How to Become a CPA in Iowa | Unlocking Your Potential

Iowa CPA

In Iowa, becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a rewarding and fulfilling career path for those interested in finance, accounting, or aspiring Limited Liability Company owners. CPAs are in high demand and enjoy lucrative salaries, job security, and growth opportunities. In Iowa, as in any other state, aspiring CPAs must fulfill certain educational, experience, and examination requirements to become licensed. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to Becoming a CPA in Iowa and provide valuable tips and resources to help you succeed.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you gain knowledge through thorough research and market study. Before you become a CPA, all the steps in this article must guide you.

What is a CPA?

A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a professional accountant who meets the educational, examination, and experience requirements to become licensed in Iowa. CPAs are accounting, finance, and taxation experts, providing valuable services to individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.

In Iowa, CPAs are licensed and regulated by the Iowa Board of Accountancy, ensuring that they adhere to strict professional and ethical standards. CPAs in Iowa offer a range of services, including but not limited to:

  • Tax planning and preparation for individuals, LLCs, and corporations
  • Financial statement preparation and analysis
  • Auditing and assurance services
  • Iowa Business Consulting
  • Internal control and risk management
  • Forensic accounting and fraud investigation

As a CPA, one can work in various sectors, including public accounting firms, Iowa Corporations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, or as a self-employed professional. Regardless of the specific role, a CPA has the necessary knowledge, skills, and expertise to help clients navigate the complexities of financial management and make informed decisions.

To maintain their CPA license in Iowa, CPAs must also adhere to continuing professional education (CPE) requirements, ensuring that they stay up-to-date with current accounting standards, tax regulations, and industry best practices. This ensures Iowa CPAs provide their clients with the highest service and expertise.

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How to Become a CPA in Iowa

Suppose you’re considering becoming a CPA in Iowa. In that case, it’s important to understand the steps and requirements involved in obtaining your license and starting your professional journey. This step-by-step guide will walk you through becoming a CPA.

Step 1: Fulfill The Educational Requirements

The first step to becoming a CPA in Iowa is to complete the necessary education requirements. The Iowa Board of Accountancy requires CPA candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university. Additionally, candidates must complete 150 semester hours of college education, including specific coursework in accounting and business.

Accounting Coursework

In Iowa, CPA candidates must complete at least 24 semester hours in accounting courses, including:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Taxation
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Governmental or Not-For-Profit Accounting

It is important to note that introductory accounting courses may not be counted towards the 24-hour requirement.

Business Coursework

In addition to accounting courses, CPA candidates in Iowa must also complete at least 24 semester hours in business-related courses, such as:

  • Business Law
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Statistics

Some states also require specific coursework, such as Iowa-specific ethics courses, so check with the Iowa Board of Accountancy for any unique requirements.

Here is the coursework breakdown for becoming a CPA in Iowa.

Accounting CourseworkBusiness Coursework
Financial AccountingBusiness Law
Managerial AccountingEconomics
Accounting Information SystemsMarketing
Not-For-Profit AccountingStatistics

Step 2: Pass The Uniform CPA Examination

After completing the educational requirements, the next step to becoming a CPA in Iowa is to pass the Uniform CPA Examination on the NASBA website.


The CPA Exam is a comprehensive, four-part test designed to assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills in accounting and business. The four sections of the CPA Exam are:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)

Each section of the CPA Exam is scored on a scale of 0 to 99, with a passing score of 75 or higher required for each section. The CPA Exam is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and is offered at Prometric testing centers throughout the United States and, more specifically, in Iowa.

CPA Exam Application Process

To apply for the CPA Exam in Iowa, candidates must first create an account with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Once an account is created, candidates can submit their applications and send their official college transcripts to NASBA for evaluation. NASBA will then determine the candidate’s eligibility to sit for the CPA Exam based on their education and will provide an Authorization to Test (ATT) once approved. The required fee for the Iowa CPA exam application costs $743.60 (4 exam sections) + $145 application fee.

CPA Exam Scheduling

Once candidates receive their ATT, they can schedule their CPA Exam sections at a Prometric testing center. The CPA Exam is offered during four testing windows throughout the year:

  • January 1 – March 10
  • April 1 – June 10
  • July 1 – September 10
  • October 1 – December 10

It is important to note that candidates must pass all four sections of the CPA Exam within an 18-month window, which begins upon passing the first section. If a candidate does not pass all four sections within this time frame, they will lose credit for the oldest passed section and must retake it.

Step 3: Complete The Experience Requirement

In addition to education and examination requirements, CPA candidates in Iowa must fulfill an experience requirement to become licensed. The Iowa Board of Accountancy requires candidates to complete at least one year (or 2,000 hours) of supervised work experience in accounting, auditing, tax, or management advisory services.

A licensed CPA must supervise the work experience with an active license in Iowa or another jurisdiction with substantially equivalent requirements. It is important to note that the experience requirement must be completed within a timeframe of, at most, 36 months.

It is recommended that CPA candidates keep detailed records of their work experience, including dates, hours, tasks, and supervisor information. This documentation will be required when applying for licensure with the Iowa Board of Accountancy.

Step 4: Pass The Iowa Ethics Exam

Candidates must also pass an ethics exam before becoming a licensed CPA in Iowa. The Iowa Board of Accountancy may require a specific ethics course and exam, or candidates may be required to take the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam. This self-study course and exam cover ethical reasoning, independence, integrity, objectivity, and professional conduct. Candidates must score 90% or higher on the ethics exam to pass.

Step 5: Apply For Licensure

Once all educational, examination, and experience requirements have been met, CPA candidates can apply for licensure with the Iowa Board of Accountancy. Candidates must apply, pay $200 initial license fee, $200 biennial renewal, and document their education, examination scores, work experience, and ethics exam completion.

After the Iowa Board of Accountancy reviews and approves the application, candidates will be issued their CPA license and can begin practicing as a Certified Public Accountant in Iowa.

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How Much Does a CPA Make?

The salary of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can vary greatly depending on factors such as years of experience, industry, company size, and job location. The average salary range for a CPA in Iowa is between $60,000 and $120,000 annually.

Entry-level CPAs with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average salary of around $50,000 to $60,000 per year. As CPAs gain experience, their earning potential typically increases. Those with five to nine years of experience can earn an average salary of $70,000 to $90,000 per year, while CPAs with more than ten years of experience can earn upwards of $100,000 or more annually.

In Iowa, CPAs working in metropolitan areas or specialized industries, such as finance or technology, may command higher salaries than those in smaller cities or industries with lower demand for accounting services.

Additionally, obtaining specialized certifications, such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), or pursuing advanced degrees can further increase a CPA’s earning potential in accounting and finance.


How do I become a CPA in Iowa?
To become a CPA in Iowa, you generally need to fulfill the educational, exam, and experience requirements outlined by the Iowa Board of Accountancy.
What are the education requirements for becoming a CPA in Iowa?
In Iowa, you must have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution with at least 150 semester hours of college credit.
What should I study to become a CPA in Iowa?
You should study accounting, business law, finance, and other related subjects to prepare for the CPA exam and your future career as an accountant.
Do I have to live in Iowa to become a CPA there?
No, residency is not a requirement for becoming a CPA in Iowa.
How many hours of work experience do I need to become a CPA in Iowa?
You need at least two years (4,000 hours) of public accounting experience.
Can I do my work experience anywhere or does it need to be in Iowa?
You can complete your work experience anywhere in the United States.
What types of accounting experience count towards the work experience requirement for the CPA exam in Iowa?
Experience in accounting, auditing, taxation, financial advisory services, and consulting can all be counted towards the work experience requirement.
How much does it cost to become a CPA in Iowa?
The cost varies, but you can expect to spend between $4,000 and $5,000 on exam fees, prep courses, and other expenses.
Is a CPA license really necessary in Iowa?
While it’s not strictly necessary to become a licensed CPA in Iowa, doing so can have many benefits for your career in accounting.
Are there any special requirements for international students who want to become CPAs in Iowa?
International students face some additional challenges, such as language barriers and additional education requirements, but they can still become a CPA in Iowa.
What score do I need to pass the CPA exam in Iowa?
You need a minimum score of 75 to pass each section of the CPA exam in Iowa.
How long do I have to complete the CPA exam in Iowa?
You must complete all four parts of the CPA exam within 18 months of passing the first section.
Do I have to take continuing education courses once I become a CPA in Iowa?
Yes, you must complete 120 hours of continuing education every three years to maintain your license.
Can I take the CPA exam online?
No, the CPA exam is only offered at physical testing centers.
How can I prepare for the CPA exam in Iowa?
You can prepare for the CPA exam by taking a review course, studying exam materials, and practicing with sample questions.
How long does it take to become a CPA in Iowa?
It typically takes around five years to become a CPA in Iowa, including the educational and experience requirements, and passing the exam.
Can I get a CPA license in Iowa if I have a criminal record?
It’s possible, but you will have to disclose your criminal history and wait for the Iowa Board of Accountancy to evaluate your case.
How much can I expect to earn as a CPA in Iowa?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for accountants and auditors in Iowa is around $73,070 per year.
Can I work in a different state with my Iowa CPA license?
Yes, you can apply for reciprocity or transfer your license to work in other states.
Is it difficult to become a CPA in Iowa?
Becoming a CPA requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and studying, but it’s achievable if you’re committed and prepared.
How many times can I take the CPA exam in Iowa?
There is no limit on how many times you can take the CPA exam in Iowa, but you will have to wait to retake a section if you fail it.
Can I take the IQEX exam in Iowa?
Yes, you can take the International Qualification Exam (IQEX) in Iowa if you are an international candidate.
Do I need to work at a public accounting firm to become a CPA in Iowa?
No, you can fulfill the work experience requirement at any accounting-related job.
How soon can I start working as a CPA in Iowa after earning my license?
You can start working as a CPA as soon as you have your license and meet the work experience requirements.
How often is the CPA exam offered in Iowa?
The CPA exam is offered on a rolling basis throughout the year.
How long does it take to receive my CPA license in Iowa?
It typically takes around four to six weeks to receive your CPA license in Iowa after passing the exam and fulfilling other requirements.
How often do I need to renew my CPA license in Iowa?
You need to renew your CPA license every two years in Iowa.
Is there a residency requirement to work as a CPA in Iowa?
No, residency is not a requirement to work as a CPA in Iowa.
What is a CPA?
CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant, and is a professional designation given to individuals who have passed the uniform CPA exam and met other state-specific requirements.
What are the education requirements to become a CPA in Iowa?
In Iowa, you need to have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university or college, including at least 24 semester hours of upper-level accounting courses and 24 semester hours of business courses.
Is there a residency requirement to become a CPA in Iowa?
No, there is no residency requirement to become a CPA in Iowa. However, you need to sit the exam at a testing center in Iowa.
What is the Iowa experience requirement for CPA licensure?
Iowa requires candidates to have at least 2 years of public or nonpublic accounting experience. The work must consist of services in accounting, attest services, or a related field.
What is the Uniform CPA exam?
The Uniform CPA exam is a standardized exam that tests the knowledge and skills required for a CPA. The exam is divided into four parts
How can I apply for the CPA exam in Iowa?
To apply for the CPA exam in Iowa, you must submit an application to the Iowa Board of Accountancy and pay the application fee.
What is the cost of the CPA exam in Iowa?
As of 2021, the CPA exam cost in Iowa for all four sections is $965.
What is the passing score for the CPA exam in Iowa?
The passing score for each section of the CPA exam in Iowa ranges from 75 to 85.
How long will it take to complete the CPA exam in Iowa?
The CPA exam takes 18 months to complete in Iowa –150 days for education approval, and 18 months to take all four parts.
How many times can I take the CPA exam?
You can retake the exam sections you didn’t pass as many times as you need until you pass – but fees will apply each time you take it.
What is the time limit for taking the CPA exam?
In Iowa, you have 18 months to pass all four sections of the exam from the date of your first section passed; all fees will apply if the 18 months have elapsed.
How long does it take to receive CPA licensure in Iowa?
You usually get your CPA license 6-8 weeks after you submit a CPA license application completed with all necessary documentation at or around the time of passing all the exam sections.
Are CPA exams transferable between jurisdictions?
Yes, CPA exam scores are transferable between jurisdictions. You need to submit transfer score reports to the board(s) or rely on an interstate compact if both the initial and target states are members.
What is NASBA and a state board of accountancy?
The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) is a nonprofit organization made up of state boards of accountancy that support the needs and interests of their constituencies and members. A state board of accountancy is a regulatory board responsible for licensure, renewal, and governing taxation, and continuing education requirements for its licensed CPAs.
What other attributes does Iowa require courses/ certifications for a CPA?
Iowa requires that all candidates complete the Iowa Ethics component provided via the state-specific exam administered by Prometric.
What happens if you fail an Exam section?
You are allowed to retake the exam section after a given waiting period as per the board guideline and referral is based on passing another section before a re-take.
How do I apply for accreditation at an accounting school?
The university within the domain of Iowa offers accredited accounts courses given by relevant administrators, study online or go for residential courses outlining requirements specified by Iowa firms and associations.
Can a CPA certify Other Financial Statements given rules?
A certified public accountant cannot/aren’t recognized to regulate rules of personnels statutory transactions other as stipulated by marked competencies for growth.
What does reciprocity or reciprocal mean in Iowa?
Reciprocity arrangement between countries in Iowa suggest wherein NASBA assesses the CPA registered individuals needs to conform with taking CPA examination states administering processes.
How long are Iowa CPA license credits valid?
In Iowa, CPA license credits have no particular timeline. The state confirms validity is no given timeframe window even after retirement (observing NASBA enabled expansion programs/ online coursework possession).
Can Iowa CPA students work while in college and get licensed parts while at study?
You can achieve licensure even while still attached to school in Iowa states, with requisite educating credits and grades. It such situations, an applicant doesn’t ought to reach the secondary expertise requirements before handing in their documents and paid registration fee statement.
What is the scope of Iowa statute law Iowa CPA Corporate services?
Iowa’s State statutes does not formal substantive examination of Iowa Corporate Law problems accessible to Us anymore ($318.4 million), With nearly over 93% of the 394 United States market valuation home-grown allotted instances passed to specialists from other institutes like Anston & Anston accounting and Cain accounting firms.
Can a member of the US military seeking a CPA in Iowa test from active service status?
Yes, members of the U.S. military are free to apply for a U.S. CPA posting from the military, , Wevovbiz suggests processing the TO271 form set by your residency office or duty unit keeping by Examinees taking retakes.
Is an EI allowing pursuing CPA requirements under state allowance?
Three states Iowa permits the rights of engineering experience in utilizing their body’s accountancy statutes by installing added compulsory Business Law mandates.
What does Cognitor do, is it a trusted provider by Iowa association and CPA boards?
Iowa’s Regulation requires Iowa regulators’ actions under governing Competencies scoring direction during the exam through enlisted applications facilitated by Cognitor from CRS Thomson’s including in regulated domains.
What grade average does Iowa require to pursue CPA education?
To register for the CPA online courses and prep courses in Iowa, A grade B average or Higher Subsequent Undergraduate certification from stateboard designated institutions is nominally relevant.
How Does Iowa Register Real Estate Agent CPAS?
Skir Skir online real estate brokery entrust a close licensing agreement, approx.- 10-years experience from CPA license granted obtainers wanting to further branch out by taking on added a broker, in the State.
Does IAA grant CPAs Whistleblower Influence?
Yes, accounting firms like HF & Co and Krantz amongst other firms must implement coaching services to settle risk management and conform to Iowa’s tendency regulatory auditing ethics which guarantee insurance and whistleblower acquaintance leading into lawsuits within closed studios.
Can you do Iowa registration reimbursement on exam failed Parts?
Associations provide sections you fell contracted within 18 months before the claim agreement’s lapse when filing a released form, As dictated under the Informed giving requirements of some state legislation. Mediate for feasible payment estimate with you after processing.

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How to Save Money While Starting a Becoming Cpa in Iowa

Starting a career as a CPA in Iowa can be a challenging and expensive process. From education and certification requirements to ongoing professional development, the costs can quickly add up. However, it is possible to save money while pursuing your dream of becoming a certified public accountant. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your resources and cut down on expenses:

First and foremost, it is essential to plan ahead and create a budget for your journey to becoming a CPA. By setting financial goals and mapping out your expenses, you can identify areas where you can cut costs and save money. Consider creating a spreadsheet to track your spending and monitor your progress towards your financial objectives.

One way to save money while starting your career as a CPA is to pursue a degree from an accredited institution without breaking the bank. Look for affordable options such as community colleges or online programs that offer competitive tuition rates. Additionally, explore scholarships and financial aid opportunities that can help offset the cost of your education.

Another cost-saving strategy is to consider taking advantage of internship or apprenticeship programs while working towards your CPA certification. These opportunities not only provide valuable hands-on experience but also often come with stipends or paid work positions that can help cover your living expenses.

When it comes to exam preparation and study materials, there are several ways to save money without compromising on the quality of your study materials. Consider purchasing used textbooks or exploring online resources and study guides that offer affordable options. Additionally, look for discounts or promotional offers on review courses and exam preparation tools to cut down on costs.

Networking and engaging with your peers in the accounting industry can also help you save money while starting your career as a CPA. By participating in networking events, workshops, and conferences, you can build relationships with professionals who may offer valuable insights, advice, and potential cost-saving opportunities.

As you begin your journey towards becoming a CPA in Iowa, it is important to prioritize staying informed about industry developments, regulations, and best practices. Consider subscribing to professional publications and newsletters that offer relevant information and updates at a fraction of the cost of expensive seminars or training programs.

In conclusion, pursuing a career as a CPA in Iowa does not have to break the bank. With careful planning, budgeting, and resourcefulness, it is possible to save money while working towards your professional goals. By taking advantage of affordable education options, internship opportunities, cost-effective study materials, networking events, and staying informed about industry trends, you can set yourself up for success while minimizing financial strain.


Becoming a CPA in Iowa requires dedication and hard work, but the rewards are worthwhile. With a strong foundation in education and experience, as well as successful completion of the CPA Exam and ethics exam, aspiring CPAs can enjoy a fulfilling and lucrative career in accounting and finance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a licensed CPA in Iowa and making a significant impact in finance.

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