colorado cpa requirements

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant in Colorado means meeting the various Colorado CPA requirements that are in place.

In the state of Colorado, CPAs can make a higher-than-average income and have a lot of professional opportunities, so it’s a great state to practice in.

Whichever specific direction you want to go, the first steps are to study for the CPA exam, pass all four sections, and meet the education and work experience requirements to get a Colorado CPA license.

Colorado CPA Requirements

colorado cpa exam requirements

Like any state, Colorado has specific CPA requirements, set by the Colorado Board of Accountancy. It’s strongly recommended that you also check out the Colorado Society of CPA website, and the other resources listed at the bottom of this article. These are the two state-specific organizations that set requirements for becoming a Colorado CPA. 

The national bodies who also set rules and regulations are the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA, of which Colorado is a member) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). 

To become a CPA in Colorado, you must fulfill:

  • Colorado CPA education requirements
  • Age and residency requirements
  • Colorado CPA exam fee payment
  • Colorado CPA exam scheduling

Read on to learn more about each of those parameters.

Colorado CPA education requirements

In the state of Colorado, the education requirements to become a CPA are:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • 150 semester hours of undergraduate or graduate coursework
  • 33 hours of coursework in which you passed at a GPA of 2.0 or higher
    • 27 of these semester hours must include accounting related or coded courses
    • 6 of these semester hours must be in auditing, one of which must be U.S. GAAS
    • 3 of these semester hours must be in accounting or business ethics

Acceptable accounting subjects include:

  • Accounting Ethics
  • Accounting Theory
  • Information Systems
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Auditing and Attestations
  • Managerial or Cost Accounting
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Taxation
  • Internal Controls and Risk Assessment
  • Fraud Examination

Acceptable business subjects include:

  • Business Communications
  • Business Law
  • Economics
  • Legal and Social Environment of Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Statistics
  • Computer Information Systems

Neither of these lists are exhaustive and may require board approval. Your transcript will be reviewed before you are approved to take the CPA exam in Colorado.

Age and residency requirements

Colorado does not have age or residency requirements and you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to take the CPA exam in Colorado. The one piece of personal information you will have to provide is either a social security number or taxpayer identification number.

Colorado CPA exam fees

There will be several fees to take the CPA exam in Colorado. In addition to the cost of your bachelor’s degree, you will have to pay for the test itself as well as the ethics exam. The breakdown of CO CPA fees is as follows:

  • Application fee for the CO CPA exam: $150
  • AICPA ethics exam, which costs $149 or $119 depending on your student and membership status

You will then pay fees for each of the four sections of the CPA exam. For Colorado, the CPA exam fees are:

  1. Auditing and Attestation: $195.35
  2. Financial Accounting and Reporting: $195.35
  3. Business Environment and Concepts: $176.25
  4. Regulation: $176.25

An additional CPA exam cost that many students find worthwhile is to invest in study materials like a review course or some CPA review books. These resources can help you pass the CPA exam the first time, reducing the risk that you’ll have to take it again. If you’re aiming for a high score or just want to be sure you pass the CPA exam on your first try, a course and coaching like this may cost between $750-$2,000. We have a comparison of the best CPA exam courses to help you choose a good fit. 

Colorado CPA exam schedule

Once your exam application is approved by NASBA, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). This gives you six months to schedule the CPA exam. You can take the CPA exam anytime throughout the year at a Prometric testing site. Remember that you will have 18 months to take all four sections of the CPA exam.

Colorado CPA License Requirements

colorado cpa license requirements

The journey is not over once you’ve taken and passed the CPA exam. In Colorado, you will also have to meet experience requirements and follow the protocol for getting a CPA license. Your Colorado CPA license can be obtained by meeting the following criteria.

Colorado CPA experience requirements

Once you have taken and passed the CPA exam (getting a score of 75% or higher on all four sections), you can begin clocking experience hours. In the state of Colorado, you must complete one full year (1,800 hours) of CPA work experience. This must be done under the supervision of an active CPA. Time off and clerical work are not included in this tally. Once your work experience is done, it will be submitted to the board for approval.

Colorado CPA license renewal

Once you have a CPA license, you can practice public accounting in the state of Colorado. To continue doing so, you will need to renew your CPA license biannually. Within four weeks of expiration, you can apply online to renew your Colorado CPA license. You will have to complete 120 CPE credits every three years. This must include 8 hours of ethics training.

Colorado CPA ethics requirement

As mentioned, ethics training will be an ongoing part of your CPA license. It is also part of the aforementioned criteria and part of your CPA exam process. You will take the AICPA ethics exam (getting 90% or higher). Your ongoing ethics requirement will be met by CPE hours.

How to Transfer a CPA License to Colorado

An active CPA license is required by the state. If you took the CPA exam in another state or are licensed as a CPA in another state, you can transfer to Colorado. Colorado has reciprocity and equivalency statutes that make it fairly easy to apply from another state for a Colorado CPA license. You can do this through the Colorado State Board of Accountancy.

more useful links

Here are some more great resources to inform you about the Colorado CPA requirements: