Education Requirements to Become a CPA

Taking the CPA Exam with a Bachelor's Degree

Under section 13:29-1A.3(b)1 of New Jersey’s accountancy regulations, recipients of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university may take the CPA exam prior to earning the full 150 credit hours if they satisfy the following educational requirements:

  • a minimum of 60 semester hours selected from courses in English, history, foreign languages, mathematics, general psychology, science, geography, fine arts and music
  • a minimum of 24 semester hours in accounting including municipal and government accounting; at least 6 semester hours in business law; at least 6 semester hours in finance; at least 6 semester hours in economics; and at least 18 semester hours in related business subjects.
For an interim period of time, current CPA Exam applicants who do not meet the requirements above will be told by CPA Examination Services (CPAES) via letter that they are being granted a waiver by the State Board that permits candidates to sit for the CPA Exam with at least 120 hours of general college level education including a baccalaureate degree.

Taking the CPA Exam with 150 Credit Hours

Under the 150-hour regulation, a candidate will be deemed to have met the requirement for earning their CPA if the candidate has met any one of the following four conditions:

  1. Earned a graduate degree from an accounting program or department which is accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (ACBSP) or any other national accreditation agency recognized by the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy
  2. Earned a graduate degree from a business school or college of business which is accredited by the AACSB, ACBSP or other accrediting agency recognized by the State Board of Accountancy and completed at least 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate level; or 15 semester hours at the graduate level, or an equivalent combination including courses covering the subjects of financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting. An applicant may complete an equivalent combination of undergraduate and graduate level course work based upon a 3:2 ratio level so that three credit hours at the undergraduate level are equivalent to two credit hours at the graduate level.
  3. Earned a baccalaureate degree from a business school or college of business which is accredited by AACSB, ACBSP or other accrediting agency recognized by the State Board of Accountancy and completed the following:
    1. at least 24 semester hours in accounting at the undergraduate or graduate level, including courses covering the subjects of financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting;
    2. at least 24 semester hours of business courses or substantially equivalent (other than accounting) courses at the undergraduate or graduate level.
  4. Earned a baccalaureate or higher degree from an educational institution which is accredited by the Middle States Association, Commission on Higher Education or other accrediting agency recognized by the Board and completed the following:
    1. at least 30 semester hours of accounting, including courses covering the subjects of financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting; and
    2. at least 24 semester hours in business courses or substantially equivalent (other than accounting courses) at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Earn an MBA to Strategically Meet the 150-Credit-Hour Requirement

Posted: March 20, 2017
CPA candidates have many options to meet the 150-credit requirement. Although some alternatives may be easier and cost less money, they may not be as strategic as earning an MBA.

NJ Adopts New Education Requirements to Become a CPA

Posted: October 9, 2015
On September 21, 2015, regulations were adopted in New Jersey that impact the educational requirements for students seeking to become licensed CPAs. These new regulations go into effect on July 1, 2017.

Accreditations for New Jersey Colleges and Universities

Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

  • Berkeley College 
  • County College of Morris
  • Georgian Court University
  • New Jersey City University

AACSB International - Level 1

The last line of each listing indicates the level of accreditation the school has achieved: A=Baccalaureate degrees with emphasis in accounting; B=MBA degrees with emphasis in accounting; C=Master of accounting degrees; D=Doctoral degrees in accounting.

  • Rider University, College of Business Administration, Lawrenceville - AC 
  • Seton Hall University, W. Paul Stillman School of Business, South Orange - BC

AACSB International - 2A, 2B, 3 Levels

The last line of each listing indicates the level of accreditation the school has achieved: B=Bachelor's; M=Master's; D=Doctoral.

  • The College of New Jersey, School of Business, Trenton - B
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University, Silberman College of Business Administration, Madison - B
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck - B
  • Monmouth University, School of Business Administration, West Long Branch - BM
  • Montclair State University, School of Business, Upper Montclair  - BM
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology, School of Industrial Management, Newark - BM
  • Ramapo College of NJ, Anisfield School of Business, Mahwah - B
  • Rowan University, College of Business, Glassboro - BM
  • Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, School of Business, Camden - BM
  • Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick Accounting Program, New Brunswick - A
  • Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, Faculty of Management, Newark  - BMD
  • Stevens Institute of Technology School of Business, Hoboken - BMD
  • Stockton University School of Business, Galloway - BM
  • William Paterson University, Christos M. Cotsakos College of Business, Wayne - BM         

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), founded in 1916, is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in business and accounting. For more information visit aacsb.edu.