The CPA exam application process varies slightly from state to state, but most of the steps are the same. If done correctly, it can be approved and scheduled for your first exam within 4-6 weeks. However, if you forget a single tedious piece of information, this can become a real pain in the ass.

My goal is to simplify this process for you so that you can spend less time worrying about your application being approved, and more time to focus on what is really important, studying and passing the CPA exam!

Are you eligible?
Before applying the CPA exam, you must first qualify. Make sure all state requirements are met to take the test.

Once you have met all of your CPA test scores, you are eligible to officially start the application process. This can be a complicated process if you accidentally skip a step or take them out of service so my goal is to simplify this process for you. The steps are listed below in chronological order and include links to the necessary resources, as well as valuable tips that I have learned from my own experience.

How to apply for the CPA exam

1) Order and send all official transcripts of the school
This includes any colleges, universities, community-colleges, and private institutions that you attended.
I recommend sending your transcripts as soon as you meet the CPA exam education requirements of your state to expedite the application process.

2) Submit your CPA exam application and pay application fee
Typically $100- $200 depending on the state

3) receive your authorization for the examination (A) of your State Council
In most states, this gives you 90 days to decide which sections you want to perform. Your application fee will be lost if you do not remit the payment with this 90 day period.

Choose what sections you want to take and pay for them on the decoy website. (Please read step # 4 before paying!)

Rates vary between $700- $1,000 for all 4 sections depending on the state or around $175- $250 per section.

4) Receive your Notification to List (NTS) from NASBA
A Notice to Schedule (NTS) is your official document that authorizes you to sit for the CPA exam in the United States. Couple notes about your NTS:

Typically, this takes between 3-6 weeks to receive, however, certain states allow you to apply online and get the same day (my California NTS took 5 weeks)

Each state has an NTS "validation period" which essentially means that you have a time limit to take all the exams you have paid in STEP # 3! This is totally unfair, and it's obvious why they were going to do this, $$$$, but instead of complaining I'd rather help avoid the trap. Do not pay for all four sections if I do not think you can study and sit for the four within that six month period or you will lose your money for the tests not taken. If you have a busy schedule, it's much cheaper to schedule and pay for 2 sections, then re-apply for the next two sections six months later (the re-application rates are usually around $ 50, which is a lot better than a few hundred dollars).

"Accounting meetings will establish a period of time during which an NTS is valid (in general, six months) during which you must schedule and take the examination section (s), after which it will expire and all fees will be forfeited.”-Seal.

5) Go to the Prometric website and schedule your exam
Click on the "Schedule my test" button and choose the state you want to test in

Enter the ID of the exam section and the first 4 letters of your last name

From here you can choose the date, location, and section of the exam (s) you want to take

6) Take your exam!
You MUST bring your Notice to Schedule with you to the Prometric testing center or you will not be able to take your exam! (I made this mistake once, but fortunately I was able to run at home, grab it, and get back in time to take it ... my Toyota Corolla has never driven so fast!)

You are also required to present two forms of identification at the testing center, one of which must contain a recent photograph. Each form of identification must have its signature and cannot be expired.

Author's Bio: 

Hasan Root, a dream lover.