An academic credentials evaluation must be completed prior to being accepted to take the CPA exam. The academic credentials evaluation verifies that the candidate has completed the
150 hour educational requirement necessary to take the CPA exam.
Prior to applying to take the exam, you should go online and complete an Academic Credentials Evaluation Application. The application will require you to list all colleges and universities you have attended. Have these listed educational institutions send official, original transcripts to the Illinois Board of Examiners office. For foreign institutions these documents are required: original transcript in native language, mark sheets, degree certification(s), and certified English translations of all documents. Photocopied or faxed transcripts will NOT be accepted.
The Board’s Credentials Evaluators will review your application and official transcripts and notify you by letter as to whether you are qualified to take the CPA exam. This process usually takes between six to eight weeks.
The evaluation fee is $175 for domestic credentials and $250 if your credentials include foreign institutions.
You may include on your Academic Credentials Evaluation Application, DOMESTIC course work that is not yet completed but is critical to meet the educational requirements to sit for the exam. This includes courses required to fulfill any or all of four areas: total semester hours earned (150); accounting credits; business credits; and/or degree requirements. Completion of a graduate degree does not substitute for verification of 150 semester hours. You will be provisionally approved to sit for the exam.
The course/s must be completed in the current semester or quarter that they are taken in. These courses (and degree earned, if applicable) must be completed and posted on an official transcript, and the transcript received in the Board office within 120 days of taking the first section of the computerized CPA exam, or scores for all exam sections authorized with provisional approval will be voided. Your exam grades will not be released until the Board receives your final transcript.
Only one provisional approval to test will be issued per candidate.
International coursework must be completed prior to applying for the CPA exam.
The Board’s Credentials Evaluators review your Academic Credentials Evaluation Application and official transcripts using prescribed evaluation processes. In general, these guidelines apply to all educational institutions, domestic and foreign. However, additional criteria may apply to international schools, depending on the institution.
1. After a review of the complete academic record, we determine which of the three options the candidate will satisfy as listed in the educational requirements. If the candidate has courses in progress, the candidate chooses the option (option 1, 2, or 4).
2. Once the “option” has been identified, we verify
a) the total number of hours earned or in progress, which must meet or exceed 150
semester hours from educational institutions recognized by the Board of Examiners,
b) the required number of accounting hours,
c) the required number of business hours, and
d) an earned degree or highest degree to be earned (bachelor’s degree or higher)
e) and required number of business communication, business ethics or research and analysis in accounting.
3. We accept credit/no credit or pass/fail credit if credit hours earned are posted on the
transcript. We also accept graded course work of A, B, C or D that has been awarded
earned credit on the transcript.
4. We accept study abroad credit as evaluated by the awarding institution and posted on the
5. We require candidates to submit ALL transcripts from schools attended, regardless whether
that credit is posted on another school’s transcript. Do not make any assumptions about
what credit the Board “needs” to review to evaluate your record. Submit official transcripts
from all schools attended.
6. For college or university credit that is not routinely recognized – such as domestic college
credit from an unaccredited school – if that college credit is posted on another school’s
transcript that we recognize, the Board of Examiners will consider acceptance of that credit.
7. Test credit (e.g. CLEP, AP, proficiency credit) posted on an accredited school’s transcript
will not be accepted unless academic credit was also earned at that institution.
8. CPA review course credit may be considered toward meeting the educational requirements
ONLY if the credit was taken at an accredited college recognized by the Board. An official
transcript from the school offering the review course must be submitted. No other CPA
review course credit will be accepted toward meeting the educational requirements.
9. An earned degree does NOT substitute for verification of the 150 hours. We must compute
the total hours earned one course at a time.
10. The limitation of six hours of internship or life-experience credit toward meeting the
accounting requirement refers to credit earned outside the usual classroom venue that is
posted on a transcript. If a candidate has attended a college that awards credit based on
evaluation of work and life experience, accounting credits from that evaluation process are
limited to six semester hours. This same applies to accounting internships.
11. All candidates presenting international course work for evaluation must pay the $250
evaluation fee to have their foreign credentials evaluated for the CPA exam. We will waive
the $250 evaluation fee if we need to verify ten or fewer hours of international credit toward
the 150 hour requirement. However, international documents must still be presented for
evaluation. A combination of domestic and international credit requires payment of $250.
12. Candidates who have transferred international credit to another institution must still present
the original foreign transcripts, etc. for evaluation along with the $250 evaluation fee. We
do not accept foreign credit posted on a domestic transcript. We require original
documents in the native language and a certified English translation.
13. We do not award credit for repeated or duplicated classes. Repeated classes are those
taken more than once at the same institution. Duplicated classes are courses similar in
content and level taken at two different institutions; if you complete Principles of Taxation
at Northern Illinois University and take the course again at University of Iowa, we will not
award the credit hours twice. The policy of the institution awarding the credit does not
supersede the Board’s policy regarding duplicate courses. The only exceptions to the
repeated course rule are courses with the same prefix and title that are allowed by the
institution for repeat credit and it is clearly stated as policy in their course catalogue.
14. We recommend candidates request an evaluation of their academic credentials prior to
submitting the application to take the CPA exam. You will receive an evaluation letter
stating you are eligible to test or what deficiencies you have to complete. Then you can
submit the examination application within the next three years without having another
Foreign institutions of higher learning, because of the wide differences in educational systems, grading practices, testing patterns, transcripts presentation and terminology, do not translate or compute coursework and qualifications into equivalent and comparable U.S. units and level. The tasks of the foreign credentials evaluator for the Board of Examiners is to translate and determine eligibility of applicants to write the CPA exam in accordance with standards stipulated in Section 1400.90, the educational requirements of the Regulations Governing the Certificate of Certified Public Accountant.
The evaluator maintains a comprehensive resource library of catalogs from abroad, volumes and publications on various foreign educational systems, seminars and workshop reports and foreign institutional research work. In addition, an ongoing program of professional development through participation in regional and national conferences ensures that the evaluator has full access to the most current information available.
General Guidelines for submission of International Credentials
1. Applicants from countries that do not claim English as their official language should provide
original transcripts (mark sheets from India and Pakistan) and certification of degrees and
diplomas from institutions attended, accompanied by official English translations.
2. Notarized records are not considered official.
3. No academic credit is awarded for professional courses taken through employment, such as
Continuing Professional Education courses, or work experience.
4. Credit is not awarded for correspondence,distance learning, continuing education
or other non-traditional studies. Contact the Board of Examiners prior to submission
of official credentials and fees if you have completed any non-traditional course work.
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