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In the CPA Exam community, we know it can be a bit of a catch-22 for candidates who are looking to obtain their CPA license: “Need money to become a CPA; need to become a CPA to make money.”

While the decision to become a CPA is a great one, we know that many candidates are also looking down the barrel of a pricey exam, which can be intimidating especially when they don’t have financial means immediately available. But not to worry. In this article, we’ll provide a breakdown of how much it costs to take the CPA Exam, what you can do to alleviate expenses, and why it’s all worth it.

Keep in mind that fees vary from state to state. You can find your state’s specific CPA Exam fees at your State Board of Accountancy website. For the purposes of keeping this article simple and consistent, we’ll use California’s CPA Exam fees for the bolded section of our example.

CPA Exam Application Fee:                     $100.00

All first-time applicants are required to pay both an application fee and examination fee (which is listed below) when they submit their application to take the CPA Exam for the first time. Application fees can be anywhere from $30-$200, depending on the state.

CPA Exam Reapplication fee:                  $50

For all re-examination candidates, instead of paying the application fee, they are required to pay both the reapplication and examination fee when they register to re-take any parts of the CPA Exam. This is sometimes also called the “registration fee.”

Some states will offer reapplication candidates with the choice of retaking 2 or more exams at a discounted price. For example, in California, the reapplication fee is a flat $50 in addition to the exam part(s) the candidate wants to retest. But in some states, like Missouri, candidates can pay the following reapplication fee in addition to the state’s examination fees:

4 CPA Exam sections          $124.00
3 CPA Exam sections          $108.00
2 CPA Exam sections          $92.00
1 CPA Exam section            $71.00 

CPA Examination fees:                               $734.10

Most states use the CPA Exam fee schedule set by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Again, using California as an example, the total for all 4 parts of the exam is $734.10. A breakdown of how much each part of the exam costs is below:

AUD (Auditing & Attestation): $193.45
FAR (Financial Accounting & Reporting): $193.45
REG (Regulation): $173.60
BEC (Business Environment & Concepts): $173.60

CPA Exam Review Course Expenses:      $1,500 on average

And of course, last but not least, there is the expense of a CPA Exam review course.  Review courses vary by price, but candidates can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 – $3,000 depending on which review course they decide to use.

CPA Exam Approximate Total Cost:        $2,334.10  

It’s important to keep in mind that the CPA Exam total cost is an approximate and based on a sample fee scale for the state of California, calculated by using the average cost of a CPA Exam review course. In actuality, the total cost for the CPA Exam will vary from state to state.

Feeling Overwhelmed about Paying for the CPA Exam? 

No need to let the total cost of the CPA Exam be intimidating. There are always options and several ways that candidates can alleviate their total CPA Exam related expenses – read 3 Money Saving Tips for the CPA Exam. Also, with the ability to Study Now, Pay Later with Roger CPA Review, it’s now possible to buy all of your CPA Exam review products using fixed monthly payments. This allows you to focus on your studies without being overburdened with financial decisions.

Finally, becoming a CPA is one the most rewarding decision you’ll make for yourself both personally and professionally, so keep things in perspective when it comes to CPA Exam costs. The price you pay now will definitely be worth it in the long run.

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