Unlock Your CPA License: The Path to Success in California

Posted on January 16, 2024 By Mathew Berg

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant in California comes with many advantages. It is a respected qualification that shows expertise in accounting and finance.

For international students, this license is particularly valuable. It means they are acknowledged for their financial knowledge and ethical standards, which makes them attractive to top companies.

In California's diverse economy, CPAs can work in different settings, from big corporations to new startups. This makes getting a CPA license in California a smart choice for those aiming to build a successful career in accounting.

What Are The Challenges And Opportunities For International Students In Becoming A CPA In The US?

International students face several unique challenges and opportunities when pursuing a CPA license in the United States:


Educational Requirements:

The US CPA requirements often include specific coursework and credit hours that may not align with education received outside the US. International students must have their transcripts evaluated and may need additional courses to meet these criteria.

Legal and Residency Issues:

Visa and residency status can be a hurdle. Some states require proof of residency or a Social Security number to take the CPA exam or obtain a license.

Navigating the US Accounting Standards:

Familiarity with US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and tax laws, which might differ from those in the student’s home country, is crucial.

Language Barrier:

The CPA exam is in English, and technical and business English proficiency is necessary for the exam and professional practice.

Cultural Differences:

Understanding US business etiquette and professional practices can be challenging for international students.


Global Recognition:

The US CPA qualification is globally recognized, enhancing career prospects both in the US and internationally.

Diverse Work Environments:

The US, being an epicenter for international businesses, offers diverse work environments and exposure to global accounting practices.

Professional Growth:

A CPA license in the US can lead to significant professional development and networking opportunities.

Higher Earning Potential:

CPAs generally have higher earning potential and are in demand in various sectors, including public accounting, corporate finance, and government.

Cultural Exchange and Adaptability:

Navigating this path allows international students to develop cross-cultural communication skills and adaptability, which are valuable in today’s globalized business world.

How To Become A CPA In The US?

Becoming a CPA in the United States involves several steps, which require dedication and a significant investment of time and effort. Here's a general overview of the process:

Educational Requirements

  • Bachelor's Degree: Obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. To be eligible to take the CPA exam, most states require the completion of 120 credit hours.
  • Additional Credit Hours: Most states require 150 semester credit hours to obtain a license. This can mean pursuing additional coursework beyond a bachelor's degree, such as a master's degree or extra courses.

Uniform CPA Examination

  • Application:Apply to take the CPA exam in the state where you intend to become licensed. Each state has its own Board of Accountancy that manages the application process.
  • Exam Structure:The CPA exam is a comprehensive and rigorous process consisting of four sections:
    • Auditing and Attestation (AUD),
    • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC),
    • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and
    • Regulation (REG).
  • Scheduling and Taking the Exam: Schedule and take the exam sections within the 18-month window, which begins after passing the first section.

Ethics Exam

  • Some states require candidates to pass an ethics exam, often a self-study course, in addition to the CPA exam.

Experience Requirements

  • Work Experience: Gain the required work experience under a licensed CPA's supervision. The specific requirements vary by state but involve one to two years of relevant work in accounting.

Application for Licensure

  • After meeting the education, examination, and experience requirements, submit an application for licensure to your state board.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

  • CPAs are required to complete continuing professional education courses regularly to maintain their license.

Additional Considerations for International Candidates

  • Education Evaluation:Apply to take the CPA exam in the state where you intend to become licensed. Each state has its own Board of Accountancy that manages the application process.
  • Visa and Residency Requirements: Make sure you are aware of any visa or residency requirements that may affect your ability to work and stay in the United States.

State-Specific Requirements It's crucial to note that CPA licensure requirements can vary significantly from state to state. Therefore, it's important to check the specific requirements of the state board where you plan to practice.

How Does CPA Transcript Evaluation Play An Important Role For International Students?

CPA transcript evaluation is essential for international students aspiring to become CPAs in the United States. It helps ensure their education meets U.S. standards, a key requirement for CPA licensure.

This evaluation determines if their coursework aligns with the specific accounting and business credit hours needed by state boards of accountancy. Students can understand if they need additional courses to meet the 150-semester credit hour requirement by identifying gaps in their education.

A clear evaluation simplifies the licensing process, reducing potential delays caused by unrecognized qualifications. Overall, it's a crucial step that helps international students align their education with U.S. CPA certification requirements, aiding in efficient career planning.

Final Words

As you embark on your CPA journey in California, we at ERES support you every step of the way.

We understand the unique challenges and incredible opportunities that lie ahead for international students in this field. Our specialized CPA transcript evaluation services are designed to streamline your path to licensure, ensuring your educational qualifications meet California's requirements.

We encourage you to pursue this rewarding career path with determination and confidence. At ERES, we're committed to helping you unlock the door to professional success and growth in the vibrant world of California's accounting and finance.

Let us be a part of your journey to becoming a CPA, where your aspirations and our expertise come together to create a promising future.

Start Now



Educational Records Evaluation Service helps Non-US educated individuals to receive their US equivalences with our credential evaluation reports.

Contact us

Tue - Fri: 10:00 to 16:00 ( PST )

4773 Mangels Blvd, Fairfield, CA 94534, USA.

© 2024 Educational Records Evaluation Service. All rights reserved.

|Privacy Policy |Cookie Policy | |Terms and Conditions