Why I Traveled To Alaska To Take The CPA Exam


From a kind Bean Counter reader:

Hello Andrew,

I want to know that if I can only take one business law course in the School of Accounting at Florida International University and that is all what us available on the undergraduate level, does this mean that even after my bachelor’s degree, I still do not qualify for any state to sit for the CPA exam or is there a state that would still accept me despite 3 credits in business law as oppose to 6?

Also, I live in Florida, is it possible for me to sit for the CPA exam and get licensed as a CPA in another state so that I would not have to be pressured with accruing the other 30 credits beyond my bachelor’s degree since I believe that I only have 3 years to take 30 credits otherwise I would have to retake the CPA exam?

What’s the best course to go? Should I go straight into my Master’s program or should I better immediately study for the CPA exam first?


Bean Contador

BAM! LOVE this question!

I was in the EXACT same situation as this student, here is what I did:

I applied in Alaska and sat to take the exam (all four parts) in Tampa, FL. Ha, got you on the title of this article! No I didn’t actually have to “travel” there at all!  You can take the exam from any state and actually take it anywhere. I only had business law one and that’s all Alaska required, so I took it there.

Each state has their own requirements relating to:

  • Required courses
  • Required credit hours (120 vs 150)
  • Ethics exams
  • and more.

SEE MORE: CPA Exam Requirements by State

Once I passed all 4 parts I transferred my scores to FL. I think it costs $25. Totally worth it as I was done with the exam by the time I was eligible to apply in Florida. After I finished the exam, I took business law II and became a licensed CPA after my 1 year of experience!

In regards to the Masters or the CPA. Don’t look at it that way. Do both. I took the CPA and passed in 7 months while working 40 hours per week and 12 hours a week of masters classes. It was a 1-year period after my PwC internship before I started full-time. I worked at one of the clients of the firm.

When I started full-time at PwC, I’d been working for a year as an accounting, had no more University classes, and passed the CPA exam. I was competing against other first years who still had to take the CPA exam, and have NEVER worked in an office in their life. I crushed them. Since I front-loaded all my work, working in Big 4 was actually less work hours than college! It was relaxing, I could enjoy it and focus on being the BEST PwC auditor I could. It worked out as I got promoted a year early than my peers.

So my answer? Do both at the same time, don’t wait on either! You’ll thank me for it when you’re free and clear on day 1!