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Become a CPA: Your 30-credit roadmap

To become a licensed CPA, you need 150 credit hours of college coursework, and if you're short 30 credits, there are several options to fulfill the requirement. Check out This Way to CPA for details on some of the most common paths.  

In addition to the options listed on This Way to CPA, a College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a cost-effective, time-efficient option. CLEP exams offered by the College Board allow individuals to earn college credit for knowledge they have acquired through independent study, prior coursework, or life experience. However, to go this route, you must be enrolled in a college that offers this program, and you need to have taken full classes at the same school. 

Read how VSCPA member Lauren King, CPA, used CLEP Exams to get her 150 hours. 

Additional factors to consider 

  • Cost: Compare the financial costs of each option, including tuition, fees and living expenses.  

  • Time commitment: Consider how much time you can dedicate to pursuing additional education. Online programs offer flexibility, while full-time programs will require bigger life adjustments.  

  • Career goals: Choose an option that aligns with your long-term career aspirations. A specialized master's degree might be worth the investment if you seek a specific career path.  

  • State requirements: Remember to check your state's specific CPA licensure requirements to ensure your chosen path fulfills all necessary credit and course types. (Here are the Virginia requirements.)