling defense of your incorrect responses. You will be charged a separate fee for each item (multiple-choice test question or simulation problem) that you decide to challenge. All fees associated with a score appeals are your responsibility.
The same security measures required at a testing center are followed at the appeal session. Appeal sessions take place in NASBA’s office located in Nashville, TN, under highly secure conditions and in the presence of a representative of NASBA. All travel costs associated with an appeal process are the candidate’s responsibility.
After the session, the AICPA will review your responses on the section you are appealing, consider the online comments you submitted, verify your score, and forward the result to NASBA. (Note: You will not receive detailed information about the question(s) you challenge because of the need to preserve the confidentiality of Exam content.) NASBA will report the result to the Board, and the result will be transmitted to you.
Members of the Military & Military Spouses
Although the requirements for licensure are the same for military and non-military applicants, NCGS 93B, 21 NCAC 08F .0105, and 21 NCAC 08J .0101(g) extend specific benefits to members of the military and their spouses. As a member of the military, you may be eligible for economic assistance from the US Department of Veterans Affairs for expenses related to the Uniform CPA Exam and CPA licensure. The North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs may also have resources related to the Uniform CPA Exam and CPA licensure.