illinois cpa requirements

To become a CPA in Illinois, you’ll need to meet all of the Illinois CPA requirements. You will also have to take the right courses, pay some fees, and get the right work experience. 

Step one is passing the CPA exam. To do that, you will probably need to take a CPA exam review course

Once you’ve passed, you will have to meet Illinois CPA license requirements before you become licensed. After all of this, you can practice accounting in the state.

Illinois CPA Requirements

illinois cpa requirements

The Illinois Board of Accountancy sets all of the requirements of eligibility to take the CPA exam and become a licensed accountant. This board mandates all state-specific requirements for the standard CPA exam. 

There are two additional resources to find reliable information about the CPA exam requirements in Illinois. These are:

  1. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)
  2. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

To become a CPA in Illinois, you must meet the following types of requirements:

  • Education requirements
  • Age and residency requirements

You will also have to pay exam fees and follow the right channels to schedule your exam. 

Illinois CPA education requirements

Typically, states range in CPA education requirements, between 120 and 150 hours. 

Illinois CPA education requirements mandate that you complete a bachelor’s degree and upper-level courses that add up to 150 hours. 

Keep in mind that your degree itself doesn’t necessarily have to be specifically in accounting. In Illinois, it doesn’t even need to be a business degree, necessarily.

If it isn’t an accounting degree, however, you will need sufficient course hours in accounting classes.

You could have any of the following types of degree:

  1. A bachelor’s degree in any major that must include 30 hours of accounting and 24 hours of business.
  2. A bachelor’s degree in accounting.
  3. A graduate degree in business, which must also include 30 hours in accounting.

Note that all of your degrees must be awarded by fully accredited institutions that are approved by the Illinois board. 

Accrediting bodies that are accepted must have a membership with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and AACSB or ACBSP.

You’ll notice that if your bachelor’s degree is in neither accounting nor business, you will need a certain number of hours in business related courses. This can include a number of different kinds of courses, including:

  • Business law
  • Business ethics
  • Statistics
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Quantitative methods
  • Information systems

Examples of accounting-specific courses that count toward your CPA candidacy can include:

  • Financial accounting
  • Taxation
  • Management accounting
  • Auditing
  • Research and analysis of accounting theories (two hours)

A minimal number of hours (max of 3) can be added through internships or other on-the-job accounting experience.

Age and residency requirements

There are no age, citizenship or residency requirements in the state of Illinois to take the CPA exam. 

It is also not required that you have a social security number to take the CPA exam or get a certificate. 

However, you will have to have a social security number to get licensed.

Illinois CPA exam fees

There are several fees you will have to pay to take the CPA exam in the state of Illinois. Here is an overview of what it will cost to apply:

  • $120 application fee
  • $175-250 in special fees, if you are a first-time candidate. These fees will go toward a credential evaluation.

Here are the current Illinois CPA exam fees for each segment of the test:

It is very important to know the order of events and the timeline you have to complete the CPA exam in Illinois. 

If you don’t work within deadlines, it will cost you more money, so you’ll want to make sure everything is paid for on time. 

Here is the process you’ll want to follow to pay for, and take, the exam:

  1. Make sure you meet all of the education requirements before you sign up to take the test.
  2. Apply to the Illinois Board of Examiners (IBOE) for credential verification and pay the fee, which could vary but will be around $200.
  3. Send in your final transcripts (by mail or electronically).
  4. Complete the Initial Examination Request and pay an application fee.
  5. Receive an approval (authorization to test) from the IBOE, which affirms your eligibility to take the exam.
  6. Receive a payment coupon from NASBA, which must be used for 90 days and which you will use to pay your exam fees online.
  7. Once you have paid your exam fees, you will receive a notice to schedule (NTS) and must schedule your exam within six months.
  8. Schedule with the exam on the Prometric website.
  9. Take all four sections of the CPA exam.
  10. Take the AICPA Ethics Exam, which is required in the state of Illinois.

Once you have completed this process, you will get an automatic certification, but you cannot be licensed until you fulfill your experience requirements.

Illinois CPA exam schedule

Once you have an NTS, you will schedule your CPA exam. There are four parts, which were mentioned above, and which you will pay for separately. You can schedule the CPA exam in any of the four annual testing windows:

  1. Quarter 1: January 1-March 10
  2. Quarter 2: April 1-June 10
  3. Quarter 3: July 1-September 10
  4. Quarter 4: October 1-December 1

Illinois CPA license requirements

illinois cpa license requirements

In order to become a licensed CPA in Illinois, you must meet the accounting experience requirements. 

Once you have worked for the prescribed length of time, you will submit verification to the board. If approved, you can apply for a license. 

After being awarded your Illinois CPA license for the first time, you will then have to maintain it on a regular basis. 

Illinois CPA experience requirements

Once you have passed the CPA exam, you will have to fulfill Illinois CPA experience requirements. In the state of Illinois, these cannot be done before you have passed the CPA exam. 

It’s after you’ve already passed the exam that you’ll need to fulfill the work requirements.

Your work experience will have to include one full year of public accounting experience. During this work, you must directly report to and be verified by a CPA with an active license. 

After this year, you can apply to be licensed to practice accounting in the state of Illinois.

Illinois CPA license renewal

In the state of Illinois, you must renew your CPA license every three years. This standard is enforced by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. 

You can renew online, so it’s a pretty quick and easy process. 

Depending on the type of license you have, you may also need to meet a certain number of continuing education hours. For a CPA individual license, this requirement is 120 hours of continuing education that includes four hours of ethics study.

Illinois CPA ethics requirement

In addition to CPA education requirements, the Illinois Board of Examiners requires you to pass the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam in order to get licensed as a CPA, which you can register for and take online. You can access study materials from the AICPA to prepare for it. 

A score of 90% or higher is required to pass.

Transfer CPA license to Illinois

The Illinois state board of accountancy may endorse someone who holds a CPA license in another state. This would give them the ability to practice in the state of Illinois. 

To be considered for this, you must use the online CPA application portal

More useful links

Here are some useful resources as you learn more about how to become a CPA in Illinois.

Illinois state board of accountancy contact info:

  • Exam/Qualifications: 
  • Licensing: 
  • Sponsor review: 
  • Enforcement: 
  • General contacts: 

More info:

Need help preparing to become a CPA in Illinois? We can help! 

We’ve compiled a list of the best CPA online review courses to help you start your search.