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 an 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.

The Board has contracted with NASBA CPA Exam Services (CPAES) to ensure the total education received is in compliance with Tennessee's Law and Rules and is consistent with all other candidates. CPAES will review the education submitted and determine any shortfalls.  Candidates will need to correct any deficiencies before being approved.

Evaluation Service Mail Phone Online
Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.(ACEI) 9461 Charleville Blvd., Box 188
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Fax: 310-275-3528
Center for Applied Research, Evaluation
& Education/International Evaluation Service
P O Box 18358
Anaheim, CA 92817
Fax: 714-237-9279


Foreign Academic Credentials Service, INC. (FACS) P O Box 400
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Fax: 618-656-5292
International Consultants of Delaware, Inc. (ICD)

3600 Market Street

Suite 450

Philadelphia, PA  19104-2651

Fax: 302-737-8756
International Educational Research Foundation (IERF) P O Box 3665
Culver City, CA 90231-3665
Fax: 310-342-7086
Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. (JSA)
International Education Consultants
7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33173
Fax: 305.273.1338
Translation Fax: 305.273.1984
NASBA International Evaluation Services P.O. Box 198727
Nashville, TN 37219
Fax: 615-324-1268

 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 also:

  • 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.

The Tennessee State Board of Accountancy is notified when a candidate has met the education requirements and passed the Uniform CPA Examination.  The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) transmits to the Board your candidate file containing CPA exam grades and education transcripts.  Click here to view a list of candidate files received by the Board.

After meeting all requirements  and having confirmed the Board's receipt of your candidate file, you may apply for a Tennessee CPA license.  You will be asked to upload your Ethics Exam Certificate and Work Experience Form with the online application.

Currently, there is an 8-10 week delay from the time you were notified you passed your last exam for receipt of candidate files. Please contact NASBA if you have questions about where you are in their process.

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

Pursuant to the Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-58-103, non-United States citizens applying for professional licensure must submit documents with their application that can be verified through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program to show that the applicant is authorized to work in the United States.

Please click here for more information.

Experience requirements

The experience required to be demonstrated for issuance of an initial certificate pursuant to T.C.A. §62-1-106(f) 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

Transfer of Exam Scores

Candidates who have passed the CPA Exam in another jurisdiction, and  earned  a baccalaureate degree prior to sitting for the exam,  may apply for an original Tennessee CPA certificate via a transfer of those scores.  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.  A baccalaureate degree must have been earned prior to sitting for the exam.

  • 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:

  • South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • CPA Australia
  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ)
  • CPA Canada (CPAC)
  • Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI)
  • Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA Ireland)
  • Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Publicos (IMCP)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)

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.  The Board will accept (and prefers) to receive these letters electronically at  If a paper copy is the only option, it should be mailed to:

Tennessee State Board of Accountancy
500 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243

After confirming that the Board has received the letter, you may apply for a license  at  Please note that your application will not be processed until the Board has received the Letter of Good Standing.

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

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. Apply online at

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.