Massachusetts CPA Certification Requirements

Source: Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy Website (September 2010)

 

Requirements for CPA Certification/License in Massachusetts - Effective 1/01/07

To be eligible for a CPA certificate/license in Massachusetts, a candidate must complete at least 150 semester hours of college-level education and successfully pass the computer based CPA examination. Experience in the practice of public accounting may be required, depending on one's educational background. FAQs for the CPA Exam Candidate.

 

Beginning January 1, 2007, CPA candidates will be able to sit for the exam upon:

  • completion of 120 semester hours (180 quarter hours) of university credit
  • conferral of a baccalaureate degree
  • completion of 21 semester hours in accounting, to include coverage in financial accounting, management (cost) accounting, auditing, and taxation.
  • completion of 9 semester hours in business, to include coverage in business law, finance and information systems.

 

To qualify for exam eligibility and CPA certification in Massachusetts:

  • All educational credits must be completed at a nationally or regionally accredited college or university. Credits can be earned outside of a candidate's actual bachelor's or graduate degree.
  • All credits earned at a two-year accredited school must be transferred into a four-year nationally or regionally accredited college.
  • Credits earned in introductory accounting courses qualify to meet the required 21 semester hours in accounting if the above conditions are met.

 

The exact nature and number of specific courses you must complete to qualify for CPA certification/licensure is based on the highest level of education you have attained. These different levels are:

 

A candidate can determine if he or she has met the educational requirements for certification/licensure by answering the following series of questions:

 

1. Do you have a graduate degree in accounting from an accredited college or university that has been approved by the Board of Public Accountancy?

View the list of Level 1 colleges and universities.

  • YES: You have satisfied the educational requirements if your MSA is from a college on this list. You will not need to meet specific course requirements.
  • NO: Proceed to the second question below.

 

2. Do you have a graduate degree in accounting from an accredited college or university that does not fall within Level 1, or a graduate degree in business administration or law from an accredited college or university?

Graduate degrees in business administration include such degrees as Master's in Business Administration (MBA), Master's of Science in Accounting Information Systems (MSAIS), Master's of Science in Finance (MSF), and Master's of Taxation (MST). Read further guidance on what constitutes a graduate degree in business.

 

  • YES: To be eligible for certification/licensure, your degree must include, or be supplemented by, a specified number of hours of accounting and business courses.

Accounting coursework

You must have 18 semester hours (27 quarter hours) of accounting at the graduate level or 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) at the undergraduate level, or an equivalent combination thereof.* These courses must include coverage in financial accounting, audit, taxation, and management accounting. Coverage in these topic areas generally means that a course has been completed in the specified subject area, but a candidate may submit proof that the required subject areas have been covered in other courses. Find more information about what courses are acceptable as accounting courses and to learn how you can verify that you have obtained the required coverage in courses other than those in the specified topic areas.

 

Business coursework

You must have 24 semester hours (36 quarter hours) of business courses (other than accounting courses) at the undergraduate level, or 18 semester hours (27 quarter hours) at the graduate level, or an equivalent combination thereof.* These courses must be completed or accepted in transfer at a four-year accredited college or university. Find more information about what courses are acceptable as business courses.

 

  • NO: Proceed to the third question below.

 

3. Do you have a bachelor's degree in business from an accredited college or university?

 

  • YES: To be eligible for CPA certification/licensure, your degree must include, or be supplemented by, a specified number of hours of accounting and business courses.

Accounting coursework

You must have 30 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level.* The accounting courses must include coverage in financial accounting, audit, taxation, and management accounting. Coverage in these topic areas generally means that a course has been completed in the specified subject area, but a candidate may submit proof that the required subject areas have been covered in other courses. Find more information about what courses are acceptable as accounting courses and to learn how you can verify that you have obtained the required coverage in courses other than those in the specified topic areas.

 

Business coursework

You must have 24 semester hours (36 quarter hours) of business courses (other than accounting courses) at the undergraduate level.* These business courses must include coverage in the areas of business law, information systems, finance, and coverage in one of the areas of economics, business organizations, professional ethics, and/or business communication. Find more information about what courses are acceptable as business courses.

 

  • NO: Proceed to the fourth question below.

 

4. Do you have a bachelor's degree in any discipline from an accredited college or university?

  • YES: To be eligible for CPA certification/licensure, your degree must include or be supplemented by a specific number of hours of accounting and business courses.

Accounting coursework

You must have at least 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) in accounting courses at the undergraduate level.* These credits must include at least three semester hours in each of the subject areas of financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and management accounting. Find more information about what courses are acceptable as accounting courses.

 

Business coursework

You must have least 24 semester hours (36 quarter hours) of business courses (other than accounting courses) at the undergraduate level.* The business credits must include at least three semester hours in each of the areas of business law, business information systems, professional ethics and finance. Courses in business management of organizations, economics, and/or business communications may be included for the business course requirements. Find more information about what courses are acceptable as business courses.

 

  • NO: You are not eligible for CPA certification/licensure.

 

*If you combine undergraduate and graduate courses to arrive at the required core accounting and business credits, please note:

 

Since a candidate needs 30 semester hours of undergraduate accounting courses or 18 semester hours of graduate accounting courses, each undergraduate hour equals 3/5 of a graduate hour, or conversely, each graduate hour equals 5/3 of an undergraduate hour.

 

Since a candidate needs 24 semester hours of undergraduate business courses or 18 semester hours of graduate business courses, each undergraduate hour equals 3/4 of a graduate hour, or conversely, each graduate hour equals 4/3 of an undergraduate hour.

 

Source: Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy Website (September 2010)

 

View the CPA Exam Regulation FAQ sheet.