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Becoming a CPA

Certification and license to practice as a CPA is a multi-step process whose requirements, while similar, vary state to state. The process usually includes

  • academic preparation,
  • passing of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination,
  • completion of an experience requirement.

Academic Preparation
South Carolina has two academic preparation requirements, one to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and another to be licensed to practice.

Educational Requirements to Sit for the CPA Examination

  • 120 semester hours of college course credit including a baccalaureate or higher degree that includes an accounting concentration or the equivalent and
    • at least 24 semester hours of accounting courses that are applicable to a baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degree, and cover financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation and auditing;
    • at least 24 semester hours of business courses that are applicable to a baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degree, which may include macro and micro economics, finance, business law, management, computer science, marketing and accounting hours over and above the minimum 24 semester hours required to sit for the exam.

Educational requirements to be certified and licensed to practice as a CPA

  • 150 semester hours of college course credit including a baccalaureate or higher degree that includes an accounting concentration or the equivalent and
    • at least 36 semester hours of accounting courses that are applicable to a baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degree, and cover financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation and auditing;
    • at least 36 semester hours of business courses that are applicable to a baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degree, which may include macro and micro economics, finance, business law, management, computer science, marketing and accounting hours over and above the minimum 36 semester hours required for certification and licensure.

Experience Requirement
South Carolina requires at least one year of accounting experience under the direct supervision and review of a CPA or public accountant who is licensed to practice in some state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia.

Additional information about certification in South Carolina may be found at the South Carolina Board of Accountancy’s website. Other states, territories and the District of Columbia currently have, or are planning to have, requirements that are the same as, or similar to South Carolina’s requirements to sit for the CPA Examination and be licensed to practice. You may learn more about these requirements by contacting the Board of Accountancy in the jurisdiction of interest. You will find a link to each jurisdiction's Board of Accountancy at the website of the AICPA.

Best Preparation
Clemson faculty believe completing a master of accountancy degree program is the best preparation for successfully completing the CPA Examination and beginning your career as a staff accountant in a CPA firm. Clemson has a coordinated undergraduate/graduate program that will meet the 150-hour requirement to be licensed as a CPA. This program of study provides excellent preparation for the CPA Examination, as well as a career in accounting. The Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) program added to the undergraduate program exceeds the 150-hour requirement for licensure and allows the student to specialize in either assurance services or taxation.