If you want to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in the state of Ohio,
you are required to have 150 semester hours (225 quarter hours) of
college education. Now while this may sound like you'll be in school
forever, take heart. There are huge benefits that result from these
extra credit hours.
Studies show that individuals who sit for the CPA exam with 150 hours
have higher first-time pass rates than their counterparts who take the
exam after only four years of school.
If passing the exam the first time around isn't incentive enough,
then let's talk money. With most programs, having 150 means walking away
with a master's degree. And master's degree holders receive starting
salaries that are 10 - 20% higher than the starting salaries of
individuals with bachelor's degrees.
You'll also increase your chances of climbing the corporate ladder
more quickly. Promotions to manager and partner and to corporate
managerial positions are increasingly being awarded to individuals with
But getting 150 hours doesn't mean just staying in school for five
years. There are many ways to earn your 150 semester hours. You can
complete your four-year degree and then complete your master's degree
during a fifth year. You can complete a four-year degree, graduate,
start working and complete your fifth year while working. There are
different options available. Talk to your accounting department about
what's best for you.
Here are a few answers to the most frequently asked questions about
the 150-hour requirement.
Q: What exactly is the 150-Hour Requirement?
A: Signed into law in 1993, the 150-semester hour
education law requires Ohioans after Jan. 1, 2000 to have 150 semester
hours (225 quarter hours) of college level education as a prerequisite
to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam (ABO Administrative rules 4701-3-08 and
Statute 4701.06). For those people who don't complete the necessary
college course work, a testing option is available (ABO Statue
4701.6(E), paragraph 3). Fulfilling the 150-hour education requirement
is also necessary to become a full member of The Ohio Society of CPAs
and the American Institute of CPAs.
With increased demands on
CPAs to offer diversity in the business world for clients, the 150-hour
requirement is necessary to be a broadly prepared CPA. Ohio institutions
offer a variety of programs to meet the demands of a 150-hour education
requirement. Over the past century, entry level education requirements
for CPAs have risen?and is expected to continue to rise - due to the
rising level of general education in the population and the demand for
increasing complex, technical and judgmental activities in the practice
Q: Will I need 150 semester hours (225 quarter hours) of college
education to become an accountant?
A: In order to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination and earn the CPA
designation, traditional students will be required to have 150 semester
hours (225 quarter hours) of college courses.
Q: Must the extra hours of education be at the graduate level?
A: No, an advanced degree is not required. However, since many
entry-level accountants will have advanced degrees, The Ohio Society of
CPAs strongly encourages graduate education. This recommendation does
not draw distinctions between pursuing a Masters of Accountancy, a
Masters of Tax or an MBA (either with an accounting or some other
emphasis). For more on pursuing a Masters of Accountancy (MAcc), click here.
Q: Should I choose to pursue a 150-hour baccalaureate, what skills
should I develop with the additional education?
A: It is now required to have 30 semester hours of accounting
including principles. Additional credits can help hone communication
skills (writing, speech), expand computer expertise, widen accounting
knowledge, and polish professional research skills. Fulfilling
requirements for a second undergraduate major might be considered
(Finance or Computer Science will be particularly helpful as second
Q: How do non-traditional students qualify to sit for the CPA Exam?
A: Candidates not meeting the 150-hour requirement through their
education must pass a series of examinations including the GRE and/or an
equivalency exam administered by the Accountancy Board of Ohio.
procedure is the same for all CPA candidates who do not fulfill the
education requirements set forth in the 150-hour requirement (ABO
Statute 4701.06(D)(1)(b). Less than 1% of all licensed CPAs in
Ohio opt for the testing route. It is a difficult alternative to the
Q: Will the additional education help me expand my overall career
A: Most definitely! Almost any chosen path for the additional credit
hours would be helpful. An advanced accounting degree would develop
greater technical expertise for audit or tax work. An MBA would furnish a
breadth of business knowledge that could provide entry into management
advisory services. The development of greater communication skills would
afford superior performance in any aspect of the profession. A second
major or minor, like an advanced accounting degree, would provide
additional expertise potentially valuable in the marketplace.
Q: How will I pay for a fifth year of study when traditional
scholarships are no longer available?
A: Educational funding issues are best addressed by each student and
their campus financial aid officers. A variety of options exist and
often special arrangements are available for minority or disadvantaged
students. The legislature has raised approximately $300,000 annually for
scholarships for students in their fifth year of accounting. The funds
have been earmarked for minority and economically disadvantaged
students. As always, students will continue to work part-time to pay for
Public accounting firms may provide
funding for their prospective employees. Some institutions of higher
education are already at work raising money to be applied beyond
traditional scholarship assistance.
Accounting majors will need
to explore various avenues for support. However, keep in mind that the
investment will provide long-term benefits because supply and demand
realities will mandate that the accounting profession compensates its
people for their additional sacrifice.