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Getting Started

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Interested in becoming a CPA? Starting out in an accounting career can be daunting, but we’re here to help you take the first steps. From networking events to scholarships — MTCPA has all the resources you need to get started. And if you can't find what you're looking for, just give us a call. 

If you want to know where you can go to study Accounting, check out this list of accredited institutions in Montana.

Need more direction?

There’s always more to learn. We’ve made finding it a little easier:

Learn more about exam requirements, scholarships, and get advice from other CPAs.

Going for Your CPA in MT

MTCPA knows navigating the path to become a CPA isn't easy, and we want you to have all the information you need to make the best decisions about your career. Taking and passing the CPA Exam requires time, effort, and dedication. But success is well within reach for well-prepared exam candidates.

1. Education

Applicants must have completed the following education from an accredited four-year institution at the time of applying to sit for the exam:

  • 24 hours of specific accounting courses (above introductory) and 24 hours of general business courses
  • All credit hours are subject to final approval by the Montana Board of Public Accountants

Subsequent to successful passage of the exam, applicants for licensure must have:

  • Graduated from an accredited college or university with a baccalaureate degree; and
  • Successfully completed at least 150 semester hours (225 quarter hours) of credit
    • NOTE: You can SIT for the Exam after 120 credits.

2. Exam

After obtaining the required education, a Montana candidate must pass all four sections of the Universal CPA Exam with a grade of 75 or above within a rolling 18-month window (see Montana Exam Requirements).

As of January 2024, under the new licensure model, the Uniform CPA Examination will consist of three core sections (AUD, FAR, REG) and the candidate’s choice of one of three discipline sections: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR), Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP), and Information Systems and Controls (ISC). 

Review the Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Bulletin for more information about the exam content and the examination process.

MTCPA student members qualify for discounts on major CPA exam prep providers.

Ready to apply for the CPA Exam but not sure where to begin? Take this quiz to help guide you on the right path.

3. Experience

In order to obtain a Montana CPA license, you must have one year (2000 hours) of acceptable accounting and/or auditing experience obtained within the three years preceding the date of application for licensure.

Experience will be considered acceptable by the Montana Board of Pubic Accountants if satisfactory evidence is presented of having performed accounting and auditing functions ordinarily required in the practice of public accounting. The experience may be in the private, governmental, academic or public accounting areas.

All applicable experience must be attested to by a US CPA in good-standing, or a supervisor licensed from a professional accounting body with a MRA with NASBA.

4. Apply

The last step in becoming a licensed CPA is to send your application to the Montana Board of Pubic Accountants

Requirements for issuance of a certificate include:

  • Successfully pass all three core sections and one discipline section and meet the education and experience requirements.
  • Pass the AICPA Ethics Exam
  • Satisfy the one year experience requirement as verified by a professional accounting body
  • Submit the application form required by the Board
  • Pay the certificate application fee of $150
  • Execute an oath prescribed by the Board

Find more details here.

International Students

The Universal CPA Examination application process is basically the same for U.S. and international candidates. In order to qualify to take the Exam outside the U.S., you will have to establish your eligibility through a jurisdiction participating in the international administration of the Exam.

For more information, please refer to NASBA's website here.