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Licensing Requirements & Exams

Tennessee State Board of Accountancy

UNIFORM CPA EXAM REQUIREMENTS

Effective January 26, 2017, as a first-time CPA Exam applicant, you must have completed the following requirements.

  • A Baccalaureate or higher degree conferred by a regionally accredited college or university recognized by the Board; and
  • At least eighteen (18) semester or twenty-seven (27) quarter hours of accounting education at the upper division level, junior level courses or higher. Semester or quarter hours from internship programs may not be applied to the eighteen (18) semester or twenty-seven (27) quarter hours in accounting.

CPA Examination Services (CPAES), a National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) division, administers the Uniform CPA Examination in 31 jurisdictions, including Tennessee. All transcripts and/or international evaluations must be submitted to CPAES directly from the school or evaluation service. 

For Tennessee specific information visit CPA Exam Tennessee

To apply for the CPA Exam or an Advisory Evaluation visit CPA Central.

Foreign Education Information

Applicants who obtained their education outside the United States must have that education evaluated by one of the following foreign credential evaluation services approved by the Board. Do not submit your application for the Exam until after your foreign education evaluation has been completed.

Evaluation Service Mail Phone Online
Foreign Academic Credentials Service, INC. (FACS) P O Box 400
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
618-288-1661
Fax: 618-656-5292
Email: facs@aol.com
www.facsusa.com
International Educational Research Foundation (IERF) P O Box 3665
Culver City, CA 90231-3665
310-258-9451
Fax: 310-342-7086
Email: info@ierf.org
www.ierf.org
Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. (JSA)
International Education Consultants
7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33173
305.273.1616
Fax: 305.273.1338
Translation Fax: 305.273.1984
Email: info@jsilny.com
www.jsilny.com
World Education Services, Inc. (WES)

Attn: Documentation Center

Bowling Green Station

PO Box 5087

New York, NY  10274-5087

212-966-6311 or 800-937-3895
Fax: 212-739-6139
Email: info@wes.org
www.wes.org
International Consultants of Delaware, Inc. (ICD)

3600 Market Street

Suite 450

Philadelphia, PA  19104-2651

215-243-5858
Fax: 302-737-8756
Email: icd@icdeval.com
www.icdeval.com
Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.(ACEI) 9461 Charleville Blvd., Box 188
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
310-275-3530
Fax: 310-275-3528
Email: acei@acei1.com
http://www.acei1.com
Center for Applied Research, Evaluation
& Education/International Evaluation Service
P O Box 18358
Anaheim, CA 92817
714-237-9272
Fax: 714-237-9279

Email: info@iescaree.com

www.iescaree.com

NASBA International Evaluation Services P.O. Box 198727
Nashville, TN 37219
855-468-5382
Fax: 615-324-1268
Email: nies@nasba.org
www.nasba.org/products/nies

Initial CPA License

To apply for an Initial CPA license in Tennessee, candidates must earn a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and obtain a total of 150 semester hours of education. Education must include 30 semester hours in accounting (24 of which must be in upper division courses) and 24 semester hours in business courses. The candidate must then:

  • Pass the Uniform CPA Examination,
  • Pass an ethics examination given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) with a score of 90% or better.  The exam is available through AICPA or TSCPA; and
  • Complete one year of experience in accounting acceptable to the Board.

Once both exams have been passed, the Board is notified and application instructions are sent to the candidate to apply for the Tennessee CPA license. The CPA applicant must have completed the TNSBA experience requirement prior to submitting an application for certification.  The application instructions will include a verification form to be completed by a licensed CPA with personal knowledge of the candidate’s work experience.

The fee for an initial CPA license application is $100.00.

Experience requirements

  • The experience required to be demonstrated for issuance of an initial certificate pursuant to T.C.A. §62-1-106(j) shall meet the following requirements:
  • Experience may consist of providing any type of services or advice using accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills
  • Acceptable experience shall include employment in industry, government, academia or public practice
  • No fewer than 2000 hours of experience (earned in no less than one year or more than three years).  Experience must be earned within the ten (10) years immediately preceding the application for certification

Reciprocal CPA License

To apply for a reciprocal CPA license in Tennessee a candidate must hold an active CPA license in good standing in another state.  The candidate must request a Letter of Good Standing to be sent directly to the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy.  You may apply for a license through reciprocity at core.tn.gov.  Please note that your application will not be processed until our Board has received the Letter of Good Standing. 

The fee for a reciprocal CPA license application is $200.00.

Transfer of Grades

Candidates having passed the CPA Exam in another jurisdiction may apply for an original Tennessee CPA certificate via a transfer of those grades.  A candidate must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Pass all four (4) parts of the CPA examination in another state without obtaining a CPA license in that state.  Candidates should request a transfer of grades from that State using the Transfer of Grades Request form.
  • Obtain a baccalaureate degree and at least 150 semester hours of education* from an accredited college/university, and complete one year of experience satisfactory to the Board. The 150 semester hours must include at least 30 hours in accounting (24 of which must be upper division) and 24 hours in general business.

*Education credentials must be approved through the Academic Credential Evaluation service of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).  Candidates should apply for an educational evaluation on NASBA’s Licensing Page. Once the evaluation process is complete, an eligibility letter is sent directly to the Tennessee Board.

  • Pass an ethics examination given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) with a score of 90% or better. The exam is available through AICPA or TSCPA.
  • Meet the Experience Requirement as outlined above.

When all requirements have been satisfied, the candidate will receive application instructions from the Board.

The fee for a Transfer of Grades CPA application is $100.00.

International Reciprocity

CPA Examination Services (CPAES), a NASBA division, administers the Uniform CPA Examination in 31 jurisdictions, including Tennessee. CPAES also administers the International Uniform CPA Qualification Examination (IQEX) to accounting professionals who are members of non-US professional associations that have entered into mutual recognition agreements with the US International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB)

If you currently hold a license issued by one of the entities below, and are interested in applying for reciprocal license in Tennessee, please contact the Board:

Charted Accountant in Australia, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA)
Legacy Chartered Accountants  of CPA Canada
Contador Publico Certificado (CPC) Mexico
Chartered Accountant in Ireland (CAI) (formerly the Irish Institute of Chartered Accountants)
Instituto Mexican de Contadores Publicos
New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Firm Permits

Section 62-1-108 of the Tennessee Code Annotated requires that each firm or branch office maintained by each sole proprietor, partnership or professional corporation of certified public accountants or licensed public accountants engaged in the practice of public accountancy in this state shall register annually with the State Board of Accountancy. An annual permit fee of $50.00 is required and should accompany your Firm Permit Application or Renewal Application when returned to the Board’s office. Download the Firm Permit Application or apply online at core.tn.gov.

A permit is required for those firms offering attest services, or those which use the terms Accountant, Accounting, or CPA in the name of the firm.

Firm permit applicants must have a Resident Manager who holds an active CPA/PA licensee in this state. Firm names that do not consist of the names or initials of current or former owners/partners may need Board approval.  If the firm application requests the terms “and Associates,” “Group,” “Company” or any similar type wording in the firm name, the firm must have multiple CPAs employed. Questions regarding firm permits should be directed to the board office in writing.

Firm Peer Review Information

All firms offering attest services must have a peer review completed once every three years. Compliance with the peer review requirement is mandatory in order for a firm to renew a permit to practice. Questions concerning peer review should be directed to Karen Condon at karen.condon@tn.gov​.