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Becoming a CPA: Frequently Asked Questions

What is CPAES?

CPA Exam Services (CPAES) is the organization contracted by the Minnesota Board of Accountancy to process and verify Minnesota exam candidate applications.

What is NASBA?

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) oversees the exam application process. Questions about exam eligibility, your application or other details should be directed to the Minnesota coordinator at NASBA.

Why would my application be delayed?

The most common reasons for appplication delays are:
  • Candidate fails to submit transcripts from ALL schools attended.
  • Candidate lacks specific, required course work.
  • Course descriptions must be obtained to ensure that particular subject matter was covered.
  • Candidate lacks required credit hours in one or more academic areas.
  • Candidate fails to meet special jurisdiction requirements (e.g., board fees, addition forms).
  • Candidate fails to submit appropriate fees.
  • Candidate fails to sign application.

How do I get my Notice to Schedule (NTS)?

NASBA will send your Notice to Schedule (NTS) when your exam application is approved. The application approval process for first-time applicants takes about 6-8 weeks. For repeat applicants it usually takes about 6-10 days.

When does the Notice to Schedule (NTS) expire?

The NTS is valid for six months and will state the earliest and latest date you can sit for each section of the exam you applied to take.

What if I lose my Notice to Schedule (NTS)?

Because your NTS includes individual codes needed to schedule and sit for the exam, you can only reprint an open NTS. Previously attended or expired NTSs are not available for reprint.

When can I schedule my exam dates?

You can begin scheduling your exam dates once you receive your NTS. We recommend contacting your Prometric test center about 45 days from your preferred date so you have the best options for times and locations.

When does my passing score go into effect?

CPAES will notify you each time you pass a section of the CPA exam with your passing score and the effective date. You may also log into your CPA Portal account through NASBA to view your scores.

How long are my passing scores valid?

A passing score remains valid for 18 months from the date indicated in your notification from CPAES. After 18 months, if you have not completed all four sections of the exam, the score expires and you must retake that section of the exam.

How long do I have to apply for my CPA certificate?

You have three years from when you were notified that you passed the final section of the CPA exam to complete the remaining requirements of certification (education, self-study ethics exam, one year of experience) and apply for your initial certificate. Once all requirements are met, you can then apply for your CPA certificate through the Minnesota Board of Accountancy. If you do not meet all requirements within three years, you must also submit a report showing that you completed 120 hours of CPE.

For an owner of a CPA firm or employee of a CPA firm, State Auditor or Legislative Auditor, you have 60 days in which to file your application for certification with the Minnesota Board of Accountancy once the education, exam and experience requirements are met.

When am I required to take continuing professional education (CPE)?

In Minnesota, the CPE year runs from July 1st to June 30th.

If you receive your initial certificate between January 1 and June 30, your first CPE year will begin July 1 of that year.

If you receive your initial certificate between July 1 and December 31, your first CPE year will begin July 1 of the following year.

When can I take the self-study ethics exam?

You can take the self-study ethics exam while in the process of taking the CPA exam or once you've passed the CPA exam. A passing score must be completed and passed within six months preceding your initial CPA certificate application. It can also be taken up to the point your certificate application expires (six months from date of initial application).

Does the discipline I choose impact my license?

No. The CPA license issued will be the same regardless of the discipline the candidate passes.

Will there be a credit extension for passed exam sections?

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy approved an 18-month credit extension that addresses testing limitations and scoring delays ahead of January 2024. Candidates with passing scores in Jan. 1, 2024, will have their credits automatically extended to June 30, 2025. 

Do I have to repeat a failed section before moving on to another section?

No. While it's generally encouraged to retest a failed section — with additional studying and prep — while it's still relatively fresh in your mind, if you feel you're stuck, or are concerned about being discouraged if you fail again, you can move on to a different section and come back to the failed section later.