Costs to Become a CPA

Becoming a CPA is an investment in your future. However, this investment doesn't come without some expenses. There are several costs to consider as you work towards your CPA certification. To keep expenses manageable, practice thoughtful scheduling and diligent preparation.

Review course
One of the wisest investments you can make on your path to becoming a CPA is to choose a review course that works for you. Fees depend on provider and course type; self-study courses average $1,300 and live courses average $3,000. Select review course providers offer  MNCPA group discounts (see details for eligibility). Remember that your preparation can help you pass each section the first time and avoid re-take fees.

CPA exam
Total exam cost varies based on jurisdiction, application, section and re-take fees. A future CPA in Minnesota applying for all four sections at one time can expect to spend about $1,000. An application fee is required each time you apply, so be mindful of your schedule to avoid additional fees. It's recommended that you sign up for as many sections as you feel comfortable taking in a six-month period. Check out the most current fees on NASBA's website.

Self-study ethics exam
Minnesota CPAs are required to pass a self-study ethics exam prior to certification. This ethics exam is available from the AICPA. The cost is about $160, although a discount is available for AICPA members.

CPA certificate
Once you've passed the exam and met the other requirements for certification, you'll apply for a CPA certificate through the Minnesota Board of Accountancy. Your initial application fee is $150.

Plan to spend at least $1,500 plus review course costs to obtain your CPA certificate. Note that many employers will help cover the costs of becoming certified. Even if yours won't, this is an investment that will pay for itself many times over throughout your career.

Sample scenario
The scenario below explains the costs for a future CPA who has taken a self-study review course, applied for two sections at a time and has re-applied to take a section not passed on the first try.

Item  Cost 
Self-study review course $1300.00
Apply for 2 sections ($190.00 application fee + $193.45 for AUD + $173.60 for BEC) $557.05
Apply for 2 sections ($190.00 application fee + $193.45 for FAR + $173.60 for REG) $557.05
Re-apply for REG ($115.00 registration fee + $173.60 for REG) $288.60
Self-study ethics exam     $160.00
Initial CPA certificate application $150.00
TOTAL  $3012.70

CPA exam reimbursement dollars available to military members
Reimbursement dollars are available to veterans for expenses related to preparing and sitting for the CPA exam. Veterans qualify for reimbursement of testing expenses up to $2,000. In certain cases, spouses and/or dependents of active duty service members can qualify for reimbursement of expenses toward education and testing.

More information 

Resources for students

Accounting Employer & Internship Directory
Ace your interview! Research potential employers with our searchable guide.

CPA Exam and Certification Video Series
Taking the CPA exam and becoming certified can be intimidating. Check out our online video series about CPA exam and certification in Minnesota to eliminate unknowns and get you ready to take the first step to becoming a CPA.

Facts About the CPA Exam and Certification brochure
Want a handy reference guide for all things CPA? Download this free MNCPA brochure detailing the steps to taking the CPA exam and becoming certified in Minnesota.