How to Become a CPA in Texas | Unlocking Your Potential

Steve Bennett
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Texas CPA

In Texas, 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 Texas, 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 Texas 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 Texas. CPAs are accounting, finance, and taxation experts, providing valuable services to individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.

In Texas, CPAs are licensed and regulated by the Texas Board of Accountancy, ensuring that they adhere to strict professional and ethical standards. CPAs in Texas 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
  • Texas 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, Texas 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 Texas, 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 Texas CPAs provide their clients with the highest service and expertise.

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How to Become a CPA in Texas

Suppose you’re considering becoming a CPA in Texas. 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 Texas is to complete the necessary education requirements. The Texas 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 Texas, 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 Texas 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 Texas-specific ethics courses, so check with the Texas Board of Accountancy for any unique requirements.

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

Accounting CourseworkBusiness Coursework
Financial AccountingBusiness Law
Managerial AccountingEconomics
AuditingFinance
TaxationManagement
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 Texas is to pass the Uniform CPA Examination on the NASBA website.

NASBA

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 Texas.

CPA Exam Application Process

To apply for the CPA Exam in Texas, 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 Texas CPA exam application costs $774 (4 exam sections) + $50 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 Texas must fulfill an experience requirement to become licensed. The Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas Board of Accountancy.

Step 4: Pass The Texas Ethics Exam

Candidates must also pass an ethics exam before becoming a licensed CPA in Texas. The Texas 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 Texas Board of Accountancy. Candidates must apply, pay $50 initial license fee, $65 annual renewal, and document their education, examination scores, work experience, and ethics exam completion.

After the Texas 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 Texas.

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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 Texas 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 Texas, 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.

FAQs

What are the requirements to become a CPA in Texas?
To become a CPA in Texas, you must have a Bachelor’s degree, complete 150 hours of college credit, and pass all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam.
What is the Uniform CPA Exam, and how do I register for it in Texas?
The Uniform CPA Exam is a national exam that test-takers must pass to become a licensed CPA. In Texas, you can register for the exam through the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.
How much will it cost to take the Uniform CPA Exam in Texas?
The cost of the Uniform CPA Exam in Texas varies by section, but as of 2021, fees range from $200 to $250 per section.
How long do I have to pass all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam in Texas?
In Texas, candidates have 18 months from the date of their first exam section to pass all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam.
Can I take the Uniform CPA Exam parts in any order?
Yes, in Texas, you can complete the four sections of the exam in any order you choose.
How long does it take to become a CPA in Texas?
On average, it takes about 18 months to meet the education requirements, pass the CPA exam, and complete all other licensing requirements to become a CPA in Texas.
Is there a residency requirement to becoming a CPA in Texas?
No, Texas does not have a residency requirement for becoming a CPA.
What is the process for obtaining a CPA license in Texas?
To obtain a CPA license in Texas, you must meet the education, exam, and experience requirements, and then apply for a license through the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.
How can I find a CPA mentor in Texas?
You can find a CPA mentor in Texas by joining professional organizations, volunteering at CPA events, or attending networking events.
How do I know if a college or university is accredited in Texas?
In Texas, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is responsible for accreditation of colleges and universities.
Can I transfer out-of-state CPA license to Texas?
Yes, in some cases you can transfer an out-of-state CPA license to Texas, but the requirements can vary based on your previous state’s regulations.
How many continuing professional education (CPE) credits do I need to maintain my CPA license in Texas?
In Texas, CPAs are required to complete 120 total hours of CPE every three years.
Can I earn CPE credits online in Texas?
Yes, you can earn CPE credits online in Texas, but you should ensure the courses are offered by an approved provider.
Do I need to be a resident of Texas to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Texas?
No, you do not need to be a Texas resident to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Texas.
What are the ethical requirements for CPAs in Texas?
Texas CPAs are governed by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy Code of Professional Conduct, in addition to AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct.
How much does it cost to apply for a CPA license in Texas?
The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy charges a $50 application fee for CPA licenses.
How can I find a job as a CPA in Texas?
You can find CPA job postings on job search websites, through CPA-focused recruiters, or by networking with other CPAs.
Should I specialize in a particular type of accounting as a CPA in Texas?
Specializing in an area of accounting can help you stand out as a CPA in Texas, but it should also align with your interests and career goals.
How much do CPAs earn in Texas?
According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for CPAs in Texas is $82,270.
What is the difference between a certified public accountant and a general accountant in Texas?
A CPA in Texas has passed the Uniform CPA Exam and fulfilled all licensing requirements, while a general accountant does not have those qualifications.
How can I balance working full time while studying for the CPA exam in Texas?
You can balance working and studying for the CPA exam in Texas by creating a study schedule, taking advantage of online resources, and using your evenings and weekends wisely.
What career paths can I pursue as a CPA in Texas?
Career paths for CPAs in Texas can include public accounting, private accounting, consulting, or governmental accounting.
Are there any scholarships available for aspiring CPAs in Texas?
Yes, there are a variety of scholarships available to support aspiring CPAs in Texas. Organizations like the Texas Society of CPAs offer scholarship opportunities.
What is required for me to renew my Texas CPA license?
To renew your Texas CPA license, you must complete 120 hours of CPE every three years and pay the required renewal fee.
Can I hold a Texas CPA license in another state?
Yes, you can hold a Texas CPA license in another state, but you will need to meet that state’s specific licensing requirements as well.
Are there any other professional credentials or certifications that would complement a CPA career in Texas?
Yes, earning additional certifications like the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or risk management certifications can add even more value to your CPA credential in Texas.
How often does the Uniform CPA Exam change in Texas?
Changes to the Uniform CPA Exam are made periodically in Texas, and candidates should always consult up-to-date information from the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.
How do I become a CPA in Texas?
To become a CPA in Texas, you must meet the educational requirements, pass the Uniform CPA Exam, and fulfill experience and ethics requirements.
What are the educational requirements for becoming a CPA in Texas?
In Texas, you need to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university that includes specific accounting course prerequisites.
Do I need to have a graduate degree to become a CPA in Texas?
No, you don’t necessarily need a graduate degree, but it’s recommended as it satisfies the required accounting course prerequisites.
Where can I take the Uniform CPA Exam in Texas?
The Uniform CPA Exam is administered by NASBA and taken at Pearson VUE Testing Centers in Texas.
How much does it cost to take the CPA exam in Texas?
The cost of the Uniform CPA Exam in Texas varies and includes application fees, exam fees, and score report fees.
What is the passing score for the CPA exam in Texas?
You need to score at least 75 on each section of the Uniform CPA Exam to pass in Texas.
How long is the CPA Exam in Texas?
The Uniform CPA Exam consists of four sections, and each section is four hours long, for a total of sixteen hours.
Can I take the CPA Exam before I graduate from college in Texas?
No, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree to be eligible to take the CPA exam in Texas.
What is the experience requirement for becoming a CPA in Texas?
To become a CPA in Texas, you need at least one year of experience in public accounting, industry, government, or academia.
Does my experience have to be in Texas to become a CPA in Texas?
No, your experience can be from any state or jurisdiction, but it has to be verified and meet the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy requirements.
Is there a residency requirement to become a CPA in Texas?
No, there isn’t a residency requirement to become a CPA in Texas.
Can I become a CPA if I have a criminal record in Texas?
It depends on the crime, but generally, a criminal conviction doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from becoming a CPA in Texas.
Do I have to fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain my CPA license in Texas?
Yes, you have to complete continuing education courses to maintain your CPA license in Texas.
How many hours of continuing education do I need to take to maintain my CPA license in Texas?
In Texas, CPAs need to complete 120 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) every three years.
Can I take continuing education courses online in Texas?
Yes, you can take your CPE courses online in Texas, but they must be approved by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.
How much does it cost to renew my CPA license in Texas?
The renewal fee for your CPA license in Texas varies depending on the date of your license and when you renew it.
Can I get a CPA license in Texas if I already have a license in another state?
Yes, you can apply for a Texas CPA license if you already have a CPA license from another state.
What is the ethical requirement for becoming a CPA in Texas?
To become a CPA in Texas, you must meet ethical requirements that evaluate your moral character, integrity, trustworthiness, and reliability.
Do I need to take any courses on ethics to become a CPA in Texas?
Yes, you need to complete an Ethics Course, which is at least four hours long and covers Texas-specific ethical requirements.
How can I find information on CPA Exam review courses in Texas?
You may find information on CPA Exam review courses in Texas in issuances through NASBA and AICPA-approved websites.
Are there any scholarships available for students pursuing a CPA license in Texas?
Yes, there are several scholarships available to students pursuing a CPA license in Texas, including those offered by local and national accounting associations.
What is the employment outlook for CPAs in Texas?
The Bureau of Labor Statics is predicting steady demand for the accounting profession in Texas in the coming years.
What types of career paths can CPAs follow in Texas?
CPAs in Texas may work in various industries, including public accounting, government, and private industry, and can specialize in areas such as taxation, auditing, and financial analysis.
How can I stay up-to-date about Texas-specific requirements for CPAs?
You can stay up-to-date with Texas-specific requirements for CPAs by visiting the website of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy and the Texas Society of CPAs.
How do I contact the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy regarding a question about transferring my CPA license?
You can contact the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy via phone, email, or mail with questions about transferring your CPA license.
How do I apply for a CPA license in Texas?
To apply for a CPA license in Texas, you must submit an application and pass the Uniform CPA Exam. Once you complete the requirements and your license is approved, you can register with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.

Also Read

How to Save Money While Starting a Becoming Cpa in Texas

One of the primary expenses associated with becoming a CPA in Texas is obtaining the required education. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting and satisfying the 150-hour educational requirement can be costly, especially when considering the accompanying books, tutoring, and potential test preparation courses. To save money, many aspiring CPAs opt for more affordable educational institutions such as community colleges or state universities.

In addition to choosing a cost-effective school, it is essential to make the most of available resources. Taking advantage of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid opportunities can significantly reduce the burden of tuition. Many organizations, including accounting firms and state societies, offer scholarships specifically for accounting students. By diligently researching and applying for such programs, students can save a significant amount of money during their academic journey.

Preparing for the Uniform CPA Exam is another substantial financial commitment. While review courses are valuable for exam success, they can be quite expensive. Opting for self-study materials or exploring free online resources can be a viable alternative for those with stricter budgets. Although it may require additional effort, it is certainly possible to pass the CPA Exam without solely relying on costly review courses.

Once an aspiring CPA has completed the academic and examination requirements, they face the task of gaining practical experience. Working as an intern or part-time employee at a public accounting firm not only allows individuals to fulfill the experiential requirements but also opens doors for future employment opportunities. Starting off in an internship may not provide immediate financial relief, but the valuable experience gained can prove to be financially rewarding in the long run. Further, building a strong professional network during this time can facilitate job placement and even lead to potential mentorship opportunities.

Networking within the accounting community is a crucial aspect of building a successful career as a CPA. Accounting firms, state societies, and professional organizations frequently hold events, conferences, and workshops that provide valuable learning opportunities and networking possibilities. Attending these events can create new connections, open doors to job prospects, and help stay updated on industry trends. Though some of these events may come with a price tag, they are undoubtedly worth considering as long-term investments.

Lastly, it is crucial to develop frugal habits throughout the journey to becoming a CPA. By carefully budgeting and tracking expenses, individuals can identify areas where savings can be made. Putting some thought into spending decisions, such as choosing discounted study materials, cooking meals at home rather than eating out, or considering transportation alternatives, can lead to significant savings over time.

While embarking on a career as a CPA in Texas may demand careful financial planning and resourcefulness, it is by no means an impossible feat. Through sensible decision-making, students can pursue a quality education without drowning in debt, aspiring CPAs can effectively prepare for the exam without breaking the bank, and emerging accountants can launch their careers without sacrificing financial stability.

By adopting a strategic mindset, seeking opportunities, leveraging available resources, and cultivating financial prudence, aspiring CPAs in Texas can conquer their financial challenges while staying focused on their ultimate goal – success in the field of accounting. With determination and smart financial choices, anyone can join the league of proficient and financially mindful CPAs.

Conclusion

Becoming a CPA in Texas 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 Texas and making a significant impact in finance.

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