Aetna, Cigna, The Hartford… Connecticut is the land of the massive insurance companies. They dominate the business environment here alongside 12 other Fortune 500 companies, contributing nearly 70 billion to state GDP in 2020 alone according to the Federal Reserve.
If there is one thing that is important in insurance, it’s getting the numbers right. And that means hiring talented CPAs to do the job. Accountants at these corporations not only handle the typical duties of AR and AP, payroll, and other corporate book-balancing, but also serve critical roles in the actuarial calculations and data that make the difference between profit and loss for insurers.
If you want to know how to become a CPA in Connecticut, we have the 5 steps you need to follow laid out in detail below. Whether you want to take up one of those lucrative corporate roles in a major insurance corporation or set up your own shop offering specialized tax accounting or financial advising services, this is the path to get you there.
Learn how to become a CPA in Connecticut in five steps.
- Get Your Education in Connecticut
- Take the Uniform CPA Exam in Connecticut
- Gain the Necessary Experience in Connecticut
- Get Your Connecticut CPA License
- Continuing Education in Connecticut
1. Get Your Education – Meeting CPA Degree Requirements in Connecticut
a. Get information from Connecticut universities offering programs in accounting. The Connecticut State Board of Accountancy requires CPA license applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum and 150 semester hours of college credit in total.
With most bachelor’s degrees in accounting consisting of 120 semester hours, going on to earn a master’s in accounting or post-baccalaureate certificate is the standard way to get those 30 additional credits you need to become a CPA in Connecticut. Many of these programs are available entirely online. You can also find specialized five-year CPA track programs that offer a blended bachelor’s and master’s curriculum designed specifically to give you the 150 semester hours you need to meet CPA requirements in Connecticut.
b. The Connecticut State Board of Accountancy will accept all applicable degrees and credits earned through any college or university in the U.S. accredited by one of the six regional accrediting organizations sanctioned by the Department of Education:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Higher Learning Commission
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
If your program is not accredited by a regional accrediting organization, it must be found by the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy to be equivalent. Currently, only Bob Jones University and Everest University have met this equivalency status.
Did you attend school in another country? If so, your credits must be assessed by a member agency of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services. Approved credential evaluating agencies include:
- Center for Applied Research, Evaluations & Education, Inc.
- Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
- Education Evaluators International
- Evaluation Service, Inc.
- Educational Records Evaluation Service, Inc.
- Educational Perspectives, nfp.
- Global Credential Evaluators, Inc.
- The Foreign Educational Document Service
- Foreign Academic Credential Service, Inc.
- SpanTran Educational Services, Inc.
- Josef Silny & Associates,Inc. International Education Consultants
- International Education Research Foundation, Inc.
- International Consultants of Delaware, Inc.
- Global Services Associates, Inc.
- World Education Services, Inc.
- Foundation for International Services, Inc.
c. Meet Connecticut’s CPA degree and coursework requirements. Combined, your bachelor’s and post-bachelor’s courses must consist of 150 semester hours and include the following mix of accounting and business courses:
- 36 semester hours in accounting courses (may include basic or introductory accounting courses
- 30 semester hours in business administration and economics courses, such as:
- Business statistics
- Marketing strategies
- Principles of marketing
- Organizational behavior
- Principles of management
- Commercial law
- Business law
- Managerial finance
- Financial management
- Business financeNote:
- Accredited online programs are acceptable (contact the school in question to ask about its program accreditation)
- Community college courses are acceptable as long as the institution is accredited. All community colleges in Connecticut are accredited. For out-of-state community college accreditation questions, call the school.
- CLEP and correspondence courses are acceptable if they have been accepted for credit by an accredited college
- CPA review courses are acceptable if they have been accepted for credit by an accredited college
- Commercial review courses are not acceptable
2. Take The Uniform CPA Exam
When you have secured your bachelor’s degree and have completed at least 46 semester hours of accounting and business courses (24 of these hours must be accounting courses), you may apply to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination. At least one of the courses you have completed at the time of the exam must be in business law, at least one course must be in finance, and at least one course must be in economics.
a. Apply through CPA Examination Services (CPAES). Register online or download application forms here. If applying by mail, send the completed application and necessary documents (listed below) to: CPA Examination Services, Connecticut Coordinator, P.O. Box 198469 Nashville, TN 37219-8469. You may contact CPAES by phone at 800-CPA-EXAM.
b. Include all required records with your Uniform CPA Exam application.
- Have your college submit your transcript directly to CPAES (or you may submit it, provided that it is an official, sealed transcript)
- Submit any requests for disability testing accommodations
- Include signed application form (if submitting via mail)
- If applying by mail, include examination and application fees by check or money order payable to CPA Examination Services or by credit card form
- If applying online, you must pay examination and application fees by credit card
c. Await your Notification to Schedule (NTS) the Uniform CPA Exam. This will be issued to you by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) in a format pre-selected by you when applying (mail, fax or email).
d. Schedule your test at a Prometric site here. In Connecticut, sites include Hamden, Glastonbury, and Norwalk.
e. Be on time and ready to test at your selected Prometric site on exam day.
f. Await your exam scores, which will be sent to you via mail when tabulated.
If you need to arrange special accommodations for testing or want further information, call the Connecticut Coordinator of CPA Examination Services at 800-CPA-EXAM. For detailed information on the Uniform CPA Exam, click here.
3. Gain The Necessary Experience
The Connecticut State Board of Accountancy expects all future CPAs to fulfill work experience prerequisites before it will issue a certificate and license.
a. Before commencing your experience requirement, you must pass the AICPA Professional Ethics for CPAs self-study course. This course may be ordered through the Connecticut Society of CPAs here. This is a self-study, paper exam that is scored by the AICPA with the results mailed to the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy.
b. Under Connecticut State Board of Accountancy regulations, all aspiring CPAs must satisfy accounting experience requirements. This experience may be paid, volunteer or an internship but must be supervised by a CPA who has held a license and/or certificate for at least three years. Check with your school’s career center to find qualifying opportunities.
- You must accomplish two years (104 weeks) of full-time work experience in accounting, performing work that meets U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS)
- This experience may be obtained through public practice, government practice or industry
Competencies that you are obligated to perform in your work experience vary according to the type of work environment.
- If you work in public practice, competencies include but are not limited to:
- Reviewing, evaluating or testing compliance of internal control policies and procedures
- Preparing paper or electronic documents relating to work
- Planning, revising or updating audit programs
- Preparing or analyzing financial reports and statements
- Drafting or reviewing notes and memos
- Performing verification procedures on accounts
- Reviewing and preparing tax reserves and provisions
- Preparing financial statements from accounting records without audit
- Preparing books of entry, payrolls, ledgers
- Designing and installing accounting systems, cost systems
- Performing management advisory services
- If you work in government practice, competencies include but are not limited to:
- Working in state government as an accountant or auditor
- Working in federal government as an accountant or auditor at a GS-7 or higher level
- Working as a special accounting agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigations
- Serving in the military as an accountant or auditor
- Working in municipalities or other government entities as an accountant or auditor
- If you work in industry, competencies include but are not limited to:
- Understanding your employer’s information systems and transaction processes
- Evaluating the adequacy of your employer’s internal controls
- Preparing tax returns
- Researching for tax return preparation
- Cost accounting
- Applying accounting principles
- Understanding your employer’s industry and competitiveness factors
- Other professional services in the practice of general public accounting
Responsibilities of the verifying CPA
- Hold a valid CPA license and or/certificate
- Having that license or certificate for at least three years
- Complete and sign the CPA Certificate Experience Verification form including:
- Applicant’s dates of experience
- Number of weeks of experience claimed
- Information on applicant’s competencies during experience, completing the correct section under Type of Experience
- Your name, CPA certificate number, jurisdiction and date of certificate issue
- Mail the form directly to the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy, 30 Trinity St., Hartford, CT 06106-1634.
Responsibilities of the applicant
- Select a licensed, certified CPA with three or more years of experience as your verifying CPA
- Provide the CPA Certificate Experience Verification form to the verifying CPA
- Provide the verifying CPA with an addressed, stamped envelope to return the form directly to the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy
4. Get Your Connecticut CPA License
Connecticut is a two-tier state, meaning that you must fulfill a bachelor degree and a specific number of credit hours in courses, plus pass the Uniform CPA Exam and fulfill experience requirements, in order to become certified. Upon achieving a successful score on the Uniform CPA Examination and fulfilling the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy’s work experience prerequisite, you may apply for a state CPA Certificate and CPA license. Use the following checklist to determine your readiness to apply:
- Complete 150 semester hours of college education and receive a bachelor’s degree
- Apply through CPA Examination Services to take the Uniform CPA Exam.
- Have your college transcripts forwarded directly to the Board
- Satisfy the Board’s work requirement of two years (104 weeks) of paid, volunteer or internship work experience in public practice, government or industry. This experience must be verified by a supervising CPA who has held a certificate for at least three years. Your verifying CPA must complete the CPA Certificate Experience Verification form and mail it directly to the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy at the above address.
b. Decide which type of credentials to apply for:
- CPA Certificate: Apply for this only if you do not plan to work for a public accountancy firm or use the credentials “CPA”. This is the lowest level, is not state regulated as a CPA license would be, and is usually reserved for those planning to work in other forms of industry such as legal or information technology. Use the state’s licensing form and check the box for certificate only if this is your desire. Include the appropriate fees.
- CPA Certificate Registration: If you applied for a CPA Certificate, you must register that certificate with the Board in order to be allowed a limited use of the CPA credential. If you register your CPA certificate, you may use the credentials CPA for non-business use such as on personal stationery, checks and personal correspondence, but not in connection with any business reports such as certification on a tax return or financial statement. The same licensing form may be used for this purpose (check the appropriate box and include the proper fees).
- CPA Certificate and CPA License: This is the scenario that you will most likely take. You may apply for both your certificate and license simultaneously, and can do so via the same licensing form (check the appropriate box and include the proper fees). This allows you to use the title and credentials CPA in an unlimited format and also to get a job and/or become an owner in a public accountancy firm.
- CPA Firm Permit to Practice: Use this form after receiving your CPA Certificate and License and only if you plan to establish an independent CPA firm. You must use this form to establish an initial firm’s permit to practice; when the company’s form of practice changes (such as partnership, limited liability corporation, sole proprietorship etc.); when the name of a firm changes; or when a new firm is replacing an existing firm. Send it with the appropriate fees to the Board.
c. Send applications and fees to: Connecticut State Board of Accountancy, 30 Trinity St., Hartford, CT 06106-1634
Interstate Reciprocal License
If you hold a CPA license or certificate from another state and wish to obtain one in Connecticut, you may apply for a Reciprocal CPA Certificate and Initial CPA License in Connecticut. You must have logged five years of public accounting experience in the past ten years.
- Complete the application for Reciprocal CPA Certificate & Initial CPA License, being sure to check the correct box at the top of the form
- Supply the jurisdiction in which your out-of-state CPA license is held
- Ask your out-of-state verifying agency to send certification of that CPA license to the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy. They may do so using their own agency form or via this website
- You must meet all of other requirements of the state of Connecticut for licensure.
- If you do not meet these requirements, you must follow the regular procedures for initial certification and licensure in Connecticut.
International Reciprocal License
The Connecticut State Board of Accountancy does not currently accept international reciprocity for current CPAs or chartered accountants from any international jurisdictions. If you are a CPA or chartered accountant from outside of the United States, you must sit for the Uniform CPA Examination and meet the educational and experiential requirements of the Board. All international applicants for CPA licensure in Connecticut will have their educational credentials evaluated by any one of National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) member organizations.
5. Stay Current Through Continuing Professional Education in Connecticut
Each licensed CPA in Connecticut must complete a certain number of hours of continuing professional education (CPE) to maintain that license. (If you just hold a certificate or a registered certificate but not a license, you do not have CPE requirements to fulfill).
a. Complete 40 hours of CPE each year.
- You may receive credit for no more than 60 hours of CPE each year.
- 20 hours of CPE may be carried over to the next year
- 16 hours of CPE must be in attest or compilation services
You can find qualifying CPE programs in Connecticut via:
- Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants
- American Institute of CPAs
- Connecticut colleges and universities
b. Enroll in the proper subjects and acceptable formats.
The following educational arrangements are suitable for CPE credit:
- Instructing, presenting or lecturing
- Authoring books, articles or publications
- Formal correspondence or individual study programs
The following subjects are suitable for CPE credit:
- Accounting and auditing
- Management science
- Communication arts
- Computer science
- Mathematics and its applications in business
- Behavioral science
- Business law
- Personnel relations
- Business management and organization
- Specialized areas of industry
- Social environment of business
- Management of an accounting practice
- Courses in other disciplines that contribute to the professional competence of a CPA
c. Attain CPE credits at one of these approved locations:
- Educational and professional development programs of national, state and local accounting organizations
- Technical sessions of meetings of national, state and local accounting organizations
- Credit and non-credit college and university courses at regionally accredited institutions
- Formal organized in-house educational programs
- Programs of other accounting, professional or industrial organizations that are recognized by the Board
- Formal correspondence or individual study programs
d. Report your CPE hours to the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy through your license renewal process. Licenses may be renewed online or a form may be downloaded here.
e. Maintain CPE records for at least three years. Include attendance records, course outline, date and title of the course, location and instructor, and number of CPE hours earned.
Now that you’re a CPA in Connecticut
Well done! You are now a licensed CPA in Connecticut! You might want to consider becoming a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The AICPA presents its members with professional development opportunities, the continuing education you need to keep your CPA credential current, discounted office and shipping supplies, networking opportunities and even professional guidance to help you land a job and advance. One local professional accounting organization in Connecticut to consider joining is the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Think about specialization! Possibilities for specializing in Connecticut include everything from forensic accounting, tax accounting, and fraud examination, to financial accounting and managerial accounting.