CPA Exam Cost

Unraveling the Costs: A Comprehensive Guide to CPA Exam Fees

cpa-exam-costs-and-feesThe total cost to take the CPA Exam is approximately $3,500 including examination fees, test prep fees, and registration fees according to a NASBA study in 2022.

Becoming a CPA can be expensive, especially if you have to take the exam multiple times before you pass it. You CPA journey includes various costs and fees that you need to be aware of and prepare for.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various CPA exam costs and fees, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the financial aspect of your CPA journey.

How Much Does the CPA Exam Cost?

The typical CPA exam candidate will spend about $3,500 to sit for the complete CPA exam. This number breaks down into several different types of fees and costs from application fees to testing fees. Let’s look at all of them and add up the total cost to take the exam.

Application Fees

The first step towards taking the CPA exam is submitting your application through your respective state board of accountancy. Application fees can vary significantly depending on the state, ranging from $50 to $200. This fee is non-refundable and is required to process your application and determine your eligibility to sit for the exam.

Examination Fees

Once your application is approved, you will need to pay examination fees for each of the four sections of the CPA exam: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). The examination fees also vary by state, typically ranging from $175 to $250 per section. It’s crucial to plan and budget accordingly, as these fees constitute a significant portion of the total CPA exam costs.


In some states, candidates are required to pay additional fees to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) for their services in facilitating the exam process. These fees can range from $10 to $50 per section.

Prometric Fees

The CPA exam is administered at Prometric testing centers, and while there is no separate fee paid directly to Prometric, it’s essential to be aware of potential costs associated with rescheduling or canceling your exam appointment. Rescheduling fees can range from $35 to $95, depending on how close to the exam date the change is made. If you need to cancel your exam, you may forfeit your examination fees entirely.

Ethics Exam Fees

In addition to the CPA exam, most states require candidates to pass an ethics exam, which comes with its own set of fees. The AICPA Professional Ethics Exam is a common requirement, and it costs around $150 to $200.

Licensing Fees

After successfully passing the CPA exam and ethics exam (if required), you will need to pay licensing fees to obtain your CPA license. Licensing fees vary by state and can range from $50 to $500. Some states may also require an initial license application fee.

Additional CPA Exam Fees & Costs

Beyond the mandatory fees, there are additional costs that CPA candidates should consider:

  1. CPA Review Courses: Investing in a CPA review course is highly recommended to ensure adequate preparation. The cost of CPA review courses can range from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the provider and the package you choose.
  2. Books and Study Materials: While some review courses include books and materials, you may need to purchase additional resources, which can add several hundred dollars to your total costs.
  3. Travel and Accommodation: If you live far from a Prometric testing center, you may incur travel and accommodation expenses.
  4. Renewal Fees: Once you obtain your CPA license, you will need to pay renewal fees to maintain your licensure. These fees vary by state and can range from $50 to $500 every one to three years.

Budgeting and Financial Planning

With the myriad of costs associated with the CPA exam, budgeting and financial planning become paramount. Start by researching the specific fees for your state, create a comprehensive budget, and consider all potential costs.

It’s also worth exploring options for financial assistance, employer reimbursement, or payment plans if offered by review course providers.


While the financial investment in the CPA exam journey is substantial, the potential career advancement, salary benefits, and professional opportunities that come with being a CPA make it a worthwhile endeavor.

By understanding the various costs and fees involved, you can plan accordingly and focus on achieving your goal of becoming a CPA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any hidden CPA Exam costs I should be aware of?

Yes, many candidates forget about additional costs such as travel, accommodation, and extra study materials. Ensure you research and budget for these to avoid any surprises.

Can I get financial assistance or reimbursement for the CPA exam fees?

Some employers offer reimbursement for CPA exam fees or provide access to review courses. Check with your employer to see if such benefits are available.

Is investing in a CPA review course really necessary?

While it is an additional cost, investing in a CPA review course significantly increases your chances of passing the exam on your first attempt, making it a valuable investment.

What happens if I need to reschedule my CPA exam?

If you need to reschedule your CPA exam, you may incur a fee ranging from $35 to $95, depending on how close to the exam date you make the change. Ensure you plan accordingly to avoid these additional costs.

Approach your CPA journey with diligence and thorough financial planning, and remember that the investment you make today is an investment in your future success.