Preparing for the Exam
What is Required for Licensure?
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:
- Successfully pass all four parts of the CPA exam within an 18-month window.
- Successfully pass the Professional Ethics exam with a score of 90% or better.
- Satisfy the experience requirement of one year of full-time employment or no fewer than 2,000 part-time hours extended over a period not less than one year and no more than three years. You can earn this experience by providing any type of services or advice using accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills. The experience requirement includes employment in industry, government, academia or public practice and must be earned within the 10 years immediately preceding your application for certification.
Click here here to order the Professional Ethics Exam from TSCPA. Once you have passed the CPA exam and Professional Ethics exam, the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy will be notified and they will automatically send you a packet to apply for your CPA certificate. Please note that the experience requirement must be satisfied before you submit your application for certification.
What are the Educational Requirements for the CPA Exam?
Effective Jan. 26, 2017, as a first-time CPA Exam applicant, you must have completed the following requirements:
- a baccalaureate degree or higher from an institution accredited by a regional or national accrediting body recognized by the Board AND
- a minimum of 18 semester (or 27 quarter) hours of accounting education at the upper division level, junior level courses or higher by a regional or national accrediting body recognized by the Board. Semester or quarter hours from internship programs may not be applied to the 18 semester or 27 quarter hours in accounting.
For more information about the CPA exam, please refer to the following resources:
AICPA Exam Overview: https://www.aicpa-cima.com/resources/toolkit/cpa-exam
CPA Evolution and Exam resources: https://www.evolutionofcpa.org/
Tennessee State Board of Accountancy: https://www.tn.gov/commerce/regboards/accountancy.html
Test Content and Areas of Study
The CPA exam consists of four sections, each four hours long. All candidates are required to pass three core exam sections and one discipline exam section of a candidate’s choosing. The three core exam sections are Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Taxation and Regulation (REG). The three discipline sections are Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Information Systems and Controls (ISC), and Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP).
The Uniform CPA Examination Blueprints (Blueprints) list the skills tested, content, weighting, and reference sources for each section of the exam. Access the latest Blueprints at www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/cpaexam/examinationcontent.
The Three Core areas are:
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD) – This section covers knowledge of auditing procedures, generally accepted auditing standards and other standards related to attest engagements and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) – This section covers knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles for business enterprises, not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.
- Regulation (REG) – This section covers knowledge of federal taxation, ethics, professional and legal responsibilities and business law and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.
The Three Disciplines are:
- Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) will assess knowledge and skills a newly licensed CPA must demonstrate with respect to analyzing financial statements and financial information (including the use of data); select technical accounting and reporting requirements applicable to for-profit business entities (e.g. stock compensation, business combinations, derivatives) and higher order skills related to revenue recognition and lease accounting, and state and local government accounting and reporting requirements.
- Information Systems and Controls (ISC) will assess knowledge and skills a newly licensed CPA must demonstrate with respect to IT audit and advisory services, including SOC engagements, data management, including data collection, storage, and usage throughout the data life cycle.
- Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP) will assess knowledge and skills a newly licensed CPA must demonstrate with respect to U.S. federal tax compliance for individuals and entities with a focus on nonroutine and higher complexity transactions, U.S. federal tax planning for individuals and entities, and personal financial planning.
Many companies offer review courses and materials for CPA exam candidates. The Tennessee Society of CPAs has partnered with these companies to offer discounts to our members: Becker, Gleim, Surgent, UWorld Roger CPA Review and Wiley.
How Do I Take the Exam?
How to Apply
Starting July 1, 2020, NASBA began continuous testing for CPA exam candidates. Under the new continuous testing model, candidates will have the ability to take the exam year-round, without restriction, other than waiting to receive scores from prior attempts of the same section or when there is a major change to the exam. Continuous testing will replace the existing CPA exam testing window model, which only permits candidates to test during designated time frames each calendar quarter. Learn more about continuous testing on the NASBA website.
NASBA Advisory Evaluation
Tennessee offers the NASBA Advisory Evaluation as an optional service. An Advisory Evaluation will identify any academic deficiencies in your education before you submit a first-time application for the Exam. Please visit CPA Central for more information about submitting an Advisory Evaluation in this jurisdiction. You must create a CPA Central user account to begin the Advisory Evaluation process.
Applicants with Disabilities
In accordance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, examination administration accommodations are available, should you qualify. Please download the Testing Accommodations Request Form for more information.
Scheduling a Test Appointment
After you apply for the exam and are deemed eligible, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS) for each exam section you applied for. Once you receive your NTS, schedule your test appointment. Each NTS is only valid for a specific period of time, so take your exams as soon as you are prepared.
The CPA exam is given at Prometric test sites. You can schedule your test appointment 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Prometric website.
CPA Exam Credit Extensions
As part of the transition to CPA Evolution, any candidate with Uniform CPA Examination credit(s) on January 1, 2024, will have such credit(s) extended to June 30, 2025. No action is required by the candidate. Candidates can expect their records to be updated by the end of February 2024.
If your Exam credit(s) expires before it is updated to reflect the new date, you will not lose credit, and it will update to the correct expiration date. NASBA is unable to process your specific credit extension upon request.
Do not stop your CPA Examination progress by waiting for these exam credits to be updated. Continue to take your remaining exam sections.
**These credit extensions are based on the transition policy for CPA Evolution and are not related to the proposed amendments to the UAA Model rules regarding the 18-month window for conditional credit**
For more information about the CPA exam, please refer to the following resources.
TSCPA members receive a $300 discount on Becker CPA Review courses. In addition to flexible online and self-study course formats, Becker offers the only live review course in Tennessee for the CPA exam. Visit Becker.com for live course schedules in Tennessee.
According to AICPA pass rates, Becker students who complete the course pass the CPA exam at double the rate of non-Becker students. The Big Four accounting firms have all chosen Becker to be their preferred review course provider, and they are the exclusive choice of more than 70 major colleges and universities.
Expert instruction, textbooks and simulation and final exam software all work together to provide you with exceptional understanding and confidence on exam day. To register for Becker and receive your discount, call 1-877/CPA-EXAM, and tell them you are a member of TSCPA. For more information about Becker CPA exam review courses, visit Becker.com, or contact Julie Champion at JChampion@becker.com.
With Gleim’s innovative SmartAdapt™ technology, exceptional content coverage and personalized support, you'll have everything you need to study for the CPA Exam more effectively. Gleim has been a leader in accounting exam prep for over 40 years, and in that time, they’ve helped accountants pass over 1 million CPA exams. The largest test bank on the market, over 100 hours of videos, Access Until You Pass® Guarantee and other signature features of Gleim CPA Review will prepare you to pass the CPA Exam.
Learn more here, or contact Gleim at 800-874-5346.
Surgent CPA Review can help you prepare for the CPA Exam, whether you’re a new candidate just beginning your exam preparation, or a candidate who has tried other review courses without success. This 100% online course quickly reveals your unique areas of need and automatically creates customized study plans that focus you where you need the most help–reducing study time, while making the time you do spend more effective. You can be assured of exam success the very first time with study tools like Surgent’s custom study plan, over 7,700 multiple choice questions, 400 task-based simulations, 350 bite-sized videos, integrated textbooks, complete practice exams and flashcards.
TSCPA members receive a 35% discount on their Surgent CPA exam review course! Login to tscpa.com/membership/benefits take advantage of this discount.
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